As a new graduate, you can look to your left and right and easily recognize the friends, faculty and professionals who’ve supported your educational journey. That bond and support can be an asset after you graduate. They can be a resource and sounding board as you enter the job market.
Even in the best economic times, you’ll quickly realize that you are not alone. There is competition. There are others vying for the premium positions, titles and salaries. You must acknowledge this reality in order to differentiate yourself in a positive manner. Your network can be one of your strongest assets if you actively engage those around you in your career search.
In particular, new graduates need to know how to effectively network in person, as well as learn how to create a positive, cohesive online presence to stand out digitally.
Too often, new graduates rely on sending out resumes from behind a computer screen, not realizing the importance of connecting virtually or face-to-face. In the long run, making personal contacts will do wonders for your job search. Networking also serves as a primer for more confidently interviewing when an opportunity comes along. More importantly, connecting with other professionals gives them a better chance to assess who you are and they can see your soft skills firsthand.
The network you built in college can help. In many courses, you may have the opportunity to connect with community leaders and people in your field of study. Use these opportunities to build your network. You may also have the opportunity to participate in student associations or local boards. The greater involvement you have during college can result in a stronger network when searching for your ideal employer.
While in-person networking is critical, that’s not to say you shouldn’t spend energy making sure you have a positive professional presence online. When a recruiter or hiring manager searches your name, it’s important to have a wealth of strong search results. According to an article published by U.S. News & World Reports, Don’t Believe These 8 Job Search Myths: “15% of positions were filled through job boards” and “more than 70% of people land jobs through networking.”
New graduates can stand out online by compiling a robust search of published content, professional, well-kept social media profiles and noted involvement with community organizations. If you take one action step – that is to create your LinkedIn profile and make it a goal to add at least one new meaningful connection per week. By the time you graduate, you’ll likely have a digital network of a hundred people who could connect you with thousands more.
Start early and stick with it. It is never too early or too late to begin building your network and establishing yourself as someone that people want to hire. Keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. You need to give to get, so be sure to help your contacts too. People are more likely to help you if you are willing to help them.
Larry Doty has been appointed to various positions of leadership at Herzing University including Academic Dean, Director of Education and Educational Funding, and Senior System Undergraduate Dean. Larry Doty currently serves as the Associate Provost of Academic Support for Herzing University. During his time at the Minneapolis campus, Mr. Doty successfully provided oversight to multiple accreditation initiatives at the programmatic and institutional level. He quickly developed a reputation for developing high performing teams and exceeding institutional expectations in areas such as budgeting and planning, team development, and student retention.