You might think that most people get jobs by seeing a position advertised and then applying for it. You'd be wrong. In fact, only 20% of vacancies are filled this way. Your UBC Sauder BCom may give you an edge, but you're unlikely to get very far without a good network. Here's how to go about developing yours.
Employers prefer to hire people they know within their personal and professional networks and 80% of jobs are unadvertised. Networking can alert you to positions you might otherwise never hear about. You can also get first-hand information about the world of work and connect with experts in your field of interest.
Be strategic about your job search - use the 80-20 rule for how you use your time – 80% networking, 20% online searching.
Where to network
There are many ways to connect with employers and professionals in your area of interest. Talk to your UBC Sauder professors, peers and the career development professionals at the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre. Become a member of a professional student association or a student member of an organization related to your future work.
Here are some other ways to meet people:
• Company Information Sessions
• Online (LinkedIn)
• Career fairs
• Association meetings
• Networking events
• Student clubs and conferences
• Informational interviews
80% of jobs are not advertised
In other words - it's not only what you know, it's who you know.
Keys to success
In a competitive job market, the more people who know about you and what you do, the more opportunities you’ll have. Through networking and relationship building, you’ll gain a competitive edge in your job search and throughout your career. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively:
1. Have a good introduction ready
A good introduction will include your name, what you’re doing and the area or type of work you’re interested in.
2. Do your research
Always prepare for a networking meeting, even if it’s informal. Use online resources such as Google and LinkedIn to learn as much as you can about the people you’re meeting with, their organizations and industries.
3. Dress appropriately
First impressions count, so make sure that you wear clothing that projects a professional image and that's appropriate for the field you're exploring.
4. Bring business cards
Business cards can be printed inexpensively and serve as a follow-up tool and concrete reminder of your meeting.
5. Engage in meaningful conversations
Demonstrate your interest by asking questions. Be genuine and avoid dominating the conversation.
6. Make good use of your time - and theirs
Don’t spend all your time at an event talking to one person. Give yourself and others the opportunity to network with different people.
7. Keep an open mind
Not everyone you meet will be able to offer you a job, but you never know who’s connected to whom. You will get more value from an event by talking to and making a good impression on as many people as you can.
8. Networking is a two-way street
Effective networking builds mutually beneficial, positive relationships. Allow people to join your conversations at events. Reach out, share information and seek to connect others within your own network.
9. Follow up
Thank everyone you meet or who gives you advice. Follow up with contacts even after you’ve obtained a job to develop and maintain your network for the future.
LinkedIn is the most powerful social networking tool for business professionals. Connection-based recruitment is a developing trend that is changing how Sauder students and alumni tell their professional stories online, find work, and manage their careers.
With more than 300 million members internationally, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network – it’s growing at a rate of two new users per second and gets almost 2,300,000,000 page views per month. More than 90% of North American employers used a social recruitment tool in 2012.
- Watch this LinkedIn video on building a professional network
- Learn tips from another video on turning relationships into opportunities
Three reasons why LinkedIn is the tool for being found online:
- LinkedIn improves your Google page rank and 75% of Fortune 500 companies use it to hire new talent.
- Once you complete your profile and make several connections (set a goal of 50) you will see (and be seen by) hundreds of second degree connections.
- Peers, mentors and future employers can go deeper with LinkedIn than they can with your resume – include all of your experience, publications, recommendations, and interests.
Find cool stuff
Three reasons LinkedIn is the tool for exploring professional opportunities:
- You can use it to find interesting companies, learn how employees change jobs, and determine the skills you will need for the career you want.
- LinkedIn members share insight and knowledge in more than one million groups. You can follow people and companies, and join groups that interest you.
- You can improve your chances in job interviews by learning about the people you will be meeting and the company for which they work.
Three ways to build a LinkedIn profile that stands out:
- Write for the web – create short and compelling paragraphs when building your profile, don’t copy and paste your resume; share cool content and invite engagement from the community by speaking and connecting with your authentic and unique voice.
- Personalize and include everything – sync your Twitter account, blog, presentations, and website.
- Ask for recommendations and endorsements – have your peers and friends endorse your skills and expertise and set the goal of getting multiple clients and supervisors to recommend your work.
A word of caution
While social networking has many positive aspects, you also need to be careful about what information you share. Never post or tweet anything you wouldn’t want employers and bosses to see, or any confidential business information. Remember to search your name occasionally to check what’s online about you. Also, make sure you’re sharing consistent information (jobs, dates, experiences) across all your profiles, or else it’s a red flag for hiring managers.