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Networking

The most important job search rule is: Don’t wait until the job is open! Most jobs are filled by someone the employer meets before a job is formally “open”. So the trick is to meet people who can hire you before a job is available. Instead of saying “Do you have any job openings?,” say “I realize you may not have any openings now, but I would still like to talk to you about the possibility of future openings.” 

Networking Tips for Students

It’s never too early to begin to network. In today’s competitive job market, you have to start developing contacts early, both to help you explore career options and to get leads to employment opportunities. Most studies show that the majority of jobs are obtained through some type of networking. Today’s employers want more assurances that you’ll be a good fit. The best way to get this assurance is to hire individuals they know or who are recommended to them by people they trust. 

Here are a few tips: 

  • Let everyone know that you are looking for a job. You never know who may know someone looking for someone with your skills.
  • Meet each person (new acquaintance or former acquaintance) as if he/she could be your next boss.
  • Take advantage of the time employers spend on our campus whether it’s for a job fair, on-campus interviewing, class presentation, advisory committee meetings or a casual visit.
  • Introduce yourself to the potential employers when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Tell the employers your career goals. (If they don’t have a current need for someone with your skills, perhaps they know of a company that does.)
  • Follow-up by contacting these referrals and ask them the same questions.
  • Beware of your language and behavior at all times. You never know when a potential employer may walk up behind you, stroll through the classroom door, or sit within earshot of your conversations in the cafeteria.
  • Get involved. Look for ways to develop your skills and satisfy your values by joining organizations that do something you care about, on-campus or off-campus organizations. Attend professional conferences. It’s a good idea to attend conferences to learn more about a particular career field and to make valuable contacts.
  • Connect with people. Think about what you can do to begin cultivating professional relationships.
  • Use the Internet and email. The Internet is a great source of information on managing your job search. There are several resources listed on the MTI website. With email, you can contact anyone, anywhere who has an online address.
  • Have a resume on hand whether you think you need it or not.
  • Get in the habit of writing thank-you notes.
  • Start a portfolio. Portfolios are folders that contain information documenting your accomplishments and provide evidence of your skills. These usually include letters of recommendation and are supplemental to your resume.

Three networking questions to ask:

  1. “Do you know of any openings for a person with my skills?” If the answer is no, then ask:
  2. “Do you know of someone else who might know of such an opening?” If they do, get the name and ask for another one. If they don’t, than ask:
  3. “Do you know of anyone who might know of someone else who might?” Another way to ask this is, “Do you know someone who knows lots of people?” If all else fails, this will usually get you a name.

Where to Network:

  • One-on-one meetings
  • Conferences and conventions
  • Job fairs
  • On-campus visits by business and industry
  • Social/recreational/community settings
  • Networking can take place just about anywhere
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