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Paul discusses how to network successfully by using tools to keep up with tech events nearby.

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Transcript from the "Networking" Lesson

>> Paul DeBettignies: Now I'll get back to the normal thing of our program. So, I am 48 years old, which means I grew up with Winnie the Pooh. I think Winnie the Pooh was the greatest philosopher ever. If you have, are not familiar with Winnie the Pooh, just Winnie the Pooh, just go to Google and do Winnie the Pooh quotes.

They're amazing. I love this one though when it comes to recruiting, networking, and job search. It tends to be that we create these awesome LinkedIn profiles, we create these awesome websites, and we wait for people to find us. It's kind of a waste, right? We gotta go to other people.

We have to go seek them out. So we're gonna talking about some networking stuff. And I'm going to go through this stuff at apparently fairly quick pace. If you've got questions, stop me, otherwise, I'm going to ramble here for a few minutes. Okay? Don't ask for advice. You're looking for thoughts, advice, and opinions.

When someone says to you, hey, can you help me move? You immediately go, how the heck do I become busy on this Saturday, so I don't have to help you move. But do you know of a mover? Can I borrow your trailer or your truck? Well yeah, just bring it back in one piece.

The difference between the two was an emotional attachment. Can you help me with my job search? No. Can you help me build my website? No. If you were me, how would you build a website? If you were me, how would you reach out to that company? If you were me, where would you go to find my first junior developer role?

Because now, it's, I don't know about you, but I've got lots of noise and and lots of opinions, clearly. And I've got 30 seconds to 25 minutes, depending on my ranting of the day. By the way, side note, I did create on LinkedIn a skill for an endorsement for ranting.

I now have been endorsed six times in the last 24 hours for ranting on LinkedIn. And I'm gonna boost that sucker cuz I think it's awesome. But ask for advice and opinions. Who do we know is hiring, who do you know is looking for someone like me? Who do you know who's looking for someone like me?

Who you know is looking for a junior developer with a strong attachment to community service and nonprofit work? Where would you go if you were me? People will answer those questions, they will answer it on Twitter, they will answer and LinkedIn, they will answer it via email. But if you ask for help, usually, it's like now I got to carry you type feeling and you all experienced this too though, okay?

Who are your connections? So often people say to me, but I don't know anybody. And I really think, well that's BS, clearly. I do it with high school and college students all the time. They'll say, I don't know anybody like how'd you find your boyfriend or your girlfriend, and they'd go so and so and introduce me.

I'm like so you network your way into a boyfriend or girlfriend? And they're like how do you figure out what movie to go to? Well I asked a bunch of friends, so you networked? What happens is we do network in the professional sense, we all get freaked out, we all get locked up.

My God, what am I gonna say, what am I gonna do, I don't know anybody like where am I. You're asking about a movie, like settle down, as an introvert, I'm saying this to you. Some of the introverts, the rumor like yeah but I still can't do that.

I'm not that forward. There's a part of this you have to get over though. And that's hard for me to say but it's kinda true. It's like who did you go to high school with? Who are your peers in your industry? Former bosses. Who were you a boss of, like who read the people that reported to you, you have connections.

Okay? If I am a junior developer and I'm walking out of here this week, I'm going to go home wherever home is and home can also be online. I'm going to start finding some user group and meetups to attend or watch online. This is actually one of the very first things I'm gonna, it's probably seventh first thing I will do after.

I'm telling you all, like this is what you got to do, this is what you got to do. I get that, I said that seven times now. But I will tell you that in order for you to increase your skill set, here's some like stories interact and engage with someone like you.

Find a CTO or senior developer. Do it in person, if you can, in a group of meet up in your town. So you can go to So,, for us in Minneapolis, if you just type Minneapolis user group, there's like a lot. Okay? So last week I was the JavaScript meetup, next week, I'm gonna be at the React meetup.

The last, I just know this instinctively in my mind, the last Monday of the month in Minneapolis St. Paul is the Ruby meetup, Wednesday's the JavaScript meetup. Monday's at Dave block brewery, Wednesday is now at Space one. I just know because this is where I go, and this is where I learn by the way.

By the way, I always sit at the back of the room at every meet up. Because inevitably, in every meet up, someone starts geeking on about something that I have no clue what it's about. And I sit at the back of them, so I can get my work done.

But then still hang out with everybody afterwards. Answer career questions, I answer job search questions. I do this all the time. Every meetup I go to though, I normally meet two or three new people. Usually one or two or a developer that one of my clients would wanna talk to.

This is where you go to learn. These people are giving presentations. They are giving you, here's my code. Take advantage of those opportunities. So here in Minneapolis St. Paul, there's something called, it's the portal for our community. I don't care where you live. If you're in Phoenix or in New York, in your'e Sydney or wherever, find a portal for your city, your state, your region, your country.

Every, I have to, I don't know, there has to be, I don't want to say every, because my region doesn't, most regions do. Figure out what that portal is. Whether it's in person or through Twitter because now you're on Twitter, now you're gonna use Twitter. Now you start following the speakers of the events that you're going to, thank them on Twitter.

Take a photo of them doing their presentation. Say hey, it was really cool that presentation that fill in the blank did last night. Give back, stop just, there's this idea that you just can't go to the bank across the street and take out $1,000 unless you put $1,000 in first.

We tend to try to extract from networking before we actually invested anything. So don't do that. Hackathons are a glorious way to be able to do this, again, whether it's in person or online. You sit with somebody for 48 hours and you've only taken two four hour naps who develop a tribe fast?

You ate a bunch of bad food. Y'all need to take a shower. You're all exhausted. You'll have this fantastic thing to show. And by the way, for a junior developer, this is a glorious opportunity to have something to show afterwards. I attended the hackathon, fill in the blank, sponsored it.

We built this thing for this nonprofit. I helped with the front end, blah, blah, blah. Now you've got something to show. I'm always going to try to make things and find ways to show off what I can do. I can screenshot that, I can put it on the website portfolio that we spoke about earlier, I can put something about it on LinkedIn, and I'm a junior developer looking for a role, that's how you tie it all together.

Find the cool kids, networking stuff, you are at any event, go back to your junior high school days, there was always that one kid who had seven other kids around them. And that's where you go when you don't have a network of people. Go find where the cool kids are and hang out and get involved in their conversations, listen and say hello my name is.

When you're a junior developer, you have free reign to introduce yourself to everybody because everybody expects it, and most people will try to give you some advice. Take advantage of this opportunity. It's not a bad thing. It can be a good thing. Find the cool kids. Network gravity is the concept of this.

It's like a tree. It goes back to earlier, the idea of now you found the CTO for that startup cuz they posted a job. I want to suggest you, if it's a company of 150, or 200, or less, email the CEO, email the CTO. Hey, I see you're looking for an intern for the summer of 2019.

My name is and I am a, don't just fill out online, don't just go through their HR at, send an email to the CEO. Here's the idea. You could start off with high in the trees, you can, you will fall down within it but if you start at the bottom, you cannot work your way up.

My HR generalist friends, my recruiting HR friends get pissed when I give this advice cuz we're going around them, hell yes. If I'm a junior developer and I'm looking for a job, I'm going to the person who can probably get me there the fastest. The CTO, the CEO, not the decision makers, but now they will forward you to the hiring manager or the HR person who now is compelled to get back to you because they're in a hole if they don't.

Take advantage of this.