Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Networking Nerves? Learn from Experts at RBC!

Networking is one of those things that can get tricky, and nerve wrecking, but it doesn't always have to be that way! To help you with networking, we asked two campus recruitment professionals from the Royal Bank of Canada to answer some of our networking questions from the other side of the coin. Here is what they had to say.
Melissa’s Story

After graduating from Western University with a degree in Sociology, I decided to pursue a post graduate diploma in HR from George Brown and continue my career focusing on recruitment. I’ve been fortunate to work at a few companies since graduating from George Brown and have taken a keen interest in student hiring. For almost 5 years I have been involved in campus recruitment. For the last two years, I have been at RBC which has been a fantastic opportunity for me as I get to work closely with students, while also fulfilling the hiring needs of my business partners. 

Rosalyn’s Story

I graduated from York University and studied Human Resources Management. My first professional experience is from my co-op placement working for a Canadian Telecommunications company.  From there, I acquired my first job by applying to an entry-level Staffing Associate role with a Global Employment Agency.  Subsequently, my last 3 jobs were all due to networking.  I knew someone, who knew someone else, who knew about a job opening, and so on.

What does networking mean to you?

Networking should be done in all phases of one’s career, whether you are looking for a job or if you are happy in the job you are in. There is never a bad time to network. To me, networking is the chance to talk with people from all levels and industries to gain valuable insights into their roles and responsibilities.

In your experience, how often are entry level positions filled by individuals who have had some form of interaction with the employer?

Students are encouraged to look at job boards to determine what roles are available, but they also need to combine that with meeting people from the business, whether it is at an information sessions on campus, mock interviews, or connecting with alumni. Networking allows you to understand the specific roles that people hold and can open up doors and opportunities that you might not have thought about before. It should not always be about landing a job, but rather the intent should be to make meaningful connections with people. A candidate who can successfully network should be content that they may not land a job immediately, but will be creating a connection with someone who may be hiring down the road.

Do you have any tips on how students and recent graduates can be proactive in identifying networking opportunities?

Join groups on LinkedIn and follow companies through various social media sites to be in the know on what is happening locally. Keep your eyes and ears open for signage on campus for when employers will be present, and work with your school’s Career Centre, as many events get planned directly with them, and they almost certainly have the necessary details on timing and location of events.

What are good networking opportunities for students?

There are many different avenues one can take to network, but it ultimately depends on the type of industry they want to get information about. Some companies and industries rely heavily on career fairs, which are attended by hundreds of students and therefore limiting the 1:1 interaction. Being involved both on campus and off campus can provide opportunities to meet new people who can ultimately lead to your next career move. You could be standing in line waiting for coffee and meet someone who starts a conversation and is hiring. Students need to be aware and always have their elevator pitch ready to go.

What are some of the best questions you’ve had from students and recent graduates you have interacted with? What stood out in those interactions?
·         Asking open-ended questions is the best way to ask your questions.  You will learn more about the job, industry and insights on their story. 

·       Thoughtful questions about current trends from the industry are always impressive as well.  It shows that the student is aware and has taken the time to research and find out what is happening in the market.

·        To stand out, don’t fake it – just be yourself and tell your own unique story.  Be your authentic, best self!

Networking can be nerve-wrecking sometimes! What tips would you give to students to beat the nerves and feel more confident while networking?

First thing is to be comfortable with yourself and have the confidence to put yourself out there, so have your ‘elevator pitch’ ready! Do some research about the networking event like who will be there, what companies they represent, and what those companies are doing right now.

How important is social media, particularly LinkedIn, in building relationships with potential employers?

It is very important.  Through social media, you can find out about people, companies, and reach them faster than ever.  Join Groups, Industry Associations, and be a part of the conversation!  You can build your profile and connections effectively via social media, but remember to always be professional!

Is there any other advice you would provide to students and recent graduates on networking?

·         Be Proactive

·         Do your research and be prepared to put yourself out there!

·         Be able to relate to people and don’t be afraid to tell your unique story!

Put these networking tips to practice this month! Check the Events Calendar on cln.utoronto.ca for upcoming opportunities where you can connect with professionals as well as for networking workshops! If you need some extra pointers on how to approach the different events, be sure to check our tips sheets at http://utsc.utoronto.ca/aacc/tip-sheets, including:

Happy Networking!

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