Published on Oct. 3, 2018
Updated on Oct. 1, 2018
Making connections is an essential part of getting the career you want. Not only do connections lead you to new job opportunities, making connections can be fun and exciting! Most people, simply search for jobs online, apply to them and wait for a call or email accepting or rejecting their resume. Depending on the answer, they either start a career or get back on the internet in search of a job. While this method is not bad, there is a much better method available to you. This method is called networking and it involves making connections and using those connections to find hidden jobs or jobs not overtly advertised on the internet.
You may be wondering how does one network. A good first step is creating a LinkedIn account. Chances are, you have received an email at some point with someone asking you to join their LinkedIn network. If you are anything like me, you probably saw the email and then shrugged it off, not really understanding what LinkedIn was. In essence, LinkedIn is a networking site. You create a profile with some basic information (name, school, major & a summary section). You are then able to add people to your network. By adding people to your network, you have access to their job history, where they currently work and what they are doing in their career. If you find someone working in a field you are interested in, you have the ability to reach out to them and make connections.
Most of the time, reaching out looks like sending someone a simple message along the lines of,
“Hello Mr. Smith. I am a student from the University of Missouri and saw that you work for Influence & Co. I am currently studying Strategic Communication and would love to someday work in a position similar to yours. Do you have time to sit down and talk with me about your career path and what it is like working in a creative field? Thanks for your time!”
In a nutshell, you would be asking for an informational interview and this is a GREAT way to show your interest in a potential job. More often than not, even more connections can be made through an informational interview.
With LinkedIn, you also have the ability to follow company pages and keep up with them. Companies post job openings, workshops and updates on LinkedIn. This can give you an inside scoop and another way to find job positions that may not be available otherwise. Additionally, following alumni from Mizzou is a super easy and professional way to reach out to people who have gone through the same program as you and are now on the other side. Lastly, recruiters from different companies scan LinkedIn profiles all the time. Sometimes, job opportunities will show up in your inbox and rather than you finding a company, they find you!
LinkedIn is a wonderful tool that you don’t want to miss out on! Get out there and make connections with people and have fun in the process. Know what is happening in the career world and take control of your job search.