Networking & Social Media
Tap Into the Hidden Job Market
Networking allows you to tap into the hidden job market. Eighty to eighty-five percent of jobs available are not advertised. Many times a job opens up within a company and candidates are referred through existing employees or industry contacts. One in seven employee referrals is hired. Only one in one hundred general candidates is hired.
What does this mean for you?
It’s important for you to build a strong network of contacts to increase the likelihood that you will be one of those referrals. Download the Networking Career Tipsheet to learn who to contact and how to network. Also read the article "How to Work a Room" from Toastmasters International, an organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, on what to do when you are at a networking event
Connect and converse with professional contacts
Informational Interviewing is a great way to begin networking and building your network. Informational Interviewing is when you reach out to WPI alumni, professionals in your field, or any individual who has a job that is interesting to you, and have a 30 minute conversation. You lead this conversation to find out information you are curious about, in order to confirm a career of interest, learn more about an organization/company, or seek out additional contacts and resources. When conducting an Informational Interview, it is important to be respectful of your contact's time. Arrange a time that is best for him/her and be as flexible as possible. It is best to conduct informational interviews in person. Second best would be via telephone/Skype and least preferred would be over email - as it is harder to develop rapport through email. You prepare a list of questions you would like to answered and lead the conversation. After the Informational Interview, inquire about additional contacts that you could speak with to get various perspectives and insight into careers of interest. Always follow up with a thank you note, showing appreciation of time and information shared. Check out thse additional tips for having a successful informational interview experience.
Use LinkedIn.com to Enhance your Networking Strategy
LinkedIn is a great social networking tool for career management, personal branding, resumes, and networking. Download the LinkedIn and Your Job Search Career Tipsheet for information on how to use the tool so that potential employers will notice you.
LinkedIn Grad Guide Video Series
Use the Power of Social Media to Your Benefit, Not Against You
Social media is a powerful way to network and search for a job. You should use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to let your contacts know you are looking for a job.
However, it’s important that you assess your current postings, comments, and photos to make sure you are presenting yourself in the most professional way possible. Employers are searching these sites for information on candidates. Postings do influence hiring decisions. In some cases, employers have revoked offers after viewing profiles.
The safest way to make sure that you remain in good standing with an employer is to not put objectionable material on your account. Anything you post on a friend’s page, or comments a friend makes on your page, is all fair game for employers to use as evaluation criteria.
Networking at Conferences
1- Connect with presenters/ attendees before the conference. If you know who the key note speaker is or which sessions you plan on attending reach out to those presenters beforehand. Send an email, tweet, or LinkedIn connection/ message. This is a great starting point for when you approach them after their session.
2- Collect more business cards than you give. If you want to speak or meet with that person after the conference ask for their business card instead of offering yours this way you are the person responsible for reaching out to them afterwards. When you get a business card write on the back of it any information you may want to reference in your follow up email.
3- If you are nervous about networking then practice! Practice what the interaction may look like with a friend or family member or the CDC!
4- Don’t ask the usual questions. When trying to network stay away from the same old questions that the person may always get. What is your passion?
5- Keep it brief. Make sure that you are not asking question after question. One or two good questions will leave a better impression then ten of the same ones they’ve already heard.
6- Its not about you… Do not center the conversation around you or keep trying to think of ways to interject your experiences. Instead let the professional get the chance to talk about themselves and follow up with asking for advice.
7- Connect, connect, connect. Afterwards make sure that you are following up via email or LinkedIn thanking the professional you spoke to for their time. It is during this time that may be you ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company they work for and the field that they work in. If they seem too busy, ask for a quick 15 min phone conversation.
8- Volunteer! This allows you to meet professionals through volunteering to work registration, networking receptions, conference planning committees, and more!
9- Graduate School Fair/ Career Fair It is important to have all of the basic information about the school’s program/ company ahead of time. This way when you are having a conversation with the counselor or employer you can you ask more specific or even different questions than the 20 people ahead of you in line. This will make you memorable and also show that you come prepared. Make sure you do this for all of the schools/ employers you want to connect with at the fair. Lastly, treat them ALL as if they are your number one choice, like with employers, program representatives want to know that you are excited about their program especially if they will be working with you directly.
10- Networking for the wallflower. Practice, Practice, Practice. If you tend to be more on the shy or reserved side when connecting with new people then start small. Try making small talk with someone in line for you at the bathroom. Then work your way to introducing yourself to the people around you in a session.