We’ve all seen a movie, be it a drama, comedy, chick flick, etc. where someone uses the line, “I know a guy.” Or, it could be, “I know a guy, who knows a guy.” Generally, these statements have to do with dirty, devious deeds that are much too sticky for any “normal” person to handle. However, this mobster-inspired line actually applies to growing careers quite well.
Networking. A few years ago, I would have never seen the importance of it. Then, networking was the wire that made my phones and internet work. Now, it’s everything, or almost everything. Networking is important, yes, but experience and talent need to be able to support it.
Networking can be done any number of ways. Family, personal friends, and co-workers are a good place to start. You may find leads in unexpected places. My supervisor here taught me about Twitter. On Twitter, I’ve met plenty of individuals who have plenty to teach. Many of these individuals hold gateways to great opportunities. In the wide hodgepodge of people I follow, I’ve pinpointed different communications/design/marketing internships and job openings that span across a wide array of fields. In fact, the interview I posted about earlier today…I got a tip on that internship through someone on Twitter.
Networking is great. Knowing and impressing the right people can make the start of your career so much easier to conquer. However, you can’t go only on last name or who you know. You need to make sure you live up to the expectations of the people you know. If you’re given a job because of who you’re associated with, you have to be sure not to tarnish their names. If something goes wrong on your part, you could not only hurt your career, but that of the people who helped get you there.
Networking is important. It’s a great opportunity. In fact, a well-built professional network can give you great power when it comes to job-searching. However, with great power comes…yup, you guessed it. Great responsibility.