Now that youve earned your college degree, the saying that, Its not what you know, but who you know, may dishearten you. Dont become discouraged when you first start out your job search and realize your college degree may not be enough. Rather, utilize the contacts youve already made to get ahead in your job search.
In college, you hopefully took the time to lay the foundation for solid contacts, references, and professional/personal relationships. You shouldnt think of everyone you meet as a contact or networking opportunity. Rather, by recognizing that people in your life can help you get connected to opportunities you will allow yourself to make the most out of your job search.
College advisors, career counselors, and professors make great contacts to expand your network. If youre thinking of relocating to a different city or state, ask the mentors closest to you if they know of anyone you should meet while you are there. Most college professors and advisors would be more than happy to connect you to people they know who live in different areas. Because professors work inside your field of study, they likely have a broad network of people who they can connect you to.
Internships and volunteer activities also provide networking opportunities. Through internships you will likely meet people deeply embedded in your field of expertise. Take advantage of these relationships by working hard and being reliable so your intern coordinator or superior will be more likely to connect you with someone they are affiliated with.
After you graduate, its important to stay in touch with career counselors, former employers, and professors. These people can become a solid part of your network, and can also recommend your work to people in THEIR networks. Whats more, mentors and superiors can provide valuable references and letters of recommendation when you approach the interview stage of your job hunt.
Maintain a solid network of valuable career professionals by being a hard working and dependable student, employee, and volunteer. Recognize networking opportunities when you see them, and let your network work for you and your job search.