The harsh reality has always been that there are certain jobs you’ll never see being advertised but does that mean there haven’t been any vacancies? Obviously there were but they quickly got filled because someone knew someone and recommended them for the job. In Zimbabwe specifically, I’ve always concurred that, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” You need connections to get anything done. It helps to be qualified.
Here are some of the ways in which you can start to meet new influential people.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Start where you are
Right there in your workplace, get to know the people around you. Your colleagues won’t be your colleagues forever. Some will level up and some may be related to people in positions of power. You won’t know until you get to know them. Get rid of the mentality that your colleagues don’t matter just because they don’t sign your cheques. God works in mysterious ways. Don’t be a foolish virgin. I’m not saying be friends with them, I’m just saying be nice, have a great work ethic and don’t be a dick.
Build your network on social media
With all these social media platforms, it’s become possible to network more efficiently now. I’ve had people I have never met, throw me opportunities in my DMs. For which I’m grateful. But could they have done that if they didn’t know my interests or skill set? I highly doubt it. What I did was to consistently engage and post about said interests and skill sets. I then became top of mind when any of those buzz words popped up.
This is such a difficult thing to do in the creative circles because no one wants kuiitiswa or to be used. There is also the fear that someone will steal your idea and execute it without you. If you are women, it’s more likely that you will be compared and contrasted like a Shakespeare play in English Literature. Collaboration is the future and it’s how we win as creatives. Make sure you’re equally yoked with the person you want to collaborate it. This means you need to bring something of value to the table. What are you bringing to the table?
I’ve already blogged about my mentor and you can read about her here. However, this year I found a new mentor who is a 2000. Yes, having an older mentor to guide you through life and business because they have been there is great but you also need a younger person to help you tap into the new ideas and innovations being released every year. I personally needed help with making Instagram work for me and the 2000s don’t even break a sweat with it. They see things differently and that’s been so insightful for me and my work. Thank you Talie!
Give it your all, always
No matter where you are, always be the best version of yourself. You never know who is watching and what they will do with the information that they are gathering. Smile, be pleasant, be well read and show up. This will make you memorable. You have no idea how small the world is and who knows who. You are one mutual connection away from your big break. Don’t fumble the bag by making a bad first impression.
When the pandemic passes, join something
The golf course is rumoured to be one of the most strategic places to network. I think for our fathers it was but now we gravitate towards things which mean something like charity work and communities such as Rotaract. Ultimately, it depends on who you are trying to meet.
The internet has communities for every interest. Join a couple of them. Clubhouse is actually a cool place to explore your interests. Try it. I was afraid that my antisocial self would have no one to invite her onto Clubhouse and less than an hour later, a guy I’ve only met once bumped me to the front of the line. Thank you Phil!
Build secretly like the Illuminati
I remember being shocked that Beyoncé was close friends with Kobe. I know if I was that close to Beyoncé no NDA could restrain me. Anyways, build your network quietly. Your strategic partnerships are more potent on the downlow. Keep the circle tight but load up on the acquaintances. Also, personal brands are tested everyday in these #CancelCultureStreets. Don’t be ruined by association. People can’t ruin what they don’t know.
I saw a tweet that made me chuckle, it basically said that the people you are playing with now are the connections that your kids will need. And it’s true. One day our generation will be in power and our future politicians and billionaires are already amongst us. Whom in your circle is most likely to succeed?