Home Field Advantage: Networking Through Parents
Everyone talks about the importance of networking to find that coveted first professional position. However, after speaking to many students this past year, it is clear that when it comes to networking… many young professionals don’t know where to start.
We do, and we give this advice: “networking starts at home.”
No, we’re not talking about working for mom or dad directly (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The reality is that through personal or social networking relationships, most parents have one or two associates just a phone call or email away who can dramatically improve the chances of you getting a foot in the door.
There are many advantages to networking through your parents…
You already know your parents, and most of their inner circle – and they you; there’s little to no effort required for that initial foray into networking. Through their introductions and recommendations, you’re already well ahead of the game. Plus, this means you may never have to drag yourself to one of those stuffy, artificial job fairs, extending a sweaty palm to complete strangers before awkwardly pitching yourself.
2. Vested Interest
Most likely your parents have a sincere interest in you to become a productive member of society. Chances are good they’ll be inclined to help you secure an internship or job at their company or organization – or within their sphere of influence. Plus, let’s be honest, whether spoken or unspoken: they want you out of their house as much as you want your own place.
3. “Our Baby’s All Grown Up”
In every parental relationship, there comes a time when a parent looks at the child they helped raise – and utters these words. This could be that time. By putting on your serious face – and perhaps by swallowing a little pride – you are announcing to those who know you best that you are ready to ascend to the rank of professional. Ask for their help and – perhaps after a mild case of “it’s-about-time” and/or “I-told-you-so” replies – watch them swell with pride.
4. The Proverbial Win-Win
In this parental networking scenario, everyone wins! Your parental unit gets credit from colleagues who admire the noble effort to introduce their offspring to the world of work. And you score points because you’re learning valuable business skills – and avoiding becoming yet another statistic among the ranks of the unemployed (while keeping you off their couch).
Networking is all about relationships. Through people you know, you make connections with an ever-widening circle.
This same principle certainly applies to early-career business networking… starting with your home field advantage: your parents.
For this post, WetFeet thanks our friends at YouTern.
About the Author: Joe Gagliano, a founding member of YouTern and our CMO, brings years of start-up management, strategic planning, marketing and market research experience to the team and his blog posts. Joe, who runs our learning center for interns, also brings a passion for start-ups, entrepreneurship and mentorship to our team.