In my last post, I briefly mentioned being scared to go to networking events. Well today, I can officially say that I survived attending a hiring/networking event.
This event was put on by a huge insurance firm in Canada and targeted towards actuarial students. If you did not know, I am an economics student, with no plans on becoming an actuary. Well never say never. But after getting an email from the econ department about the event, I went in with an open mind. Like I said several times before, I do not know what I want to do when I graduate, so why not go. You can never know what can happen. Also, a big part of the decision to go was because it was a small, intimate event, which I preferred rather than a large crowd.
After going, I can now say, I do not regret it. I heard a lot of stories and learned a lot from the people that spoke. Also I was able to face my anxiety and open up.
3 things that kept on being mentioned through the night about how to make it in this career, and I believe can be applied to any career for that matter are:
- Networking, through events or reaching out to people
- Keeping in touch with the people you connect with
- Gaining experience, whether that is through co-ops and internships, volunteering and student groups.
I actually spoke to a campus recruiter and heard what she had to say. She also took a look at my resume and explained what my blog was about to her. She seemed interested, so why not?
So this was not the first networking event I have been to before, so I kind of knew what to expect. But this time I made it a mission to actually speak to someone, other than bail out or hide in a corner on my phone. And I know it sounds like a scary thing to do, when you are the shy type and have anxiety. But I did it. Was I perfect? Not at all. I probably made a ton of mistakes in the eyes of the recruiter or people standing around. And I could have gotten to hear from more people. But you know what, you live and you learn.
If I am being honest here, I was actually more worried about what I was going to wear than actually attending the event. It might sound weird, it might sound like a girl problem, when you have a long day at school and you commute, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable for 12 hours. In the end, I ended up wearing a black pair of jeans (that do not really look like jeans), a white blouse and a pair of booties that I changed into. I don’t think I would have survived wearing booties for 13 hours. I’m a Nikes girl.
Fun fact, whenever I am nervous or scared, I will play with anyone that is in my hand at that time. Jewelry, my phone, a pen, there is always a way to distract myself. So this time, the company brought swag, a cup with firm’s name on it. It was bright yellow, and yes I did distract myself with it. I know I know, I am a child.
Going to this event helped me realize networking is not that bad. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there. Plus, there is always something to learn and something that could make you a better person. I was able to go out, face a challenge, face my anxiety. So if I can do it, I believe you can to.
Also note that just because I survived this event, does not mean I am a pro or a social butterfly. I need a few days, or at least a few hours to rest, before I can do interaction with other people.