One way that I’m trying to step up my job search is by networking at industry events in and around Boston. In a burst of activity and optimism, I signed up for five or six events in one day. At the time, I was really excited at the prospect of getting out there, learning new things, and meeting new people.
Then, the big day arrived, and suddenly the last thing I wanted to do was go to a networking event. I hemmed and hawed. I looked at the list of potential attendees, wondering if a potential employer might be there. My friend invited me to go to trivia night at a local Irish pub, and that sounded 10 times better than going to this really cool networking event called Wonder Women (my apologies to the organizers, I really did have the best of intentions and am sure the event was terrific). Ultimately, trivia night won out. And then I felt guilty for not going to the event. What if I was meant to be there and would have made a connection that lead to my next job? What if I could have found a mentor there? What if?
So, a few days later, another potential networking event was looming: Ultra Light Startups: The Future of Web Advertising at WorkBar Boston. Again I found myself looking for an excuse not to go. Then, quite abruptly, I stood up, changed my outfit, jumped in the car, and got myself down there. I figured this one would be easy–a panel discussion where I could find a seat and get acclimated without having to make conversation with anyone right away. I took a seat, and pulled out my trusty Blackberry–a handy prop to look busy and not feel like such a wallflower.
As I’m sitting there, checking out the room while reading the headlines on CNN, I notice a woman in the row in front of me. She starts talking to the person next to her, asking questions, introducing herself, shaking hands. Then she starts talking to another person, and another. I’m amazed that she’s doing this with such ease.
Ultimately, I join in the conversation and even tell her how impressed I am that she’s engaging all the people around her. Turns out that she is also job hunting, having just graduated from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. We exchange cards and she offers to connect me with a recruiter she’s been talking to. Even better, she mentions that she attends a lot of similar networking events and suggests that we try to team up and go to some of them together.
The next day, I receive a lovely email from her with a treasure trove of information about upcoming events in Boston. Thank you, Kristin, for being my guardian angel at my very first networking event (or at least, my first one in a really long time!)