Guest Blog: 'I’m no expert but I do enjoy the odd networking event', By Amir Lodge
Students of Manchester, many of us are hitting the final hurdles, the door to the big wide world as a full price paying adult begins. No more discounts at the clubs, no more interest free student accounts, no more exams and certainly no more being the tosspot towards society.
Some of you are going to be lost and scared and you will cry tears wishing the earth slows and the time creeps back to the simpler days when you could get away from life's problems. Some of you are going to take a year out with whatever cash you have left from your part time job and loan money and you are going to hit the open road and party harder than the nights your Mum and Dad had when they wanted to bring you into the world.
But how do you get your foot in the door when you want to finally get focused and start building a career for yourself?
Now, I've done things a little differently and I started to work on building my career towards the end of my first year at university. After reading that sentence you will probably think I am some swotty nerd with introvert characteristics. Those who have met me will tell you otherwise.
In no particular order here are some very basic notes that I've collected along my way whilst trying to break into the creative industry.
Scout the town
- To find events and gatherings around the city I recommend you check out websites such as Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com. These are the main two that people use when organising an event because they are simple, informative and secure. If you want to get more specific on the type of event your interested in then I suggest a visit to Linkedin.com and look at the groups and communities on there.
Get an Online Portfolio
- I think this is self explanatory but in today's world, nothing fails to amaze .
- You will already know Facebook but to alot of people, social websites such as Linkedin and Twitter are still quite a new platform and many still are yet to grasp them and take advantage of the opportunities that they present. All I can say right now without getting advanced is to embrace it and jump right in and join these sites as they can change your life and create some wonderful friendships.
- Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie. It is a scary thought but if you lack confidence it's certainly nothing to be ashamed about. Take a friend or your partner along for the first couple of times until you feel you can speak to people one on one.
Speak your mind
- Do not hold back any ideas or any input you feel you could add to a conversation and certainly do not hold back on your opinion. If there is one thing I've learnt, it is to respect people’s opinions however you may feel and express yours.
Reconnect the next day
- When you have a connect with someone or a group of people, make sure you get their business card or some form of contact. The next day you should send an e-mail to them or a message through Twitter / Facebook or LinkedIn, thanking them for the talk and beers or whatever you got up to at the event and arrange further meetups.
- Whether you enjoy playing videogames or love the idea of cow tipping like me then let the world know about it. Get a blog showing things that interest you and what you think other people may like and create bonds from shared interests.
Help others when you are able
- In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else's life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that is greater than you‚ something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less. Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
Do not get too drunk
- Now this is location and atmosphere depending. If it's a series of keynotes and there is free beer, I would recommend you drink in moderation because you will definitely be the clown of the room. If it’s just a meet in a club and the music is loud then just do what you do and move them feet to the rhythm and enjoy yourself.
- 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression' It's debatable who it was that said this but regardless, it is so true. Dress appropriately and show your personality through your wardrobe.
- I've never been let down by the creative folks of Manchester when it comes to great stories. Stories are important to life experience and communication in genera, life and business. If you can have lunch with them, then you can do business with them. Interesting people go further than those who only share stories of the time that Sky crashed and they missed the season finale of Eastenders.
- It is a unique approach but it really does help when you stand out from the crowd because you’re the guy who favors Lacoste or you’re the girl who has a funny stance when you smile. Being memorable is an advantage especially when applying for a job among the 100s of others.
. Respect minors. Respect everyone. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
Address people by their name
- People love the sight and sound of their own name. So make sure you learn to remember names. Use them courteously in both verbal and written communication.
A very important piece of advice given to me by a good friend that has never left my mind
'Whatever you do, do not shit on people on your way up, because you never know who you will meet on your way down.'