“It’s not always what you know but who you know.”
I’ve heard that over and over again but I never really understood why it is so important. Alan J. McMillan, the PSAB Chair of The Sales Centre and employee of EMC, came to Ohio University and gave a presentation titled “Transitions” to The Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre last Monday. He stressed the idea that any student looking for a job or even an employee maybe looking to switch careers, needs to have a comprehensive network. Don’t know who could be in your network? Well don’t worry, he suggested many influential players that can help further your career portfolio.
1. Professors: They witness your work ethic on a daily basis.
2. Alumni: They have been in the same position you are in and they could refer you to people in their network for your job search.
3. Peers: Make a LinkedIN account and you and your peers can be references for each other.
4. Parents: They have been your cheerleaders your entire life; bank on them for a positive recommendation.
5. Friend’s Parents: They have seen you in a relaxed setting and they have seen your selling skills, like when you tried to get them to let their kid have a sleepover when you were younger.
6. Employers: They see your work ethic and your motivation; they see how much you care about being in the work place.
7. Acquaintances: They could be regular customers at a place you are employed or even neighbors who have seen you grow up.
8. PSAB members: They are not only professionals but they are people who have experience in the sales field who want to see the members of The Sales Centre succeed.
9. Recruiters: They are head hunters, they know where the jobs are and if you keep in touch, they can let you know where to look.
Identifying your potential network is important but be picky when you decide
who to speak to. I wouldn’t exactly suggest putting a professor in your network if you goofed off in their class and didn’t perform well. It is also important to stay organized; it wouldn’t be helpful if you had all of these people and it took you hours to find their information. I recommend utilizing Microsoft Excel when first manifesting your network.
Who do you know, and how can you use these people to your advantage?