Your worst nightmare has come to pass. You did your best in school, spent all that money, have an impressive resume and still cannot find a decent job. You are either living at home with Mom and Dad or working that deplorable minimum wage job to barely pay the bills. Guilt trips from your family bombard you in the form of comments about what you should do with your major.
Today, it takes more than a highly polished resume to find a job. Increasingly, that old adage, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know” proves true. When there are not enough jobs out there for people, it is easy for your resume to get lost in a pile of other resumes. The person that has the inside contact will catch eyes and be more likely to get an interview. So how do you get there? One word: networking.
The key here is to get your voice out to whoever is hiring. This can be done by simply telling friends and family that you need a job. Ask if they know anyone who is hiring, and say that you would appreciate a contact name. This may or may not work. It depends on who you know. Networking this way could lead to an impressive job at a downtown firm or to a tip that the boss needs a new package sorter.
While a package sorting job might sound like a paycheck and a way to move up in a large company, that sort of job does not keep your skills relevant. It just buries you away from anyone who might take notice of your business related skills, further hindering your networking abilities. Now you’re a full-time package sorter for years. Take entry level finance jobs if you are in the finance field. In fact, you can begin off somewhere. So don’t get desperate and just take anything.
The trick here is to keep in contact with the right people. Get in touch with old contacts in your major. See what they are up to and what they are doing with themselves. Mention that you still need a job and ask if they know anyone in your industry who is hiring. Email old advisors and ask if they have a word about new opportunities. Inquire around the alumni office and see if anyone is currently working in the industry you are interested in. Someone may be willing to help out a fellow alma mater.
Most of all, get involved in professional organizations for your career. Knowing how to add resume to LinkedIn can give you a boost on organizations because this will gain you professional contacts and many societies will have notices about jobs. Being a member of a professional society will also gain you access to professional conferences. There, you can shake hands with people that may just remember your name when hiring time comes around. Not to mention, you may learn new things about your profession.
A key portion of networking is to get an online presence as well. Read and/or write blogs, get a LinkedIn profile and put yourself out there in the form of a website or online portfolio. Many blogs will list resources to help you find a job or tips on how to get experience in your field in ways you have never considered. Personal blog searches have yielded the world of full-time online freelance writing. Somehow, educational sources forgot to mention these.
So give networking a try. Just be careful to not scare people off with a desperate look in your eye and a blunt, “ARE YOU HIRING?” Approach people naturally, ask some industry questions and casually mention that you are looking for opportunities. The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t get a job, but you still learn plenty of things and meet interesting people that you otherwise wouldn’t have.