College Connections

Job Hunting

I will be job hunting next semester. When should I start contacting companies that do not send recruiters here?

Your insight into the job market should be shared with all our readers. The question should encompass your entire job search. You should be trying to network with all potential employers now. Research shows that over 70% of professionals are hired by a company where the individual already knows someone. Before the Internet, college-recruiting fairs were the meeting place for students and prospective employers. Now, you must be actively networking to get an edge over the other candidates.

The new buzzword for employment-seeking students today is networking. It seems that you cannot get anywhere in this day and age without knowing somebody who is already there. Some industries more than others require someone ‘on the inside’ to further your chances of getting a job. A number of websites and social platforms have emerged in recent years to facilitate this particular niche, LinkedIn being the most recognized one.

According to a recent study by LinkedIn, a glowing resume is no longer enough to secure you that dream job. Having a connection in the company matters more now than ever. Statistics show that over 40% of companies in the following sectors hire from within or via a connection in the company: animation, computer networking and semiconductors, military, banking, and oil and energy.

Technology, entertainment, and defense companies are more likely to require specialized training and degrees and will have a smaller hiring pool, so they look to their own networks for future employees.

In advertising and direct response marketing, agencies don't consider that there are barriers-to-entry from network connections. Entry requires the ability to learn all forms of media: Internet, satellite, radio, broadcast, and cable. Advertising agencies are active campus recruiters, because they understand the youth market drives e-commerce.

One industry with surprisingly low barriers-to-entry is graphic design. The rise of websites showcasing print designs are responsible for helping to identify and promote talented new designers.

There are a number of steps you can take if you are trying to get into an industry where the network barriers are high. The first would be to use the website that generated the report, LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date and use a photo, since most recruiters respond to profiles with a picture. Consider this your online resume and include any work experience, education and achievements. Connect to friends and colleagues and join online groups with similar professional interests.

Keep track of the companies that interest you, know their news and follow their social media pages for possible job postings. Being knowledgeable about your possible future employers shows enthusiasm and initiative.

Good introductions are as good as network connections, so reach out to alumni at college who can impart advice and send you in the right direction, hopefully with someone already working at your target company.

Social media exposure builds networks and you can be certain potential employers will be looking at your profiles. Make sure they exude professionalism and that you're up-to-date with the latest social networks and analytics. Check your Klout score, if you do not know what that is you should. It measures your online influence by aggregating the number of times you post or are mentioned on social media and giving you a score between 1 and 100. With more and more companies using networks and online presence as a driving factor for successful applicants, it pays to know the tools of your trade.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

(Nadeem Ghori is President of Webplex, a digital analytics agency).


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