Ever heard the expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”
Rest assured that the knowledge you’ve acquired through endless hours of studying will indeed pay off, but it’s also very true that “who you know” will be an even more powerful factor when you’re out looking for a summer or permanent job.
What does that mean exactly? Are you out of luck if you don’t know the rich and famous?
Definitely not. Anyone can build up a network of valuable connections. It starts with your family and everyone your parents and relatives know—and then extends out further and further as your connections introduce you to new connections.
It’s the process of networking—and that’s how most people find jobs. I always tell job seekers of any age that people—not computers—will help them find a job. That means that you should not spend hours staring at job sites like Monster.com. Instead spend any available time that you have connecting to people who might know other people who could help you find a job.
When you’re in school and you have five papers due, finding a summer job or a real job seems like just one too many things for your stress level. Once you’ve done the absolute easiest job search task (setting up an appointment with your career planning office), the next easiest thing to do is join Linkedin, the site that is informally known as “Facebook for Grownups”.
If you’re serious about finding a job, cut down on some of your Facebook time and play instead on Linkedin. This is a professional networking site that is just about taking over the world. It is THE way to find a job among post-graduates, and it makes great sense for you to join now.
Go to www.linkedin.com and create a profile. (Upload a professional looking photo—not the picture of you playing beer pong in your skimpy shirt.) Then invite connections from your parents, your relatives, your neighbors, people you worked for or with in previous jobs, people you know from the country club, parents of summer camp friends, parents who coached your teams, former teachers, etc. In other words, everyone you know.
List yourself as, for example, a “Student Seeking Summer Job in Sports Marketing—Boston Area”. Then people will start connecting with you and you’ll be able to see their connections. You’ll find people who could possibly help your summer job search and you’ll ask them to connect. You’ll ask for specific help and they’ll refer you to people in their own companies and elsewhere. And a continually growing number of people will see that you’re looking for a summer job.
You have to keep the networking engine going—and you have to take the initiative to contact people who might lead you to a job, but with Linkedin, very valuable networking happens while you’re in the library, the dining hall or the gym.
- Recognize that your brains and all you’ve learned in school will not be enough to get you a job now and throughout your lifetime.
- Get the book, Linkedin for Dummies to learn all the Linkedin basics.
- Use the unparalleled internet and social networking skills of your generation to build a robust professional network on Linkedin.
- Think of everyone you meet as a potential networking contact—or the path to many other possible networking contacts.
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