Networking is the number one way people get jobs. As a college student, establishing a network leading up to and throughout your job search is essential. Below are techniques to help you create and tap into your personal network.
FIRST: BUILD A NETWORK*
*Maintain this network in whatever way works for you, just be sure to keep your contacts organized.
- Get a LinkedIn Account - This networking site is like Facebook for professionals.
TIP: For a LinkedIn tutorial guide stop by Career Services.
- Ask at Home - Go to your personal network, which includes family, professors, high school teachers, etc…
TIP: Start thinking of everyone as a potential contact; stop thinking "my mom's friend," and start thinking "connection to great company in my hometown."
- Contact Previous Employers - Have you had an internship at a great organization already? Have you contacted your former boss yet?
TIP: Maybe a previous job ties into somewhere you would like to work. Maybe you worked retail at Ann Taylor - have you checked for jobs/internships at their corporate headquarters?
- Attend On-Campus Events - Each person you meet is a potential contact in your network. Ask for business cards and follow up with people who come to campus.
TIP: Look for on-campus career panels, departmental presentations and networking events. Alumni, presenters and employers who come to such events are there to help!
- Career/Internship/Post Graduate Service Fairs: Each semester, meet with managers and recruiters invited to campus.
TIP: Bring multiple copies of your resume and dress professionally at these events.
THEN, USE YOUR NETWORK:
- Set up Informational Interviews: Get in touch with contacts who work in positions or organizations that you are interested in.
TIP: Search the mentor database in Career Connection to find alumni in your chosen field or job title.
- Send your resume: Draft a cover letter to tell your networks that you are in the market for an internship and/or job. This letter should indicate what you'd like to do and when you are available. Ask your network to let you know if they have heard of anything that might fit your qualifications.
TIP: Keep your resume in Career Connection, so you always have access to it at a moment's notice.
- Ask your network if they know people working in your chosen industries/companies: A resume submitted through an employee referral almost always goes farther than one submitted blindly to HR.
TIP: Be open to working at smaller companies in your chosen industry. You may experience greater responsibilities than if you worked at a bigger, more well-known company.
- Above all, be respectful! Do NOT barrage your contacts with requests constantly. Be very aware of their time and always, always send a thank you note!