I am not a fan of networking, honestly. Mostly its a fear developed from never having to participate in it to get myself ahead. Thanks to nursing school, however, my entire class and I were forced to network and make connections at a nurse leadership conference in Burlington a couple days ago. As the day of the conference loomed closer and closer I grew more nervous and apprehensive. My disdain for the simple word "networking" grew out of ignorance and inexperience of what it actually entailed or could proliferate.
For all my worrying, wondering, and unknown I traversed my first episode of networking was fairly awesome because...
- I discovered that despite being pregnant I can look amazing and feel amazing in business clothes
- Its a lot easier to face an unknown situation with strange people when you are with amazing women like the ladies in my nursing class.
- I am way more outgoing than I realized
- The people that can offer you jobs really aren't that intimidating, especially when you're eager and smiling back at them.
- Putting a face to your resume is priceless.
So overall, despite the hours of sitting and power-point presentations that made my med/surge nursing class seem like a carnival at times, it was a great experience where I made several great connections and a possible job opportunity. I stress possible, because I also learned something very valuable and disheartening at this conference....
There is not a shortage of nurses in this area, but rather a shortage of nursing jobs for new graduates. The multitude of nursing positions available are for experienced nurses. I've already been turned down for an emergency room position due to my lack of nursing experience. EMS experience was irrelevant. Time and time again I talked to many nursing professionals and Chief Nursing Officers. They all spoke of hiring freezes or anticipated openings, but nothing at this time. Despite the sour news I continue to send out my resume in hopes that perhaps someone will consider an inexperienced nurse. One can't ever get anywhere without first putting yourself out there.
The worst they can say is no, right?