On the first day of my new job as the chatty networking assistant, I was tasked with attending a job-networking event at the beautiful Hilton Hotel downtown. What I wasn’t aware of was that it was a hiring networking event. Companies who were hiring wore glow stick necklaces, and those who were seeking jobs look for those wearing glow stick necklaces. My company is hiring.
Let me remind you, it is my first day. With all the confidence in the world, I went into the event armed with my wit, water bottle, networking tools (of course) and knowledge of what my company did and whom they were hiring. I found a cozy spot and waited for the sea of blazers, ties and high heels to come to me. It took 25 minutes before someone came up to me and asked me what company I worked for and what positions we are hiring for.
25 minutes. Twenty. Five. Minutes.
I couldn’t believe that no one wanted or believed that I, a 24-year-old girl, could possibly be hiring. Expressions of “what business could she really have that would be hiring” cross their faces as they walked over to the plainly dressed, middle-aged men and women with glow sticks around their necks. Since when do those seeking employment have room for judgment and accusations? Networking is about connecting, seeking relationships and information and seeing what is out there; age should never hinder one from connecting. We are young professionals, the future of business and consumers of goods and services. Why would an opportunity from us be any different from those more seasoned than us?
As the evening went on and people were able to eavesdrop on me talking about what my company is doing, how we are growing and what we were looking for, and people began to talk to me, curious and excited. But still, 25 minutes, just because I was young.
Networking is for anyone with a story to tell. Judging a book by its cover can cause you to miss out on an amazing story or a great opportunity.