By: Amanda Medlen Having recently served at a couple university student events, I had been asked by numerous students on what are some of the best ways to land that job right out of school. Without even batting an eye, I excitedly said, “Networking!” Student or professional, doesn’t matter, networking is the key. I have seen so many examples of this, especially recently, both in my personal and professional life. We are human, and the desire to connect with one another and form relationships in within us. There are so many clubs, organizations and “acronym soups” (as I sometimes call it) out there. “I am a member of XYZ, should I also join ABC,” asked a small group of students, awaiting that perfect answer. My response was that it shouldn’t matter, as long as you are involved and putting your best foot forward to making a step in your career. “The more ‘acronyms’ you collect the better?” – not necessarily. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin and not be able to devote the right amount of time with any of them. I asked the students what they were passionate about and directed them to find a group to fit that. Once you find your network (clubs, organizations, social networking groups/sites, mentors, peers), you will be amazed at how small the community actually becomes. As always (and on a regular occurrence), I could ramble on and on…I do want to leave you with one last thing. Although I was speaking more for the design community in general, by no means do your “networks” have to be exclusively related to your specific profession. Church groups, volunteer organizations, intramural sports teams, political organizations…whatever it may be, the people that you meet, the connections that you make will last a lifetime. You never know when your ‘new-found pal’ is going to call you up for help, because they remembered that you did Interior Design work and their company needed some assistance. Think about it…so many possible scenarios!