Have you ever been exhausted from applying for numerous jobs and receiving rejection emails? You must be in the same boat with me because I surely have been disappointed by another email saying “Sorry but we decided to move on with another candidate.” Sometimes, I am left up in the air without knowing what happened to my job application.
Working at The Selling Factory opened my eyes to see a better way of landing a job. Instead of spending 3-4 hours searching for jobs online, I should have used that time for networking connections, contacting alumni, and working professionals.
Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, advises many young professionals to take some time to speak with employers because “the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.” In fact, “at least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published,” he says. (NPR Choice, 2019)
Networking not only leads you to connect with employers, but it also allows you to become an employer yourself. One of The Selling Factory alumni, Erin Winick, shares that someone whom she connected with within college helped her to find an incubator for her startup company, Sci Chic (Sci Chic is a science-inspired, 3D printed jewelry retail). Winick adds that her network also came in handy in life. Before moving to London, she already knew friends who could help her to settle.
4 Tips to Build a Network
Get out of your comfort zone. This may sound obvious but not many people have the courage to cold call when reaching out to people, especially those not in your area of expertise. Though studying mechanical engineering in college, Winick now works in a unique sector as a Science Communications Specialist for the Internal Space Station. In college, she wishes that she could have networked with people who aren’t directly related to her studies. “I am curious if I missed the opportunity to network with others that shared my interest,” she says. Research shows that only 27% of college graduates had a job that was closely related to their major (Liberty Street Economics, 2013).
You don’t know what you’ll be doing yet in the future, so why don’t you challenge yourself to broaden your network across industries now? Who knows what opportunities will pop up?
Maximize your LinkedIn account. In the 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 77% of recruiters used LinkedIn to find candidates (Jobvite, 2018). This means that you will have more access to job opportunities via LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account or haven’t updated your profile in a while, do so now because you are missing out on career opportunities. Stay active! In addition to sharpening your profile, connect with your peers and alumni, and comment and share posts relevant to your industry. Although you may tend to socialize more on Instagram, try to put equal or more effort into your LinkedIn account than your Instagram account.
Everyone has to eat. Many professionals are very busy even if they mean to help you. Ask someone to meet over lunch. This is a good time to chat without having to carve out their valuable time. Before you meet with them, write out the questions you would like to ask and let them know the topic you would like to discuss. Winick suggests thinking about what you could also offer them in return. “The best relationships are not one-way but two-way relationships,” says Winick.
Make 100 new contacts each month. Volume is a big part of securing a job through networking. “It takes X number of contacts to get this many appointments, to get this many chances of actually getting a sales opportunity or a job,” Youngquist says. (NPR Choice, 2019). Pretend that you are a sales development representative who is responsible for selling ‘you.’ If you are actively looking for a job, then you should make at least 100 new contacts each month by cold calling recruiters via email, sending connection messages on Linkedin, and attending company events for face-to-face encounters with employers.
If you are still struggling to find a job online without making personal connections, change up your strategy. Revisit your past connections and establish new connections. Be proactive in building relationships with people, even if they may not be directly related to your industry field. You never know how your network connections will help you in the future!
Building your social circle will help you to go a long way in life. That’s why I put together 4 tips on how to network.
NPR Choice page. (2019). Npr.Org.
Do Big Cities Help College Graduates Find Better Jobs? -Liberty Street Economics. (2013). Newyorkfed.Org.
2018 Recruiter Nation Survey. (2018). Jobvite.