Networking to Land your first Job after University
When it comes to networking, making professional connections while at university could help land that first job after graduating.
When people think of networking, they think of small talk, stalled conversations and sales pitches.
Instead, think of it as making professional connections that will help you throughout your career, even while at university.
University students may meet a future boss, client, mentor or friend.
There is a chance that you will land your first job after graduating because of someone in your network.
Lyn Siegel, founder of career coaching company Interview Mama, says:
“The best way to get a job or internship is to know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who will help put your resume at the top of the pile or put in a good word for you.
“Your network will likely be the most important factor in getting your first job and will continue to be the key throughout your career.”
What is Networking?
Networking should be thought of as both a relationship-building tool and a tool for learning about your career path.
You may have known exactly what you wanted to do when you first started university or maybe you still have no idea.
Either way, you may not know where you want to work, the type of company culture that will work for you, or tips for breaking into the industry.
It is important to learn from other people’s advice and career paths.
Siegel says: “Networking means, quite simply, talking to people, as many as you can, about specific careers, industries, companies, organisations, and jobs that are of interest to you.
“The goal of networking is also simple: It is to help you advance your career objectives.”
Growing a Network
There are many campus resources to take advantage of which can be used to start building your network of professional connections, in addition to those off-campus.
Patrick Algrim, founder of career advice website Algrim.co, says:
“Schedule meetings with professors, advisors, leadership of any extracurricular clubs, family members, or any other professional.
“Simply sit down with them, mention what you’d like to do with your career and then ask, ‘Who do you think I should meet with?’ Once they give a name, ask, ‘Can you introduce us?’”
Meanwhile, ask professors and career services to connect you with alumni in your field who will be happy to help since they are connected to the university and remember what it felt like to be a graduate.
There are also recruiting and networking events to make your efforts more efficient.
Nurturing your Network
Networking is not just about meeting someone once, asking a few questions and that’s it.
The aim is to create a genuine relationship by staying in touch and continuing to give each other advice throughout your career.
Algrim says: “Send periodic emails saying that you were thinking of someone.
“Keep track of what they’re working on, commend them when something goes public, and mention you were thinking of them.”
As your network continues to grow, it can be difficult to keep track and how often you are staying in touch.
Algrim recommends a spreadsheet which could include the person’s name, how you met, when you last spoke and what you contacted them about.
This makes your relationship feel more genuine and less transactional because it helps ensure that you are not only reaching out when you need something.
Networking should be fairly simple but in reality, this is easier said than done, especially at the start of your career.
But these pieces of advice should give you an idea of what to do and how to go about it while still at university.