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If you are a new college grad, you employability prospects are much better than older workers in these challenging economic times. It could be because you are perceived as being ‘current’ in your knowledge, you are believed to be more enthusiastic about a job, and also because technology gives you a superior edge in networking.
Through social networking and online networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, new grads enjoy an edge when it comes to networking opportunities. But is it enough to have a prestigious degree and an excellent LinkedIn profile? No way! You got to put in some more effort and we are here to guide you on how to do that.
Are you trying to get a job? Or are you just trying to get to know an industry better? Do you just want to establish a string network of references and professional acquaintances? Or is there ,Your motive for networking could be very different and you need to be sure to identify and work on what you want out of your networking efforts.
At first, you’d need to sit down and assess which contacts in the industry or business do you already know and which ones would you like to know.
The people you already know would include your professors, acquaintances in the family, former classmates, former teachers, parents of close friends, relatives, members of a community you belong to, etc. You can list down all the names that can help you set your foot in a certain industry, and then jot down all the contact information you have or can easily get about them.
Next make a list of the people you do not know but wish to know, and then dig deeper into how you can contact them. Is an email address or any other contact detail available online? Is there someone you know who could help you connect to that person? Once again, update all the contact details you obtain.
Now the big step arrives – make contact with all the people concerned. While this is not so daunting when you contact people through email, doing this over phone can be a trifle intimidating. You may choose to call people you are closer to, or to people who you feel will be more receptive towards your call, for instance someone who is looking for a candidate matching your profile.
The million-dollar question is, what will you say? That depends on who you are approaching and what your motive is.
For example, if you are approaching a family friend to give you references, you could call and say”
“Hi Mr. Kahn, how are you doing? I wanted to get in touch with you as I’ve recently finished my management studies at XYZ University. I wish to start a career as a management analyst and am hoping to find a position with a local or multinational company. Do you know of any companies that are hiring these days that you could refer me to?”
On the other hand, if you are emailing a prospective employer, your message can look something like this:
Dear Mr Baker,
This is Sean Mark, an alumnus of the management program from the XYZ University. I’m happy to report that I’ve recently completed my studies and am looking forward to diving into work in a corporate setting. Being the CEO of a renowned management company, I wanted to get in touch with you about any employment opportunity that I could avail. If not, I wondered if you knew of other companies that are currently hiring or any other professionals you could put me in touch with.
Thank you for your time.
Remember to keep your tone polite, professional and sophisticated.
Networking isn’t a one-time game. You have to constantly strive to grow your network. You can join a local networking group either online or in your area, attend conferences and seminars related to your field, volunteer, set up a LinkedIn profile and promote it, and approach everyone you meet in your industry professionally and in a polished way.
With the right efforts and careful networking strategies, you will soon know a vast number of people to help you with your next job search.