The Arts Student & Employer Mixer is coming up on March 9. This is a great opportunity for Arts students/graduates to network with employers who hire from the Faculty of Arts. Visit the U of A Career Centre for more information. This event is free and registration is not required.
Networking can be a daunting task for a lot of people. Imagine yourself dressing up in a suit, holding a glass of wine that you grab in a hurry and awkwardly smiling among a bunch of people trying to make a good impression to some VIPs that you just met that night. It doesn’t feel that pleasant, right? You may complain that networking is solely a game for extroverts, but really, it’s not. We live in a well-connected world, and networking is inevitable. So instead of trying to dodge it, why don’t we embrace and ace it?
Four and a half years ago, I came from China to Canada by myself. Two pieces of luggage and a backpack were all I had. I knew almost nobody in this country and had no clue how cold Edmonton could possibly get. I chose psychology as my minor but didn’t understand at all what the professor was talking about. I was lonely. I needed friends. I needed to improve my English. I needed to know more about this country. Most importantly, I didn’t want to be an outsider.
Curiosity about people [is] the key to being successful in this game.
So I started to go to all the networking events that caught my eye. At first, I went there to meet people and build new friendships. As I got more involved in student organizations, I went there to promote my ideas and seek potential partnerships. Later on, as I got close to graduation, I went there to promote myself and find potential employers.
However, no matter what my purpose for networking was, I always tried to focus on getting to know the very person I was talking to and what made them unique, just like what I was trying to do when I was looking for friends in the first place. As an undergraduate student new to the country, I was full of curiosity and wanted to explore. Listening to others provided great opportunities for me to absorb as much social knowledge as possible.
As I networked more and more, I realized that curiosity about people was the key to being successful in this game. No matter if a person is a CEO, a social worker, a nurse or an actress, they are human beings to begin with. By turning your attention to their human sides, you will discover the real “them,” the person whose life goal is to conquer Mount Everest, the person who is thinking about getting an engagement ring for his girlfriend, the person who is struggling as her son just got diagnosed with leukemia. Once you endeavour to genuinely know people in any networking event or in life in general, everything becomes easier.
Confucius once said: “Walking along with three people, my teacher is sure to be among them.” The same rule applies to networking. As soon as we put aside our ego and motives, we will notice that everybody is interesting in their own ways. How fun it is to talk and connect to another human being who can share so much with us?