Kristen Maslanka in Success Mindset, Artists and actors, Networking Character Design, Illustration, Storyboarding • Freelance Artist Jan 11, 2017 · 2 min read · 3.6K

Who Knows You- A reflection on networking with relationships in mind.

         Over the past few years, I've been vigorously applying to job after job in the animation industry.  I looked at the term "networking" as though it were some holy grail that once achieved would open countless doors. I introduced myself to hundreds over the internet- extended my hand to thousands at various conventions including CTN expo, Wondercon, and various open houses and posted my work on each social media platform I could find. 

         But clearly, I didn't grasp the concept. My family and friends, many of whom are not in the industry tried their best to console me, " It's all about who you know." My response to them was that I would try harder to get to know more individuals while I devoted myself to improving my artistic education. 

         I can safely say that if there is one thing I have learned in my pursuit, in my many failed attempts at both networking and job applications- it is not who you know, but who know's YOU. 

         The communication between myself and those I had sought out advice was generally a short one. I would be polite, introduce myself, ask for any advice, and they would answer with advice, ignore me, or give a vague, quick response that didn't entirely answer my question. To their credit entirely, I think I approached them the wrong way.

         It isn't so much that to email these individuals was wrong, but the way I was going about it was all wrong. Networking isn't about saying hi and leaving. It's about making new friends, getting to know one another professionally and opening doors by opening hands and sharing stories. 

        As busy people, these individuals were no doubt reading between the lines- they saw someone desperate asking for help, not someone asking for friendship.

       Friendship extends the conversation. Asking them open-ended conversation starters, getting to know them as individuals, and inviting them to know more about you opens more possibilities than the one door you open when you simply ask them for advice. 

       Perhaps this seems like Childs play to others, but the more these individuals know you as a person, as an artist and as a friend, the more they'll do to help you and the more you can do to help them. 

       For me, the relationships that came naturally at school serve as a great example. In my school career, I've made many friends, and each of them exchanges opportunities they spot that fit my specialties in return, I do the same. We do this because we KNOW one another, and we trust one another. We would be willing to put ourselves on the line to recommend them because we know who that person is, and we trust that they would do a great job. That's the joy of networking the right way. You build relationships that last. You build memories that people remember fondly. 

      Don't leave your mark as " The artist that emailed me that one time." Leave your mark as " Oh hey that's Kristen- oh yeah she's great- she's a real dog lover and she's super passionate about storytelling- We actually had a story session together and we helped one another get through some ruts in our character development. It was a great night" 

      Leave them with a story. Leave yourself with a story. It's not about who you know, it's about WHO KNOWS YOU. So get out there and make some friends! 

(( Speaking of which if you ever want to contact me to chat, or work on a project or pitch or you want to get to know me just send me a message and we can have a conversation by video chat, phone, or email! ))

Who Knows You- A reflection on networking with relationships in mind.                             (( That's me at CTN Expo ready to network!)) 

Wayne Yoshida Oct 30, 2018 · #46

Hey @Kristen Maslanka - this post floated into view while reading one of @Jim Murray's posts. Interestingly, I recently did a presentation to a college chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA). My talk was called "Getting to Who Knows You."

The inspiration for my talk may have been pre-planted into my subconscious mind or something by your post . . . . . thanks!

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Kristen Maslanka Jan 31, 2017 · #45

#40 I certainly knew i just don't think I properly understood the concept of WHAT networking was. That it was more than just meeting people but getting to know them and getting them to know you.

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Wayne Yoshida Jan 31, 2017 · #44

#41 @CityVP 🐝 Manjit - Thanks for sharing the story on Bernays. It is always good to point out the differences between "Public Relations" and "Public Information" and "Advertising." Boils down to changing opinion vs education and increasing knowledge, or paying for visibility of products and services vs true news.

And unfortunately this is changing - People are finally whining about "fake news" - but what do you think would happen when news agencies fired the professional news writers and journalists and instead relies on "man in the street" "reality" reporting from un-trained people?

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Mohammed Sultan Jan 31, 2017 · #43

It's a good idea not to brand yourself as a commodity or a "box of soup" but as a a premium "box of perfume".As in perfume industry a popular brand can command a price premium ,more than forty times the cost of production,the candidate can also aspire to be highly paid by premium employers.To make the job search a fantasy like a perfume with good smell you have to follow the same development process of developing a new perfume.In marketing a new perfume the marketer first outline the features(mainly the candidate's core interests) in terms of a certain target(employer) at a certain price(the salary range) often with a predetermined name(@Kristen Maslanka).You should also emphasis the rational of the synergy,enthusiasm and passion.As a perfume you should convey through your messages the rational of being pretty and young.In the brand positioning era the most important thing is your name..

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Claire L Cardwell Jan 31, 2017 · #42

@Kristen Maslanka - great advice here - I really enjoyed your article. "it is not who you know, but who know's YOU." this phrase really resonated with me. I hate the way on LinkedOut when you accept a connection request you instantly get a message asking you to buy insurance etc. etc. It really puts my back up and makes me think that the people are desperate for new business. As far as my interests go, I am a part-time artist, I love photography and exploring nature. I also love old black & white movies and am a huge fan of Gregory Peck and Cary Grant. I am a complete bibliophile and have quite a library of my own - mostly self-help books and books on medicine, alternative healing, psychology and travel. I also have 3 cats and would love it if you could do some sketches of them.

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CityVP Manjit Jan 31, 2017 · #41

The power of story is immense!!! Storytellers who people love is actually a form of selling! Then some doodoo turns storytelling into washing powder. There is nothing wrong with being a commodity, ever since the birth of commercial media we have been commodities - that is how SOAP opera's started - original television series had soap ads in the middle of the shows !!!

Why Soap Opera's are called Soap Opera's

We are the product of social media companies - that is how Facebook, LinkedIn etc make their money, but we are also minds that evolve the market. I would encourage you to study the art of persuasion, and appreciate the abilities of the best marketers, because it is a great education. It is your own choice if you end up being a box of soap!!! My favourite brain in marketing is the Father of PR - Edward Bernays - man, that guy was good. Don't become a Bernays - be the best storyteller you care to be !!!

Edward Bernays - Father of PR

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Mark Anthony Dyson Jan 31, 2017 · #40

Networking makes the world go around! Or did you know it before this?

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Kristen Maslanka Jan 30, 2017 · #39

#35 Thank you so much for sharing that, I hadn't thought to connect the two, but it's a great point and example. Funny how so many things can be applied to our life and career approach!

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