6 Job Networking Tips for New Grads

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Job networking events are often intimidating for college students and graduates. These events are often places where they feel out of place - but that shouldn’t be the case. Networking events are places were job hunters can make contact with prospective employers and show them just how strong they are as job candidates.

More often than not, the issue with networking for a college grad is not about whether or not they know how to tie a Windsor knot or how to pick out the right business card, but what to say to company representatives and how to say it. Below are 6 tips we hope will help recent grads out with networking.

1. Show passion for the industry and company

New grads normally do not have much relevant work experience, but can impress potential employers with passion about the company and the industry. The following are crucial pieces of information college grads should research to impress employers.

a) The top 3 competitors in this industry
b) The company’s strengths/weaknesses 
c) The company’s vision and values
d) Industry trends (social, economic, etc.)

2. Show interest in the person you are talking to

Company representatives respect sincerity and will open up as job seekers ask questions. Most people are happy to talk about themselves (what they do for a living, how they got involved with the company, etc.) so college grads should show some genuine interest in the person they are speaking with.

3. Brand yourself with an “elevator speech”

It is necessary to create a brief 30-second speech in order to project a personal brand that sets you apart from other recent graduates seeking employment. If you haven’t had a corporate job yet, it will be hard to come up with a title for yourself, so focus on your skills and recent experience.

4. Be clear about your short-term and long-term career goals

It is very important for entry level job seekers to know the field and industry they want to get into. A good formula for articulating one’s career goals is by stating the position you are looking for, your skills, and qualities you look for in a company. An example would be:

“I want to obtain a marketing coordinator position where I can utilize my creativity and communication skills in a growing company that offers performance-based advancement.”

5. Don’t ask for a job, they’ll ask you

     The ultimate goal of the job networking event for a recent college graduate may be to get a job, but they should never flat-out ask someone they just met for one. Instead, asking questions about the employer, showing knowledge about the industry and company, and talking about personal skills and qualifications will yield the best results. After this is done, a good way to inquire about jobs is to ask for advice on how to break into the industry. Most people will be kind enough to give the job seeker some insightful advice. Lastly, it is absolutely crucial to ask for referrals as well. If the company representative likes you, they may even suggest that they act as your referral for that particular company.

6. Networking is a two-way street – show how you can help

     Job seekers who research prospective companies not only find out about company weaknesses but also discover what opportunities they are failing to realize. If a company is not heavily involved with social media, needs a fresh idea to reach a new target market, or has other problems, you should think of some solutions to offer during the networking event. Giving free advice to employers not only solidifies your image as a strong job applicant, but it makes you look less like someone who is just out to get a job without bothering to help out others in return.

(Courtsey: New Grad Life)


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