December 2, 2007

College Kids Party; I Network

Posted in Amanda, College, Job Hunt, Networking, Students, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:54 pm by Amanda Gravel

It’s no secret that college students party.

That said, I don’t think enough students, especially students who want to go into the communications business, understand that partying can be useful for boosting their personal brand. In my previous post, you’ll notice that the professionals who left comments stressed the importance of building a network early in your career path. My advice to my fellow college students: if you know you like to party, USE it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much prefer to go out to a bar with a group of like-minded, passionate, exciting people from whom I can learn than to a frat party where underaged drunk people are wandering around aimlessly, spilling beer on the floor. I’m not saying that college students shouldn’t go to big crazy parties and trendy clubs with their peers. (IMHO, you absolutely should have those experiences.) However, it is extremely beneficial and FUN to step outside of the college-kid stereotype and “party” with people who can teach you new things and advise you in your career/life path. When I’m at parties with professional people I admire, I may be having a few drinks, and I not be acting the way I would in an interview, but I am building one hell of a strong network.

2076857379_aa701d08e5.jpgWhen you’re at a bar or a party, you tend to let loose a little and show your true colors, right? Well, I think that’s what’s going to get you places. Show off who you actually are to people who can help you in your career. Be social, be authentic, be fun. People will notice that you’re not just the average college student, and that really pays off when you’re searching for a first job or your next competitive internship. In this business, it’s so much better to be a real person who’s out there having fun than a random interviewee smiling and holding a resume.

And here’s some extra proof. My e-friend Justin Kownacki told me that when he’s interviewing potential hires, he WANTS to find some party pics of them on Facebook and Flickr. When people invite you to events and pose for pictures with you, it means they probably know your name and they may even like you. You’re a smart, savvy student. You have interesting things to say, a ton to contribute, and, oh yeah, you like to go out on the weekends.

If you’re going to party anyway (and let’s face it–you are), why not do it with smart, connected industry pros? In my book, networking is the new night on the town.

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22 Comments »

  1. David Fisher said,

    I can’t state enough to friends that are looking for jobs that they simply need to get out and network! Every other person I know is hiring, and none of them are posting the jobs to Monster/Craigslist. What’s odd is that most of these people are against going out and networking and say, “It’s really not my thing.” However, they constantly go to what I view as more ‘party bars’ that provide little to no networking opportunities.

    So yes, go out and paint the town red. Don’t get too messed up out there, but do have fun!

  2. I usually don’t use the word network. Probably because lots of people think of the “smarmy” version of the word when they hear it. Instead, I connect with people. I meet folks, hear about their passions, see how they move in person, and watch how they interact with lots of disparate types in a room. Sure, shy people are at a disadvantage in 3d, but beyond that, it’s a good way to start to understand humans.

    Super interesting point of view, Future.

  3. Joe Cascio said,

    Well said as usual, Amanda. And I love that picture. It’s so you.

  4. Purposeful partying? Now that sounds like a winning combination.

  5. Anna Glattstein said,

    Love it! So true. You are very inspiring. The only thing is…who are the right people to go out with when you are a student and don’t know many professionals?

  6. amandamooney said,

    Amanda, I completely agree (maybe this is why you linked to me as “like-minded”:)) I am with Chris B. that the word “network” is quite a loaded term these days.

    There are two kinds of networkers. The first are the card sharks who spend their time at these events collecting business cards, putting the contacts into LinkedIn and following up only when they’d like to cash-in their connection with you; They’re building transaction-based relationships.

    Then, there are people like you who genuinely go out to these events because you love meeting everyone and actually getting to know them. These people establish connections that mirror the kinds of relationships they build with great friends (mutually beneficially, trusting, respectful, passionate, engaged even when its not necessary to advance one’s self or career); these are the people that truly get what “networking” is all about.

    Thanks for a great post Amanda.

  7. AG said,

    I understand the term “networking” can sometimes be off-putting, but Amanda Mooney has definitely captured what I mean by it in the second of her two definitions. College students need to understand that no one is going to “just give them a job” for showing up to an interview or sending a resume. And building a great network and a great career isn’t really even about how many job offers you get. It is so important to me that I surround myself with people who are passionate and driven–just participating in the conversations we have and interacting on a true friend-to-friend, thinker-to-thinker level is bettering my fledgling career.

    This business is about people. (Or at least it’s supposed to be…) I know the word “networking” isn’t the greatest, but it’s something that college kids generally understand and I appreciate the comments here that have elaborated on the concept.

  8. Anna:

    Professionals host networking events all the time. If you’re involved in the social media/new media space, there are hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of professionals very interested in talking to you, because the space is still developing, and anyone with an interest in the space will talk to those already in it.

    Heck, I’m a professional, and I’m talking to you via this blog right now.

  9. Amanda said,

    Anna, check out Yahoo! Upcoming and Facebook events (and other event sites if you’re so inclined) to see if there are any parties or conferences that interest you. There are tons of things happening all the time where there are tons of people who would love to talk to you about advertising, PR, social media–you name it. Don’t be shy–on the whole, people are extremely welcoming if you put yourself out there.

  10. Like a Podcamp near you. Anna – where are you based?

  11. Scott Monty said,

    Reminds me of when David Letterman hosted an episode of “The Late Show” at Boston University. He wanted to pick a freshman to follow around and give a makeover to, so he pulled out the freshman facebook (back when we had hard copies of the now ubiquitous term). The target’s interests were “Business, People.”

    Dave’s retort was, “Well, you kind of have to like people to go into business.”

    Before the advent of Web-based social networks, keeping a real social network current and thriving was difficult work. And I think a lot of college students got the notion that “networking” was a negative term – mostly because it was associated with the card-passing and smarmy tactics mentioned above. But I’ve always treated events or meetings with individuals as I’d treat any relationship – you have to give as well as take.

    Whether I’m meeting someone one-on-one or if I’m part of a social gathering, I try to focus solely on them – what they do, what makes them tick, what they’re passionate about – which always brings out the best in people. If I’m looking for connections from them, I try to get at least 3; if I’m asked for connections, I try to do the same. And above all, if I’m on the receiving end of good advice or connections, I always end by asking, “So how can I help you today?’

  12. Joe Cascio said,

    At this point in time, and who knows how long it will last, “unmeetings” between on-line social media friends are a great place to meet like-minded individuals and non-PR/Mktg people like myself (a technoid). Unmeetings, where there is no agenda, no plan, are where you can go to be YOU, not an anonymous rep for your company. Certainly, you may let people know that’s what you do, and you may strike up a convo with someone from the same biz that you happen to talk to, but you’re just as likely to be talking baseball, kids, commuting, and who that hottie is that just came in. Put the Social in Social Media. Organize some meetups yourself. I’ve done a couple lately and they’ve been really rewarding.

  13. Amanda said,

    Take it from me: Joe organizes a slick (un)meetup.

  14. You personal life is your personal life. If you make that personal life public, companies can and will use that to evaluate you, and possibly hold it against you.

    By doing so, they force you to ask yourself: Is this a company I want to work for in the first place?

    Never forget that you have the power to accept job offers or reject them, much the same way companies have the option to hire or fire you. The employment card works both ways. Don’t see yourself as a commodity at the mercy of the market, but as 1/2 of an equal partnership between employee and employer (or potentials thereof).

  15. […] me — you never know when you are going to meet your next boss. Amanda’s recent post College Kids Party; I Network reminded me of this. I don’t mean this in the swarmy way like Chris Brogan mentioned in his […]

  16. I do not like the tech gatherings where people introduce themselves as their job. Amanda Mooney calls them “card sharks” above.

    Let me get to know YOU.

    As for meeting people, my mother says, “If you don’t go out, nothing happens.”

    So check out upcoming and go out…

  17. Bob Calise said,

    I like where your head is at, Amanda.

    At the 2006 Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Conference in Chicago, a small group of us adopted “CEO: We’re not partying, we’re networking.” as our unofficial slogan, because it truly was what we were doing.

    At the 2007 conference, the theme was even more applicable. I can’t even count the number of valuable connections that were made with people during the daytime sessions and solidified over a drink in the evening. In fact, I think it delves beyond simple business connections — some of these people will, ultimately, become close lifelong friends for one another.

    And, in my opinion, those are the connections you really want to make. Collecting a hundred business cards at a “networking” event is fine and dandy, but there’s no way someone could ever effectively follow up with all of those people. At the end of the day, getting a business card is simply acquiring another piece of paper. A new friend, a lasting connection — that’s where it’s at.

  18. Anna Glattstein said,

    Chris:

    Thanks for the great advice. That is definitely true and I should probably get more involved in social media. I am based in Boston but I am moving to Rhode Island in January.

  19. Anna Glattstein said,

    Chris and Amanda:

    Thanks for the great advice. That is definitely true and I should probably get more involved in social media. I am based in Boston but I am moving to Rhode Island in January.

  20. I think it all boils down to self-awareness. Some people don’t even realize that the line between business and person has blurred. I agree with what you’re saying – as Oscar Wilde once said, “be you because others are already taken.”

    The issue I’ve been having with this is when people who have profiles complain that they never knew a potential employer would look at their Facebook page or do a search engine run on who they are.

    As long as you’re comfortable with what you have out there, then that should be fine. You also have to realize that some employers might have more sensible values – that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work for them if you like to party… it just means that you need to aware that whatever you have on these public (and private) spaces can and will be used against you… good and bad.

  21. Maria said,

    I recently returned to my high school to talk to a senior class about blogging. During the discussion, one of the students brought up the fact of “everything is password protected. only friends on FB can see my profile.” I had to inform the class that that is just not so. A lot of them didn’t seem to believe me at first. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand that once something is posted on the net, behind passwords or not, it is there for eternity. There is no half-life in the virtual world.
    Before someone advised me to, it hadn’t occurred to me to google myself. Not as an act of narcissism but so that I know what information is out there about me. I now look at everything that I post, and that is posted about me through the lens of everyone can see this. Its a paradigm sift if you ask me. The question is, are we ready for it?

  22. Crystal said,

    Keep up the good work.


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