Of all the skills you gain while recruiting, networking is probably the one that will be the most challenging for some, but will help you the rest of your career. Networking means to develop contacts or exchange info with others as to further a career.
Did you know, that according to bnet.com, 80% of people get their jobs based on connections; knowing someone who knows someone. This means they either have to be a family member, friend, friend of a friend, or you met them while networking.
Networking puts a face to a resume and the more you meet people and have good conversations, the more likely they are to recommend you for a position at their company.
To start out, you have to find places where networking occurs. Here is a list of potential places to network:
- On campus organizations: most universities have an accounting club or Beta Alpha Psi that offers a career fair or end of the year networking banquet
- State societies: Join your state society and get involved with other student and professional members
- Other organizations: There are a number of professional accounting organizations that offer regular networking opportunities. These may include ASWA, IMA, NABA, ASCEND, and many more!
- Students and professors: Simply networking with others in your situation will help your job hunt. It may not be now, but down the road your classmate could be hiring! Also, professors know the recruiters on your campus and can help you get connected.
Be effective at Networking
It is one thing to walk in a room and meet a bunch of people, but there are tips and tricks to make the most of the situation. First and foremost is to make a good impression. Have a firm handshake, look them in their eyes and smile you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Second, make certain to accomplish your goals. If you came to get a job, make sure you dont spend the majority of your time at the food table get out there and mingle! Also, if you know who will be in attendance beforehand, do your research and make sure to talk with those people.
Lastly, leave a positive feeling with those you meet. Avoid negative topics and leave the conversation with an open door. We could write an entire blog post on conversation skills, but for the sake of this topic, well move on.
While this cannot be accomplished without the first two steps, following up is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the.. well, you know what we mean.
When you meet a professional any professional at a networking event, it is important to follow up with them. Get a business card and make notes on what you spoke with them about. That way, when you get home and realize you’ve collected 20 business cards, you will remember who is who.
Write a thank you email to them saying that you enjoyed meeting them and learning about their company, you enjoyed talking about xyz, and you look forward meeting them again in the future. Its always good to leave with an open door so they know that newly formed relationship will continue to grow. If you plan on applying with that particular company, your open door may be, and I look forward to hear from you soon regarding the position with your company.
Hand written thank you notes are also a good idea if you REALLY need that job. Recruiters love to see that you are engaged in looking for a job and are serious about the company. You would be surprised how many people don’t send a hand written note, so break out of the mold and send one!
In conclusion, success can come through WHO you know as well as WHAT you know. Its important to get good grades, have a good resume, but without that face behind the paper, you wont get far.
Here is a YouTube presentation by Roger on How to Prepare for Meet the Firms where he goes into great detail about networking.