One of the goals that programs within the College of Health and Human Services encourages is networking with professionals within each student's industry. Gabriel Murray is a Family and Consumer Sciences - Fashion Merchandising major who has had the opportunity to create a valuable working relationship with Wendy Manasse, who frequently takes in interns within the program at CSULB. Read more below as he shares his experiences in the industry and why networking is important to a student's success in their career.
Describe an experience where you have had success in networking with industry professionals.
Networking with industry professionals is difficult, but technology has made it much easier to network directly. I had success networking by using social media to get my first step in with an industry professional. The professional had posted on Instagram looking for an assistant for an upcoming project, and I noticed my skills fit the requirements perfectly. I direct messaged him inquiring about the job, and luckily, my message was noticed. I was able to get an interview and have been helping them ever since.
How have you built and maintained community in a professional setting?
I've maintained community in a professional setting by taking advantage of my technological skills and doing a lot of remote work to stay connected due to COVID-19. I also used the resources given to me by CHHS, and I connected with industry professional Wendy Manasse through Professor Marshall from FMD 351. And now, I can connect with more of Wendy's network and further expand my community.
How have you built and maintained community with peers, friends and family given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19?
Keeping a community with my friends and family has been difficult, but technology has been the main way I stay connected. I FaceTime my family often to keep in touch, and if I plan to visit, I always make sure to get tested ahead of time and take the necessary precautions.
What advice would you give to other students who would like to learn about networking and/or apply networking skills to their own life?
Most importantly, I would say to constantly keep putting yourself out there because you're increasing your chances of meeting someone who could help push your career. The way I got my first internship in the fashion industry was to send out cold e-mails or direct messages to industry professionals that I had already been paying attention to. Most of the time, I wouldn't get a response. However, after doing so many, I learned exactly how to pitch myself to an industry professional.
What are your future professional goals/plans after graduation?
After I graduate, I would love to dive into the more creative side of the industry. In the future, I want to take on big projects with styling. Whether for live performances, magazines, editorials, or photoshoots, I see myself working within that space. But what I want to do can change with the more experience I get. For now, I'll be taking advantage of the skills I have gained from my internships to work in the more digital side of the fashion industry, which can relate to social media, branding, and product photography.