Network Your Way to a New Job
“It’s all about who you know” is a phrase that used to infuriate me, because I thought people should get their jobs based on qualifications alone. But now that I’ve been on the other side of the hiring game, I realize how important familiarity and trust is in the hiring process. A personal connection to a candidate can go a long way at building trust and separating a candidate’s resume from the dozens of others sitting in an HR manager’s inbox. It’s better to embrace this fact than to reject it, so here are some ways to network and build connections that improve your chances of landing your next job.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool and, when used well, can be a great way to network. If there’s a list of companies you have your eye on, connect with the higher-ups on LinkedIn and Twitter. Engage with the company’s content on Twitter or Facebook. These are good first steps towards building relationships with the companies and people you want to familiarize yourself with. And since it’s likely they’ll post new job openings on their social channels, you’ll be one of the first to know.
While we’re on the subject of social media, take some time to ensure your profiles are professional. It’s common practice for employers to Google you, and you want the things they find to add to your qualifications, rather than detract from them.
You may be done with college, but that doesn’t mean you should totally forget about it. Your school likely has an Alumni Organization, which can come with perks and networking opportunities. Winthrop’s Alumni Organization, for example, is free and offers events throughout the year for networking and professional development. And as if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have full access to the Center for Career and Civic Engagement, which gives you access to job listings, computers, and career counseling among other things.
Get together with other recent grads and those already working in their profession to network and have a little fun. The York County Young Professionals have regular meetups at York County’s newest restaurants like Roasting Company and Carolina Ale House, making it a much more relaxed way to get to know people. Not only will it help you become more familiar with the businesses in the community (and potentially help you zero in on which ones you’d want to work for), but it will also help you gain a more professional, like-minded group of friends.
Visit yorkcountychamber.com/yp for more information on how to join York County’s Young Professionals.
Meetups & Other Professional Organizations
Finding a group to join is not as hard as it once was. Meetup.com has hundreds of events you can browse. Some are primarily focused on business & professional development, and others are just based on interest. Did you know how many fellow writers were in your area? Do you know how many coding events there are in the next 3 months? It’s a great resource to check out for professional and personal development.
You can also use LinkedIn’s “Groups” tool to find professional organizations. Some of them cost money to join, but if you’re really looking to get ahead in a career field, you won’t want to pass up the benefits some of these groups offer.
Lastly, just do what you’re already doing. You’ve likely already got a network of friends and acquaintances, so maintain those relationships. Stay in good standing with previous employers so you can reach out for references in the future.
One thing I’ve learned is that no one can help you find a job they don’t know you want. So don’t be afraid to talk to people about your goals and plans, and don’t be afraid to ask other professionals in your field for advice. So good luck on your search, and hopefully we’ll see you at an event soon!