by matt jared
So it’s not lost on you that I’ve moved to Texas without a job and I AM job hunting harder than Boba Fett was (human?) hunting for Han Solo. With the job search in full force comes a lot of uncomfortable emailing of strangers, meeting people in weird places and going to “networking events” that are pretty intense if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Since moving to Texas I’ve had to step FAR out of my comfort zone when it comes to networking and I’ve learned a few things from that experience. So I’m fully disclosing today that I am a networking hoss and I’m going to impart my knowledge on you fine bro journeyers. So buckle up your faces, people, it’s Full Disclosure Friday the 13 and I’m gonna learn you up on networking…
1.) Set your goals
Now for Max and I, our goal is to sell The Bro Journey for at least $8 Billion, become weekly contributors at Grantland, hang out with Nick Collison and have a multi platinum selling Folk-Pop-Dance album. And that’s just in 2012. My personal goal is to get a job and for my current search I knew that I wanted to be in tech in some fashion and Austin is a great location for job searching because it’s a huge tech hub. My main goal is to get a job in tech so I can learn a ton (and Max and I can sell out blog to Mark Zuckerberg in exchange for an aircraft carrier). Make sense now?
Your main goal might be to find a cat sitter, or a Segway polo team or to find someone who can hip hop tap dance with you on 6th street. I don’t know (or care, frankly) what you have in your sick little minds, but if you want to be a HOSS at networking you need to set some goals. It’s hard to be a rudderless ship, but having a sail is important too. (I’m far too lazy to look up a quote and be journalistic so I’ll just say some jiberish.)
2.) Lean on your friends
I’m fortunate enough to have a co-founder and roommate who has my back and will grow a mustache with me every year for the rest of eternity (or until we get girlfriends). What I’m trying to say here is that my broseph Max has set me up with a TON of people who have in turn introduced me to even more people and so on. Your networking should start with the folks you call your friends.
Reach out to your pals you went to school with, the lady upstairs who throws lettuce off her balcony every Saturday or the guy who waxed your entire body before spring break last year. It will surprise you who and what your friends know and how they can hook you up with great folks. Since you’re reading a site called The Bro Journey for advice I’m going to assume that you don’t have any friends at which point I encourage you to come hang out with Max and I at Barbarella tomorrow night and befriend us.
3.) Have a beer or coffee.
Alright now that you’ve entered the petrifying world of networking, I want to remind you that every single person you’re going to be meet in life (not just in networking) likes one of three things…
– For you to leave them alone
If anyone you contact falls under the third realm quietly keep their info stashed away for a later date and not-so-quietly tell everyone you know on Friendster that they are a talentless asshat and you hate them.
If they fall under those first two categories then you have entered the Dagobah and it’s time to learn the ways of the Networking Jedi. When you reach out to whomever you’re trying to connect with, simply ask for them to meet you for a beer or coffee. Most of the time, people will oblige and will happily meet you to discuss whatever it is you want to discuss.
Now there is a common misconception that networking is all about getting something from someone you know through a friend, and that’s totally wrong. Networking is DEMANDING something from someone you know through a friend. Just kidding. That’s not how it works… The true art of networking is to try and simply meet someone you’re interested in connecting with and helping them with anything and making a connection with them. That connection might hook you up with your next job or they might ask you to wax their back. At which point you should give up on any goals you had and go find a Shaman to find your next opportunity for you via a hallucinogen. Or look at THIS and think about what you’ve done.
4.) Go to events
Now I’ve spent the majority of my life not knowing what I’m doing so I consider myself an expert in blending in. Networking events are some of the most awkward and scary events and I frankly get terrified at the thought despite my chameleon-like ability to blend in and look like I know what I’m doing. Although events are awkward and scary at times I think they are some of the most important things you can attend when you’re looking to learn and meet some people who will help you reach your goals. A few tips for those of you heading to networking events whether they are a Ruby on Rails convention, a Bird Watchers Baccarat or even a MacGyver Fan Club event, everyone who is there was once scared and nervous and never went to an event before. It sounds super-duper cliche, but everybody starts somewhere and if you build enough courage to dive in and start meeting people you will make some great connections. I promise.
4.5) Just so you know, there is usually beer at networking events and a lot of events are held at bars. Remember to never show everyone how good you are at bonging goldschlager right away. Wait until at least 15 minutes into the event before you start dancing on the bar. Or just have a few beers and socialize like a normal person. I know I’m being unreasonable, but you need to keep people guessing.
5.) Have fun
A part of my thought process when I left Cincinnati was that I wasn’t living life on my terms. I was kind of floating along letting my personality get covered up by my job or whatever else. Since I’ve moved to Austin I’ve let my personality shine and I realized that I’m not as weird as 95% of the people in this town. At this point, you should either be weaping or thinking about that scene in Wedding Crashers when Vince Vaughn goes, “Grab that net and catch that beautiful butterfly!”
What I’m trying to say is, regardless of who you are and where you’re going, it’s important to have fun because 99% of the people you want to meet are who you want to associate yourself with are just as scared and nervous as you and having a little fun is a great way to make it all a little bit easier. If you live in Austin and want to network with The Bro Journey give us a holler and we would be happy to oblige.
To wrap things up here as I proofread this post I’m pretty sure I didn’t disclose anything important and I just rambled, per usual. So to give you jackals what you want here is a quick disclosure that will get you thinking… I went to skateboarding AND BMX camp in the 7th and 8th grade, respectively.