Ethan Sobel COM’13 Gets Down to The Nuts and Bolts of Networking

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. It may be cliché, but it’s true.” Ethan Sobel, alumnus of the COM PR graduate program, and now, Assistant Director at BU Hillel, believes this is the direction the job market is going in. “Networking is a constant process,” Sobel said. “It’s about going beyond the norm, and using every available resource to get ahead.”

Ethan Sobel (COM’13) staffing BU Hillel’s Alternative Spring Break trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Ten students spent a week with Project Ten and The Jewish Agency for Israel performing social justice work in local impoverished communities.

Like many students after graduation, Ethan Sobel (COM’13) was fresh out of school and looking for a job. He found an increasingly competitive market, making it difficult for employers to tell the prospective hire and his competition apart. After all, everyone has a resume, and everyone can write a cover letter. To land your dream job, you need to stand out.“You need to break the status quo,” Sobel explained.

“You can’t just be another resume, and you do that by finding people who will get you pushed to the top,” Sobel said. “Networking is about establishing a symmetrical relationship where you both get something out of it. Find that person who will pick up the phone and go the extra mile for you.”

Being able to network is important for everyone; however, it is especially important for communication professionals. Being sociable, persuasive, and an effective communicator is attractive. As a trained communicator, Sobel channels those qualities at his job, whether it’s reaching out to alumni for donations or supervising students.

Sobel (COM’13) supervising 40 undergraduates on his second-of-three BU Birthright Israel trips since arriving on campus in 2014.

His secret weapon is the “coffee date.”

“Having a conversation with someone is important,” the COM alum said. “Making them feel heard will incentivize them to listen to you. There isn’t a formula or process to it.

“What’s missing in our generation is the ability to connect with someone. People want to see you. No one is going to be mad if you approach them and are genuinely interested in talking to them. Go beyond the Twitter-verse and talk to people.”

Communication professionals need to be able to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. In some cases, even MySpace is appropriate, but when it comes down to it, they also need to know how to talk to an audience and connect with them. The answer to the question that makes your brain itch and your blood boil is simple: You make connections by being invested in people.


Christopher Lourie, Staff Writer

Christopher Lourie is a junior in COM studying advertising. His passions are competitive cheese sculpting and spork fishing. He has been a blacksmith for several years. His ultimate dream is to be the first man to step foot in the center of the earth.

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