Accessability Links

GRADS- DON'T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK

Tuesday 24th May 2016
Many graduates are under the impression that by working hard for three years and obtaining a degree makes them automatically entitled to a job in their chosen profession. And yes, in a perfect world this would be the case, however the reality is a little different.

Graduates in today’s market need to try alternative ways and trek off the beaten track in order to secure a job in the industry of their choice.

Networking is becoming the key to a lot of graduate success. The term ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is being heard more and more often. And yes, whilst your skills and your degree are extremely important, these days they may only take you half way, the other half of the journey involves taking risks, putting yourself out there, talking to different people, making those vital connections that could put your dream role within your grasp.

HOW CAN I NETWORK?

Social media has completely redefined ‘networking’ and it’s so much easier than a lot of people may think. It’s something the majority of people are already using, take Facebook for example, they have over 1.44 BILLION active users every month. People are spending the majority of their free time using social media but are missing out on some amazing opportunities that could enhance their professional life right in front of them on their news feed. Every time you make a new ‘friend’, accept a new follower, a new connection, subscriber - you are increasing you ‘net worth’.

Careerealism.com quoted a theory - the Six Degrees of Separation, developed by Frigyes Karinthy. The theory suggests that we are only six introductions away from anyone else in the world. Think about it, right now you are six introductions away from your first job.

SO IF NETWORKING IS THE KEY, HOW DO I ACTIVATE MY NETWORK?
Start off by going through your social media accounts and identify all the connections you have who has or may have a connection to a professional in your industry of interest or profession of interest.

e.g.

LINKEDIN – FIND ALUMNI.
Type in the industry or job profession your seeking and start making connections with them. When you are inviting LinkedIn users to connect it’s important to personalise your invitation. Look at it this way, you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger on the street and hand them your business card / CV without explaining your reason for doing so, LinkedIn is no different.

FACEBOOK – MAKE A STATUS.
Make a status announcing that you are looking to enter an industry, or looking for a profession in a particular area, ask for help from your Facebook friends. ‘Does anybody know anyone who may be able to help me?’ You will be surprised at the response you get, and also just how many of your ‘friends’ could be key players in your quest for a role. Don’t be embarrassed. With more than 4 million millennials entering the workforce every year, everyone is looking for a job.

TWITTER – GET IN THE KNOW.
Follow the companies you are interested in working for. Retweet / share their content. Not only will this enable you to find out more about the company it will also show any potential employers viewing your profile that you’re keen and interested in the industry/company. You could even send your dream company a tweet, it’s a great way to get on their radar.

OK, I’VE DONE THAT. WHAT’S NEXT?
You need to maximise the worth of these connections you’re making. These connections only mean so much unless you are willing to do something with them. So take action. You can do so in the following ways.

Go through your new connections, the friends who commented on your status and your new followers on twitter. Prioritise them in order of how useful they may be to you. Start off with the lower priority connections – email them, inbox them, call them, reach out in the ways you can. Get talking, explain to them you’re looking for a career in profession/ looking to enter your industry and ask to possibly conduct an information interview for example: meet for a coffee, organise a telephone call. Seek to learn more about their career path, lessons learned, and best advice. Get some practice and confidence from your lower priority contacts before reaching out to your top five leads.

Ask for an opportunity to grow and develop your skills. Maybe it’s a job shadow day or offer to do some research on a project they are managing at work. Not only will this look great on your CV. But it will also help you get a better understanding of the industry and the role.

Ask your contact to review your CV and suggest areas of improvement based off of their expertise in the industry. This will provide vital knowledge into how you can get the best CV tailored to your person of interest and for your dream role.

Once you have maximised your connection worth, it’s really important to maintain your relationship with these people. For example – retweet their tweets, like their content, send the inbox messages. Make phone calls and send emails. It’s important to stay on their radar, therefore when they do have an opportunity that could be of interest to you they will automatically think of you.

It’s important to not underestimate the importance of our own personal network. Take these tips on board and see if you can make them work for you.

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