Find Your Next Job by Networking.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but rather who you know”. Approximately 80% of all jobs are not posted but are filled through some form of networking.
So, what exactly is networking and how do you network? Simply put, networking is just connecting with others. You probably do some networking every day when you talk with family, friends, relatives, classmates, co-workers, or faculty. Professional networking can help you explore career paths, obtain advice about your job search, uncover job opportunities and obtain employer information. Networking becomes easier with practice. You are good at networking already. Think about it - you're on Facebook, you blog, you tweet, you IM. What makes you successful in these environments are the same skills that can aid and even lead to a successful job or internship search.
Where to Start
Set goals regarding how many contacts you want to make daily, weekly, or monthly to reach the ultimate job or internship. Have a planned, practiced 30-second pitch that is clear and delivered with energy that creates interest. Get contacts from:
Recruiting Events. Every employer event posted in I-Link Business is a networking opportunity. When an employer comes to campus, engage in a short conversation. At the completion of the conversation, request a business card and follow-up.
Social Networking. Career search contacts can be made via LinkedIn and Facebook, among others. The MBA, MSA, MSF, and MS-TM programs each have LinkedIn groups for current students and alumni. These are great arenas for finding and connecting with alumni. See tips on utilizing social networking sites for your job search.
Alumni Events. Attend functions arranged by your academic program.
College of Business Alumni Mentors Program. This program offers a mentor to any student in the College. Students are matched with College of Business Alumni through an online program that allows you to make preferences about your mentors' occupation, years out of school, degree, and region of the world. This is a one-on-one, year long, mentoring relationship providing benefits such as education and career advice, networking opportunities, and a life-long professional contact.
Student Organizations. Most student organizations in the College of Business have an alumni list or a list of contacts. Become an active member of an organization and take advantage of these contacts and your common affiliation.
Friends and Family. With a little searching, you will be able to find someone in your personal network that might be a great career contact.
Building Your Network
Networking can occur by phone, e-mail, and in person. It is that easy. Everyone has been where you are and is willing to help, provided you approach them professionally.
Be sure to:
- Introduce yourself properly and explain that you are seeking information about their firm, their career path, or the industry
- Ask good questions; keep them brief and focused
- Be cognizant of your contact's time
- Never ask for a job or internship right off the bat
- Keep your network up-to-date on what is happening in your professional development
- Look for ways you can benefit the other person
- Stay in touch with your contacts
Informational interviews are a great way to gain real insight into the career you're considering. Informational interviews are interviews that you initiate with the goal of gathering information about a field, company or career. They are great networking tools which can help you also build contacts in the field. See our guide on informational interviewing.
Questions That Start Dialogue
What positions have you held since college graduation?
On a typical day, what do you do? With whom do you interact?
What projects did you work on in your first year and what did you find most challenging?
What is the most effective way to find employment in this field?
Has the work changed recently due to technology, the marketplace, or competition, etc.?
How do you see this job changing in the future?
Where does your work fit into the organization's objective and structure?
Is there a career path that most in this field follow?
What are the basic prerequisites for a job in this field?
In your opinion, what would assist me in preparing for this career? (clubs, classes, experiences)
What personal qualities or abilities are important to be successful in this job?
How should I prepare for an interview in this field?
Would you look over my résumé and tell me if there are ways I could make it more marketable to recruiters?