I’m constantly reminded about the importance of networking. Constantly. I learned my first lesson of not burning bridges when I interviewed for my first professional job. A girl I went to college with my freshman year, and lived on the same floor of our dorm, interviewed me. I instantly panicked. How did I treat her five years prior? What did I say to her? Was I ever rude, mean, etc.? Here was this girl, my age, in control of my future. And it was here that I really learned to treat everyone with respect, and be careful what I say – no matter what. No. Matter. What.
I was again faced with the importance of bridges when my current job came available. If you read this blog, you know my former editor was promoted and he reached out to me regarding the editor position. I was extremely interested in the position. The whole situation proved to me that I did a good job of building bridges and maintaining them at this company. I saw it when my old boss contacted me. I saw it in the interview when I met with the president of the company. I saw it the first day of work when people called me to say how happy they were that I was back. The goal of this post is not to toot my own horn, but rather showcase how important it is to build bridges. Build them!
We all get frustrated with people we work with. I am no exception to this. But I always maintain a professional manner when dealing with my frustrations. And because of how I’ve handled myself, I have a great network of people I can rely on. That sure is a great feeling.
On top of regular networking at a job, it’s important to maintain connections with anyone you meet. My professors in journalism grad school always said to connect with every person you come into contact with. The reason is that you never know when someone will be a source for a story. The same applies to networking.
Last year, after moving back to Madison, I interviewed for a marketing position with Valicom. Though it wasn’t a good fit – me for the position or the position for me – I had a great conversation with the COO during my interview. We picked each others’ brains, discussed ideas, etc. I truly enjoyed the conversation. And I appreciated the fact that the COO sent me an email telling me that I didn’t get the job, but that he enjoyed the conversation and wished me well.
Now a year later, I’ve gone back to this COO. He is going to speak to my students about networking on LinkedIn. I utilized my network to help my current position as teacher. And since we’ve reconnected, he asked me for assistance with getting in touch with the appropriate people at MATC about his teaching opportunities.
So, it is daily that I see how important it is to grow and maintain a network. You really never know what lies ahead.