As college students, we are constantly told that the best way to find a job will be to network. We hear it, smile, nod and continue on not really knowing how important that little aspect can be. But what does it really mean to network? How do you start? Who do you talk to?
In this economy it is especially important to start finding those connections and utilizing them to help you find your first job, and possibly future jobs as well. Here are some tips on how to start.
- Know what you want to achieve: Once you know what you want you will become more confident in your ability to find it. Develop an “elevator speech” that let’s someone know who you are and what you are looking for. As long as you can articulate why you’re so great, others will be bound to believe what they hear.
- Brand yourself: Be a name that someone will want to pass on. Let people know why you are a memorable person. Show them how your abilities, creativity, and skills set you apart from others. This will give you an edge when someone needs to pass on a potential job candidate.
- Talk to people you already know: Some of your best contacts are the ones you already have. Your professors, family friends, club leaders, and other people you know. You can talk to these people about any contacts they might have in your field. Informational interviews can be extremely helpful for future job possibilities.
- Don’t be a pest: Once you’re in touch with a network contact, remember that they have jobs and lives. It’s fine to persistent but not pushy. If they don’t email you back right away, be patient- it could just be a busy week at work for them.
- Stay in touch with potential future network contacts: If you have done informational interviews or made any future contacts make sure you keep in touch with them. Send thank-you notes, write emails checking-in, or follow them on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
University of Minnesota