Shoot your shot in the professional world

By Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

Shoot your shot.

It’s a phrase we have all heard before. In most cases, it refers to pursuing someone that is interested in or taking a chance at something before that very opportunity is lost.

Why not have this same mindset when it comes to pursuing our career paths or landing that first interview with an employer?

By this phrase, I do not mean acting in a way that skips over the necessities that are key in working your way up in your future job or upcoming opportunity. “Shooting your shot” does not mean being pushy in a way that you portrays you as entitled to a position you hope to attain. When I think of “shooting your shot,” it is having this type of mindset can open up doors that will allow you to develop important and appropriate relationships with professionals in your field of interest.

In a way, it’s a scaled up approach at networking by acting bold and showing that you are not afraid to put your best foot forward. Let’s say that a speaker comes to visit your class, and you have a great interest in the field they are working in. Even just by asking for a business card and sending a thank you email, this can begin a meaningful professional relationship. Who knows? It could even lead to a tour of their workspace or office. The worse they can say is no, and redirection can come from rejection — so why not take a chance?

Doing your research is a vital part to the puzzle. When you make that first approach or send that first email, having an adequate and accurate understanding of the opportunity that you are pursuing will allow you to come across in a confident manner, and it will show whomever you communicate with that you truly are passionate about the opportunity.

Don’t hold back.

Throughout your college journey, you meet countless individuals from various ages, industries and backgrounds. With over 7.6 billion people in the world and with the incredible power of technology, you have the ability to network with individuals across the globe. There is a theory called the “six degrees of separation” that Stanley Milgram created in the 1960s. It states that “all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other.” Whatever your stance may be on this theory, it is true that open doors are all around you. You must be bold enough to take that first step in walking through them.

Shooting your shot will require you to get out of your comfort zone. If you have not already, try researching various conventions and workshops in your field. I have found that these are some of the best places to develop meaningful connections with individuals in your field. Don’t just limit yourself to your own city. Expand your options, because you never know who you could meet. Now, it doesn’t stop there. Something just as important, if not more important, than the initial greeting is the follow-up. Always make time to thank that person you are connecting with, because this is where the lasting relationship can truly begin.

LinkedIn is an excellent resource for developing professional relationships. Through this networking site, you have the opportunity to find, connect and follow-up with professionals in your field of study.

The job or internship search can be stressful, but it is important to remain confident and genuine within every conversation you have or connection you make. As you read through job requirements, years of experience needed and other details that may seem to disqualify you, don’t let that stop you. If you land an internship, think outside the box and in a way that is not like the other 10 candidates they may have seen that day.

“No one is you, and that is your power” is a quote by Dave Grohl that I have admired for years. In a world where it can become easy for some to remain satisfied, it is important to remember and think about the qualities that make you stand out. This mindset can take you to the next level.

Do your research. Be genuine. Go get it.

There is nothing wrong with having a “shoot your shot” type of mindset when it comes to networking in the professional world.