Have you ever heard of the phrase “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”? Sometimes this phrase applies to the job search. 75 to 95 percent of jobs are never advertised, instead candidates are plucked from the insider network. Another applicant may be more likely to get the same job you want if they already know someone within the company who speaks highly of their work and advocates for their ability to fit in with the organization.
So how can you make connections and show others that you have the necessary skills for the job? Networking is the best way for you to form relationships for the job search. As a college student, being told to start networking can be intimidating. However, the process can be quite simple, and even fun!
Start by connecting with a family friend or an alumni from your college. You never know who may be working for your dream company or has a family member that is hiring.
Not sure what to do once you have contacted someone? Here are some tips for networking:
- When talking with someone, do not make the entire conversation about yourself. Ask them about their interests and hobbies. Get to know more about them as a person.
- If you are shy, try bringing a friend to a networking event who is very social to break the ice.
- Don’t go into the networking event or meeting expecting to be offered a job. Go in ready to demonstrate what you can offer to the organization.
- Do go in with a plan of making personal connections first and professional connections second. If you are talking to someone as a friend, the conversation will be less forced than viewing that person as just an employer.
- Have a goal. Do you want to schedule an informational interview or seek opportunities in a specific field? Be ready to voice your goal to those you are talking with.
- Bring business cards! If you don’t have a job yet, write your name, major, and contact information on the business card. These will be invaluable when putting your name out there.
- Once you have formed a new contact, make sure to follow up with that person! Email, phone, LinkedIn, or another social media site. Even go as far as sending them a handwritten card.
- Be excited to talk to new people and expand your network! Your positivity will show.
If you are ready to start getting out there and really creating your network, NAU is having a networking event for students to talk with those working in organizations that are making a difference. Careers with Impact or the Career and Graduate School Expo will be the perfect place for you to talk to a professional in a casual setting and inquire about future internships or jobs.careers-with-impact-teaser-flier-pdf
This past summer I went to a conference where I made it my mission to talk to everyone I sat next to. Through conversations about the conference and our interests, I forged connections with people in many different fields and gained an internship with Put A Price On It.
Whether it is your freshmen year of college or you already are working in your job field, networking is instrumental to developing your career.