Posted by OfficeTeam on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 07:25 | Follow me
You’re ready to enter the workforce for the first time as an admin and know you need to try social networking to find a job. However, making business connections seems like a far-fetched idea when you only see your roommate, teachers and friends every day. How can you begin to form a real network? It’s not as hard as you may think. Just follow these networking tips.
If you can finally see your graduation from high school, trade school or college on the horizon, you’re probably feeling a mix of elation and anxiety.
Sure, commencement exercises mean an end to reading assignments, homework and exams. But they also signify that it’s time to enter the workforce, and searching for a job can seem like a daunting affair – especially when your professional network feels so small.
It may seem difficult to start making connections in the professional world when you’re in school, with limited work experience. But there are plenty of things you can do now, while you’re finishing your last classes, to develop the professional contacts who can help you land a job. After all, many positions these days are filled through word-of-mouth. Here are four networking tips for students:
Expand your definition of “network”
If you think your collection of professional contacts must be made up strictly of people you’ve met while working jobs or internships, think again. Your network can include anyone who knows your work experience, strengths, career goals and personality well enough to provide you with appropriate job leads or introductions to professionals in your field. That could be your neighbors and relatives, your parents’ friends, even your dentist or hairstylist. Brainstorm a list of people who might be able to help you in your job search, and let them know, via email or in person, that you’re looking for work.
Sign up with LinkedIn
You probably post status updates on Facebook, send out tweets and add photos to your Instagram feed on a regular basis. But chances are you haven’t yet registered for LinkedIn, a social networking site where people create pages detailing their professional qualifications, education, certifications and work history. Once you put up your page, you can “connect” through the site with people you know who share common career interests and goals – for example, classmates who’ve graduated and are currently in the workforce, former teachers or friends’ parents. Even better: They can easily find you if they hear of a job opening they think may be right for you.
Use the resources provided by your alumni association
Many colleges and trade schools have active networks of alumni who are more than happy to provide information and job search tips to fellow alumni who are just starting out. Visit the career center at your school, and find out how you can connect with those networks — through online groups or in-person alumni association meetups, for example. Even if your school doesn’t have an official organization for alumni, you can connect with others on LinkedIn groups and Facebook pages specifically formed for students at your school.
Join groups – professional and otherwise
Some of the best social networking opportunities come through professional groups, like the International Association of Administrative Professionals, which offers a student membership for a reduced rate. These groups’ events are often excellent places for making connections with people who know of current job openings and can introduce you to hiring managers now and in the future. But don’t stop there: Consider volunteering with local groups and signing up for group activities in your city (think soccer leagues, book clubs or cooking classes), where you can meet a wide variety of people, any of whom might lead you to the ideal job.
In fact, you never know who’ll give you the tip that helps you find the position you’re searching for. So before you start social networking in earnest, prepare an elevator pitch, or a short summary of your qualifications and the kinds of positions you’re looking for. For instance, “My name is John Doe and I’m about to graduate with an associate’s degree. I have really strong Microsoft Office skills and I’m looking for my first job as an administrative assistant. Would you know of any openings?” With practice, you’ll be ready whenever opportunities for making connections arise.
What are some other social networking strategies that have helped you in your search? Share them in the comments below.