job searching

The Importance of Networking.

I just want to take this moment to apologize for my brief absence. As you may have read in my earlier post, I was in the process of moving. Well, fortunately, I am all finished and moved in. Hello, Century City, I hope you bitches are ready for me. Not really, I’m a mere speck in this giant city. On a good note, I found a hidden gem down the street from my new apartment and that gem is a 24-hour Pho Restaurant. Can I get a ‘HALLELUJAH’?! I can already see it. It’s 3am in the morning. I’m drunk. I’m starving. Pho to the rescue. Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. A few of you all too well. It really is amazing what this city has to offer. I’ve been here all my life and I learn something new almost everyday. I really mean it when I say I Love LA. Anyway, I digress.

I guess for this post, I really wanted to focus on implementing and understanding the importance of networking. There’s two spectrums to this: one being you’re completely satisfied with where you are professionally and the other being you fucking hate your job and need out. Networking is a key ingredient in exposing yourself whether or not you are on the search for a new job. I mean, do I really need to explain in detail? The more people you meet, the more outreach you get. You have to think about the ROI of it all. I know, this must all sound like gibberish to you right now but it truly is a simple concept. The more you allow yourself to ‘network’, the better chances of having a positive return in investment, or in this case, a better opportunity. If you happen to be happy with where you are on a professional level, then BOOM, a better chance of landing a new client. I can’t stress how important it is to be able to hold yourself gracefully in public. Yes, I curse. I burp. Sometimes I even chew with my mouth open. But you sure as hell won’t catch me doing any of those things when I’m in a professional environment. You can’t expect things to just happen or the perfect job to just come along and tap you on the ass. You have to try before shit like that ever happens.

Recently, I’ve taken it upon myself to one up my LinkedIn profile and I honestly would have never imagined the positive outcome it’s given me. I’ve been searching for a new firm and cannot even begin to fathom the great feedback I’ve been receiving. It isn’t a lot but it’s something. You have to start somewhere, right? Not only is it a great way to keep in touch with colleagues but it’s also a great way to get a company you’re interested in to notice you. It allows you to really show off what you’ve achieved and what you know. This is where showing off is encouraged. Were you on the honor society? Put that shit on there. Did you volunteer at the animal shelter? Put that shit on there. Were you an eagle scout? Put that shit on there. Did you graduate summa cum laude? Put. That. Shit. On. There. So, my point is: Update your LinkedIn, it’ll do a world of difference in your professional life. A lot of companies now have so many resources that you can’t possibly hide everything. Be aware of what you put out in the public eye. In my opinion, your LinkedIn profile should be one of the top three sites that pop-up when you type your name into a search engine aside from your Google+ and Facebook (Questionable but fuck it, who doesn’t have a FB nowadays? Remember, privacy setting is your best friend. Learn its ways. Embrace it. Use it.) I highly recommend hiding anything that may present you negatively, unless your blog or social profile is what may score you that media job. I get it, different fields, different requirements. Just be smart about it. Delete or change the privacy of that video on youtube of you farting into a lighter. I don’t care what justifications you have, they will not hire you because you can breathe fire out of your ass. Ask yourself this: Would you hire you? If you were a recruiting agent for a Fortune 500 company and you stumbled upon your profile, would you reach out? If not, then you, my friend, have some work to do.

Another great way to network is to attend any publicity event you can get into. No, I don’t mean go hit up that hot new club. What I mean is, put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people whenever you can. I shouldn’t have to go into detail about this- you should know what I mean if you have any ounce of care about your professional career. If one of your buddies invites you to that ‘work event‘, GO! I’m always carrying around business cards with me wherever I go and it’s done me very well these past couple of years. I believe that the first 15 seconds in any first encounter, whether online or in person, is the most vital time for any professional to market and sell themselves. You want to leave a positive lasting impression on this individual. Don’t ramble on with some sale pitch. Get to know this person. Find a way to connect with them on a more personal level and I promise they will instantly feel comfortable with you. The moment you break that barrier between creepy new acquaintance and someone their actually comfortable with, it’s smooth sailings from then on out. Whatever you do, do not force the situation– there is a time and place for everything. Choose those times and places wisely. You don’t want to go on and on about how awesome you are to someone and ultimately leave them with a nasty taste in their mouths about you. That, is not networking. That, buddy, is being a prick. You want to avoid that. By the way, word travels fast, very fast. You’d be surprised at just how much gossip goes on behind closed doors. People be bitches, yo. Speak intelligently and respectfully.

Also, I’ve learned that if you’re in the beginning stages of job searching, interview as much as you can. Break in your interview nerves and prepare yourself because if you happen to be anything like me, you’ll botch your first few interviews. Oh, the horror stories! Sweaty palms. Nervous tick. Bouncing leg. One time, I accidentally flirted with the CEO of a large firm and his wife was in the office. I had no clue what was coming out of my mouth. I think I might have blacked out or something. I didn’t get the job.

Btw, just a rule of thumb: Do not drink caffeine before an interview. You should always have a cup of coffee a few hours prior to any important meeting or interview. You don’t want to be all hyped up and jittery the entire time, especially if in front of someone you’re trying to impress.

Remember that everything I’ve said isn’t a solution to all your problems. It’s simply steps you can take that may just help you towards scoring that dream job. But I’m not making any promises here. If you’ve been doing all of this and more, just keep in mind this: One day, the opportunity will present itself- it’s up to you to recognize it and go for it. Be able to recognize potential in all situations and don’t be afraid to jump on that shit like a lioness preying on a gazelle.

I hope this shed some light on a few of you readers. If you happen to have a question about interviewing or anything related to job searching, go ahead and email them to me. I welcome all questions and feedback.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Blair Bee