Networking ExtroIntro Edited

Networking events are critical to job hunting and essential in building your contact list of people who matter. You can do more in a few short minutes at a well-curated networking event than sending hundreds of resumes blindly into the void. The intention of such events is to connect you with real people, in real-time and return to core level human interactions we all so desperately seek. While you may barely have said more than a few dozen words to someone, that handshake level, eye-to-eye connection you make with them is brief but quite powerful. People remember others they meet and are much more likely to return a phone call or an email of someone they met face to face, and many will even go out of their way to continue to connect you with folks in their networks.

Yet, the mere mention of networking events makes most of us cringe. We begin to mumble that we have prior obligations, often before we even know the date or time. To many, they just aren’t pleasant experiences: tedious small talk, awkward introductions, forgotten names, and bad buffet food all rolled up into one.

However, we can all relate to a friend or colleague who seems entirely at home at these events, and perhaps you may even be one of those lucky enough to enjoy exploring a room of strangers and leaving with a handful of business cards.

So what gives? Why do we love/hate them so much? And how will this knowledge help us in our job search?

Networking events just tend to be, by their very nature, uncomfortable as we are thrown into a foreign environment devoid of our most comfortable routines; new people, new faces, new conversations. We revert to an essential, primal means of adaptation, which can leave us feeling out of control and vulnerable.

From a very high level, how we react to a networking event is a matter of innate personality: the concept of being either introverted or extroverted. Those who end up liking these types of events are often sales-y people; part of their desire is to hunt for new client leads, but part of their eagerness to network is built deep into their personality/DNA. These extroverts feed off the energy of other people; it is everything to their success to be seen and be heard by others. On the other end of the spectrum are those who become nervous or agitated at these events, tongue-tied and anxious. These people are extremely introverted, carrying on the business behind the scenes.

In the simplest of terms, an extrovert gains energy and insight from the presence of other people, processing ideas and validations directly with others’ input, and thus do well in social settings. However, an introvert is someone who recharges their personal energy by being introspective, that is, looking inward to their own thoughts. Introverts easily exhaust their energies in social settings while extroverts recharge, yet introverts have many other strengths to consider.

However, most people do not fall into just one category, introvert or extrovert. Instead, it is a type of spectrum where you can lean to one side or another but can exhibit traits of either. This article in Fast Company does an excellent job of breaking down the spectrum and helping you to understand better your strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge in hand, we hope you can bring insight into your role in career-focused networking events.

Regardless of your personality, be curious, talk to people about anything and everything, connect and learn, and don’t put much stock into success or failure of any conversations. Some people have natural chemistry. The key to good networking is to get yourself out there and find those people whom you can relate to who may serve as a resource down the road. Whether you work the room like a hardcore extrovert or find one or two people to talk to that you feel comfortable with and call it a day, networking can make the difference between an open door and a closed one. And remember that we can all be socially awkward at times, and this article does an excellent job teaching us how to target specific actions at these events regardless of where we fall on the spectrum.

In the meantime, remember that your recruiting team is only as strong as their network. Masiello Employment has decades of experience working with local businesses and talented individuals and a huge network reach. In many cases, we do the networking, so you do not have to – so be sure to lean on us when you need a new position!