Something happened a few weeks ago that really got me thinking about the importance of networking, and more importantly, developing a solid strategy for it. I was at an event, and I was introduced to a group of college students from a local design school. I talked with them for a while, and before I left, I gave them each my business card. In design, like many fields, connections are crucial. The people you meet today can open a door for a job or project tomorrow. By giving them my card, I was offering myself as a connection and resource–knowing they will eventually graduate with the goal of finding a job.
After I left, I thought to myself whether I’d hear from any of those students. Unfortunately, I doubted it, and so far I’ve been correct in my assumption. This really made me think. What happened to the traditional rules of networking–to following up after a meeting, sticking your foot in the door, and creating a memorable connection? Are these rules obsolete in a society whose natural, everyday forms of communication, connecting, and maintaining relationships are online?