Since I was in university, one of the pieces of advice I ever got was: NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK. I didn't know what that meant until a few months ago.
I used to think that having excellent grades and a distinctive resume were enough to land a job until the harsh reality hit me; I was getting rejected to the millions of jobs I was applying for!
So one day I decided to go to my career advisor for help who then recommended me to create a Linkedin profile and start attending the networking events offered by my university. The stubborn me never did either one of them. Actually, I did go to the networking events, but it was for the free food and for the free gadgets. I mean why not? There are only certain things that are free in life.
Then 2016 came and I had to graduate. Did I know where to work? Did I know anyone in the industry? Was I even sure about what I wanted in my life? No, No, and NO, and sometimes not knowing is ok. You don't need to have your life figured out in your 20s.
So some months before my graduation, I went to a career fair and maybe my very first one where I actually mingled with someone. I was all dressed up nice and professional. Went up to this HR lady who worked for this company that was popular back in the days, spoke to her, gave my resume, and after few rounds of interviews...BOOM! I got the job! I was happy if not over the top upon the receipt of the news.
Upon my start in this company, I told myself "Urmi, you will create a Linkedin profile and build a network of quality people" and guess what? I was still procrastinating on this idea of networking and talking to people. I guess I was a bit insecure and didn't feel "good enough" when I would see other people's skills and accomplishments.
Fast forward to 2020, I am no longer in my previous company, but in a new one. Still, up until now, with no connections and know no one in the industry.
Last year, regardless of how terribly Covid has changed our lives, it still allowed me to have some self-reflection of my life and the direction I wanted to take and one of them was getting serious about where I wanted to get with my career. Thanks to the Internet, I met this woman, who I consider an inspiration and a role model. She is a little bit older than me, she has a very similar educational background as mine, and career-wise she is pursuing the same career path I want to eventually achieve. It was funny how I met her; it was literally thanks to YOUTUBE.
So I approached her and asked her to collaborate with me. She agreed and said YES! That one email changed the way I was stepping into this whole networking game. It was a win-win situation for both of us and that was my very FIRST TIME networking with someone.
Since then, I have been helping her out with her business and Youtube channel while she is sharing with me the secret recipes on how to run a business. She teaches me valuable lessons about personal branding, and sometimes I am even a guest on her youtube channel. Isn't that amazing?
So where am I getting with all this? Life is like a box of chocolate. You will never know what you will get into if you never try and that email really changed many things. The younger me a bit insecure, and a bit shy would have never approached anyone randomly online, but today I do! I talk and reach out to people if I feel they are in line with my interests. I started with zero connections to meeting this one person that it feels like I won the jackpot.
Therefore, whether you are a student or a full-time worker, never be afraid to talk to strangers, always be strategic with your connections and NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK.
Your Network Is Your Net Worth
- Porter Gale