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Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

The WTF of Networking

No, my title does not include a reference to vulgar language. The WTF of networking seems simple:

Website Twitter Facebook

Let’s say you meet someone at some kind of event, have a brief conversation with them, and feel as though they could be a good contact to have. What’s the first thing you are going to do when you get home? Chances are you are going to Google them. You will look for some kind of website or blog to see if the first impression you got from them holds true and that they really will be a valuable contact in the future.

From there, if you deem the connection valuable and necessary, you will find them on Twitter, follow them, read their content, and start interacting with them. If these conversations become valuable, lead to a meet-up, and an actual friendship develops, a friend request will most likely be next on the agenda.

At least, this is my take on networking. My idea of what networking should be. But this is still a working theory. How to make the move from a Twitter follow to a meet-up to an actual friendship still seems intimidating and awkward to me.

As a college student and intern, networking is still a mystery. I’m still trying to learn the ropes of it, figure out how to do it, and find value in the connections I am able to make. Right now I find myself obsessively stalking my Twitter feed and following new people. I am trying to observe the behaviors of others in order to learn the best practices of the industry.

So I am asking for your input! What are your best networking tips? Any good books out there worth reading? Blogs worth following? Any advice is welcome! 🙂

 

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Accountability.

Punctuality.

The lacking of either of those in a person are my two biggest pet peeves. Ever.

They are one and of the same. If you are not punctual, how will I ever know if you can be held accountable to do the things you say you are going to do (when you say you are going to do them)? If you cannot be held accountable to do the things you say you are going to do, how do I know you will be punctual and show up when you are needed?

That sounds like an awful, wordy theory. You can probably understand it if you read it a few times over. Let me try to explain what I’m getting at.

Basically, if you haven’t picked up these two skills during your four years in college, get it together. Because not being accountable and punctual doesn’t fly in the corporate world when you have one-on-one meetings to get to instead of classes where you are 1 in 200.

I don’t want this to sound like a rant. A little back story: yes, at the time of writing, I am a bit peeved at a friend who, time and time again, can’t seem to be held 100% accountable to do the things she says she will do. But instead of ranting and raving about my irritation, I more want to get a message or a lesson across.

I learned at a very young age, that if you don’t have someone’s trust, you don’t have much at all. I learned this in ways from lying best friends in junior high, to sneaking around my parents in high school. And through all of this, I have made it my goal to be as punctual and accountable, and therefore as trustworthy, as possible.

I want people to know that if I say I will do something, I will 100%, no doubt about it, make sure it gets done. I want people to be absolutely sure that when I am told to be somewhere at 10:00, I will be there at 9:55. I don’t ever want people to have the doubt in me that I am having in my friend right now.

I don’t like feeling like I have to check up on people or badger them to get things done and get them done on time. And I don’t ever want a classmate, coworker, or friend to feel that way about me.

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Once you start taking upper division classes in college, you start to realize that just a college degree probably won’t guarantee you a job after graduation. Breaking into the advertising/marketing/public relations industry (there should be a word to describe all of this!) requires experience. It requires you spending your time working for a company and not getting paid for it. It requires internships.

So how do you land that first internship when you have nothing to list under “Professional Experience”?

Talk to a career adviser: Most schools offer career advising services. Talking to these advisers will let you know what to expect when communicating with employers and going on interviews. They will also assist you with perfecting your resumes and cover letters.

Utilize your school’s career services: Most schools have programs where employers can post job listings. Search through the listings and you will most likely find many different positions that you can apply for. Send your resume to numerous companies — you have nothing to lose here!

Join organizations and hold positions you can learn from: Join organizations that coincide with your major/industry. For example, at UT we have TAG (Texas Advertising Group) and PRSSA. If you are in organizations that doesn’t necessarily coincide with your major/industry, run for positions that do. For example, I am in an organization at UT very similar to a sorority. Alone, this would not be beneficial to put on my resume, so I ran for the position of “Communication and Promotion Chair”. This position involves running all social media for the organization as well as maintaining the website. Voila! Now my participation in the org coincides with the industry I am trying to break into.

Landing that first internship will probably be tough, but once you have that entry-level experience, it gets a little bit easier from there on out. And once you’re interning, make sure you learn as much as you can while you are there to make your experience as valuable as possible.

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