Creating your professional network starts in college. More often than not, people are hired through their contacts. Emily Miethner, founder of FindSpark, a company that inspires and helps young creatives find their dream job, has learned a plethora of networking skills that can be invaluable in a creative career. After she graciously spoke with my Design class, I was inspired and anxious to amp up my networking skills. Here are the top ten tips I learned from Emily this weekend to help you excel in your creative career:
1. Be specific in what you want in your career and know exactly which companies you would like to work for. This could help when making connections.
2. Use social media to your advantage. Having a great social media presence can enhance your network online and in person.
3. Be open minded. Don’t be afraid to be undecided as long as you are taking every new opportunity that comes your way.
4. Have a side hustle. You may love your job/internship, but it’s always good to work on something outside of work that you are passionate about. It could turn into your next career.
5. Say thank you. This helps maintain connections online and offline which could lead to a new opportunity.
6. Listen. While you need to know how to talk yourself up, often, people with think your an even better conversationalist because you are listening to what they have to say.
7. Always be looking for new ideas. In the (paraphrased) words of Emily, “some of the greatest ideas come from people who experienced a lack of something and then created from that.”
8. Fake it. Never point out your inexperience. Go with it and learn as you go.
9. Learn on your own. Gain that experience by taking initiative to evolve yourself outside of school.
10. Stand out. But not by being rude, lazy, and obnoxious. It is easier to make a good impression by being nice, cooperative, and hardworking- people will notice.