Networking!

Recruiting season continues. This week I have the opportunity to visit four firms during their open houses, last week was the career fair, and on-campus interviews have begun.

Before school started, I took a required “Graduate Branding Boot Camp” with our career advisor Kate Williams, and two things that were emphasized were LinkedIn profiles and….networking.

Now, I have always cringed a little inside when I have heard that word. It’s probably because of my impression of the kind of people who “network” as insincere self-promoters, or my general tendency to be more of a gradually-get-to-know-you type of person. But I went along with it in boot camp, made up my 30-second commercial, and maybe even had a little fun getting to know the other students in the room.

Fast forward to last night, when I spent an hour at an accounting firm’s open house, and met and spoke to maybe 15 people–two or three I had met before and most I hadn’t. I had to leave the event before it ended because I had to get to school for my first exam (!), and when I got in my car to drive away I noticed that I was sorry to go before I had had the chance to meet even more of the firm’s staff.

It turns out that I kind of love this thing called networking! Especially at these events, which are a chance to meet people who are interested in meeting you–to learn about their lives at work (and sometimes about their favorite sports teams as well!), and to ask questions about what they do and what they might be looking for in an applicant. It’s a great chance to get a sense of a firm’s culture–which of course is largely determined by its people.

So there you have it: I am a life-long introvert who loves to meet new people. If this is networking, I’m in.

(See also: this article from This Way to CPA.)

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