The first step in building your network
Starting out or looking to expand your career is difficult. There's so much to consider. It's complex.
I've seen young designers completely overwhelmed with the fear of taking the first step.
One of the things that haunted me when I was starting out—and it continued years into my career—was the lack of a network. I just didn't feel 'connected'. I remember being in first year University and not knowing who Chiat Day were. (I later found out.)
The thought of building a network petrified me. Without a link into the industry, an existing network of 'connected' friends—I was at a loss to know where to begin.
Granted, today I have a very broad and deep network of colleagues, friends, mentors and influencers whom I regularly keep in touch with.
To take this first step I suggest getting to know the industry you're trying to grow into — get to know the people, the businesses intimately from a healthy distance.
Simply start listening and have your metaphorical radar switched on. Without it you're missing out on the day-to-day, week-to-week events of the industry you're looking to enter, or move into.
With this simple amount of intelligence you've broken down the first critical barrier — the fear of the unknown.
Here's a way you can turn your network radar on.
I love the Twitter platform, I've been a member since 2008, and it has definitely grown up and thrived since then. Like any social media platform, it's only as good as the feed you curate. Bad curation = bad feed.
I follow many people who inspire me, influence my thinking, teach me new things and sometimes give me a good reason to laugh out loud. People like Nick Hallam, Madeleine Baud and whoever it is that tweets for R/GA are people whom I tune into regularly for insight, intelligence and in the case of R/GA, comedic relief.
True story: I hired Madeleine after following her on Twitter and seeing how intelligent, witty and creative her writing was.
Twitter lists are a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to them. They collect like-minded, on-topic people into one, easy to access list which you can subscribe to. It's a simple way to build a Twitter feed, but an even simpler way to find the people you're trying to connect with.
Below, I've put together 35 Twitter lists with over 15,000 designers, strategists, brand experts, advertising planners and creatives you can follow to start tuning your network radar. They're all tweeting relevant information that will help you build a career in design.
Some might turn into mentors, others will influence you day-to-day and give you a glimpse into an industry you may not know that much about.
Start listening to what they're talking about, the content they're sharing, the people they're interacting with. From time to time a discussion will fire up—if you feel like it, contribute to it. Say hello and jump in. Watch for awards announcements, notice which agency is changing, moving or shifting focus. It's all valuable intelligence for you as you embark on, or are growing into, a purposeful career in design, user experience, strategy and innovation:
- Design Jobs by Maxwell Hannon, 133 Members
- Inspirational Designers by Chris McLean, 2988 Members
- The BCorp List by Hunter Boyle, 2550 Members
- Product Hunters by Lewis Bertolucci, 947 Members
- CX Tweets by Niels van den Broek, 2954 Members
- Creativity Folks by Nilooka Dissanayake, 1653 Members
- Human-centered design col by Aislinn Malszecki, 2485 Members
- Executive leadership by Evan Wahl, 4992 Members
- Inclusive Design by Shannon O'Donald, 1386 Members
- Purpose by Bill Johnston, 1446 Members
- UX Nerds by Pioneer Digital, 4988 Members
- UX by Nick Leech, 4963 Members
- UX daily news by UXfails, 4988 Members
- UX Designers by UX Alive, 4964 Members
- TED talks by Useful Science, 2262 Members
- Everything about UX by Garry, 2612 Members
- adsfurn/ads by Adam Furness, 4973 Members
- My fellow Business People by Jacob Laguerre, 4967 Members
- Ethical Lifestyle by coqenpate 4982 Members
- Melbourne by BVSINESS™, 862 Members
- Purpose Peeps 2015 by Wildwon, 138 Members
- experience design minds by Ryan Nance, 4987 Members
- Professionals to follow by Guys Health&Success, 4532 Members
- designthinking by Jens Hartmann, 4918 Members
- Innovation Design by Liza Beth, 4994 Members
- Creative by Helen Arvanitopoulos, 88 Members
- Creativity & Innovation by ilias Benjelloun, 3058 Members
- Branding by Brandfolder, 1456 Members
- Digital People by Neil Nand, 667 Members
- Strategy by adrianho, 486 Members
- Digital-Agencies by Daniel Doherty, 340 Members
- Creative leaders by JPd Agency, 9 Members
- Advertising by Dimitris Savvakos, 48 Members
- Design and Designers by Steven Caddy, 59 Members
- Awesome People Too by RockMonster, 356 Members
I'd love to know the social media platform and channels you're using for inspiration and knowledge in your career.