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7 Networking tips for a career in Fashion, Entertainment & anything else

28 March 2012 6 Comments

What I always find is missing is the most important networking tool FACE TO FACE INTERACTION. Whether it’s a film maker, comedian, fashion designer or model I work with creative people of all kind and I hear the same complaint from everyone, that they need more exposure. Although they have a website/blog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, twitter etc. they feel nothing is getting them closer to where they want to be in their career. What I always find is missing is the most important networking tool FACE TO FACE INTERACTION.

I remember when Mark Zuckerberg was giving a talk in NYC about Facebook, he was asked whether online social networking would replace or even trump face to face networking. Zuckerberg responded with smile and stated that Face to Face interaction will never be replaced because it is the main social networking tool, and that the internet is just an assistant.

I dedicate this blog article to something I hold dear to my heart, face to face socializing. Face to face networking is essential to building trust and credibility. The ability to clearly communicate your career goals with someone face to face shows that you are serious about your craft.  The following are a couple of helpful tips for you as you network in the entertainment and fashion industry:

  1. Get Out of The House: Go and attend events where people who you want to work with will be present. If you have to fork over $5 to $40 for a ticket then do it. Hopefully food is included if you are paying more than $10! Every networking event that you go to increases your rate of connections. What I have found, is that it is not the 1st  person that you know that will help you, but its the 4th or 5th person that 1st person knows that gets you the best connection for your profession. (read the fourth person rule!)
  2. Fourth Person Rule: The lawyer I work for taught me this rule so listen up. Let say for example A is looking for modeling work. A meets B at a party. A tells B that she is an aspiring model. B says that she does not work with models, however she knows people who do. After the party A follows up with B through email asking B to connect her with people in the modeling industry. B gives A the telephone number of modeling agency C. A calls up C and states that B referred her to call C, C is now interested and takes A’s information. C then tells X to contact A about potential work. X calls A and asks for a portfolio and resume.  X is the fourth person! The fourth person rule shows you the initial face to face interaction, helped B trust A enough so that B would give up the phone number of one of her “connections.” (Thank you Mary Beth Bogan Esq.!)
  3. Answering the question: So what do you do? Answer this question with some pizzazz, don’t just tell the person the title of your job. So for example take the following job title: “I am a garbage man.” Instead of saying garbage man, you should say ” I deal with waste management on a large-scale and am responsible for the public health in my local town” See how more sophisticated and sexy that sounds. It shows that you are more than just a label, you have a purpose and a responsibility.  This will also help the other person to ask a follow-up question about your job.
  4. Answering the question: Where are you from? I do not particularly like this question because I have a diverse ethnic background so I am always wondering if they want to know what is my ethnicity or where I actually live. So the way I answer this question is by saying, “well I live close enough to get here in under 30 minutes!” This shows the listener that you have a sense of humor and at the same time you are not disclosing your locality/ethnicity since it may be something you want to keep private at first, and later tell them if you feel comfortable.
  5. How to dress: Do not dress like everyone else. Wear something that is memorable. The days of being conservative and mundane with your clothing is out of the window. Even if you are looking for a job as a librarian or an accountant, dress in a manner that shows you have some style and personality, because that will make the person you are talking to remember you and want to learn more about you. I REPEAT DRESS WELL. Please go and watch an episode of MAD MEN and you will know what I am talking about.
  6. Business cards: DO NOT USE VISTA PRINT. Oh my goodness, the next time I see someone who has a business card that says on the back “vista print” it tells me that you did not invest the time and money in getting quality business cards. Spend the time and get crisp high quality business cards because it is a representation of who you are. Note: I have recently seen people who have put a photograph of their face on their business cards, so long as the photograph is of studio quality, then I find it a good idea to do this.
  7. Your sales pitch in a single sentence: You must be able to clearly state who you are, what you do, and your career goal in order to effectively give the listener a firm grasp of who you are. This may sound impossible at first. But once you are able to pinpoint exactly what you do, and where you want to take your profession, you will be able to formulate your sales pitch. Here is a simple example, for an aspiring stylist try saying that: ” My name is ____, and I work in the image enhancement industry, I want to become a personal stylist for Pop-artists because my schedule is flexible and I work well under pressure.”

Closing remarks: Sometimes we feel like we are wasting time going to events again and again, and we feel disappointed that we have not received immediate gratification in our career. Improving your career is not like shopping for a new outfit. You can not simply purchase a career that fits you. You have to keep on shopping yourself around and ask for direction from others to see if they know a person who can give a job tailored to you!

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  • Fahad said:

    Great Post and this should be posted on other websites because these are true steps towards networking, not fake ones like i see on yahoo.

    GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!, cuz so what if were connected on linkedin, im not connected to you in real life

  • Nafiza Jelassi said:

    Love it! Another great post, it was great meeting you at the Underwraps event, you definitely practice what you preach. I will try to make it to the event since hey I live in Philly! What I do find most frustrating about networking is the fact that I have met a lot of inauthentic people, meaning they rarely follow through after spending so much time writing follow up emails but I think with more experience I will get better at determining better those I wish to maintain contact with in some way. ALl the best !

  • Sarah Wagner said:

    You are so right! So when are we going to lunch? Better yet, give me more notice on a great event and we’ll go together!

  • AsianFashionLaw said:

    I love this post!!! I recently wrote about how to dress and I mentioned in that post that I would wear unconventional outfits to interviews. I remember once wearing red shoes to an interview. All my colleagues thought I was mad. Well, I got the job (that job propelled my career). After working there for sometime, I had a chat with the Partner who interviewed me for the job. He said he hired me, because there was just something about me, he could not get me out of his head, because I was so “out there” with my dress and my answers. I am sure he forget every black suit that walked in!

  • Victoria said:

    Love these tips!! Great ideas and suggestions. No shocker from you 😉

  • Eileen said:

    Nice post! Yes. Mad Men! BUT dressing like everyone else is just boring! I like to sometimes wear a black and white sketched t-shirt under a blazer for an edgier but still polished look. Feels more creative but the blazer polishes it off.

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