Editorial: It’s who, not what, you know

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Editorial: It’s who, not what, you know

Story by The Baker Orange Editorial Board

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As Baker students start back to school for another year of college, returning students gravitate to the familiar – friend groups, the usual hangouts, and resuming the previous year’s routine. Meanwhile, new students, often freshmen, concentrate on making a positive impression away from home.

On a college campus, the most recognized students often possess personality, skill and power. You know the type. The students who confidently chat with random students at the Daily Grind or in the lunch line; the ones who crack jokes and have that distinct laugh; the ones who are kind and treat others with respect.

They are the ones who understand, or it comes naturally to them, that popular saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” And who knows you.

Not to say that a college degree or book-learning is not conducive to a successful life – it is an important factor – but to be successful in today’s network-based world, you need both your schooling and experience.

It is crucial to make college connections and contacts to lengthen your reach for potential employment opportunities. Many jobs aren’t necessarily given to the most qualified for the job but to the most popular or well-known candidate instead.

This isn’t meant to discourage those who have not yet made many connections with fellow students or with professionals in their chosen career field. It’s meant to encourage students, both new and old, to get out there and meet people. Take some time to get to know others who share your interests and some who don’t. You never know who could end up mentioning your name in a hiring meeting, and a recommendation can go a long way. College can be a great springboard to many of these connections. The right sorority, fraternity, internship or acquaintance can give you valuable contacts who connect you to a larger network.

The wider your network, and the more connected you are, the easier it can be to get a job and make a name for yourself.

You neatly type your resumé, including your clubs, GPA and various awards, but businesses have seen that all before. Sure they are important, but think of them like vanilla ice cream.

The more you stand out, the better. One example is internships. If you are an upperclassman, you have probably been told by your adviser that you need an internship, and you grudgingly and apprehensively try to find one. But this is not the right attitude.

Think of your internships, experiences and connections as sprinkles. If you are trying to pick some ice cream, do you choose the plain vanilla, or do you want a special flavor with sprinkles on top? Naturally most of us want the one with the most sugar and pizzazz.

So when you are at an internship, academic conference or even a sporting event, make an impression. Visit with fellow students, make an effort to find professionals in your field of interest, and show your best side.

As you start your new semester, don’t solely think of making good grades and having fun, but remember to add a few sprinkles along the way.