Thursday, November 21, 2013


“Meet new people”, “Keep in touch with your contacts from previous work experiences”, “Build your connections”. How many times have we all heard advice like this said to us throughout our university career? Building your professional network is not an easy thing to do; it requires a lot of time and effort on your part but is it worth it? I’m here to tell you YES!  Employers will look first at the people they know personally to join their team for a variety of reasons:

  • Employers are more willing to hire people they already know and like. Resumes and cover letters alone are often too impersonal to convince employers to hire you. 
  •  Job listings draw piles of applicants, which puts you in intense disadvantage when competing with many others for only one job. Networking makes you a recommended member of a much smaller pool of applicants. 
  •  The job you want may not be advertised at all. Networking leads to information and job leads that aren’t posted online or through an employment agency.

As a result, this is why networking is the best way to find a job. Here are some tips to best utilize networking strategies in order to help build your professional relationships:

Tip #1: Reach Out

The first step towards looking for a job is to let the people in your network know that you’re on the hunt. Sit down and make a list of all the people you can think of that could be helpful in getting you either placed in a position of employment or who know of someone that can help you. At this stage in the game, don’t limit yourself by thinking “Oh so-and-so won’t know anyone to help me out” – you may be surprised at the connections that your connections have. Also,  remember to be specific to the people that you’re talking to in terms of what field of work that you’re looking to get involved in: don’t just say “Let me know if you hear of anything” as this is a very generic request. Asking for specific leads or information will help the people you talk to understand how they can best help you. 

Tip #2: Be Authentic

Networking doesn’t mean begging everyone that you know for a job. It’s about reconnecting with old friends, colleagues or employers in a genuine manner to share information and ask questions. If you ambush your connections with a job request right off the bat, this may leave a bad taste in their mouth. Ask for advice about how they got started in their field of work, genuinely listen to their suggestions and be considerate of the fact that the person that you’re talking to has taken time out of their day to sit and chat with you.

Tip #3: Be Specific

Be precise in your request. Before you go off and reconnect with everyone you’ve ever known, get your act together and do a little research. Be prepared to communicate what you’re looking for. Is it a reference? An insider’s take on the industry? A recommendation? A meeting with someone in the field? Also make sure to provide an update on your credentials and recent professional involvements.

Tip #4: Come to AA&CC’s “Networking to Find Work” Workshop 

Sign up on intranet for AA&CC’s workshop on how to better hone your networking skills. This interactive session will give you hands on experience on how to strategize in a more efficient manner to get the career opportunities that you’re looking for. The session is on Wednesday November 27th, 2013 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm in AA160. Make sure to reserve your spot ASAP!

Remember, networking isn’t about being pushy or aggressively using other people to promote yourself – it’s about building relationships. Keep your existing connections as best as you can and you’ll be surprised at the opportunities in store.

All the best,

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