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Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

 

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Networking!

Under certain circumstances I have decided that networking is actually quite fun. And I don't just mean cocktail parties at firms. Although those are fun. I mean making contacts through friends of friends the old fashioned way. Nothing sleazy, no begging, just networking. I don't quite understand why my friends appear to hate it so much. I'm as nervous as anyone else, probably even moreso, walking into a party where I don't know anyone. I don't know how to strike up a conversation with a handsome stranger at a bar. But this is different. This is business. As soon as I'm out of the social arena, it's easy to sell myself.

For example, last fall I wanted to learn more about a specific area of law and possibly getting a joint degree. Career services was friendly, but not much help. So I started meeting with professors to ask their advice, and I always left with a name or two to call or email. Which I did. And those new contacts would provide other names, who I would contact as well. I set up informational interviews, just like they talk about in the career books! And they were fun, and informational. I looked at the mentor directory on MonsterTrak and contacted several people. Every single one emailed me back, often with lots of information and resources. One person even forwarded my email to the Senate Finance Committee to see if they had any jobs. (I didn't ask for a job, didn't include a resume, and didn't express any interest in finance, but that's okay!) I haven't met any other students who have taken advantage of this resource. Are they nuts? Doing these things was simple. And un-scary, because I could use email. Technology is such a blessing for shy people. So now, I have lots of cover letters to write before OCI starts, and I can begin several of them with, "When we talked last fall..." So this is why I have become my friends' resource for career advice. Weird.

What sparked these thoughts was that yesterday while randomly looking stuff up online I decided to look at the alumni page for my college. Over homecoming weekend they are having a dinner at which they will be honoring a friend of mine who has been quite successful in the past few years. I thought it would be cool to see her, so I debated attending. Then I saw that the contact person is someone who also graduated the same year that I did and who was friends with my roommate. And is an attorney at one of the big Columbus firms (although the alumni site just said he was a lawyer). So clever me, I emailed him asking for more information about homecoming. And then, right at the end of the email, I asked him for any advice on the job search process as a law student. So he wrote back telling me how great his firm is and telling me to definitely apply there and asking me what areas of law I'm interested in. So I wrote back and told him, and he promptly replied with several names of people who I have to contact. I'm sure my motives were transparent, but it was still friendly and comfortable. This is how the world works, and all I have to do in return is go to an alumni dinner that will probably be mildly entertaining anyway. I can do this. |
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