This is a guest post by Christopher Dela Cruz for Contributor Platform.
So you want to make it in the industry. First step is to NETWORK. I cannot stress how important it is to network. In your daily life, at your job, school, and even when you are traveling it is the one thing that will differentiate yourself from the rest. The one thing where, even if you do not have the experience to back you up, it’s important to put yourself out there and let everyone know about the new dog in town.
The first thing to do is a must, which is to create your business cards. From logo and design to colors, this is the mini profile of yourself that you can give to anyone. It’s the first and only impression you get to have after you walk away to stand out and make a statement. You want someone to look at your business card and quickly remember who you are. You want to have your business card stand out amongst the numerous business cards that they receive in their daily life.
Now it is time to start NETWORKING. However, some may not know where to start. Start with your friends and family. Although that may seem silly, these are the people who will be your constant supporters. I learned quickly that having multiple groups of friends has the potential to lead to something much greater. You never know who you will meet and where they will take you.
After landing your first internship start to network with your fellow peers. I learned at my internship at E! Entertainment to take advantage of the opportunity and get to know the people around you. That was the best advice my mentors at E! Entertainment told me and ever since it is the way I approach each job opportunity. I quickly introduce myself to the office and after settling in at my internship I send out emails to those in my career field and set up quick meetings with them when they are available for a one-on-one. This allows you to make yourself known throughout the office and learn other peoples’ journey to success.
Some of these people can become mentors for you and from there they will bring you into their inner circle and start introducing you to their established network. Always ask for business cards and always keep in touch with them. The best thing to do as you build your network is to create an excel sheet of your contacts and always keep up to date and make sure it is updated all the time. This allows you to keep in touch with everyone even if it is just for a hello or even a meet up for coffee. The worst thing to do is go “M.I.A.”
This is where you go from intern to a hired assistant. There is a fine line between having a business professional friend and crossing over to personal friend. Always establish a business relationship before crossing over into a friend relationship and never lose touch.
Networking is crucial when making a name for yourself and getting established in your specified field. Always remember no matter how old you are or how established you are, you can always make new connections and build your network. One specific quote I live by is, “You never know you are going to meet and how they will affect your life.” It does not matter who you are talking to or where you are at, just always be prepared to NETWORK.