Friend or Foe?
Tonight I got to go to a panel event hosted by the CATO Institute on making the most of your internship while in DC. One of the biggest points that they drilled into our heads was networking...
It seems like no one really enjoys networking but it's a necessary evil. The one panelist did make a point to emphasize how you should go to networking events with an open mind and not strictly for collecting business cards from as many people as you can.
She suggested leaving the event with three or four business cards of people that you ACTUALLY want to follow up with. It doesn't matter how many business cards you collect during your internship; what does matter is the connections that you made and maintaining those connections because you are genuinely interested in that person and their line of work.
I personally hate going to events that are essentially "forced networking". I'd rather send someone an email that I've met once or twice before and grab coffee with them (even though I hate coffee) and be able to ask them questions on a one on one basis and pick their brains as to how they got to where they are now.
One of the cool benefits of being a WAIPer are our business cards. I feel weird handing them out sometimes because I'm just a measly intern, but people are generally impressed that we have business cards.
Networking (and forced conversation) may be the bane of my existence but it will soon become my friend when I'm looking for a job after graduation.
Today's motto: Network until you drop. But network with a purpose.
And that's your Dailey dosage.