This is a guest post by Benjamin Tyler.
No matter where you are in your academic career, I know one thing – you want to find your dream job.
You deserve it too. All the work, forced courses you had to take, and long study sessions should bring you results. There is a caveat though, hitting the books and getting good grades may not correlate to a great job.
Here is a little secret that no one seems to be telling those that are looking for jobs. In my experience, over 50% of open positions within a company are already filled before interviewing starts.
That’s right. Unless an interview is bombed, companies know who they will be hiring before they even start looking at resumes. The interview process is simply a legal formality.
Does this make you angry?
Well it shouldn’t. In fact, you should get excited.
The Game Behind The Scenes
In the world of hiring, there is a game being played behind the scenes. On the surface all we see is resumes, cover letters, and interviews. College career counselors help you to create cookie cutter portfolios that every other applicant is submitting (Just another reason to buy The Golden Resume).
What you aren’t seeing or hearing is the people networking to land that great job. When a recruiter is sifting a pile of resumes that all look similar nothing stands out more than someone in the company handing them a person’s resume.
They are thinking, “Finally, a resume I can trust. If my colleague is suggesting them they must be a person of value.”
Guess which person just became the frontrunner to land the job?
No matter where you are in your career, you need to take responsibility for creating relationships in your field of interest. This can’t wait till next year or when you are looking for a job. It needs to happen now.
Being a student gives you an advantage. You don’t have to hold value. Your value comes in perceived ambition. Professionals will naturally want to help you out.
With some strategic think you can become a powerhouse in networking, land the most sought out interviews, and actually have options when you enter the workforce.
Here are a couple of strategies that will allow you to network your way into the job you want.
1. Talk About It
Low Effort – Low Reward Potential
If you want something you need to be talking about it. Things usually don’t just fall into your lap. Let everyone know your current intentions. That could be a professor, neighbor, or even the person at the bus stop. Everyone you come in contact with should be hearing about your intentions.
When someone asks how your day is say, “Great, I have been looking for a job/internship in [marketing]. It has been exciting looking at the potential opportunities.”
People inherently want to help others out. We create self-worth by our ability to give value to others.
Letting people know that you are looking for a job will allow opportunities to gravitate towards you. Their internal catalogue of connections will be running through their heads on people they know in that field. They will begin to ask more questions. Through enough of these conversations leads will begin to gravitate towards you.
This technique is low effort, low reward. Meaning you may talk to 30 people before you ever get a potential lead. You will also need to sort through which leads have actual value. It is also easy to do because it can be added to your regular day routine.
Get out there and talk about your intentions with everyone you come in contact with.
2. Adjunct Professors
Medium Effort / High Reward
In my opinion, most collegiate professors live in a bubble. I spent too much time building relationships with them and missed out on a networking goldmine – adjunct professors.
Most of the adjunct professors are individuals that work in the real world. Where business, theories, and strategies are applied, not just created on paper. They also have two traits that make the ideal candidates to connect with: they work for a company that will be hiring in the future and they teach because they want to give value to the future workforce.
Do whatever you can to connect with adjunct professors. Take courses with them and make sure to excel. Ask them to get a drink or coffee after class to talk about their professions. If you don’t qualify to take the class on paper, try to get approval or maybe even sit in on their course. Do anything you can to get their attention.
This is a medium effort, high reward action. You will have to go out of your way to connect and compete with other students, but adjunct professors will be an asset when you are looking to get into the workforce.
3. Professional Chapters
High Effort / High Reward
It seems that all the ambitious students are part of some student organization. The idea is that being part of these groups shows commitment to the profession, leadership, and a hard work mentality. Being a past member of an organization, the majority of my networking was done with fellow students. While this can be impactful in developing relationships, it doesn’t offer you the opportunity to connect with influencers.
Skip the student organizations and go hang out with the professional chapters. Mingle with people who are actually in the workforce to learn what interests you and have direct access to them.
You are going to really stick out. Not many students take this kind of initiative. Try to actually become part of the group and volunteer to help with their initiatives. Commit to providing value to the group. You will instantly begin to create working relationships and will most likely be offered jobs, instead of seeking them out.
This is a high effort, massive reward practice. You will probably have to pay fees to join the group and go to events, but you will be directly engaging with the people who decides who gets hired inside of a company.
As previously stated, over 50% of professional job openings probably already have a person slated for them. Making sure you have good grades and a killer resume is important, but stopping there will make it hard for you to stand out. You need to be networking to maximize your hiring potential.
Utilizing these three strategies is going to make you a superstar hire. You will not only land a job quickly, but have options.
By networking today you will gain the value that lands you the great job in the future.