I often hear people say “it’s not what you know, rather it’s who you know.” As I recently landed my first job out of college through the power of networking I have taken this phrase to heart. The story that I’m about to tell is a textbook example of how networking can pave a successful path. All you have to do is execute effective networking.
Last year during my summer internship I attended an intern event. There were representatives from different business units who shared their insights with approximately 100 interns. Since my role during that summer was managing Leadership Development training sessions with little focus on e-Business or Marketing, I jumped at every opportunity to reach out to such departments that touched on these fields. One of the representatives at this event was from our subsidiary company and happened to be in a marketing role. I would have reached out to her at the end of the event, but was unable to speak with her. As soon as I returned to my desk I sent her an email expressing my interest to speak with her about her role and how she got there. I was expecting no more than an hour of her time to engage in a conversation about her career path.
To my surprise she planned an entire day for me to shadow her department and meet a number of marketing professionals. One of her co-workers is an experienced marketing executive and we instantly hit it off. During our conversation she mentioned to me that she recently became the President of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association. While I had been actively involved in the Towson University Chapter of the American Marketing Association, I had not attended any of the Baltimore Chapter events due to conflicts in my work and class schedule. She informed me that they were searching for a Student Liaison to promote their events to local universities and colleges. As you can imagine I accepted this position and was excited to expand my personal network. Throughout my role I was able to attend many of the events walking away with key takeaways. In addition to these lessons learned I met many local professionals in the Greater Baltimore business community. One of the individuals that I met was the President-Elect for the Baltimore Chapter. As my senior year was ending she informed me of a job opportunity that she thought I’d be interested in. As a result of The Associate competition I came in second and was searching the job market for a lead. I jumped at this opportunity as it allowed me to work for a small company and gain a great deal of hands-on marketing experience in my new role. Everything worked out during the interview process and I am now working in my new role.
This depicts the power of networking. Had I not aggressively networked and made a name for myself over the past couple of years, this situation wouldn’t have been possible. Go ahead, network. See where it takes you and share with me your success stories.
For tips on effective networking, please read my previous post titled “The Art of Networking.”