Networking 101 By Kate Stolz

Network

As you move forward in your life and career, the term networking will come up. But guess what…you’ve already done it! Networking is a give-and-take relationship and you already have plenty of these. It doesn’t have to be you sending business cards to Mark Zuckerberg. You can network with people you know, people with whom you feel comfortable.

I can remember my high school days,  sitting in “Careers 1001” with Mr. Anderson and hearing about the importance of networking a million times. It was one of those things he underlined, bolded, and used big gestures to ensure we fully understood.

What I didn’t realize was the real importance of networking.  This over- communicated, over-emphasized concept had real significance. It turns out Mr. Anderson used those hand gestures for a reason. He wanted us to see the value.

My class and I understood that networking was something that a teacher thought was important. In my mind, that was equivalent to a teacher saying, “We are going to do something fun today.” This normally meant a group project where there were assigned partners or maybe something really fun like a public speaking activity. Oh, the fun.

It wasn’t until I saw networking in action that I realized what it can do for me. And the fact of the matter was that networking was easy

You remember when you talked with that one neighbor and somehow got a babysitting job? Or remember when you talked with that one friend about how you didn’t have someone taking you to homecoming and BAM, you had a date? If you have talked with someone, and gained something in return, you have experienced first-hand the value of networking.

Despite my every move to ignore Mr. Anderson’s lesson on networking, I realized that it is a valuable piece of a successful future. Networking happens every day, and it is our job to engage in it, even if it’s just with the people closest to us!

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