Build your network. Reach out, connect, and take action.
The relationships you build are key to your success at any age, but they’re especially important when you’re just getting started in your career. Even if you know this to be true, you might feel anxious, lack confidence, or just not know where to start when it comes to making connections with the right people in your field.
Did you know that 83% of college students graduate without having lined up a full time job in their chosen field? After your years of studying and hard work, do you really want to end up in a retail or restaurant job that isn’t taking you in the right direction? Probably not. If you’re like most grads, you want a well paying, rewarding job in the field you’ve pursued through school.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t end up slinging lattes is by building your personal network—now, before it’s too late. Why? Less than 1% of online job applications actually turn into jobs. If you want to work in the field you love, you need a connection to the company or hiring manager in order to stand out and get the job.
So how do you make the right connections? There are a few key things you can start doing now to build your network beyond family and friends.
- Work with a mentor. Find someone in the career field you’re interested in, an alumnus from your school, a professor, or past boss who is willing to guide you as you transition from college to career. Study the moves they’ve made and actively ask them for advice and introductions to the right people.
- Do informational interviews. Do you already have a dream company or two you’d love to work at? Reach out to people there and request an informational interview. Ask them what it’s like to work there, what the company’s goals are, and the moves they made to get where they are now. And who knows…if you impressed them, they might just ask how they can help you. Have your answer ready, whether you ask about a job shadow, an interview opportunity, or an introduction within the industry. This is a great way to confirm if that company is a place you’d like to work and it helps you get a foot in the door at the same time.
- Get experience through part time jobs, internships, and projects. Employers want to see experience on your resume, but learning through doing is also a great way to build your network and be in the right place to hear about opportunities. The key to making this strategy effective is to choose positions related to your career field, and to show up and do an amazing job. The impression you leave will determine whether this leads to further opportunities down the road.
Want a step-by-step process that will give you the confidence you need to build your network and land a job you love? In our online program, Student Career Academy, you learn the tactical skills necessary to establish the relationships that will kickstart your career. As a mentoring program participant, you have special access to a free trial of the Student Career Academy program. Find out how to:
- Identify the right people to interview & make a great impression
- Find open positions that aren’t posted publicly by using your connections, and
- Build your personal brand so that every action you take is true to you.
Get the confidence and the clarity you need with practical, real world advice on how to find and get a job you love. Click HERE to sign up for your two-week free trial of Student Career Academy.
- Curious what other students have said about Student Career Academy? Check this out:
“I knew the job search process was really important, but I wasn’t really sure how to go about it beyond a basic resume and cover letter. This program gave me a better sense of exactly what the entire process looks like, both big picture and the smaller steps to take to get there. I feel significantly more solid about every part now. I definitely give the program 5 stars and recommend it to anyone in college!” — Becca Ramos, Harvard University Senior