The Power of Networking

Ciara Graves ’16
Networking is one of the most important ways to discover the jobs that are most worthwhile pursuing and learn from others in your field. It is a way to make connections that may lead to opportunities in the future or create great professional relationships.
But for many of us, the word "networking" conjures up visions of trying to strike up conversations in a room full of strangers and searching for ways to break the ice. Or, we might feel apprehensive about trying to connect online with people we don't really know and wonder what the etiquette is. 

Luckily, networking doesn't have to be awkward or difficult, and here are six tips from Ciara Graves ’16 that might help. 

  1. Do your research. Check out social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook) to find connections who work at companies and in industries of interest.

  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those connections and be clear about your intentions, e.g looking for an internship.

  3. After you connect with someone, check in once in a while. Whether it is a birthday message or congratulating them on a recent promotion, they will appreciate it more than you might think.
  4. Always be genuine and have good intentions. Connect with people you admire and respect. 

  5. Put yourself in an environment where you can learn more and continue to grow in your field that interests you most. 

  6. It gets easier with practice. You don’t have to be perfect, but if you put in the effort, it will be easier next time. You can even role play with a friend and identify areas that you need to work on.

    To hear more from Ciara, listen to her Quaker Matters podcast episode here.

    Ciara Graves ’16 graduated from Elon University in 2020 with her B.S. in Music Production and Recording Arts. During her time at Elon, Ciara was a member of the student-run record label called Limelight Records, performed in Elon’s electronic music ensemble called Techtronica, and studied abroad in Germany, Austria, and Hungary for Elon’s “Lives of the Great Composer’s program. Upon her graduation from Elon, Ciara continued her music education and studied Online Music Production at Icon Collective College of Music where she graduated in 2021 and was nominated for 2020 Student of the Year. 

    In July 2021, she began her career at Thrive Music as a Marketing Manager, focusing on social media and audience development strategy. Ciara made an immediate impact as she led the marketing campaigns for the single, “Do it To It (ACRAZE mix)” by ACRAZE. The song, which amassed over 12.2 billion global streams since its release in 2021, has 3.4 million videos created on TikTok using the song and received an award from iHeartRadio for “Best Dance Song of the Year” for 2021. For her outstanding work, Ciara received a gold record in 2022. 

    Ciara was recently promoted and currently serves as the Marketing Director/Social Media & Audience Development Strategy at Thrive Music. When asked to reflect on what she loves most about her work, Ciara states, “What I love the most about my job at Thrive Music is it allows me to work closely with the artists we sign to the label. Being able to play a role in fulfilling an artist’s creative vision is an absolute dream. Each day is not like the last, and I am lucky to spend my days developing creative marketing campaigns and working with some of the artists who I looked up to as a kid.”
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