By Mary Ellis, Account Director, Spring 2020
It seems like in every industry, the phrase “it's not what you know, it’s who you know” applies. The amount of times I’ve heard that phrase along with a knowing look during a conversation about finding a job or networking, is too many to count. Networking can seem like such a daunting task for anyone, especially the introvert. You mean to tell me that I have to go and talk to a person I have never met but could possibly heavily influence my future? That’s an introvert’s worst nightmare. However, since the name of the game is finding a job and/or mentor, here are the ways that I make networking easier for myself, an introvert.
The person you want to make a connection with is a person too: It’s easy to think of any professional as some sort of otherworldly being who has always been at the top of their game, but the reality is they were a student just like you. They have gone through the experience of being new to the field and want to help you! Remember, they are a person first, professional second.
Come in with a plan: If the thought of meeting a near perfect stranger for coffee seems bizarre, come in with specific questions or things you want to talk about. This alleviates much of the awkwardness if you already know what you want to get out of the interaction. An agenda shows the person you are meeting with that you respect their time and appreciate their meeting with you.
People want to help other people: At the end of the day, most people just want to help other people. People will usually help you out because that’s what people do. Often someone will recognize themselves in you and will want to help you out.
With these things in mind, you can go forth and network your heart out.