Let’s talk about NETWORKING

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We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month here in America, acknowledging the contributions and accomplishments of Hispanic Americans. 
And of course we can highlight huge successes like Sonia Sotomayor, Laurie Hernandez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and on and on … But what of the everyday Latino, working daily from sun up to sun down? 

How can YOU improve your life? At the end of the day, we are in America, the country where you can achieve anything you can imagine, obviously with hard work and effort.  Achieving The American dream. 
In the United States, I straddle both cultures and I recognize that some Latinos still do not understand the process of Networking; as a matter of fact, the word “Networking” does not even translate into Spanish. 

Networking is the process of establishing a relationship where both people can benefit- with a new job, a promotion, a business referral or professional support. tremendously beneficial for students or professionals who want to advance their careers. 

And how does NETWORKING work? What can you do? 
 
FIRST IMPRESSION- Digital Behavior & Appearance 
Let’s address first impressions from Attire & Appearance to Digital Behavior. Clothing, Attire sets the stage for how people perceive you- Clothing should be neat and clean, as well as appropriate for the occasion. Ladies, remember that in the United States, professional attire tends to be more conservative. Be conscious of exceedingly tight or revealing dress…  Sometimes, the dresses, stilettos and makeup look fabulous in club or disco, but are not appropriate for work. 
Second, digital behavior is very important.  What kind of photos or images are you posting? Are you drinking or partying in the photos or videos?  Joking or being too silly?  Posting violent behavior? 

Employers, colleagues, even the police can view your social activity on Facebook, Snapchat, etc. and form an opinion of you and your potential.  Of course, this is completely unfair, but it is a reality of life. 

Protect your image. 
 
Nurture the relationship 
Many people reach out to me, asking for something- A job, a sale, a connection, without even first getting acquainted! Very similar to getting married- You are supposed to bring chocolates and sweets, along with flowers, go dancing and to the movies, hold her hand and compliment her eyes…  Courting and wooing. 
You do not rush directly to the church to get married, right? No, you woo and court first, right? 

 
Before pushing and ask a favor, establish a relationship where you offer to help or serve first. Show your value. Be authentic and genuine, the type of person who attracts and delivers positivity, just like Mr. Palomino, publisher and editor of this newspaper. He has created a network of colleagues and resources for the benefit of the community and has done exceedingly well, growing and contributing; continually providing value and opportunities. 
 
Responsiveness & Following up 
If you meet someone in an event or festival, and offer to connect via a phone call, text or email message, Do it. Period. This validates your credibility. 

If you do not respond to a call / text, within 2 or 3 days that indicates that you do not respect the person. How can I help you, if you do not even have the courtesy to call me back or text?  This is extremely important if you’re looking for a job!  

Karol Snyder, bilingual recruiter, indicates that lack of courtesy and communication prevents many Latinos from getting better jobs. She states she often leaves messages (via Facebook, email, text or phone) and candidates (who have asked for employment opportunities!) do not respond … And if they do respond, it is within 5 to 7 days later with poor excuses. 
This lack of communication and delay in responding impacts your reputation and credibility, making it very difficult to create long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. 
 
Connections 
In this digital world, we are all connected, maybe one or two people removed. Strive to serve as a bridge to connect people who can benefit from knowing one another. For example, if you know a student who dreams of becoming a doctor or judge and there’s a lawyer or professor in your network, you should make the introductions. In making this connection, you will advance both the young person while providing your friend with the opportunity to be a mentor. 

This also opens the gateway to generating sales and leads-if your neighbor is an entrepreneur, say baker or caterer, and you are connected to a local festival looking for local food, connect the dots! Everyone wins. 

 Friends, American life is hard and difficult, especially for those newcomers without strong network. By doing our part, we can create a, powerful, influential and beneficial network, not just for Latinos, but all. Are you in? 
 
I hope to continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, and not just from September 15th to October 15th but throughout the whole year.  Send me a message and let me know how you are building your network! 


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