Words of Wisdom... on networking

A while back, I blogged about some advice I had for college kids, and today, I ran across a discussion on LinkedIn from recent Mizzou grad Chris Schmidt. Chris asked, "Besides networking, what are some suggestions you would have for a recent grad trying to find a position in the marketing/advertising industry?"

This bit of advice came from Paul Peterson, marketing manager at Nevco and owner of Big Screen Games, and I literally agree with every word he said.
1) Volunteer. Find a non-profit organization or cause that you're passionate about and volunteer your services. (If you can volunteer marketing/advertising services, so much the better, but any kind of volunteering will do.) It gives you something to do, something to keep your skills sharp, something to put on your resume, and something to talk about when you network.
2) Network in trade associations in your profession. Groups like PRSA, AMA, IABC and others have lunch and learn meetings every month. Go to those. It keeps you up to date on what's happening in your industry. And you never know who you might get to sit next to. (That's how I found my current job - a man I met at an AMA lunch who connected me with someone at my new employer's company.)
3) Network with a servant's heart. When networking, try to treat it as an opportunity to help others, not an opportunity for a job. If your primary intention at a networking event is to find a job (or someone who will give you a job, or someone who can connect you to someone who will give you a job) you will repel people. People think "Oh, he needs a job and I can't help him, so I won't bother talking to him." If you network with a servant's heart and look for people you can help (instead of people who can help you), then you'll be more approachable. Try helping others and Karma will boomerang it back at you.
I know my job search wasn't perfect. I was 'unemployed' for six months. Sure, nowadays, I'm a social butterfly when it comes to tweetups and meetups with local professionals, but I wasn't doing those things before I got my job at Atomicdust. I wish someone had told me this advice.... Better yet, I wish I would have asked.

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