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Networking Is Not a Dirty Word (Part I)

June 21, 2010

I’ve talked with any number of students who think that “networking” is a dirty word: that it suggests that  who you know is more important than what you can do.  They think that being “connected” smacks of privilege and is somehow inherently manipulative.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever looked for an apartment or a roommate?  A great place to eat?  Did personal recommendations play a role? (I’m guessing yes.) Have you ever done a friend a favor, or given someone advice? Did you feel used or manipulated as  a result? (I’m hoping no.)

Bottom line: a network is nothing but a web of relationships built up over time with people who have positive regard for you and the work that you do, and who may ask for and offer advice, opportunities, and recommendations.

Your talent and ability matter a great deal, but if you do amazing work in the forest, and no one hears about it, did it make an impact? You should have and continuously build a network of people who know what you’re capable of, and what your goals are, people for whom you occasionally do nice things, and who may be inclined to do nice things for you.

Convinced? Still on the fence? Either way, learn how to build and navigate your network, without sacrificing your soul, in Part II!

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