Three weeks from today, my college career will be complete. I will have fulfilled the requirements of a rigorous 120-credit design program, met tons of amazing people, and built lasting relationships with my colleagues. This will mark a major milestone, and I will be headed towards greater things.
A strong network is important because you will take it with you wherever your career takes you. The amount of opportunities you are presented often depends on who you know. Your former professor may recommend you for a job, or a former classmate may need your expertise in some project. In contrast, if you ever need a hand somewhere down the line, who do you ask?
Say a former colleague of yours becomes an Art Director and is building a team of professionals, who will he go to? Most likely the people he knows and trusts, which could be you. I have been referred to clients by my friends and colleagues simply because they knew I did design work. People often make recommendations based on good experiences. The more people you meet and impress, the more likely you are to be recommended. More after the jump...
Key factors of building a strong network:
- Always be willing to meet new people, especially within your field of work.
- Try to be remembered for reliability by performing well with others.
- Meet people hoping they may help you, and so you may help them, too.
- Don't break connections with people because of irrational feelings.
- Always carry business cards. Read: Why Business Cards Don't Suck.
I hope this post has provided some insight about the importance of networking. I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please feel free to comment.