Students: Start your Networking Engine!

If you are a college student, I suspect that you are starting to think about your next internship position.  While most students go straight for the internet, I urge you to consider using the best sources possible to help you land your coveted next position. The internet has it’s place but use it wisely.

The web is your central hub for research. It’s the best place to find out about careers, jobs, and companies but it’s not always the best way to connect into a great job.  The online job boards and company websites do post jobs but the likelihood of being offered a position based on your online application is minimal. This situation is famously called applying to the “Black Hole” because many times your application is not even reviewed.

You have the power to dramatically raise your probability of success by making personal connections. There are two sources to activate immediately. First, be sure to use the network  from your college or university. This includes Career Services, professors, Academic Departments, Alumni Relations, or contacts from any college related activities such as fraternities, teams or clubs. Whether you are a college student or recent grad, put the power of your school behind you in your search. Consider attending Career Fairs or participating in a job shadow opportunity with an alum.

The second source is your existing network which includes all the people you know personally. Your family, relatives, neighbors, friends, friend’s parents, and high school connections are all important. Let them know you are on an internship search and ask for their advice. Many of them will likely connect you to their own personal business contacts.

After you activate these two networks, it’s time to broaden your network beyond your college and personal connections.  Social media is one great way to do this. Connect with the companies you are interested in working for, after updating your online profiles.  Most recruiters now are using LinkedIn and Twitter to find candidates so your professional profile and engagement will allow you to distinguish yourself against many competitors. Ask for an interview using social media and you will be memorable!

There’s another terrific way to broaden your network. Take a deep look at your college and personal network and identify people who make up your very own “power team” within your network.  These are people who are very connected and successful and who have a very high opinion of you.  These are the people who can and will do anything to help you. It might be a neighbor, an aunt, a professor. It might be your mom’s best friend. Identify those people and meet with each and every one.  Let them know your ambitions and that you wish to broaden your network and ask if they can help you. Be ready to explain what career passions you have so they can point you in the right direction.

Activate and power up your networks for the chance to open up real new opportunities. While asking for help, find out how you can be helpful to your network. Be gracious and prepared, but certainly put your networks to work for you.

Start your Networking Engine!

How do you power up your network?

© Copyright 2013. Sandra Long. All rights reserved.

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Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.


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