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HOW TO BEGIN NETWORKING:

A STUDENT GUIDE

Experts say that it’s never too early for college and university students to start networking. Networking is an essential part of job seeking, especially for recent and soon-to-be graduates. But why wait until graduation? Career experts suggest that the best time to start networking is while you’re still a student and most of the pressure of actually finding a job is off. Although students hear the word networking over and again, they may be wondering just what networking implies and how to get started. This guide will provide you with 3 groups of people you should include in your contact list, 10 suggestions to start expanding your network and 3 ideas to start networking online.


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WHAT IS NET WORKING

Networking is basically about individual job seekers forming mutually supportive connections and relationships –essentially anyone, and everyone, you know can be in your list of network contacts (yet some will be more active than others). Networking can be extremely beneficial to students in a number of ways: it can allow you to discover potential career avenues, gain important information about potential employers, find people who will provide you with a reference or recommend you, secure

internships with organizations of interest and build lasting relationships with key contacts.In today’s job market, networking has become a rather fundamental part of not only finding a good job but later advancing your career. The relationships that you form through your network and in your desired industry can be pivotal to the success of your career. It can be taxing and stressful to try and all of a sudden make critical contacts once out of school. Even if you don’t see yourself as a “people person,” networking is something that thankfully can be learned. The idea behind networking is to get yourself out there and find places and events where you can meet people. Professional networkers may make it look effortless, but networking in fact does take effort and can be time consuming, nonetheless the payoff will definitely be worth it!

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WHY IS NETWORKING IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE JOB-SEARCHING

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Networking is essential for students because a big part of finding a good job is about visibility –in essence employers need to know that you are out there and that you’re a good candidate for their company. When it comes to employment, in many cases the age old saying is true –it’s not so much about what you know but who you know. Sometimes knowing an important contact and being able to get a good recommendation can put you way ahead of other qualified candidates.

Research suggests that only about 20% of jobs are ever advertised for publically, which means that 80% of the jobs out there are filled internally, most of the time through references made by other employees in the company. These statistics show that people who know people get more opportunities to interview and meet with key contacts than others who have no connections to the company and simply send in a CV and cover letter. Many lucrative positions are filled before hiring mangers even get the chance to place a job ad! According to Marketwire –a social communications firm headquartered in Toronto –employees hired through referrals are hired 55% faster than those who are external candidates and have no connection to the company. This proves that it certainly pays to know someone on the inside, either working for the company that you’re interested in or even working in the industry.

How to Begin Networking? The first step to networking is to create a list of contacts. Your contact list could potentially include everyone that you know; personal contacts are valuable because they can link you to new people and organizations. Remember not to limit your contacts only to those who can actually get you hired or know of open positions in a company. Contacts can help you focus your job-search, provide feedback and guidance, teach you about a profession or industry, or refer you to key people who can help you get the job you want. » Your Professors, Instructors, Teacher’s Assistants, Guest Speakers and other professors in your department » Your Department Advisor or Head of Faculty » Your Classmates (current and former) » Current and Former Co-Workers and Managers (if you are employed during your studies) » Family Members and Friends (and their parents) Once you have listed the contacts that you already know personally, here are some tips on how you can expand your contact list. Remember to have a prepared CV ready to hand-out to all of your contacts –although you may not be ready for a job right away, it’s important to have one to leave with those you encounter so that they remember you.

see next page © Student Jobs International Inc. www.student-jobs.ca


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Ideas to help expand your network beyond your initial contacts

The following 10 suggestions will enable you to meet new individuals, establish critical connections and most importantly get yourself out there!

As a student, here are some ideas of people who may be on your list to start: The following 10 suggestions will enable you to meet new individuals, establish critical connections and most importantly get yourself out there! 1. Attend your school’s job fair or career week (where important recruiters/hiring managers will be present) and make regular visits to your school’s career center. 2. Attend alumni networking eventsand get in contact with alumni and recent graduates in your field to make connections and gain information about your field of interest. Some colleges and universities even have alumni databases and your professors may be able to arrange a meeting for you with one of their former students who is now working in your area of interest. 3. Find yourself a mentor. Some universities have formal mentoring programs –join one of these in order to be matched to a mentor working in your field of interest who can provide some critical guidance and answer all of your questions. If your institution does not have a program like this, try and find a mentor in your field (professor, recent graduate, teacher’s assistant) who you can turn to for a reference and for support. 4. Take an internship position in your field of study. This is a great opportunity to try working first-hand in your field of interestand is also a great source for networking contacts –plus if you like the experience you have a good chance of being hired there because you were an intern. 5. Volunteer on or off campus. This is a great way to meet new people and make contact with organizations that also sponsor charities or encourage their employees to volunteer. 6. Join your college or university’s student associationand become involved in various student organizations, student clubs or on-campus projects. 7. Join a student division of a professional association (federal or provincial). To see a list of professional associations in Canada visit the CICIC’s (Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials) website http://www.cicic.ca/en/profess.aspx?sortcode=2.19.21.21. 8. Attend a local networking event in your community. This is a great way to meet recruiters and hiring managers face-to-face from both big and small local companies and organizations. see next page

© Student Jobs International Inc. www.student-jobs.ca


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9. Attend a conference in your field of interest either on-campus or in your community. Conferences are a great way to meet others working and studying in your field and keep up-to-date on the advances and developments within the industry or field of study. 10. Conduct Informational Interviews. Informational interviews can provide job-seekers with many valuable opportunities. They are a great way for you to collect information about a job position, company, industry or career that you’re interested in without having all of the pressure of being on a job interview. The point of such an interview with an individual in your possible career field is to get advice and learn as much as possible about what the job entails –what’s required of you, what your responsibilities will be and how the industry works. Your goal is simply to collect information and make a contact. You are essentially asking a person about what it is like to work at their job and finding out through them whether this is something you would like to pursue. It is essential that you make contact with knowledgeable professionals in your desired area of work. Always follow-up a meeting with a thank-you note and remember to keep in touch with the individual while you’re completing your studies.

see next page © Student Jobs International Inc. www.student-jobs.ca


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HOW TO START NETWORKING ONLINE

Beginning to create an online professional presence is another crucial step in finding a job and breaking-in to an industry. The internet is a crucial place for job-seekers because it provides the ability to make important connections via social media outlets. However, using the internet should not completely replace the more traditional, face-to-face networking approaches.

Here are 3 ideas about how to use the internet to help grow your network: 1. Create a LinkedIn profile:LinkedIn is a great resource for professionals that will allow you to create a polished profile and control your identity online. Being on this site also enables you to join professional interest groups and reach out to potential contacts who are members of the same group. It is also a great way to find local networking events. Joining sites like this one and other online networking sites can help you find contacts that are working in your industry and are in your area. 2. Use sites like Facebook and Twitterstrategically: Many social media gurus have recently been praising Twitter as thego-to site for making important career connections. Both Twitterand Facebook enable you to follow various companies and organizations and connect with current employees, while also keeping you up-to-date on events and developments. Although social media is an exciting new way to make important business connections, please remember that creating and maintaininga professional image is critical for any job-seeker. More and more employers admit to researching potential candidates on Google and checking their profiles out on Facebook before inviting them to an interview. It’s important when job-seeking not to have anything up on social media sites that could potentially cost you the chance of being hired. 3. Create a thought-provoking, interest capturing, professional blog: Many experts suggest that soon-to-be and recent grads should create for themselves a thought-proving, professional blog which showcases their interests and ideas. Unlike many personal blogs that are sometimes full of fluff and just for fun, a professional blog will enable an employer to get to know you personally but also allow you to control the way that you are perceived. You should choose subjects and topics and write in a style that will showcase that you are experienced, intelligent, intuitive, professional, mature and hire-worthy! Let employers know what your career goals are and what you are doing to achieve them. The most important aspect to remember about networking is the most obvious: networking is about making connections and building relationships. It normally takes the help of several contacts in order to land a job. Keeping in touch with your contacts is the cornerstone of networking, in order to be successful you ideally want to make yourself memorable to your contacts and you want them to be thinking about you when key positions become available in their companies or organizations. Networking is about people mutually supporting each other; so in addition to gaining information and references from others, don’t be hesitant to return the favor to your contacts if they ask something of you.

see next page Š Student Jobs International Inc. www.student-jobs.ca


studentjobs. Matching smart people

ABOUT STUDENT JOBS INTERNATIONAL INC.

This guide is offered to you by www.student-jobs.ca. Student Jobs is an employment agencyand job board for Canadian Students. It’s our mission to find study related jobs that will give students valuable work experience for their future careers.

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