So I’ve learned something very valuable this week: the importance of networking. Sure, I’ve been told plenty of times that networking is important, but I’ve really only ever thought to use it in order to gain some great references. However, this time, I decided to take the advice of a kind mentor and use the fact that my alma mater is a very small, everyone-knows-everyone college to my advantage.
I contacted the department director that has a lot to do with the career path I want to follow. I had only met her a couple times and wasn’t sure if she remembered me, so I explained who I was based on some of my undergraduate leadership roles, and I kindly asked her if she could send any relevant job openings that she knew about my way. She wrote back to me and offered to give me an internship after I start my graduate program in the fall, and she also apparently mentioned my e-mail to some of the employees she supervises. I say apparently because a few days later I received another e-mail from one of her employees, and lo and behold she was sending along a job opening that I most likely would have never known about otherwise.
Honestly, I think I was avoiding using networking to my advantage because I really dislike the saying it’s all about who you know. It makes me feel like all the hard work I’ve done doesn’t really matter in the end because I’m still going to be the less-favored candidate if the employer is connected to another candidate through someone he or she knows. It is incredibly unfortunate to think that most of the time the person who is most capable of completing the job successfully probably isn’t hired simply because it’s all about who you know. But, fellow post grads, that is the motto of the job market we’re facing.
So in order to survive and really make all your accomplishments shine, my advice to you is to sit down and really think about who you know OR (in my case) who your accomplishments can connect you to. However, please do not just scroll through your Facebook friends and/or Twitter followers. If it helps you to brainstorm, literally create a visual map of connections on paper or on your computer. Would any of those people know about a job opening that you wouldn’t necessarily know about? Would any of them serve as a strong reference? Are any of them employers who may consider creating an opening for you? If you said yes to any of them, start connecting.
About the Author
PostGrad2012 is a May ’12 college graduate who has started a blog to document her progress throughout life after college. She is seeking a full-time job, a debt-free life, and (of course) happiness. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter to see how she’s surviving post-grad life.