Networking in College: The Time is Now
There’s an old adage that says “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when it comes to finding and landing a job. If you’re a college student, it’s never too early to start networking with fellow students and professors to up your chances at getting that dream job right out of college.
Quick Networking Stats
• 35 percent: The percentage of millennials who feel good about their current job search, according to Jobvite.
• 40 percent: The percentage of college students that use LinkedIn, according to a 2013 Shweiki Media survey.
• 70 percent: The percentage of jobs that aren’t posted online – but are typically filled through networking, according to a 2011 NPR article.
• 73 percent: The percentage of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 who landed a job through a social network, according to an Aberdeen Group report.
• 80 percent: The percentage of jobs landed through networking, according to an ABC News report.
• 89 percent: The percentage of recruiters who have hired someone through LinkedIn, according to Herd Wisdom
Build Your Network, 100 People at a Time
According to an NPR article, avid job seekers should aim to reach out to 100 people a month during their job search. That may seem like a lot of people, but consider your current social circle. Your network could include:
• Fellow sorority or fraternity members
• Current or former professors
• Colleagues from internships, including your boss
• People you’ve met at job fairs or other networking events
• Members of clubs or causes you’re involved with at school or off-campus
This is a good mix of people to pull from when it comes time for you to find your job. Whether you’re looking for a job lead or need a reference, your network can help guide your way to your next opportunity.
Four Easy Ways to Start Networking
• Build Your LinkedIn profile. Much like an online resume, LinkedIn is the perfect place to list your current work experience, internships, honors or extracurricular activities or causes that apply to your degree. Add contacts from your network pool and ask them to recommend you, if applicable.
• Tidy up that Facebook page. While LinkedIn is a professional social network site, many human resources departments and job recruiters will also search other social media profiles, too. Nix any inappropriate photos – hello, keg party! – or statuses now. Revisit your security settings, too.
• Ask others for advice. As you build your network, people may introduce you to other individuals who may be able to help you. It can be nerve wracking reaching out to someone you don’t know, but it’s an important step when it comes to making contacts. Send the person a short email, telling them who recommended you reach out and what you’re needing – more information on how they got started or how they knew this career path was right for them – and they’ll most likely be able to give you feedback or tips. Be sure to thank them for their time and ask them if you can add them to your network.
• Go to local networking events. Having a face-to-face presence is just as important as your online one. Attend on-campus events or look for young professional groups to join in your area. Dress nicely, and have an updated resume ready to send off in your email in case you need it.