The following post is contributed by Mariana Ashley.
Recent college grads are under a lot of pressure to find a job right away, and many believe the best way to find one is to pour over online job ads hoping to stumble upon a diamond in the rough. While you should certainly keep looking for postings on job boards, sometimes it’s helpful to lean on people in the know to point you in the direction of the most viable job opportunities for you. This will require networking on your part. Networking is more challenging than passively scoping job postings, but often pays off in the form of gainful employment. To get you started off right, here are some tips for networking your way into a job.
1.) Contact your former professors.
Not every old prof is a candidate for networking, but your junior and senior years are when you generally start meeting professors and instructors in your major. Choose a professor who taught a smaller class size in your major so he or she is more likely to match your name to your face and remember what it was like having you as a student. Not only do these professors have terminal degrees in their area of expertise, but they generally have connections to former colleagues in the field you’re interested in. Get in touch with two to three former professors, clue them in to your job search and ask them to keep feelers out for you for entry-level jobs. Many will bend over backwards to help out a former student find work.
2.) Get the word out on social networks.
Have you broadcasted on Facebook and Twitter that you’re looking for a job? You never know if you’ll get a lead from an old friend from high school, a former college classmate, a former boss or a current friend who lives in a different city. You don’t have to be annoying about it, but it doesn’t hurt to write about your job search every week to two weeks in hopes your network of friends know of something they can send your way. If you haven’t already established a profile on LinkedIn, build a profile and ask former employers to post a recommendation for you. You can search for jobs in your preferred field on LinkedIn as well.
3.) Contact former classmates.
If one of your former classmates landed a dream job right after college, get in touch with him or her and ask how they were able to land their position. Be bold and ask if they know of any job openings or would be willing to put in a good word for you. Ask other former classmates what they’ve been up to and where they are currently working.
4.) Work through your college’s career center.
Your college or university most likely has a career center dedicated to helping recent grads find work. Take advantage of all the help you can get for as long as you are eligible, but also ask to get in touch with alumni from your program. A limited number of alumni may have provided their contact information. A quick e-mail or phone call to an alumnus who graduated in your same major could reveal a job opportunity you didn’t know about at the place the alumnus is working.
5.) Make a list of companies you’d like to work for and potential contacts there.
Whether or not your dream company is hiring, it’s important to do some detective work and sniff out contact information from those in mid-level management at the company. Get in touch with these professionals and ask to meet or talk with them informally about how they got to their position and what it takes to do what they do. Many will be flattered that you asked, will give you solid advice and will keep you in mind when they hear of job openings.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.