By Estelle Bah
Does everybody seem to have connections but you? Do you feel like you get overlooked when applying for positions because you don’t know someone on the “inside”? Then this blog is for you.
Everyone always tells you to network, but they never tell you how (or why!) You should network more than just for a job. Every new person you add to your network, is a possible venture. Networking allows you to hear other people’s experience in different fields, the mistakes they made, and the lessons they have learned. It is about more than “getting your foot in the door.” Through networking, you are opening yourself up for new career possibilities, friendships, mentorships, and even perspective.
It is human nature to mingle, but networking is slightly different. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of networking.
- Start with your peers! They may not be able to get you a job now, but these are the people who will be running companies in a few decades. Grabbing a quick coffee now could mean securing an interview later. Introverts…get out there and socialize. It’s important.
- Meet with your professors. Your professors did not get where they are now without some help, it is likely they will want to help you or at least refer you to someone who will. Make sure you don’t immediately ask for an internship, get to know them and their career trajectory (you might be inspired!)
- Attend as many networking events as you can (duh). Beyond that, however, get business cards and emails at these events and reach out. BE CONSISTENT. Ask for advice on which classes you should take, what extracurriculars you should be involved with, and the path they recommend taking. This is a great way to get referred to the company eventually (did you know a referred candidate has a 20x higher chance of receiving the job?!)
- Reach out to alumna. Every university has an alumni database. Play with the database until you find alumni that have a similar career choice and meet with them. Again, you should ask them advice, ask how they like their job, what their day-to-day looks like, etc. This is also another way of eventually getting referred.
- Get to know your parents’ friends. Not only are your parents’ friends possibly in the position to directly influencing hiring, but you will also likely have an advantage because of the personal connection.
Make sure you add every new person you network with on LinkedIn. This way, when you are looking for a job, the people in your network are aware, and they can advocate for you. Start networking TODAY and reach out to PMG. (CTA button for the chat with us page)
Next week: Closely connected to networking is mentorship. Why should you have at least one mentor? We will cover that in our next blog!