Trevor Toczydlowski

Building a Network is Easier than it Seems

For me, the hardest part of getting ready to transition from being a student to being a professional was finding those individuals in my field who could serve as mentors or contacts. While some were brought into my life via classroom visitors or other methods, I had really struggled to make meaningful connections with people in my field. However, after John Hill visited our class to show us how to really use LinkedIn, I feel much more equipped to find the kind of mentors that can make a big impact early on in my career.

John Hill, who is the VP of Network at the accelerator company Techstars, came and talked to our class about what his career path has looked like. His path took him to many different places that he would’ve never imagined himself going. He was originally a journalism major, but transitioned into working with alumni at MSU, and working with LinkedIn before his current role at Techstars. I have already used the tools he showed us within LinkedIn to make more connections that will hopefully become more than just online connections and can become real life mentors and friends.

We also had the opportunity to chat with Julianne Pepitone, who is currently a freelance writer, but has also worked for CNN Money and NBC. She was a successful writer there, but was ready for a change and the opportunity to be her own boss. She had a wide range of interests and now she has the ability to cover whatever story interests her the most. Her peers also warned her about the risks of not making the kind of money that is necessary to support her lifestyle, but in her first year as a freelancer, she made 45% more money than she did in her last year working for NBC.

She did mention that a downside of freelancing and working from home can be that it be easy to isolate yourself. She keeps herself from doing that by only allowing herself to work 40 hours a week and spending the rest of the time with her family. I don’t think I could ever do freelancing, but she makes it seem much more enjoyable than I would’ve first thought.

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