How To Network Your Way To A Job

You’ve all seen The Social Network, right? Well whether you have or haven’t, it’s apparent that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are taking the young adult population by storm.

And while these sites are helpful for talking to friends, sharing pictures and updating everyone about your life, they can be distracting from another type of networking that could help you land a job—talking to professionals and doing it in person.

We’re so used to communicating through cell phones and the Internet that we sometimes forget about talking face to face. Impressions last longer when you meet people in person, and you definitely want to be remembered if you’re seeking a job.

Start With Your Professors

The easiest place to start networking in college is with your professors.  Always pay attention in class, ask and answer questions, participate in discussions, and sit towards the front. All of these combined make a good impression on the instructor. Talking to professors about future plans is key—these are people that have been in the field for a while and have connections to people that may want to hire you. I’ve found the majority of professors I’ve had just want to see you succeed and are willing to help you out any way they can. As long as you’re friendly and make an honest effort in class, they will be there for you. Remember that they’ve been in your position before and have the inside tips you want to know.

Take Advantage of Career Fairs

Utilize any career fairs that your school holds if you’re looking into internships. It’s tough to land a job right out of college if you haven’t had any internship experience. The professionals at career fairs come from all sorts of businesses, big and small, and talking to them could be your key to landing an internship. Stop by any booth that interests you and make small talk with the people working. Tell them about what you’d like to do in the future and how a job with them could be beneficial for the both of you.  If you show enough interest and potential, they’ll most likely give you their business card. Don’t lose it! Networking with professionals that already have the job you want helps you set goals you want to achieve in the near future.

Foster Relationships

Once you’ve charmed your way to internship, it’s important to remember the networking doesn’t stop here. In fact, it pretty much starts here! Internships are truly the easiest way to get a job after school. Companies that hire interns will commonly hire those same people for a real job afterwards if they did a good job. Talk to anyone and everyone during your internship—the more people you talk to, the more connections. It’s important to get their numbers and info, but make sure they get yours too. If there’s an empty position to fill and they know you’d make a good candidate, you might receive a job offer!

Going out of your way to make the effort to talk to professors and professionals is something you won’t regret. Last semester I was required to shadow someone for a day in the field I want to pursue, and I was more nervous than ever. But once I started to loosen up and talk to him, I realized he was just like me at one point and wanted to help any way possible. I now keep in contact with him on a regular basis about school and my achievements just in case I ever want to turn to him for help finding a job or with hopes he’ll offer me one.

Networking is easy if you can put yourself out there. Professionals don’t want to go searching for job candidates; they want those eager for a job to contact them first. So get a step ahead of your classmates by cutting back on the online social networking and investing more time in real networking. It will feel good when they’re envious of how easy you landed an awesome internship or job.

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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