By: Marissa Ohm
During our time in New York, I have learned many new things about design. A major lesson I have learned is that in order to get a job in the field it is important to know how to connect and talk with other designers. These connections and relationships not only help people in their career but also help them get an understanding of what it is like to actually work at a company. In addition to getting to know industry professionals, I have also become close with classmates, alumni and friendly designers and have a few tips to share about our time in NYC as a class.
Regardless as to whether or not you are good at talking to people, asking questions about others is always an easy way to make friends and connections. No one likes hearing people talk about themselves all day and listening is one of the best things you can offer to other people. There is also an opportunity for people to learn about others’ experiences.
Everyone loves free food.
If you ever wanted to meet up with a potential employer or pick the brains of a talented designer, offer to take them out for pizza or bagels. You owe them for their time and thoughts even if they hesitate and turn down your offer. It is also a great conversation starter, everyone has to eat and who doesn’t like to?
Don’t be a jerk.
Pretty self explanatory, but some people don’t know its common sense. When meeting with someone who was giving of their time, be sure to give them your full attention. A text can wait. If you are meeting them at the work place or their home it might even be good to turn off your phone so it doesn’t interfere with your discussion. Also, know who you are talking to and what topics are appropriate to talk about in their company, you don’t know who your future boss could be.
Being friendly and comfortable can go a long way. Everyone, regardless of what their title is or where they work, is just a person at the end of the day.
Say thank you.
After people take the time to talk with you, follow up with a thank you card or an email to show them that you were listening and that you care. If you don’t follow up then you wasted your time and theirs because that is how you continue the connection.