One ENTITY writer describes her experience during the ENTITY Academy

Before ENTITY, I understood the words “networking” and “branding,” but I didn’t know how to put them into practice. How can I ask a person for their contact information without seeming like I only value them for what they can give me? And why should I care about how someone else views my LinkedIn or Facebook? My social media isn’t for them. It’s for me.

But ENTITY showed me these words as they are in reality. I stepped out of my comfort zone of academia and notes – into the spheres of action and labor. This is what I’ll be facing after I graduate, I realized. This is what the real world looks like.

These are the things I learned from the ENTITY Academy that I wouldn’t be able to learn from any of my college textbooks.

1 It s not networking. It s relationship building.

An ENTITY writer talks about her experience during the ENTITY Academy.

ENTITY speaker Sarah Zapp came in and cleared up one of the most pressing questions I had. I always felt uncomfortable with the idea of networking. I never want to ask someone for anything. Her perspective changed everything.

She taught me that we shouldn’t see networking as networking; we should see it as forming relationships. You are forming relationships with people, even if they may not be incredibly close relationships. You should focus on what you can give to others. And when the time comes to ask them for something, if you have a relationship with them, you won’t feel like you’re taking advantage of their kindness. Their kindness comes out of the care you have for each other.

Always give as much as you can, she explained. Some people might take advantage of that, but many, many others will see you, appreciate you and one day give back.

2 You are a brand.

When people told me I have to be aware of my social media, I always ignored them. I felt nearly offended at the idea of putting out something that catered to others’ expectations.

But I understand now that I don’t have to cater to others’ expectations. However, I still should be aware of what I’m putting out and make sure this appearance aligns with who I am. You shouldn’t change yourself to get jobs, but you should recognize that others will always have a perception of you. And you should make sure that perception fits as close to who you are as possible.

In other words: you are a brand, whether you like it or not. And you can either control it or let it spiral.

3 Just ask.

An ENTITY writer talks about her experience during the ENTITY Academy.

You can’t be afraid of rejection. You need those ‘no’s in order to get a ‘yes.’ Let yourself fail, and you will eventually let yourself succeed.

Thank you, ENTITY, for teaching me the things I couldn’t learn on paper.

To join ENTITY’s 2019 Academy, apply here.

Edited by Nicole Sazegar

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