Networking and the Job Hunt

As we begin to enter the back half of the first semester, the job hunt (or internship search) is going to begin to quicken for a lot of us. While yes there are a lot of tools and resources provided to help you with the search, the most important is the network you can rely on for help. Personally, I struggle at times with my networking skills because it can seem a little self-centered, a little bit awkward, and a very slow process about going about to find a job, but it is very important aspect to the job search.

First and foremost, you have to practice it and get used to being able to pitch yourself to others and to find common ground. The internet allows you to get useful information about people, but what is harder is to use that information in a way to build a relationship and to have people be on your sidelines supporting you.

Secondly, make your network as wide as possible. To give you an example, I recently attended a high school reunion with some classmates I have not seen in 10 years, but who are now in positions of influence at various organizations and companies. While something may or may not arise from it, what counts is to reestablish those connections and friendships and see what can happen in the future. Now granted I went to high school with 32 other people so easier said than done for me, but it’s the idea about looking everywhere you can for connections. Ask, friends and family for their thoughts and you might be surprised.

Finally, use LinkedIn and have relevant and up-to-date information on it. This is probably the one place where you want to shine your best because the website allows you to put more information on it than you could in a one page resume and cover letter. Make it a personable representation of who you are, and work on it every so often as you progress through new jobs and opportunities. One quick note though about LinkedIn. Make sure you know the people that your request to be your connections, or if you don’t know them personally, try to establish some rapport before you do so.

That’s all for this month. Remember to keep your spirits up as you do the search and to work on it more than your classes!

Thanks for reading.

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