The best tips to make your job hunting process easy-peasy
A simple meaning of networking is communication. It’s something that we do in our daily lives, with new and existing friends, as well as family members. However, when it comes to “professional networking” – we want to grow connections for job and career advancement purposes. To achieve this, there are some simple things that we have to be mindful of if we want to meaningfully connect with people.
Is networking required?
Why do we have to connect with other people, when we can try to rise by ourselves? Yes, maybe you can! But, as the famous quote goes, “work smart not hard”. Networking is a smart approach to your job search and career advancement. It’s more than just asking someone for the job. It’s an effective strategy for your job search. By networking you give, receive, and exchange a lot of information that helps you learn and grow during the whole process.
How beneficial is networking?
A few of the several advantages of networking include:
- It’s an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas for your dream role.
- It helps you to get noticed and visible among people in your area or others.
- It benefits you with valuable career advice from experienced peers.
- It helps you to be bold and confident when you continuously put yourself out there, share ideas, and give your point of view in front of other people.
- It enhances your social skills that are like “an icing on the cake” in your job search.
- You can clear all your doubts by talking to your peers or other experienced people in your area. It prepares you for the roadblocks in your way and helps you to move forward.
Now that you know how networking can be a valuable asset to getting your graduate-level job, how about some top networking tips that will not only help in catching your dream-level job but will also help you to tackle other real-world challenges?
Tips for Networking
1. Talk to your professors
The best and easiest way is for you to keep in touch with your university professors other than your project supervisor. This is because they have garnered relevant experience in your career field for years and maybe decades. They have well understood the industry and the opportunities in the area. So, beyond attending their classes, be in touch with them, ask questions, and be active. This way, if they see your potential, they can recommend you or help with your job search. It’s the easiest and closest option you have. So, don’t slack in showing your interest and efforts!
2. Talk to previous graduates
The best way to understand your career field is to talk to previously graduated students. These students will have a good knowledge of the industries or research labs in your area and they can also brief you on the processes involved in it. These recent graduates can also help you with interview questions and practices that you need to follow while being interviewed.
You can learn a lot from these people through simple friendly interaction. So, always be in touch with them for the guidance you need.
3. Use university placement offices
University placement offices are designed for the placement of students in good companies, or organizations. These offices are a good source of information regarding the receiving companies and their cultures. Communicate with the people in these placement offices because they can help connect you to available jobs and persons in the industry.
4. Be active at events and conferences
Several scientific events, conferences, and workshops are organized by the universities for graduates like you! So, as much as you can, participate in these events and be active in discussions with people around you. Some of these events are of international and national level, joined by eminent professors and scientists from your country and all over the world. So, don’t miss such big opportunities as they can help you ‘catch the big fish’! You may even land a job with an esteemed scientist in your area.
However, don’t be willy-nilly in applying to these events or workshops. Only sign up for events in which you are interested and one in which you see your career. By making the right choices of events, you can hit the jackpot! Sequel to these events, you can adapt the cold emailing strategy to reach out to the professionals you admire and want to network or chat with.
5. Use social media effectively
Nowadays, communication has evolved through social media. Today, several platforms are available for personal and professional networking. Through the smart and effective use of these platforms, you can dig out the gold for your career. Currently, LinkedIn and Twitter are the two platforms that connect you to professionals from all over the world and are also even suggested by other professionals.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is popular for being the biggest social networking platform for professionals. Here, you can network and chat professionally with experts in your field. However, to grow a useful network, you need to be active on this platform, by engaging with posts that are related to your interest and communicating with the authors of such posts. By doing so, you can easily extract knowledge about your career interests and learn how others have progressed in the same area.
Twitter: You can maximize Twitter, from your Twitter bio, which shows your accomplishments, to your tweets and retweets. Thus, your bio should be wisely and thoughtfully put together. Follow faculty, industries, institutes, hashtags, keywords, and subjects in your area to keep yourself updated and join meaningful real-time conversations. Thus, depending on how you maximize it, Twitter can also be a valuable tool for job search.
6. Join advanced networking groups
In your job search journey, you need to network with people who are serious and committed to the work they do. In events and seminars, you will meet several different-minded people – some people actively engaging and others, not showing much interest in collaborating or adding value to the events. So, you need to identify the advanced group, who are having meaningful conversations and debates on the subject of your interest. You will also have to put in the extra effort and join those conversations and express your point of view.
7. Take advantage of both strong and weak ties
During your job search, it’s advisable to tap all the networks you have, whether it’s a strong bond or a weak bond. Strong bonds will give you deep inner circle views and minute details on jobs and placements. Some strong ties may also connect you to some weak ties that increase your networking. Whereas, weak bonds take time to strengthen. Nonetheless, these weak ties give your network vitality and cognitive flexibility, which opens up the road for new networks, viewpoints, and opportunities.
Networking is not only about adding people, it should reflect your desired path and show where you are heading to. It should update you on the opportunities and current affairs in your area. So, it is advised to read journals, attend conferences, and prepare yourself for your dream job, where you see yourself, or where you want to go.
8. Maintain your network
Maintaining your network is as important as creating them. So, try to focus on the quality of relations or networking rather than the quantity. Don’t rush to increase the number of people on your contact list but learn to nurture the limited relations and bonding you have created. How can you do that?
- Have a recurring meeting schedule (voice or video call) with the key people who are crucial to your network to enhance your relations for professional insights.
- Make a list of people with whom you have lost touch and you need to reconnect, whose thoughts you value, whose company you enjoy, and with whom you want to know better or build better relations. Schedule a time to call and reconnect with them.
- It’s a very good idea to pen updates of your network on the back of their business cards or have an e-business directory to store such updates. It helps remind you about points that foster good conversations with them and strengthens your bond.
9. Be prepared when you are contacting or tapping a network
When you schedule a meeting with someone, prepare your talking points and/or questions in advance. Be clear about what you want to discuss and learn from the person. This helps you to smartly present yourself in front of people and makes the conversation more comfortable and less awkward. Also, in this way, you can prepare yourself to ask more intelligent questions and get in-depth information.
10. Follow up and reciprocate
As earlier said, networking is not only about creating a network but also about preserving it. You don’t say goodbye after extracting the information you need and/or end your relationships after events or meetings – you must open the lines for future communication. So, how do you do it? After any conference, meeting, or event, make sure to exchange contacts, such as email, or phone numbers. You can utilize this contact to be in touch and send a thank you note after any fruitful conversation.
A relationship is a two-way street of giving and receiving. So, try to be helpful and resourceful towards your network as well. You can do it by having a regular conversation and understanding their interests, asking them about their families, checking periodically to know how they are doing, and talking about topics that interest both of you. This way you not only build a relationship during your job search but even beyond that!
Networking is a smart approach to job search. Every day of meeting new people, attending conferences, events, and meetings extend our network and open new doors for fresh ideas, opportunities, advice, feedback, and support. The crucial step in this process is first to have a clear idea about what you want and where you see yourself. Having this idea narrows down the people you need to network with for job opportunities.
The other most important point in networking is to maintain the quality of networking over quantity. You shouldn’t overwhelm yourself by talking to too many people. You also need to nurture the bonds as you build them. And, always remember that networking is a two-way street. So, express your gratitude to the people who help in your job search and help them also in any way you can. This creates a helpful network during your job search and beyond!
- Page Micheal (2021, January 1). Top 12 benefits of professional networking and how to get started. Retrieved from https://www.michaelpage.com.au/advice/career-advice/career-progression/benefits-networking
- 12 Networking Tips for Students Who Want to Get the Best Jobs. Retrieved from https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/12-networking-tips-for-students-who-want-to-get-the-best-jobs/
- Isaiah Hankel. 8 Networking Tips For PhDs To Advance Their Careers. Retrieved from https://cheekyscientist.com/8-networking-tips-for-phds-to-advance-their-careers/
- John E. Kobara and Melinda Smith (2020, March). Job Networking tips. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/job-networking-tips.htm
- 10 Tips for Effective Networking. Retrieved from https://careers.umbc.edu/students/network/networking101/tips/