Whether you are a future graduate or looking for a job, you have sent dozens of unanswered e-mails, suffered dozens of refusals. Don’t panic, we’ll explain how to use a network to find the way to get the new job you’re dreaming of, simple and effective!
Before we tell you more, let’s get it straight. Who says the network, says piston, says “I was not really hired for my abilities” or “I cheated”. No! When we talk here about using your network, it is about mobilizing resources in order to find the right contact, at the right time, who will serve as a springboard to get to the position that suits you best.
“I’m going to network with some Alumni”. Whether or not you’ve heard this sentence before, you’ll have to make it your own! Networking is the art of building a network of essentially professional relationships, generally during real or virtual, formal or informal meetings. More specifically, the “Alumni” network designates all the alumni of your school/university. They generally exist in business and engineering schools, but increasingly also in universities and other establishments.
But why use its network, and particularly its Alumni network?
80% of job offers are not published publicly and it is often less restrictive for a recruiter to mobilize his network and word of mouth to quickly find candidates. It seems that people who have been recommended in advance are hired 55% faster than those who have gone through a traditional application on a site.
We are not going to lie to each other, the former students of a school are always (secretly or not) enthusiastic to share their experiences and to take under their wings a new kid on the job. You went through the same teachers, the same benches, the same bars… Even before knowing each other, you already have things in common and that can only work in your favor! Of course, the effectiveness of an alumni network is uncertain depending on the school and depends both on the number of students it includes and the budget allocated to it.
And now, how can you develop your network effectively?
You are convinced of the benefits of not going alone in the jungle of employment! Below are some general recommendations as well as special LinkedIn and Networking tips.
4 keywords to remember:
Proactivity: No one has ever seen a recruiter knocking on their studio door to offer them a job. It’s not just about getting started early, but also about activating and persevering.
Audacity: Dare to discuss face to face or on the phone, much more effective than an email. But be smart and daring: it is not a question of contacting the CEOs of all the companies that interest you, but the most operational contact who will be able to help you effectively.
Reputation: And especially “e-reputation”. Maybe now is the time to do a little spring cleaning on your Facebook account and do a Google search on your name to fix the typos.
Expertise: Okay, you might not have a lot of experience but you know your field: show it. Consider updating your social media profiles with relevant information about your skills. Also, continue to follow the news of your chosen sector.
7 steps to take:
1) Mobilize those around you: Without your grandmother advertising you in the market, it is always useful for those around you to be alert and ready to recommend you. Consider gleaning information from other students who have already found a job. You can also ask certain teachers with whom you have forged bonds of trust.
2) Join the Alumni association
3) Join your school’s Alumni group on social networks: It is very likely that your Alumni network will be listed on LinkedIn for example, join it without delay in order to start a more targeted search (see below).
4) Choose the right social networks: Beyond LinkedIn and Viadeo, there are many networks specializing in job search, some of which are specially reserved for students and young graduates (JobTeaser is one of them for example !), others specialized in a sector of activity.
5) Attend your school’s events: Conferences and workshops are great opportunities to learn but also to meet the right people. Take the opportunity to participate as an organizer. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet and exchange directly with the speakers.
6) Attend events / after-work networking: Whether they are organized by your school with alumni or outside of school, these are gold mines to boost your job search and your motivation!
7) Attend business trade shows: Here recruiters are brought to you on a set, or almost! Take part in job-dating or speed-networking which allow you to present your motivations to companies and make the first contact.
Use LinkedIn (with or without Premium) to develop your professional network
According to the Ipsos Institute, it would take at least 9 minutes a day on social networks to advance your career! How to take full advantage of these 9 minutes?
Update your profile so that it reflects your most relevant experiences. Also, choose a professional photo as well as a catchy and specific title (we forget “Newly graduated student looking for a job”).
Do a targeted pre-research: From the start, target the most relevant profiles for you (by location, sector of interest, company, etc.). Keep in mind that an alumnus working in the company of your dreams is a gateway even if he does not currently fulfill the function of your dreams!
Organize an informal meeting: Once the profiles have been selected, send each one a brief and personalized InMail expressing your interest in his career and your wish to meet him. Be careful, it’s about getting your foot in the door, not pushing it down by immediately asking to be hired!
Prepare the meeting (phone or face to face): tie up your pitch and your questions, and stalk the person! That is to say, find out as much as possible about her position, the company in which she works, any publications, the latest articles shared, etc.
Be professional, open, and flexible on D-Day: Take an interest in his career, for example, his training, the main challenges encountered, the advantages and difficulties associated with his current position, etc. You can then ask him for advice on the best ways to enter this sector, the mistakes not to be made… Finally, it is possible to end by asking him to direct you to people he/she deems relevant to you.
Keep in touch: Of course, don’t forget to thank them after you meet. And do not hesitate to rekindle the contact regularly, whether it is to mention a current event that you had discussed or to give your opinion on the book that was recommended to you, etc. Also, keep in mind that a network develops according to the principle of reciprocity! So suggest contacts or recommendations in your turn.
Remember, 9 minutes a day or not, consistency and consistency are your best friends in the job marathon. Do not confine yourself to one person, get in touch with several alumni or other professionals.
Network at a professional event
Managing your network online increases the chances of being recruited, and managing it face to face also doubles them! Here are some additional tips for those struggling to network:
Prepare yourselves, prepare for the event: Here too, preparation alone is already a major step in networking that should not be overlooked. Once you’ve chosen your event/show/evening, get to know its speakers and those that interest you. Then gather as much information as possible about them, their company, and their industry. This will then allow you to have “interesting” questions in mind to ask them. As mentioned previously, be prepared to deliver your presentation pitch to them as well as clearly expressing your chosen sector, your strengths, your objectives and what you are looking for, all in a subtle and diplomatic way (“I love your company, I am precisely excellent in marketing, would you like to take me on a permanent contract? ” is an approach which a priori unlikely to have an effect).
Be a little early on D-Day in order to identify your key contacts and have time to approach them face to face. Provide your business card or other information if necessary (this is not to hand out your CV like a flyer). Stick around for a bit after the event is over – who knows, those who linger are likely to be the most determined to help you out, or even invite you to other events!
Keep in touch: Small follow-up email or InMail reminding them who you are and thanking them.
Do you have other tips for networking? Have you tried networking and have your efforts paid off? Do not hesitate to share them with us!