There has never been a better time than now to learn how to network your way to your dream career. Whether you are an aspiring model, designer, stylist or photographer, Fashion Week is officially here and the networking opportunities are there for the taking. After all, you must have heard the term “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know”, and there’s a lot to be said for this. So many of us strive to find the right career path for so long when really all you need is that right introduction to get your foot in the door.
So what does it mean to ‘network’ properly? Here at Boon Models (hailed one of the top up-and-coming New York modeling agencies), we make a point of attending a great deal of events because networking to us equates to potential growth. It might seem a terrifying prospect thinking about walking up to people you don’t necessarily know but we are here to reassure you there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to get involved. Therefore we have put together for you some helpful hints to get you on your way.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead. There is pretty much nothing worse than building up the courage to go up and talk to someone only to fall at the first hurdle when you realize you don’t know what to say. Therefore, take the time to think about the event you’re going to and put together three conversation starters that will give you the opportunity to steer the conversation where you want.
One thing you really don’t want to do at a networking event is try and sell yourself too much as this will appear desperate and quite off-putting to the overall mood. Try to aim for a more friendly tone, making it clear that you are passionate about the industry, but bare in mind that ‘less is more’ in this situation so you want to leave the person you’re talking to intrigued to speak to you further. A good rule of thumb is never to state more than two facts about yourself at a time and most of the time this should only be done when introducing yourself or when you are directly asked.
Another thing to bare in mind is that people in the fashion industry – for the most part – love to network. There is such a buzz to be gained from finding someone you feel could really help you grow in the industry and vice versa. Therefore, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed with nerves to the point where you find yourself standing in the corner alone. What’s the worst that could happen, after all? If they really don’t want to talk to you then that’s their loss.
No, we don’t mean in a dating sense but in a business sense. Furthermore, if it turns out you’ve done some great networking but you don’t really feel it’s the right path for you then why not set two people you know up to meet if you think they’ll be a great working match and could benefit one another’s careers. This will make you look like you’ve got great aptitude and people will be more inclined to do the same for you in the future.
Even if it doesn’t seem like there were any potential opportunities at the networking event you attended last night, you must always touch base with the people you met, even if just to say how great it was to meet them. You never know who they know after all and burning bridges is an absolute ‘no no’ if you want to get anywhere in the fashion industry.