The prospect of graduating can be terrifying.
You’ve just spent 3 or 4 years of your life in a world consumed by schedules, lectures, and libraries. And now, you’re left with your hard-earned college degree but you’re still not confident that you can land a great job.
Well, you’re not alone, a lot of soon-to-be graduates feel this way.
Yet, a lot of graduates are missing one simple trick that could be the key to securing a great job after graduating. That trick can be intimidating at first – but has the potential to change the course of your career.
So what is it? Well, you probably guessed by the headline…
So, what exactly is networking?
Here’s how dictionary.com define networking:
“The act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups, and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships.”
The challenge here, however, is not simply understanding the definition of networking but rather, applying it to your own life.
Our academic partners at Richmond, The American International University in London visited us in Leeds recently to deliver a presentation as part of our 2019 Employability Fair, primarily focused on the power of networking when looking to begin your career.
They gave our student-athletes 4 killer networking strategies that could help, here’s what the suggest:
1. Identify your existing network
2. Use LinkedIn to expand your network
3. Set up informational interviews
4. Don’t be afraid to cold-call/cold-email
Every university student is already engaged in networking, in some form or another. Friends, classmates, family members, former colleagues or supervisors, professors—all of these contacts can help link you up to potential employment opportunities. If you’re looking for a job, your first stop should be to start asking around to the people you know. Over 70% of hired candidates find their job through networking.
After speaking to your initial circle of friends, family, and professional contacts start to expand your network further. Alumni are an incredible resource. As Richmond students, you can tap into a network of 15,000+ prestigious Richmond alumni spread around the
globe—many of whom are eager to offer advice about initial career pathways to current students or recent graduates. Once you have a professional-ready LinkedIn profile, you can search on the Richmond LinkedIn alumni page or the RIASA LinkedIn page to find contacts in a specific region, field, or even those employed at a particular company.
Once you’ve found a potential contact, send a short, professional message to ask them about setting up an informational interview. An informational interview is a short, 15-20 minute conversation with someone in the field that allows you to do a bit of information-gathering. It can be a chance to learn more about what they do and hear general advice about getting into the field, and potentially you might begin building a professional relationship!
Our experience is that the students who take an active role in finding opportunities and making them happen to end up with the best results. Don’t be passive and wait for an opportunity to be posted on a job board. Reaching out and sending an email to a company you’re interested in can be the pre-emptive step that puts your name on their radar. Even better, being the type of applicant who isn’t afraid to make a professional cold call can give
you the extra oomph to really stand out.
Thanks for reading!
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