For the first time in my career I am going to my first networking event in September. A conference for professionals working in probation in which the parole board will be attending. My supervisors and co workers have continuously thrown out the idea that this is going to be a great time to “network”, but I’m absolutely terrified to do so. While I know I am a professional, have a great resume, and a number of skills I can bring to the table the idea of “selling” myself for future positions has always made me nervous. The way I have done in it the past is to have a conversation, and if the opportunity arises to talk about myself I will do so. But to walk up to someone, introduce myself, and ask for a job or reference is quite intimidating. The one thing I took away from this week’s article is that networking does not have to be so cookie cutter. There are a number of different ways to network, and get your name on the map. It does not have to be at a work event, you can network anywhere. Seeing that I am more of a shy person, I can always use social media and writing letter to network that way there is opportunity to meet professionals in person. The best way to take away some of the anxiety is to have a plan before meeting people, and to ultimately be yourself.
I joined this fellowship specifically to get to know other professionals who have the same passions as mine. While I have enjoyed the virtual aspect, this would have been a great opportunity to practice in person networking. Hopefully one day we all have the opportunity to meet in person.