Networking is a powerful tool when it comes to job hunting. Networking can be defined as interacting with other people for the purpose of exchanging information, sharing contacts and eventually building relationships that might lead to career development. It helps to know someone in a certain industry who can point you in the right direction or give you some much needed advice especially for fresh graduates. It entails meeting and knowing people in your relevant industry and later using them/ their networks to know more about job availability, job requirements, job expectations etc where you then actively job hunt on your own. Networking can be of great benefit. One of the biggest advantages is that sometimes companies do not advertise all jobs publicly, and the job you may want could end up only in the office notice board. The job could also be a word of mouth quick hire. Having a vast network might lead the information to you which would be a great opportunity to apply. Another advantage is that hiring is a daunting task, and so is selecting the right person from thousands of CV’s. Many hiring managers would look favorably to referrals within their network.
Opportunities for networking
Job seekers should be on the lookout for potential networking opportunities. These may include:
- Seminars and conferences- attend relevant seminars or conferences held on campus or elsewhere and aim to meet other people participating such as the key note speaker, professionals in your field of interest etc.
- Joining business sites such as Linked In
- Identifying a mentor and following them on social media , ask questions etc
- Keep abreast with what is happening in your industry of interest by subscribing to magazines, reading newspapers etc
- Find university alumni in the same field or industry of your interest and contact them
- Talking to your already existing network, friends, family colleagues etc. they may know other people in your area of interest or might know specific information that might help you
How to network
Prepare business cards- you can prepare simple but professional looking business cards to introduce yourself, university and course. This would make you stand out and look professional and prepared. Prepare a brief pitch on who you are and what you are looking for
What to do with your network
Let them know you are looking- introduce yourself and briefly say what you are looking for, give your CV to a few people if it’s appropriate at the time. Keep in touch with contacts you have met.