So you’re thinking about moving to a new city, or maybe you already have. You’re fresh out of college and looking to get your foot in the door of the career world. You’re trying to get a leg up on all the other marketing, advertising, and PR professionals out there – but you have no idea where to begin. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there, in fact, I just went through all of this myself.
A few weeks ago – before I had a job, before I knew what the heck I was going to do with my life – I sat down and recorded an episode of After the Boom (more details at the end of this post) with my good friend and fellow blogger/entrepreneur Monica O’ Brien. If you ‘re in search for some networking insight from a couple people who have been there and who are living it as we speak, read on and take 15 minutes out of your day to listen to our fine podcast.
Here are a few networking words of wisdom. Things you need to do (or should already be doing) to get a leg-up:
Start a blog
Seriously, just do it. Don’t worry about defining yourself, don’t worry about establishing a niche from the get-go. Just write. The defining and focus will come in time – but most importantly, through it all, you’ll have a lot to put on your ‘online resume': Community building, networking expertise, product knowledge – You’ll develop talking points that will help you stand out from the rest during an interview, and you’ll undoubtedly meet some amazing people (and might even make a few friends) along the way.
Use Social Media
Why? Because everyone is – Odds are, your interviewers are on Twitter; HR reps are on LinkedIn – Get on board the Social Media bandwagon and use it to your advantage. Not only is it a great networking tool, it’s a great way to research and discover new opportunities and influential people who can help you gain an advantage over the competition.
Ask for Help
Probably my biggest piece of personal advice. Never be afraid to ask questions: Asking questions shows your desire to learn and grow. When I was planning my move up here to Chicago, I asked everyone everything I could, to the point that some people probably were turned off by it. But for every one person who gets annoyed, there are ten who are more than happy to lend a helping hand. So often we maintain that ‘do-it-yourself’ mindset that says asking for help is a sign of weakness. I’m a believer of the contrary, that asking for help actually shows a great desire to learn and grow, which is ultimately how you get ahead.
Get online to get off…line
Online networking is great – but it will never replace face-to-face networking and communication. Use the Internet to establish connections and start conversations, but go the next step. Attend social media events in your city, ask people out for lunch or a cup of coffee, do everything you can to make offline connections. Talking to someone for months online usually doesn’t replace an hour long lunch meeting.
Try harder than everyone else
The bottom line, to be the best, you have to work harder than the rest. Network like crazy, blog like a maniac, follow influential people on Twitter, ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. Don’t be bashful about marketing and promoting yourself. Talk about what you’re good at – share your passions with the world, and never stop asking questions. If you keep an open mind to learning new things, the sky’s the limit for where you’ll end up.
Moving to a new city may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. A good place to start for a few words of wisdom is the following podcast. The rest? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.
Subscribe to After the Boom!
I also want to encourage people to subscribe to our podcast here. We are getting huge positive response to After the Boom on iTunes and Twitter (20+ subscriptions per day), as each segment is packed with information and perfect to throw on an iPod, for a quick jog or a short commute to work. Also, our upcoming episodes will have a ton of really interesting guests you won’t want to miss! Not a tease – the honest-to-goodness truth people!