In this day in age, it’s no longer about what you know but rather whom you know. That is a phrase we are all becoming more and more familiar with. Getting a job with the economy in a recession is super hard especially as a recent college graduate with little to no work experience. Well how do we get to know these certain people everyone talks about helping them? The answer is: Networking.
What does it really mean?
Dictionary.com defines networking as a system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups that have a common interest. Many think that networking is too difficult and time consuming to participate in. However, that’s not entirely true. Networking can be as simple as just talking to a colleague and forming a relationship with them. You don’t have to go above and beyond to find someone to network with.
How does one network?
Like I stated above, networking can be as simple as talking to a colleague or even a college peer about your goals and ambitions and skills. If you develop relationships with these people, they may remember you somewhere along the line and possibly give you the opportunity of a lifetime.
Why should you network?
The key to getting where you want to be in life, is find someone who is older and more experienced than you in that same field and use him or her as a mentor. Allow them to teach you everything that they know. When they eventually retire, they will have someone to indicate to take over their position and you will automatically be bumped up the interview line. Corporations sometimes find it too risky to hire someone from the outside world for a position because you don’t have anyone to vouch from you. How will they know if you aren’t a lazy bum who will only drive costs up and productivity down? They don’t. That’s when a contact comes in handy. They can tell the hiring manager all about you and how they believe in you. Hiring managers believe them because they know you wouldn’t risk your job to get someone else one.
Where would you go about doing it?
Networking can take place somewhere as simple as an alumni dinner your school’s Student Alumni Association holds. They usually ask local alumni to come to show their appreciation and the students are invited as well. When your firm asks you to participate in a conference, go ahead and take the opportunity. You never know whom you will meet and who you will create a friendship with. These are the connections that will allow you to climb the corporate ladder.
Whether you are a student or already in the workforce, you can’t go wrong attending one of these dinners. You will get a chance to meet fellow colleagues in a similar work field or even meet someone that works for your dream company. Talk to them. Just be friendly and because these are not formal settings, have a normal conversation. You shouldn’t stress so much over it but be aware of how much alcohol you consume, proper table etiquette, and the impressions you are giving off. You may not want to ask them every single work related question that you may have because at the end of the workday, that’s the last thing they want to talk about, even though you may be fascinated by it. Alana Muller from Huffington Post has great tips to get you to network effectively.
Priscilla Curcino is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida’s College of Business. She is studying management with a minor in international business and hopes to work for a major corporation after graduation.