"It's All About Who You Know" - Networking Basics
A cliche I've never been able to escape is "It's all about who you know."
Since high school, teachers and mentors have been drilling the idea of networking into my head. I never really had an issue with the concept of networking. I am naturally a talkative person who loves meeting and connecting with people. Networking is honestly something that comes easily to me.
However, I never realized how important networking was until I visited Los Angeles through my university's City Experience Program. This class allowed me to go to Los Angeles during my fall break and study the media industry. Every person that we spoke with emphasized the importance of networking. Almost every professional in the industry that we met either got their start through a connection or made a career move because of one. So here are a few of my best tips for networking and making connections.
It never hurts to ask. If your mom's best friend works for your dream company or your favorite high school teacher knows someone you would love to connect with, reach out to them. The worst thing you will hear from someone is a no. But, if you never ask you never know. Most people are friendly and ready to help out if they can. One simple question may be the ticket to your dream job.
Work hard and be nice. While these may be obvious, they're important! My parents taught me that your work ethic and how you treat others will take you far. People will remember you and be more willing to help out when they feel confident in your work and your character.
Never pass up an opportunity. Every person you meet presents a chance to make a connection. Don't treat everyone you meet as a possible way to get a leg up, but connect with people in a real and genuine way. Invite someone out for a cup of coffee and take the time to get to know them not just their career. By taking chances and introducing yourself to new people you may discover a new friend or your future coworker.
While your talent and experience will get you places, people want to work with people that they trust. You already have a network, so start reaching out! Make the most of the resources you have and find new connections.
After all, it is all about who you know.