Networking: The power of putting yourself out there

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Often you hear people saying,  "it is not what you know, it is who you know."  While I am still of the opinion that having knowlege and getting a quality education can open so many doors, I witnessed first hand this summer that having a broad network of people never hurts.

As a high school student I would spend some of my time helping the mayor and his staff with various little tasks. We all became good friends, and I made it a point to reach out to them a few times each year as a college student. Not only did I really enjoy catching up with them, but I knew that they had connections with a lot of influential people in the area, and could be helpful in my search for a job or internship later down the road. Sure enough, this summer I recieved a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. When I answered the women on the line said that she was the Execuative Director of a non- profit organizaton call the Tri- County Economic Development Alliance (TCEDA), and she was looking for an intern. Immediately I became excited about this new possiblity but was confused as to how she found me. After we spoke for a while, and set up a time for her to formally interview me I asked how she had gotten my contact information. She then began to explain that she had been asking around for possible interns and that Mike Dittmar, the mayor I previously worked for, had put in a good word for me and suggested that she contact me.

The interview went well and I am still putting in 6 hours of work each week for TCEDA. So, I guess the moral of my story is that building realationships with the people around you can do nothing but help in the future. You never know when a past aquantaince will turn out to be the one who helps you land the big job! So put yourself out there, get to know new people and take the time to connect with those people, it could turn out to be time well spent!