By Brenna C. Cronin
The currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity. – Keith Ferrazzi
Jonah Zeiger, Associate Director of EPICS (External Programs, Internships, & Career Services) at Northwestern University, presented on the power of relationships and looking for connections between others during his Pathways and Networks in the Creative Industries Seminar last week. As a fellow ENFP (which stands for: Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) on the Myers-Briggs scale, I have a special appreciation for those who champion the causes of others and there is no doubt that each of us in the MSLCE cohort left this seminar feeling championed!
What is the goal of networking? To see people as resources and connections that we can come back to throughout our lives. Equally important is knowing what types of connections are valuable depending on what you are looking for. Jonah encouraged us to “think about it from the other person’s point of view” and that “too much pressure on the relationship from the very beginning” could be detrimental. It’s important to make wise choices when seeking out a connection, a coffee conversation, an informal interview, an internship, or a career. “The goal is to look for the connections between people. Those connections and that karma comes on back to you.” From internet-based research platforms like LinkedIn, to the power of Purple Pride and the Northwestern Alumni network, establishing connections has never been easier, and Jonah’s tools for navigating them were invaluable.
For those of us who came to the program from the professional world, an “elevator pitch” can often feel like telling someone your job description. Jonah encouraged us to look beyond that, and emphasize the elements of our story that brought us to where we are and to be direct with where we are headed. Our current jobs and identity as students are only a small part of who we are as a whole, and it is often through those extra stories and intentional sharing that bring about broader connections. Vulnerability, honesty, and transparency are key to meaningful relationships and expressing your values, goals, and interests is just as important as your current job title.
Jonah’s expertise on personal value propositions, elevator pitches, and communication are exactly why I chose Northwestern University at this time in my career. The experience and professionalism of our faculty and staff are unmatched. I am proud to take these lessons, and so many more, with me through the next step in my journey.