Yesterday I attended a Zoom Fireside Q&A chat with special guest Isabel Yanes. Isabel is a freelance Assistant Editor for scripted television based in Los Angeles. She also works as an Animation Artist for various companies. The Q&A was very informative and she gave attendees a great perspective on how to transfer a college education into a career, positives and negative of starting off in a career, mentorships and the significance of networking. The part about networking and how much she stressed the importance of it, really stood out to me. Personally I always associated networking as an awkward gathering of a bunch of random people; I imagine a lot of small talk. The fact is that networking is essential. Whether you’re trying to break into an industry or to accomplish meaningful professional connections, networking is the right step. Here are reasons why you should look into ways to network…
Finding a mentor – I have always heard that a mentor is a great tool. You just have to find someone who is successfully working in the position you want to obtain! My question is where do you find a mentor? Where do you find someone willing to invest time and energy into your success? When you are first starting out in a career, establishing a mentor is great way to figure things out and lean on for guidance. Networking meetings/events/workshops are a great place to shop around for a mentor! Finding someone that you connect with and would feel comfortable to reach out to
Exchanging and expanding ideas – Networks fosters a trade of ideas and perspectives. Its a pool of people, each with differing ideas, expertise, perspectives and outlooks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and pick peoples brains! How can one persons experiences and knowledge benefit you? And can you assist them in return by sharing knowledge of yours?
New opportunities and advancements – investing time and energy in networking opens the door to new opportunities. Potentially meeting a mentor, finding an internship and/or developing relationships with individuals superior in your field. The opportunity of advancements are endless. Its really just getting out of your comfort zone and recognizing the potential benefits of doing so. If nothing comes of it…so what! Maybe that guy or girl you were standing in line with for the restroom is an runs a marketing firm or a PR agency… you leave a good impression and that small encounter turns into dream job at the marketing firm/ PR agency (insert dream job here.)
Develop long-lasting relationships – It’s a two-way road of giving and taking. This process can build a strong relationship with people that you share similar interests with. Obviously there are some boundaries when socializing in a professional work setting, but having the mindset that networking is just a way to build relationships and make friendship makes that whole thing much less intimidating. It takes the pressure off and it feels less forced and more authentic.
Networking doesn’t have to be so intimidating or feel awkward… “It’s about understanding the network around you and acting accordingly,” in other words, “It’s about whose a friend and whose a friend of a friend.” -David Burkus
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