How a Class Project Taught Me the Ease and Necessity of Networking

By: Brenna McDermot (@letterstowomen)

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While Realtors live by location, location, location, it seems like journalists live by networking, networking, networking. In my journalism classes, professors presented this buzzword as one of the most important aspects of my career. Initially, I was skeptical. Wouldn’t my stellar grade point average, extracurricular experiences, and grammar knowledge get me wherever I wanted to go? Plus, networking just seemed like a lot of work. It wasn’t until I took New and Emerging Media that I realized the power and ease of networking.

One of the projects in New and Emerging Media required me to choose a local, small business, interview the person who runs the business’ social media accounts, and evaluate the business’ social media presence. I chose Salon la Rousse and talked to owner Tamara Adelmeyer. When I asked about the salon’s almost complete lack of social media, Adelmeyer said she knew social media is important, but she didn’t have the time to devote to it.

Before our meeting I had researched how to improve a small business’ social media, and I thought about how social media could exhibit Adelmeyer’s masterful work and hair knowledge. Because Adelmeyer liked my ideas and my understanding of her business, I suggested that I work for her during the summer to accomplish the public relations tactics that I presented to her—she agreed.

Now, I have a job for the summer that I will truly enjoy. After this experience I realized that every job I have ever gotten has been because I talked to someone, not because I applied for it. Actually, 80 percent of jobs are gotten through networking.

Networking is essential and straightforward:

  • Make a genuine connection with people. Find something you have in common and mention something you admire about them.
  • Put in the effort to understand them and their business.
  • Position yourself in a way that will benefit them.
  • Always have your portfolio with you and updated.
  • Just ask if you want to work with someone. The worst someone can say is no, but you still gained a contact.

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