“It’s not what you know but who you know.” That’s what I used to joke with the other radio personalities about as we sat backstage at the latest sold out show from the comfort of a VIP area with free food and drinks as well as full access to the stars of the band. Little did I know at the time, how true that phrase really is!
Most job offers don’t come from strangers or filling out applications blindly online. They come from recommendations and referrals from people you know or people you have been introduced to by people you know. Yes, occasionally someone will fill out one of those online applications and get a job. Here’s another phrase to remember. “Even the blind squirrel gets the occasional nut.” I personally like better odds than that.
One of the best, FREE resources you have to get started from the comfort of your very own dorm room is LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Now, at this point, you are probably asking yourself, “Why would a college student join a professional network like LinkedIn when I’ve still got a long ways to go?” Ah ha, a smart question from a smart college student! The answer? Networking, building professional relationships for success, takes time. Why not get a head start?
Now, keep in mind that you can’t go barreling through this social network asking people to give you a job. What you can do is take the time to build a professional network that will eventually lead you to jobs and opportunities.
Here are 5 simple ways to get started:
1. Create a professional profile for yourself including a professional picture. This is not the place to use that really cool picture you took at the Hookah Bar down the street.
2. Add your resume. I know it’s probably not a lengthy one yet but you can still add your school experience, awards, volunteer efforts and anything else you would want a potential employer to know about you that might impress them. Search a few other profiles to get ideas for yours.
3. Find people you already know and ask them to join your network – your parents, your parents’ friends, relatives, teachers, professors, mentors, people you’ve worked with and your friends. Start your network with the people who most want to see you succeed.
4. Search groups within the industry you hope to work. Ask to join these groups and pay attention to what is being discussed. Once you get the hang of it, you can join in with comments and suggestions.
5. Search ‘dream’ companies you want to work for and see who comes up – I’ll bet you’ll find employees that someone else in your network knows and you can then ask for an introduction.
It’s a slow process to build a good network. Start as soon as you have an idea of what it is you want to do and be patient – it takes time to build a strong, successful network but these relationships will be with you for a lifetime.
BTW – you can start with me: www.linkedin.com/in/daynasteele.