Lesson 5: The power of networking

Hanging out with Emilio

Hanging out with Emilio. It is a pity I closed my eyes. A camera is not my kind of thing

*This is the fifth part of a series of posts I am doing about some six lessons I wish I had known better in school

Sometime back last year during the launch of opendata.go.ke I had the chance of representing MChanjo at a showcase at the KICC. I got the chance to meet the president in person! The invite was courtesy of the ICT Board. This was just after the inaugural Pivot 25 competition.

Now you have the skills, you have slowly been improving day by day but nobody wants to hire you. At this point you might start wondering whats the point and even some people think of giving up. Let me use two analogies to put this point across.

In a football match a striker is a very important person (Unless you are a traitor like Van Persie then this point simply doesn’t apply). Need I say that no team has ever won a game without scoring. A striker consistently tries to put himself/herself in a scoring position. Without doing this the chances of scoring are nil.

What do people do when they are looking for a better half. I know some of my friends who stay in the house the whole time or go to the same places all the time and hence never get to meet new people. For the purpose of this post I will not be referring to them at all. We normally go to new places and try to meet new people in the hope that we will actually meet someone we like. You have to put yourself out there so that you get noticed. You have to meet people so that they can see that awesomeness you believe you have (You might not have it but at least you tried 🙂 )

How does this fit in to my post? Networking is pretty much  the same thing. People will not know of your capabilities unless they interact with you first. In my third year of study I made sure that I networked extensively as my external attachment was coming up and I never wanted to go to those places where you sit and do nothing. I made a point of attending many tech events and talking with the who and whos in IT. Through this I was able to meet Liko, the CEO Pesapal, and a few months later when I applied for internship they responded well and gave me a chance. Remember that we are all human, an employer is more likely to give you a chance if you have met before in a different setting. You are much better off if he/she remembers you.

Go out there, meet the key people in the industry and more importantly get to courage to talk to them. Leave an impression( a good one). It will help you in the future.

*Sevens here we come! As a result my last post will be delivered on Monday

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