“We are the sum total of the five people we hang around with the most” – Daniel Ally
Networking has landed me every single job I have had since I was sixteen. When I was a freshman in college, I worked as a Management Intern at a million-dollar bar in Downtown Chicago’s Union Station. I remember my boss telling me he had a guy for everything, even down to the napkins we ordered. That is when my eyes opened up to the importance of networking. I used to hear the good ‘ole saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” At eighteen years old, I finally knew what that meant. Since that bar experience downtown, I have held on to every single business card that has crossed my path for the last three years. Each one of them is a connection I have, to help me out in some form, whether for napkins and supplies for a restaurant opening, or the future buyer of an invention I may develop one day. Since I learned the importance of networking, I have met the president of a medical device factory, the vice president of sales for Madacta, a medical device company, and my most important connection has been with Brandon T Adams, a product innovator and serial entrepreneur, who does it all. These connections have impacted my life greatly and as a result, I have started this blog, started creating sales courses, and working toward my dreams.
College students are taught two things after graduation: get a job and pay back loans. College students should instead be taught that in order to find that job, you should be attending networking events where you can meet heads of companies and make meaningful relationships. We are not taught that almost all job opportunities and promotions are done by networking with people you know. The one thing a fresh out of college employee usually does not offer a company are connections, which is why you need to network. Everyone should start to really think about who they have in their network and ask how you can help each other in the future. Our network is the most powerful thing we have. It can help us rise to the top or shatter us like glass. Networking is a necessity in life. Next time you debate going to that event on a Friday night or going out drinking, remember that event might lead to your next job or your next sale. I will leave with these two messages: 1) Your network is your net worth and 2) It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.