#PayingItForward: AMA on Networking for Students and Veterans/Active Military

On the Fridays of 4/24, 5/8 & 5/15, from 2pm – 4pm CDT, I will be answering questions on networking your way into a job or a new career. I will be covering the topics of Informational Interviews & how to research companies & people so you can network effectively. I will be conducting these Ask Me Anything sessions on the Cyber Dust App user name: +rickjuarez.

For 8 years, I was an Alumni Advisor to the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University. Every semester, we spoke to hundreds of students on career advice so much so that we created a class, Comm 289, which I helped teach for 6 years. My sessions on networking consistently garnered the most questions.

A fellow Aggie, Frank M. Muller, Jr. Class of '65, helped me over 20 years ago, so I continue to help all I can. Networking has gotten me every job since my Masters and it all started with a 5:30 am meeting with him. Why so early? I am sure it had a lot to do with whether or not I was committed to getting up early enough for the 90 minute drive to meet him at that hour. Instead of giving me a list of names of people to meet, I was told to cold call 45 company Presidents and Vice Presidents and find out what they did so I could stumble, fumble and fall with strangers before I embarrassed myself in front of his network. Boy did I stumble, fumble and fall! The first try was easy. The company owner was nice and freely told me about his business. The second try got me escorted out of the building. I went home with my tail between my legs and never left the apartment for the rest of the day. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't follow through, so the next day, I went at it again. When I had a lull in getting people to talk to me, Frank suggested that I go to a business park on a Saturday and look for an expensive car I liked, walk in and ask who drives that car. When asked, "Why?" I should tell them, "if you are driving that car and are in on a Saturday, you must be doing something right." It worked and I got those 45 informational interviews.

Since I completed the task, I began the long process of networking my way into a job. I met more and more people and asked to be introduced to more. One gentleman I met suggested I meet another in his building. I had that meeting in February. Months later, I received a call late on the Friday before Thanksgiving from Texas Commerce Bank asking if I could come interview for their first management training program on Monday. Of course, I said yes and asked how they found me since I never applied to the bank. It was due to the recommendation of a board member, the same gentleman I met with 10 months earlier. Another man I met during this process helped me get a job with his company 8 years later.

This is why it is why I choose to #PayItForward. We at Modo Networks are committed to helping Veterans and the community and that is the reason we will be taking time out of our workdays to hold these sessions. Please share with any current students, soon to be graduates and transitioning military members who might benefit from them.

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