The Power of Networking

The Power of Networking

The business world is not an easy one to go into.  It is a highly competitive world where just having the knowledge doesn’t cut it anymore.  Students no longer get a degree and just walk into a company and get a job.  It may be cliché but the saying “its not what you know, but who you know” is one of the best pieces of advice you may get.  Let me explain a little more.  Getting a degree is, of course, essential to getting a job.  Companies won’t even consider you if you don’t have a degree and of course it is always better to have a higher GPA.  But in a world where there may be thousands of recent graduates with a degree and the same GPA what will you do to differentiate yourself.  In the business world it is all about making yourself more valuable through differentiation.  What makes you stick out from others?  Do you have a certain skill, or can you speak a different language are both examples of this.  When this still isn’t enough there is one skill that all business majors should master.  Networking.  Networking starts with LinkedIn and creating a good resume but don’t just sit back and expect something to happen.  Reach out to people who work and companies that you like and ask them to have a 10 minute phone conversation with you.  Ask about how they got started, what do they do, and do they like it?  If this goes well ask to add them on LinkedIn and then if you apply to that company drop their name.  While LinkedIn is a great resource nothing beats face to face contact.  In some cases this means you have to be a little aggressive.  If you work in a restaurant then simply ask customers where they work and introduce yourself, you could even stand outside of office building and talk to people walking in or out.  I even heard of a graduate who would print out 50 copies of his resume and just “accidentally” drop them all over the office he was interviewing in.  This may sound crazy but he is now working in Boston.  These methods may sound a little over aggressive but you have to ask yourself if you get a job at the end of it, was it worth it?  Of course.  When you think about how many hours in a week there is, can you take just a few hours a week out to strengthen your resume and network.  These few hours could be some of the most important that you spend.

Networking can be your best skill, and the fastest way to get a job but it often takes effort to get started.  First receiving good grades and keeping your GPA high is beneficial.  After that you will need to differentiate yourself and build your resume.  Then start your creating your network by getting out there and talking to people, yes I know sounds frightening.  If you have questions of any kind visit the Paul Buildings Career Services office.