CONNECT WITH EMPLOYERS

People are more likely to hire someone they know. It’s estimated by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics that over 40% all jobs are unposted and 70% of all positions are filled by someone that the employer knows. This can be good news or bad news for you, depending on the steps you take during your time in school and throughout your career. 

NETWORKING STRATEGIES

Networking can take several forms and most of the time we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.  At its core networking is an informal conversation with people that you already know, or just met, about things that you’re already interested in. Meeting people gives you an opportunity to learn from them. They can help you narrow your areas of career interests, give you inside information about the field, even help you find a job shadow, an internship, or a job.

Networking Tips for College Students

    • Speak with your faculty:  Your professors have years of experience in your field of study, have often times worked in the field and are connected to employers around DFW and the country.  Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. 
    • Talk to Employers at Career Events: Even if you don’t know anyone in your field, the Career Center hosts hundreds of employer events a year that are designed to connect you to professionals in a variety of fields.  Check Handshake for events coming up.
    • Join a Student Group:  Many UNT Student Groups bring in area professionals, connect you to jobs/internships and can send you to professional conferences or job fairs. You will also meet other students with similar interests who may be able to connect you to opportunities.
    • Volunteer or Intern: This is one of the best ways to meet professionals in the field of your interest.  Learn more about the industry while demonstrating your skills and value to the organization. Many volunteers and interns get hired on after graduation.
    • Connect with Alumni: Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni Finder and the UNT Alumni Association to search for alumni working in your field of interest.  Many alumni are open to providing career advice, informational interviews or professional introductions.
    • Don’t Underestimate Your Family, Friends and Classmates:  Even if your parents don’t work in the field you’re interested in, they may know someone who does. 
    • Join Meet Ups and Other Community Activities
    • Create and Practice your Elevator Pitch(es): Your elevator pitch is your quick, personal selling statement. It can be used when riding in an elevator with the person next to you, when meeting employers at career fairs, and as the foundation for cover letters and email introductions. More information about how to write your elevator pitch is included below.
    • When in Doubt, Ask Questions: questions are a great way to build rapport and demonstrate interest in others while also gathering important information.
    • Networking is a Two-Way Street: Building relationships is not just getting what you need but creating a mutual benefit to keep the relationship alive.

Networking Tips for Introverts

If the idea of a networking event makes you shudder, here are some tips that will help it go more smoothly. Who knows, you might even discover that networking doesn’t have to be painful.

  • Take Networking Online: See “Social Media and Networking” below 
  • Network one-on-one: Not all networking needs to be done at a big event or meet-up. Set up phone conversations, meet up for coffee or meet your connection at their work place.  
  • Prepare questions ahead of time: Research the person, company or profession before you meet and come up with questions that you truly care about.  This helps keep the conversation going.
  • Be authentic: Don’t pretend to be anything that you’re not. Highlight your unique strengths and let your skills shine.  
  • Challenge Yourself: Think about how you can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit. Create goals for yourself and follow through. It might have unexpected and great results.

ELEVATOR PITCH – STARTING THE CONVERSATION

An elevator pitch will be useful to have ready throughout the interview process as it is typically a great icebreaker to start a conversation. From phone screen to in-person interview, you’ll be asked to provide a summary of who you are, your background and what you want from your next job. The elevator pitch can also be a helpful framework as you’re planning your answer to the popular interview question, “Tell me about yourself” or considering what to include in a cover letter.

What to Include in Your Pitch:

  • Who You Are: Include your name and something that differentiates you from your peers (major/degree, athlete, veteran) and/or establishes a relationship (graduate of same college, from the same hometown, etc.).
  • Your Specific Goal or Career Interest: This will help the person to possibly connect you with others who can help.
  • Your Experience and Qualifications: Share your relevant work, volunteer, academic and internship experience and skills. Demonstrate your interest and experience in the field with examples of things you have already completed. Don’t just say “I have always wanted be a doctor,” but rather “I have taken pre-med courses and volunteered at the hospital”.
  • Finish with a Call to Action: End your pitch by asking for what you want to happen next.

Elevator Pitch Template

Hello, my name is ____________ and I am completing a ____________ degree in ____________ at The University of North Texas with a minor in ____________. I am interested in a career in (or a position as a) ____________ in the ____________ field (industry). I have been involved (during college) in ___________ and have developed skills in ____________. I have also had an internship position (employment) as a ____________ with ____________ and discovered that I really enjoy ____________. Could you tell me more about ____________?

Example 1

“I am passionate about the environment and am interested in building on my experience and interest in environmental sustainability with an internship in an environmentally friendly organization. My University of North Texas education taught me to think critically and make connections across various disciplines. I use those skills in my involvement within the Students for Sustainability organization as we work to educate the campus community to the importance of living green. I want to make a difference by helping people understand how their actions affect our planet, which is why I am interested in working for your organization.”

Example 2

Hello my name is… I am a junior at the University of North Texas, interested in helping children, and my major is psychology. I am excited about getting more research assistant opportunities because I want to go to graduate school. I have excellent listening skills, data management, and critical thinking skills, which I believe would make me a great research assistant. Being a research assistant in this lab will allow me to understand children’s motivations, a topic I am considering exploring for graduate school. Could you tell me about some of the most interesting findings you have discovered in your research so far?”

SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING

Social networks offer endless ways to connect with a wide-range of people with little effort and to organize those connections — through lists, circles or groups — so you can use them more effectively.

Build each network to create relationships that can be nurtured through interaction and conversation. By cultivating and organizing the network you create, you’ll be more effectively able to act upon professional opportunities.

Using LinkedIn

Over 100 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities. Learn how to effectively build your profile, connect with contacts, and find opportunities. 

  • Create a Strong Profile: See the LinkedIn Profile Checklist.
  • Add Connections: Great people to start with include professors, classmates, alumni, professionals at career events and career coaches and academic advisors.
  • Quality over Quantity: Concentrating on making connections in your field is more important than the number of connections you make. You can learn from your connections. With LinkedIn, you can study what your connections are researching, see what others are writing about and learn about job/internship opportunities. If you are lucky enough to make a connection with someone who is willing to give you advice, then you will have an edge over others with your same credentials.
  • Reach Out and Follow-Up: Connections can provide insight about your career path, job/internship information and other great information but they can’t help unless you ask. (See the section below for tips.)
  • Join Professional Groups: Utilize the “group” feature of the website. Joining groups in your field of expertise and interest can help you connect with others around the globe that are interested in similar topics. You can learn more at University.Linkedin.com

Communicating on LinkedIn

  • Be Professional and Authentic: Communicate on LinkedIn the same way you would in professional interactions outside of LinkedIn. No need to be overly formal or change your style – be real, be you, but be professional.
  • Research before Reaching Out: Review a person’s profile before contacting him/her on LinkedIn. You’ll make a stronger connection by highlighting things you have in common or specific aspects of his/her experience you want to discuss.
  • Keep it Short and Personalized: In today’s busy world, no one wants to read long, dense paragraphs on their computer or smartphone. Keep your communications brief, to the point a personalized to the recipient. 
  • Proofread: Remember that everything you post on LinkedIn could be seen by a wide audience (even private messages could be forwarded or saved). Represent yourself well by double-checking spelling, grammar, style, and tone.
  • Always Say Thank You

SOCIAL MEDIA AND RECRUITING

It’s very important to consider your online presence, as more and more employers have been expanding their hiring procedures to incorporate social networking sites. Hiring managers and recruiters use social media to source candidates, to post jobs, and to accept job applications.

Social media job searching sites can help hiring managers get a better sense about a potential employee and their background before they interact. Social media makes it easy for recruiters to understand you better; your likes, dislikes, and how you might fit within the company. 

Twitter

This microblogging site may be most widely known for its use by media outlets and celebrities, but it can also be a great way for you to interact with people of similar professional interests from across the globe. Additionally, companies are increasingly using Twitter to promote jobs and internships. One tip is to use hashtag searches (e.g., #jobs or #internships) and “follow” companies of interest to find opportunities.

Facebook

This social networking site likely needs no introduction or instruction on usage, but be sure that your activities on Facebook don’t give prospective employers “red flags” about you as a candidate. Check your photos, videos and comments for professionalism.  Key tip:  Utilize Facebook’s privacy settings to disallow public viewing of tagged photos, wall posts and other aspects of your profile (or make your profile entirely unsearchable).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE:

Resources

Resources

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