With a multitude of job search engines and social networking sites, the 21st century job hunt can be overwhelming without a plan -- and requires more than dusting off your resume and finding a great suit. Here are some tips and resources to help you land that perfect position.
Career Services has created a Job Search, Informational Interviews and Networking Guide to help you.
The “hidden job market” does exist, and professional networking is your key to get in the door. Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, but are filled through word-of-mouth and networking. Internal transfers, promotions and employee referrals are some of the best ways to get noticed.
Study after study shows that networking is the most effective way to get a job. That means that the job seekers who are well-connected start out with an advantage. But don’t despair – there are numerous ways to build the broad list of contacts that will open up new opportunities.
Networking means developing your social and business contacts into referrals during your job search. People in your network may be able to provide job leads or referrals, offer advice about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to key people that will expand your network.
Keep business cards and resumes handy – you never know when you will meet the right person that may catapult you into your dream job.
The key element in networking is sharing. Successful networking doesn't mean milking your contacts for all they're worth; it means participating in a give-and-take. Networking is at its most effective when both the networker and the contact benefit from the relationship. Even if your contact does not benefit immediately from knowing you, he or she should gain something from the relationship.
The best place to start developing your network is with people you already know and the people they already know. Talk to friends, colleagues, professors and family. Join a professional organization and volunteer your time.
Seek the influence of people you know at different stages of your career.
For college students and new grads:
- Recent grads and alumni
- Parents and your friends’ and classmates’ parents
- Professors, coaches, academic advisers, and college administrators
- Fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, and Greek organization alumni
- Guest speakers in your classes and internship supervisors
- Members of professional organizations
- Your past and present co-workers and supervisors
- Business associates such as customers, clients, vendors, and suppliers
- New friends and old friends
- Members of your religious community or volunteer organization
- Your mentor
Be considerate. When you get together with a contact, have an agenda and keep the meeting on track. Nothing scares people more than the prospect of someone taking up a lot of their time. Send a thank you note to show you appreciate their help.
Find your Yoda. A mentor – that one person who can guide you, help you, take you under his or her wing and nurture your career quest can be the most valuable kind of network contact.
Listen first, ask questions later. You are looking to learn from another person’s experience, so make sure he or she has the opportunity to speak. Once you have heard some of their advice, ask open-ended questions to keep your exchange balanced and get key information.
- How long have you been in this field?
- What do you like/ dislike about your job and company?
- What type of training do you need for positions such as yours?
- What is the culture of this company and what are its guiding principles?
Keep in touch. If you want to establish rapport with another person, keep the relationship going. Share your search progress with your contacts and forward them interesting articles about trends in your industry. Even after you have found a job, try to reconnect two or three times a year with members of your network.
Share the love. Building a network is about creating a genuine, caring relationship. Get to know your contacts on a personal level and see if you can help them in some way. Share your knowledge and interests, from business tips to recommendations for great Thai food.
Remember to mind your manners and follow the tips below for proper etiquette.
- Speaking in a loud, articulate, and clear voice.
- Focus all your attention on the conversation. For example, avoid chewing gum, typing, or playing the TV or radio.
- Leave a polite message if the representative is not available.
- Record a professional and polite voicemail on your own phone, and always return calls.
- Use good posture and try not to fidget .
- Be polite; say “please” and “thank you.”
- Dress appropriately.
- Always be on time, or even a little early.
- Always be on time for dinner.
- Place your napkin in your lap.
- Eat slowly and avoid loud crunching or slurping.
- Ask for an item to be passed, rather than reach across the table.
- Pass the food counterclockwise or to the right.
- Never pick your teeth or lick your fingers.
- Make positive comments and pleasant conversation -- avoid any negative criticism of the meal
- Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.
- Be sure to thank your host for a charming dinner.
Follow the rules of “Netiquette” for advice on how to behave in cyberspace.
- Behave online as you would in real life – treat people with respect and politeness.
- Know what is acceptable on the website or social media platform that you use.
- Make yourself look good online. Be knowledgeable and use professional language.
- Avoid getting into opinion-based arguments on message boards and websites.
- Respect other people's privacy, and guard your own privacy. Make sure your personal social media accounts are set to private.
- Make sure you know what is shared online about you, including information, photos and videos on your friends’ pages.
- Avoiding complaining or posting negatively about your work environment or job search.
- Write an accurate and to-the-point subject line.
- Begin your message as you would a formal letter. For example, Dear Mr. Jones, or Dear Ms. Smith.
- Use the same rules as a business letter, including proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
- Compose clear and concise paragraphs.
- Be friendly and professional, but avoid joking around.
- Avoid attaching large files unless requested.