Networking: Just Be Yourself

Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on April 30, 2009

With the economy in turmoil, many MBA graduates are finding the job search tough going. To give readers some insight into the strategies they’re pursuing and the difficulties they face, BusinessWeek has recruited four out-of-work MBAs to write about their experiences for a new feature called “The Hunt” that will appear periodically on the Getting In blog. Comments, as always, are welcome.

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By Juan Manuel Meneses Buchanan
Since the first day of business school all people talk about is networking. Networking with your new classmates, taking advantage of the broad alumni chain to network, networking sessions after many of the events and summits held in the school, everyone around you might be someone who can help you out and networking is key.

I do believe networking is crucial, especially for career changers who do not have extensive previous experience to build upon, but I had never before needed or thought of networking in this way. As much as I tried and looked around me thinking what could I be doing to use the opportunities that I had to network, it was not until I started researching companies that I really felt the need for it.

I started researching companies because I wanted to differentiate one from the other. I wanted to identify which one suited me and for which ones I should be making an effort to get a job. I wanted to figure out where I’d enjoy working. Naturally, part of the process for deciding where you should work is talking to people. Current employees, ex-employees, anyone who could tell me a bit about how it really was to work for that specific company was a valuable resource to me. Before I knew it, I was networking without even realizing it.

Networking when you know what you want out of it is a totally different story. I felt much more authentic and honest with the people I was talking to. Guess what? They could feel it too.

I cannot recall anything unique or creative that I have done to stand out when looking for a job. But whenever I felt prepared and was truly interested in a position, the conversation didn’t seem like an obligation but rather an interesting chat. Networking didn’t seem like networking, just getting to know someone. And I was natural as can be.

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