In my most recent post, “The Job Network: How to Find a Job By Networking”, we reviewed the different ways to network. Networking is a very effective career development tool as multiple studies have shown that the large majority of jobs are filled via networking. In today’s post, I am going to continue to prove to you how networking is an effective tool for finding a job. I am going to demonstrate this by providing you with personal examples on how networking events have impacted my career.
I have three great examples of how networking events have been proven to work!
The first happened to me while I was in the last semester of college. I attended a career fair at my local college. During this career fair, I met a recruiter from one of the organization’s I was very interested in working for. Prior to the career fair, I had researched the organization and had an understanding of the organization’s core business as well as the key responsibilities of the entry level job that I wanted. This preparation thoroughly helped me when speaking with the representative. During my conversation with him, I was able to use the knowledge I had on the organization and the position to concisely explain how my previous internship experience and passion for the organization’s work made me a strong fit. I then gave him a copy of a resume in the hopes of receiving a call back. Low and behold, I received a call back from him a week later and was offered a job three weeks later after completing the interview process! The key takeaway here is that you should research the employers that you are interested in that will be at the career fair ahead of time so that you can do research ahead of time. This will help you make a great first impression which will help open doors for you.
The second was a longer process but shows the power of college organizations. During my college career I was a Psychology major. As a result, I decided to join Psi Chi (Psychology National Honor Society) during my sophomore year. I thoroughly enjoyed my work for the organization. I helped the organization run multiple different events and served as the Treasurer one semester. During my junior and senior years, a recruiter from an organization that I was really interested in working for came on site to present to our organization. During her first presentation, I had a small conversation with her afterwards and got her business card. I made sure to email her after the presentation to thank her for her time and to establish the connection. During my junior year, she was able to place me in my first internship with the organization. Although it was unpaid, this internship brought me valuable entry level experience into the field that I wanted to get into. During my senior year, the organization came on-site to do interviews for entry level jobs. My connection with her combined with my internship experience with the organization made me a very strong candidate. All of these things helped me get hired by the company which turned out to be my first full time entry level job out of college. Although it took a few years, the fruits of my labor clearly paid off! The key takeaway here is that college organizations are a great way to network. A lot of companies will send representatives to meet and present to specific college organizations in the hopes of finding candidates for entry level jobs.
However, my favorite networking story is how I was able to impact someone else’s life. When I used to recruit for entry level customer service positions, a gentleman attended a career fair that my company had a booth at. Although he had only one year of customer service experience, he completely sold me on his professionalism and work ethic. He was dressed professionally, had strong communication skills and made it clear that he would to do whatever it took to grow and learn. For that reason, I brought him in for an interview for one our entry level customer service jobs. I am so glad that we did. Not only did he come in and do a great job in the entry level job he was hired for, but he consistently moved up through the organization in the years to come. The key takeaway here is that you have to pay attention to how you present yourself to employers at career fairs. Despite this gentleman having limited experience, I knew that he was a perfect fit for our organization based on how he presented himself to me at the career fair.
I hope that these three examples demonstrate to you the true power of networking. While I know that it may be hard to challenge yourself to go out and meet new people, just know that it is a powerful tool that will open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed.