Equal Opportunity Networking
I have no idea how to make it.
The advertising industry. I’ll take my chances. Dive into a rough-and-tumble world of telling stories and fairy tales.
No direction. I’ve graduated in marketing with a chasm where my design know-how should be. Maybe do the same as in my first month of college and join something?
My local ad club.
It’s hard volunteering because I have little idea if I can help – or what I can offer.
First I volunteer for something constructive and fun, but it’s the wrong thing. Then I sign up for a networking happy hour.
I’m going to a networking happy hour…now what?
I walk in and feel anxious. People are congregating in the back.
Don’t worry. As soon as you get a drink or two you’ll relax. I beeline it to the bar…don’t judge – everyone has to have something to do with their hands. Wait for the bartender. Be patient. Don’t be a jerk and wave money around. Someone pulls up alongside me. This is as good a time as ever.
“Hey, I’m – forgot it already now what – how are you?”
It’s been minutes.
This happens to everyone. This moment, this signal:
You aren’t the person I should be talking to. You can’t help me get the job I want. You don’t work in the same industry. You aren’t powerful enough. You’re in the same jobless boat as me.
Even though we all feel it, I decide to fight it. All night. My instincts are selfish, but I know I’m on the same level as everyone else. Hell, maybe even I can help someone.
I meet a lot of students and higher-ups, and so it continues on the nights that follow at these friendly professional libations.
I start to approach it differently. I try to make friends and not just add “connections” to my “professional networks”. By forgetting about job titles, networking becomes a lot more fun and relaxed.
But I’m still jobless.
It’s been weeks.
I’m looking at LinkedIn and see something promising. Entry-level, little-to-no experience is OK, training will be provided…
Screaming off the page is the the name of someone that I now know. We met at one of my networking events. She loves running, writing and advertising. And, she works as an intern at the hiring agency.
I reach out and send her my resume. She passes it up the chain and two months later I get the job.
My start date is at the end of the month.
It wasn’t so long ago that I graduated.
Now I know this:
Everyone knows someone and everyone has a story; success lies in the paying attention.
It’s really important – when you’re starting to network – that you don’t just rush the C-Level people or the CD who has a crowd of young talent asking for an autograph.
Talk to everyone and keep an open mind.
Who really knows which friends you will make?
They might just change your life.
- by AWSC
- posted at 1:28 pm
- June 19, 2012