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13 2012

How I could have built my network earlier on

Syndicated from: Canadian Youth Business Foundation

Bobby Umar, P. Eng, MBA, Raeallan, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor If there is one thing I wish I had done better during my youth it is networking. I know now how powerful a strong network of contacts is in business and life. If I truly understood that back then, there are many things I probably would have done differently when I was growing up. Here are some of the interesting opportunities for growth and networking I would have gone for… HIGH SCHOOL Started new clubs Participated in co-ops, exchanges, and conferences This may have helped me win the student election I ran in. UNIVERSITY Learned more about the opportunities in engineering to go abroad and help developing countries Used my role with the Savoy Society theatre company to plan a major event involving the drama club and the other musical theatre groups This may have helped me have an easier time of finding summer jobs and get the support I needed from professors and TAs to perform better in some classes. SUMMER JOBS Worked harder to find full-filling work in the summers (rather than accepting jobs at a carpet factory, paper mill, lab and hotel just to earn a bit of money) Leveraged my experiences and contacts to find a great full-time job after graduation POST-GRADUATION Dabbled in film and television at an earlier age Looked into youth employment adventures across Canada and abroad This may have helped me find the right job with the right fit sooner, given me the motivation I needed to leave my unfulfilling engineering job and start my musical theatre company sooner. POST-MBA Pounded the pavement and leveraged my network to get that job in entertainment that I was really looking for This may have helped me get more job offers or opportunities. Despite the above missed opportunities, I consider my youth one of the best times of my life! I never knew back then how important networking really is. I have no regrets at all, but have learned a lot along the way. Today, networking is fundamental to how I run my business and how I create relationships. It has driven over 80% of my income the past five years since I started my company. I love networking because it has provided so many amazing opportunities and I learn something each day with every connection. Networking is something we can all use, we all need and we can all improve upon. Are fully leveraging your network of contacts?

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