Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Networking for the Young Professional: It's Not Who You Know ... but Who Knows You!

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Networking for the Young Professional: It's Not Who You Know ... but Who Knows You!

Article excerpt

NETWORKING IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER. It used to be that if you "knew a guy" a job would be waiting for you right out of college. Those days are gone. The one person who you know so well in the parks and recreation field most likely does not have a position for you today, tomorrow, or next year. Departments are shrinking and positions cannot be added to accommodate you even if you are the world's greatest future employee. So, how can you use networking to your advantage in the current market? The phrase to live by has changed ... It's not who you know, but who knows YOU!

Networking is essential in order to obtain a future position in our field. I have put together a few key ways to create and keep a network that will help you further your career.

With each position you apply for, you are inevitably among a very large stack of resumes. It is the addition of a strong letter of support that will push you forward. Not all letters of support are created equal; letters of support from well-known, prominent, and respected professionals are vital for your resume to emerge from the volume of others that were submitted.

As a young professional, it is your responsibility to seek out these individuals and allow them to get to know you. A great way to accomplish this is to be active in your state association and NRPA. Join committees, attend professional socials--anything to get your name out there and form associations with those whose recommendations will help you. You have to step outside of your comfort zone, introduce yourself to others (because they won't be pushing people over in a crowd to find you), and volunteer to do whatever these organizations need. Over time, these more experienced individuals will get to know you, both as a professional and as a person. The better they know you, and the more they see the level of commitment and quality of work that you produce, the more personal and thoughtful their letters of support will be. A potential employer may not have heard your name before, but their respect for the professional who has penned your letter of support will make them look at you differently.

Your job as the applicant is not over, though, your resume still must shine, and you must prove yourself in your interviews. …

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