All Articles Tagged "networking"
As trendy as “networking” has become, social networks, party flyers, and random strangers have led us to believe that it is interchangeable with socializing and outright solicitation. While socializing is a major part of networking, it is not the end-all-be-all. In fact, this belief is why many find their attempts at “networking” to be unsuccessful.
Noun. The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. (Merriam-Webster)
The main word in this definition is exchange. In an exchange, both parties give something to receive something, or in other words, the relationship is mutually beneficial. This refutes the belief that soliciting others for services or entry into a particular industry or field, without offering them anything in return qualifies as networking.
Rather than sending someone in your desired field an unsolicited tweet saying “Call me. (555)555-5555. I would like for you to help me get a job in XYZ.” You should try, “Hello, I’m Sue. I do XYZ well, and would appreciate the opportunity to help your company improve in such and such area.” This approach is more likely to begin a rapport; it starts with you offering a service rather than asking for a handout. No one likes to feel used.
It is important to acknowledge the other party’s career goals as well, and how you can help them reach these goals more efficiently. Bringing something to the party is just as important as the venue. When attempting to network, it is important to remember that there is a time and place for everything. Despite what the flyers for the “After-Work Social” may say, sometimes people do not want to talk business after several half-priced margaritas. And honestly, just because it’s a business mixer does not mean everyone has business. This is not to say that every beneficial business relationship stems from a formal setting, but do not be fooled by the boatload of “networking events” that are held every day just to get you and your money in the door. Research the person holding the networking event. Have they had other successful networking events? What does their network look like? Do they have a good reputation?
These are all important questions to ask, and while networking events are helpful, you can build genuine relationships with people by attending places and events that you are actually interested in. If you are a writer, you are bound to meet other writers at writing workshops, book signings, magazine events, and the like. Genuine relationships that begin from common interests have proven to be more productive than contrived ones.
During and after college, I found myself constantly working for free. Although I didn’t really do anything worthy of adding to my resume in many of these positions, one of the greatest benefits of this work was meeting and building relationships with people — and companies — in the field. These people had a front row seat to my work ethic, attitude, and personality, so when I began my job hunt, I was lucky enough to have industry insiders sending me openings, writing reference letters, and supporting me throughout the process.
Ironically, the person who was the most helpful in my job search was an executive assistant whom I didn’t directly work with, but always talked to in passing and occasionally in department gatherings.
After my internship ended, we kept in touch via email, and when positions matching my interest came up, she was sure to contact me. She even went as far as editing my resume, and personally submitting it to the hiring manager. As grateful as I was for her help, I never expected it. I simply thought she was a nice person and enjoyed talking to her. This experience reminded me how important it is to respect and be polite to everyone from the doorman to CEO, because you never know who can or will help you on your journey to your best self.
My hope is the next time you hear “networking,” you don’t automatically think about successful people and what they can do for you, but instead you think of building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships. By exposing yourself to different events and happenings in your field, being polite, and having an attitude of service, you are destined to meet some really cool people, learn a few new things, and strengthen your network.
You probably have one of those friends. The one who seems to know everyone, has the details on the latest industry news and is invited to apply for jobs you can’t find anywhere online. When you finally get the nerve to ask about the secret in her sauce she has a simple answer. Her mentor.
If you’ve been scouring your business card app trying to find your own but aren’t really sure what you’re doing, that’s OK. Follow these simple steps to finding and building a wonderful mentor-mentee relationship.
Finding the one
Finding a mentor is not aerospace engineering. They’re discovered in different ways. Sometimes you find them, other times they find you. If you’re in the market, the best (and simplest) path is asking for help. It’s not cheating for your cousin’s wife’s little brother hooks you up with a high-ranking official in your field. That’s using your connections, and your future mentor will probably be impressed.
Also, look into mentorship matchmaking through any organizations you’ve joined. Most will have one, or at least the resources to put you in contact with someone. And like going to your college’s career offices to find a successful alumni mentor, it’ll give you two an instant connection.
Making the first move
Unless your mentor reaches out to you for being an impressive emerging whatever, you’re going to be the cat chasing the mouse. Don’t be shy — ask her out. Offer to take your potential professional big sister (or brother) to coffee or grab an after-work meal. After long-distance inspiration? No worries, just pick up the phone or send a compelling but brief email, LinkedIn message or DM.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. You found her amazing, so chances are someone else does too. You might find yourself reaching out two or three times before you’re able to really connect.
From crush to lifemate
There are all types of different mentor relationships. Some are like best friends, others just want to check in and keep you on the path to success. The terms will reveal themselves naturally and can be molded like any other friendship. You’ll probably have to put in more effort, especially at the beginning. But one of the most important things is to make the mentorship symbiotic. Don’t only call when you need advice or a reference. Send holiday cards, words of encouragement and just-because emails. Make it worth her while to keep up with you. If she likes you as a person and feels respected, she’ll be more likely to keep you in in mind.
I’m just not that into you
Unfortunately, just like old boyfriends, you and your mentor won’t always work out. Sometimes there’s no way you can make it work, or you’ve just out-grown the advice available. It’s not taboo to pare down the relationship and start over with someone new. Don’t alienate her, just be honest and make it clear why this is the best decision for you. Unless something catastrophic has happened, you can still be cordial. In some cases, you outgrow each other and the relationship will naturally morph into a friendship based on a mutual respect cultivated over the course of the years you’ve spent together.
Is it about time, you order some business cards, put on your flyest business casual dress, sip a cocktail and get your network on?
Well, if you’re in New York City this Wednesday, October 16, come the MadameNoire staff and the Black Public Relations Society at the “Leveraging Our Legacy” mixer.
If you’re in the public relations or communication fields, don’ miss out on one of the biggest public relations and media mixers of the fall. At the event, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with industry leaders, cultivate relationships and expand your network.
If you interested meet us at the Katra Lounge at 6:00 pm, this Wednesday.
Being a woman in a male-dominated world let alone workplace can be very challenging, and that’s not including the extra roles we proudly take on like being a mother or a wife. Yet, there comes a time when us ladies need to band together to make sure we rise up the corporate ladder of success. After all, there are tons of naturally-occurring boys networks. So we should embrace our own. Groups like the National Association of Professional Women are there to foster this sort of professional support.
It doesn’t matter if you are currently employed, coming back from maternity leave or are seeking a job, networking is key, practically essential. Here are some ways for women to stay connected and become champion networkers.
Though Facebook has been around for years now, the social media website has continued to gain popularity throughout the years, especially as the owners have allowed the website to morph and appeal to a wider audience. As of August 2013, Facebook had more than 1 billion active users. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that some people spend way too much time and energy on Facebook. In fact, you may be one of them. Here are 14 signs that you’re addicted to Facebook.
Owning a small business is challenging even in good times, as any entrepreneur will tell you, but the rewards outweigh the difficulties. Women now have the remote control to conquer their destinies through entrepreneurship, earning, owning and making decisions about money every single day. The risk of owning your own enterprise isn’t for everyone, male or female, but women are finding their niche in the empire-building world!
Many of us treat office colleagues like we treat our jobs: we work at it from 9-to-5 until we punch out and leave the interaction at our desk. If it leaves the office, it’s for a few happy hours. But if you are one of the few who works in the same office as a close personal friend, whether through a reference for the job or in the same industry, “punching out” of the relationship after the workday is not an option. Like Joan and Maya on Girlfriends, the line between being a friend and also being a colleague could become blurred, leaving you looking unprofessional to your boss and unreliable to your friend. How can you win?
Your friend could either be your guardian angel or the spawn of Satan professionally if you both work in the same company or office. Don’t let your friendship go sour by killing it with your matching professional life. But don’t let your relationship in the office trip you up while climbing the corporate ladder. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for working with a friend in the workplace.
It can be oh so hard to push your body to keep going after a long day at work. You probably just want to go home and eat on your couch, curling up to every TV show from last week that you have piled up in your DVR queue. But successful people spend their evenings a little differently. Here’s how you can too!
You’ve tussled with class after class and toiled through exam week after exam week, and now it is happening. You are moving out of the dorms or out of the graduate classes, donning that cap and gown, walking across that stage and finally achieving a long sought-after goal: A college degree.
As black women we are a special breed with a bold heritage and a bright legacy to uphold. With the very many ways in which we can be viewed negatively through the media, it is important for us to paying it forward when it comes to our success by sharing lessons learned with one another. The lessons I have been so fortunate to learn as a college grad I happily share with you, in the hope that they will make your life a lot easier and your path a bit brighter. Here they are:
1. Though they can be quite the tedious task – tailored resumes are your friend!
Take the time to craft a winning resume. Frequent websites that give specific advice on how to tailor your resume according to the field or occupation you are pursuing. Never take on the “one-and-done” mentality when it comes to resumes. Do the work and you’ll get the job.
2. Clean up your social networks
Nowadays it’s rare to find an adult who does not have at least one social networking account. It’s the age we live in, where to connect – whether professionally or personally – you almost always must be connected online. The tricky piece to that idea is that sometimes we do a poor job of separating what is personal and what is professional. If you have to second-guess it, then it probably should not be posted to your page. As a former graduate program coordinator, I can’t tell you how many times I had to deal with students missing out on opportunities because of that drunken Facebook photo or their history of “Twitter beef” replete with vulgar language and racial slurs. So that twerk video? Rethink it. That rant about your trifling boyfriend? Don’t type it. Those keg party, spring break photos? Yeah, don’t post them. Be mindful of how you present yourself on the Internet because once it goes out into cyberspace, it is out there forever.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This was a lesson I did not learn until I had almost completed my master’s program. I was fearful that asking for help meant I was incompetent and unworthy of my job title. What I found was that by NOT asking for help, I spent unnecessarily long hours working, lost a dramatic amount of weight due to barely having time to eat, and being unable to relax and enjoy life. Though I loved my job, I was ALWAYS stressed to the point of physical illness. Learn from my mistake and begin to identify the trustworthy, punctual, and dedicated people in your life/work environment. These will be the helpers you can call on to lighten your load and give a healthy balance of perspective to your work.
Tags:2013 college graduate, being confident in your abilities, being proud of your education, black women with college degrees, career search, cleaning up social network accounts, college degree, Facebook profiles, heritage of Black women, job applications, legacy of Black women, making new friends, networking, NSFW, tailoring your resume, turn your hobby into cash flow, work while you wait
Well it seems that if you are poor and black, your cousin CiCi and uncle Tookie might not be doing you any favors in helping you with your professional aspirations.
That’s according to Nancy Ditomaso, who writes for the New York Times that black unemployment, which is holding steady at over 13 percent, may have more to do with favoritism than actual racial discrimination. She writes:
“Favoritism is almost universal in today’s job market. In interviews with hundreds of people on this topic, I found that all but a handful used the help of family and friends to find 70 percent of the jobs they held over their lifetimes; they all used personal networks and insider information if it was available to them.
In this context of widespread networking, the idea that there is a job “market” based solely on skills, qualifications and merit is false. Whenever possible, Americans seeking jobs try to avoid market competition: they look for unequal rather than equal opportunity. In fact, the last thing job seekers want to face is equal opportunity; they want an advantage. They want to find ways to cut in line and get ahead.”
Ditomaso, then goes on to say that:
“The interviewees in my study who were most angry about affirmative action were those who had relatively fewer marketable skills — and were therefore most dependent on getting an inside edge for the best jobs. Whites who felt entitled to these positions believed that affirmative action was unfair because it blocked their own privileged access.”
And this is exactly why affirmative action is still necessary.
This is also the reason why networking is also important too. As Ditomaso points out in the piece when you are poor and black, you tend to only network with other poor and black folks, which means that the odds that your network would be able to connect you to the right opportunities, particularly ones that will enable you not to be poor anymore, are relatively slim. To Ditomaso’s point, connections are how most folks nowadays get jobs. That’s because the vast majority of job openings are not advertised – or at least not the good ones. And the only way to tap into the underground job market is if you, for the lack of a better term, have a hook-up.
For instance, the last job I held came about from responding to an advert for another position within the same company. When the interviewer called me, it was actually someone, who I had previously collaborated in a professional manner. Not only did she know me but was already familiar with my work and instead of the one position, which didn’t fit my qualifications exactly, she hipped me to another, more appropriate position, which hadn’t even been posted yet. Thinking back throughout my life, there are no shortage of opportunities, which I received from the assistance of my social network.
Even if you are not into those prefabricated and stuffy wine and cheese networking events, which I am certainly not into, folks should still be out there, meeting people. The last few opportunities I have received usually came by way of meeting people at events outside of the whole professional-building capacity. Like at art gallery exhibition openings; or book and panel discussions; or through volunteer opportunities. The point is that even if you were not born into more affluent social networks, you can obtain them by adopting a lifestyle in which you are open to new and diverse experiences. And I’m not talking interracial but also intra-racial as well.
I can say from personal experience that networking in circles outside of the ones in which I was raised has helped me tremendously when I was first started out in my professional career. It was my secondary network, which I begun to develop at Virginia Union University (an HBCU), which hipped me to the professional career fairs and opportunities. And it was the secondary network of black professionals, many alum and other VUU-connected folks, who just wanted to help me, which lead to my first official job interview post-graduation. Without the network outside of my family and friends, I doubt highly that those professional doors would have been open to me. Although I love my family to death, they just don’t have that sort of social capital.
With that said, it was my great-grandmother, who never finished high school, that gave me money towards outfits to wear for my job interviews. And it was my grandmother, a woman who worked in a candy factor for most of her career, that lent me her old beat-up Ford Focus to get myself around to these interviews. And it was my homie, a maintenance employee at one of the major hotel chains, who got me the friends and family “discount” on a room for those interviews that were far away from home. Even without having the appropriate connections to get me in the door, my network of family and friends were going to use whatever resources they had to ensure that I was well equipped when I walked through that door.