What if there were a secret tool that could open doors to great jobs where you had an inside track that others do not have? If you have just graduated from college and are embarking on your job search, you are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. Where do you start? Are you spending hours, or days, or weeks, looking for jobs online, applying and hearing nothing back? Trust me, this is not the best way to find a job, and here’s why.
As of this May, there are approximately 1.6 million newly minted college graduates seeking employment. Add to that number those who graduated in 2013 and are still looking for work, as well as those who were laid off and have much more experience than you might have. Any job posting that you find on line also is available to anyone looking for a job. Employers often get hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for a single position. This has given rise to sophisticated tools designed to screen out unqualified candidates within seconds of the time you push the “send” button. So how can you increase your odds of getting the coveted interview?
You need to network. Networking is a critical skill to develop not only to help you get a job, but also to help you once you land the job. Relationship building is important to getting things done in companies and requires practice and effort. Think about when you have needed help, to whom did you go for advice or assistance? Most likely it was your friends and family. People who know you, like you or have a strong common bond with you are much more likely to offer to help you. That is why you need to develop your network.
If you’ve just graduated from a college or university with a strong alumni association, you are in luck. If you are not on LinkedIn, you need to be as it’s a great tool for networking, especially with alumni from your college. LinkedIn makes it easy to find alumni by field of interest, college major, city, among others, through its alumni networking tool http://www.linkedin.com/alumni, which is super easy to use.
Target alumni ten to fifteen years past graduation, ones who hold positions of manager, director or vice president, as they will be better positioned inside their companies to know the right people with whom to connect you. Most alumni will happily grant you a half an hour of their time for an informational interview but be sure to do your homework on them and the company before you ask them to share their valuable time.
So don’t waste any more time, get networking to leverage not only your degree from a great university, but its alumni too. Remember, you are much more likely to land an interview if your resume and cover letter are sent to the hiring manager by someone inside the company.