Zamperini & League Speak on Career Networking
by Greta Couper, Director of Alumni Career Services

  The most important factors to business success are perseverance and networking. As the use of technology advances, the need to balance an abstract interface to your business contacts with a personal approach becomes greater; whether to promote your products and services or to advance within an organization.

Louis Zamperini, of Nagano Olympics fame, and Pete League, director at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, joined the Pepperdine University Business EXPO '98 as keynote speakers for the May 9 event "Networking Your Way to the Top: From LA to Bombay." They addressed issues related to networking and perseverance. Some of the highlights of the presentations follow:

  1. Start Networking Early. There is no time better than the present to start networking. Build your contacts when you don't need them and they will be there for you when you do. Helping others along their career paths also increases your future contacts. Just as real estate agents note the three most important factors in buying a house (location, location, and location), the factors most critical to career advancement are networking, networking, and networking.
  2. Persevere. Career advancement requires a significant individual effort. There is no such thing as a 1-800-GETAJOB number, and the competition is strong. You need to be persistent and offer a unique approach or skills that make you stand above the crowd.
  3. Use a Personal Approach. One of the key factors to success is personal networking. Make sure your customers and associates feel you know and respect them as individuals, not just as a destination name for a FAX or e-mail message. But, use this technology to keep in touch!
  4. Develop Your References. Identify six people who can speak about your expertise and serve as positive references. Send letters periodically thanking them for being available and updating them on your progress. Always include your latest resume.
  5. Know Your Product. You are the product. Explore all your skills, capabilities, hobbies, experiences, accomplishments, favorite classes, travel, volunteer work, etc., and use these to develop your resume and cover letters.
  6. Know What You Want to Do. If you are not sure, your feelings will tell you. Ask yourself, "How do I feel about this particular job, situation, sale, etc." Take a moment and reflect on why this is important to you. Remember, money cannot take the place of satisfaction and pride in your life pursuits.
  7. Make the Sale. Clearly understand your objective before every conversation you have with a client or potential employer. This may be just "obtaining another contact" for your network through informational interviews, all the way to obtaining that job or promotion. Approach each contact fully prepared with research facts and needs. Your self-confidence will increase, and that sale will be yours.