I freelanced as a journalist for a luxury travel and lifestyle magazine called Travel Time. And I have my personal contacts to thank for that.
The magazine is based in Santiago, Chile, so there is no way I would have heard of it or had the opportunity to work with such a revolutionary publication if it wasn’t for networking. A Chilean friend of mine, AZ, whom I had met in India while we were both working for the same company, was serving as the Editor-in-Chief at the time when she asked me to write an article about Uganda, after I had returned from my trip.
And that one article led me to be a regular journalist for the publication, as well as their head marketer. Fortunately, I was able to fuse three of my foremost passions—writing, marketing, and traveling.
Sure, merit and hard work are extremely important. But sometimes it’s just not enough. Much of this world, though it pains me to say it, is about “who you know,” instead of “what you know.” When you’re applying for a job that receives 1,000 equally qualified applicants, you can either rely on a stroke of good luck or start looking at your contact list to see if you may know someone in that organization that might help to get your application recognized. What you know is important for you to sustain the job, but who you know can help to get your foot in the door and be your personal stamp of approval.
A few tips I have learned over the years:
- Don’t burn your bridges. Just because someone couldn’t help you at one point, doesn’t mean that they can’t be your saving grace at another point in time.
- Be honest. People can see right past schmoozers and fake people. Genuinely care about what the other person is saying without the thought of “What can this person do for me?” repeatedly swirling in your head.
- Never write off a person because you’re “ahead” of them in the game now.According to the old adage, “Be careful whose toes you step on today because they might be connected to the foot that kicks your a** tomorrow.”
- Be kind. People may or may not remember what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.