College Advice Blog

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Oct 23, 2013

Networking Tips for Graduates


Teamwork 2Now that you have graduated from college you need to begin the process of finding a career. The years that you spent studying for a degree have been expensive and now it's time to reap the benefit of your hard work. 

As a graduate you join the pool of over one million college graduates thrust upon the job market, three-quarters of which are employed, according to the Current Population Survey published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Knowing how to promote yourself and get noticed by hiring executives is important if you do not want to be one of the 331,000 recent grads still looking for employment.

Networking is a tried and true method for finding and landing a job. Networking is active, requiring you to engage future employers in order to build a relationship. Such a relationship can prove crucial in determining your job candidacy over that of a faceless but equally qualified candidate. Here are some ways to effectively network, sell yourself, and land the job you want.

Present Your Case Online 
One of the quickest, easiest, and least expensive ways to get yourself and your degree out there for prospective employers is through social networking sites. One of the more popular sites for business and professional networking is LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides users with a way to post their resume (or Curriculum Vitae) and information to over 225 million members. It can be an effective way to reach a lot of individuals within a related or connected network to show them who you are and what you have to offer.

Through LinkedIn, you can connect to others that have similar profiles to you, take advantage of the suggested connections feature, and find alumni who may be able to assist you in your career pursuits. LinkedIn is a useful tool that all college graduatesshould become familiar with.

Join a Professional Networking Group 
In addition to getting your information online and in front of recruiters and human resources professionals, you have to be seen. In nearly every major city there are professional networking groups representing a variety of fields. There are even groups that are specifically designed to attract recent graduates and individuals just starting out in their careers. You can also look for Under 40 and Under 30 groups in your community (or the community that you want to work in) as a source for in-person networking opportunities.

You can go online and find events that are taking place (many of them free) and use sites like Evite.com to obtain a ticket for admission. These groups can prove to be target-rich environments for meeting potential employers and influential individuals who can steer you in the right direction.

Look for Volunteer Opportunities 
Finally, do good works. Volunteering for non-profits that are supported by the same companies you are looking to be hired by goes a long way towards demonstrating your social consciousness and willingness to participate in the broader community. One note of caution, make sure that you choosevolunteer opportunities that reflect your values and that you have a true desire to be a part of. Non-profits have a genuine need for volunteer support and faking it just to be seen by a prospective employer may be seen as disingenuous and hurt you and your reputation in the long run.

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About the Author 

This article was provided by CJ Gordon, recent Computer Science graduate and networking expert. If you're a company interested in acquiring new employees through networking events and trade shows, CJ recommends using custom rental exhibits from Excalibur Exhibits.
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