Our post this week is from guest blogger Tori Spring, Assistant Director at the Career Center.
By Tori Spring
What is the number one secret of finding a job in the US?? Networking!
Statistics show that over 75% of jobs are found through networking. Why? Because knowing someone helps you stand out! Think about how similar your resume might look to others in your program. How are you actually going to stand out amongst the hundreds of other resumes? If you’ve talked to someone at your dream company, then they know that you communicate well, are interested in the company, and have the skills for the job. All of a sudden, you are a much better candidate for their job. So stop blindly sending resumes to job openings. Instead, find ways to connect with people in the fields that interest you.
How do you do this?
The professional networking site LinkedIn is one of the best ways to network! It allows you to reach out to others with whom you already have a connection. This means that you don’t actually need to be related to an employee at your dream company to connect to someone who works there. Instead, you may have an adviser who has a friend at this company; since you two are connected on LinkedIn, you will have the ability to look through your adviser’s connections and reach out to this person! So after you have created a profile on LinkedIn, connect to any advisers, professors, friends, and family members who are already on the site. Then take time to search “Groups”. Join the UIUC International Alumni and Student Network, any University of Illinois Alumni groups, and any groups related to your major or career interests. You now can start connecting to professionals in your field and asking them to talk with you about their career paths. This is how you start networking!
Another great way to network is by joining a professional association. Getting involved in campus organizations is very important, but also make sure to take it one step further. If you are interested in marketing, join the American Marketing Association. Majoring in civil engineering? Get involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers. Most of these organizations have student memberships as well as resources to help students network or find opportunities. But don’t just join and think you’ve done enough. You need to actually get involved – volunteer for a local conference, participate in a student competition, or reach out to a fellow U of I alum in the organization and talk with them about their path. These people are experts in their field, and most would love to talk with someone like you! And once you’ve talked with them, you are that much closer to standing out and getting your dream job.
Check out INTLConnect.illinois.edu for more tips and useful resources for your job search.