A 2016 LinkedIn survey revealed that 85% of all jobs are filled through networking.
Now, what does that truly mean?
It means that your next job will most likely come from some you know or potentially someone who knows a friend of a friend.
Now you may be wondering how do I make this a reality? Well, let’s break that down.
People like to help people who know what they want because they’ll be able to easily pinpoint how to help them.
Step 1: Determine what your goal(s) are.
So the first step to making your new job reality is to ensure that you know what you want to do. If you’ve just graduated from college (first of all, CONGRATULATIONS) what this might look like for you is thinking about the industries and roles you are interested in pursuing.
Let’s use a personal example from my past to hopefully paint a better picture of what determining a goal can look like.
Right after I graduated from college, I moved from Pittsburgh to Seattle. I enjoyed writing and content creation and knew that was what I wanted to pursue. Luckily I had family in the area and they had a friend who was hiring a junior writer and project manager for their creative agency. They were able to connect me with their friend and we had an informal hour meeting where I was able to talk about my experiences with content creation and why I would be an excellent addition to their team.
This is a great segway into step 2.
I did not get my first job as a junior writer and project manager because I was simply interested in the role. I needed to prove to my potential employer that I would be successful in the role they were looking to fill.
Step 2: Determine the skill sets you have that would make you an excellent person for the role.
In the informal meeting I was able to tout my project management skills by telling them I managed to uphold a 3.5 GPA my senior year of college while juggling being president of my student organization, holding an internship, being a resident assistant, and for a brief amount of time also holding a part-time job.
I was also able to show proof I was a good writer from the increase in social media engagement my content produced for a client and the research projects I was selected to lead for my communications professors while I was in school.
It’s not enough to simply be interested, you need to show people you can carry out a role and be successful in it.
Think through all of your experiences that have primed you to be a great fit for this role and be able to articulate why and how you’ve got what it takes to be successful.
Ask friends, family members, professors, and advisors if they know anyone in the industry you are interested in pursuing and asking them if you can meet with those people for brief 30-minute calls. Don’t be picky because, one, you may never know where a path will lead you and two, if it’s not the type of opportunity you want, it is still practiced for the job you ultimately want.
Step 3: Start reaching out!
Come prepared for those calls with questions about company culture, what a day looks like for them in their role, if they know anyone with the role you’re looking to apply for, and any tips for the hiring process.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of making the call conversational. Do some research before getting on the phone about the person you’re going to talk to. Find them on LinkedIn or do a quick google search about them. For 4 years in my career, I had to convince people that I was there to help them rather than put more work on their plate and I believe breaking the ice and making myself more relatable to them through knowing where they were from and a favorite restaurant in their hometown I love, what university they went to, or quickly chatting about how we both knew so-and-so helped them realize I was a person on the other side of the phone rather than someone who needed something from them.
Step 4: Get crafty.
Go to where the jobs you want are. For example, you’re not going to find a human resources job at an engineering career fair.
An example of this is at one point in my career I wanted to make the transition from being a project manager to working in learning and development. At that point I had only a handful of people in my network that had access to the learning and development field, so I knew I needed to meet more people so I could get my foot in the door. After doing some research I came across multiple associations dedicated to the field of human resources and learning and development. I began to attend meetings and workshops that were held by the associations and during one of those meetings I met my future boss. It was because I knew what I wanted to do and could list off my skill sets in order to impress her enough to give my name to her supervisor which led to a job interview.
I will be the first person to say that the job hunt is not a linear process. You will continually come back to the drawing board to refine your goals and your skill sets and that is 100% OKAY!
The hardest part is getting started, but the beautiful part of it is self-discovery in better understanding what you want and what skill sets you already have.
Let us know if any of these tips have helped you and what you have found to work in your job search!
Good luck and Gig ‘em!
- Written by Cami Hernandez Merhar, Assistant Director of Mentoring