If you’re a college student in your last year of school and are going to be graduating fairly soon, we know that the next part of your life trajectory involves finding a job. In today’s competitive market, that’s no easy task. But there are things you can do to help you stand out amongst your peers in securing a position. Here’s how you can use networking to start the beginning of your career.
Attend career fairs/events
Go to your campus’ career center and get a list of all the events they plan on hosting from now until your graduation date. Then attend all of them. Find out what types of companies are going to be there and research them so that when you speak to someone on their staff, you’ll be prepared to ask good questions and will be knowledgeable about what they do. The first step to networking is finding people to network with, and career fairs/events provide the ideal opportunity to do just that.
Create your own opportunities
However, don’t depend solely on your campus to give you the opportunity to mix and mingle with other professionals. Do your research and see if other organizations or companies you’re interested in are hosting their own events and attend those as well. You can even request an informational interview by contacting someone directly through the company. Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to individuals or companies.
You also don’t have to be in a designated networking event in order to network. Opportunities are all around you in your daily life. Strike up a conversation with the person standing in line next to you at Starbucks; ask your family and friends if they know someone you can get in touch with; talk to people on your bus commute or at your church. You may just be at the right place at the right time—but you’ll never know unless you try.
Join a professional organization related to your industry
If you’re going to be graduating with a Bachelor’s in Accounting, make sure you take advantage and join the professional organizations on your campus related to your industry. Once you’re a member, go to their events, run for office, and be as involved as possible because often times they will have connections to other organizations and companies that you can easily be introduced to. It’s also a great perk to have on your resume and will give you more exposure to the field so that you know what niche of the industry you’d like to go into.
Use LinkedIn & Twitter
Many people think that LinkedIn is the only way to connect to other professionals. They forget that Twitter is also a great resource. Use the two tools to your advantage. Connect with both the company and any individuals you spoke to from that company on these platforms. Share, retweet, or comment on things they post on Twitter and LinkedIn. Find out what they’re interested in and share articles regarding those topics with them. You can build a good relationship with them on these platforms so that you come first to mind should a job opening in their company present itself. So if you don’t have either of these accounts, create them now!
It’s one thing to take the first step and reach out to network with different professionals, organizations, and companies. It’s another to make sure that you follow through in maintaining upkeep with the relationships. So follow up with anyone that you connect or communicate with. Whether you’re interacting with someone to learn more about the industry or a job, or simply want to keep in touch so that you have a wide network available to you, it’s important that you nurture these relationships.
We’re wishing you all the best of luck on your job search! Remember that it’s not always what you know, but who you know that can help you get your foot in the door. So reach out to people, use your confidence and charisma, and you could be accepting an offer soon! Know of any other networking tips? Leave them in the comments section!