• For those with wings fly to your dreams

    netWork it.

    Networking. I admit, I love it. It's really ironic too because when I briefly considered studying Business and Computer Science, what changed my mind is I hate schmoozing, and I'm not so good at it.

    But I feel networking is different, especially when it's for an industry or activity you are passionate about.

    I went to the GRID Alternatives/Enphase micro meet up the other day. It was great to see old faces and meet new ones. Learn about what Enphase and others are up to.  Enphase is one of the leading manufacturers of micro-inverters, an alternative to the big string inverters many residential solar electric systems have. 

    The biggest thing I've learned about networking is to ask questions. This can be really hard if you're networking for need of job.  I used to be that person, and I see that person. You just want to tell someone your whole professional life story and it's not necessary.

    Networking can happen anywhere, and for me it often does. The combination of my Southern friendliness and the fact I usually I'm usually reading some large technical book on the bus lends itself to that. My past position as the volunteer coordinator for Bay Area GRID Alternatives with 3000 active volunteers did much to help navigate networking. So far, I've learned...

    1. Don't be desperate It's tough, I know. You don't even know you sound desperate. I only learned this from a friend telling me during my job search and observing it in others.  Ask questions, talk with them, not at them. 
    2. What do you have to offer? What do you have in common? This is when asking questions proves helpful. Out here, the common grounds I've found are: engineering grads, Southerners/East Coast, Hapa. I've come across a few Georgia Southern grads, I would have never known if I didn't listen. When people are telling me about what they or the company does I chime in when appropriate. 
    3. Have a mission I got this tip from one of my CCBA Supervisors. When you go to a class or networking event, look around. Have a goal to exchange x number of business cards. And follow up, even if it's a "Hey, great meeting you a X event".
    4. Be confident - Confidence can be hard to master. Apparently I appear really confident. That's good, people always think it's natural and I admit it's the sum of progress.  When I was a kid (9-10) I hated speaking in front of people, sometimes I stuttered. However, I really liked drama classes. go figure. As I started to learn Latin I didn't mind so much Latin oration, but again that's a bit like acting, a little over the top. When I entered highschool though, I got thrown into WDFA. WDFA is the daily announcements at my alma mater, Davidson Fine Arts, that's televised live daily. Like our version of the morning news meets "Good Morning America".  For about 30% of the school year I was one on of the on-screen cast, so I developed a bit of "television persona" that's never really left. It's me... optimized. lol. 
    5. Always, Semper,ずっと  Carry business cards!  Best networking tip I got from working at GRID. In that job I had to always carry business cards. I'll give you some perspective. It was 1 year position, and I went through over 1000 business cards. Think about that for a second.  Why so many? Honestly, once someone found out I was the middleman between being interested and volunteering on an install, they wanted that card. Whenever I went to a class, folk wanted that card. I started carrying them in my wallet because, I would walk to the store a run into someone. Or be at the gym in a GRID tee, or at Art Murmur, it was insane. Now I realize I no longer am in such an "in demand" but I still carry cards with me. Also I have both work cards, and personal cards. So even if you're not working, you should have a business card.  With VistaPrint, Clubflyers, and so many more offering such good deals it's affordable. 

    Do you have any other tips? How do you netWork the room?

    till next time,



    About me

    I'm a 20-something Southern girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've been working in the wild and wacky world of non-profit green construction in one way or the other for over 3 years. I'm also the owner of Oakland's own Engineered Cupcake.