5 Networking Steps I Took to Land My Dream Job
Job Hunting is as much a skill as any other skill you can secure – like coding, canvas painting, non-linear modeling, playing an instrument, ability to get free Guac, etc. Although as a Student you do not have those 10+ years of experience at the age of 21, you still have an edge and something the professional network envies about “Your Student Tag”.
Some of these techniques may work for you, but there could be some that won’t work for you. But as in Engineering, if you follow the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), chances are, you’ll be better prepared and will have that 360 degrees of an open mind whenever the opportunity arises.
These are the 5 Top Networking Steps I followed :
1. Make it professional
In the US, every corporate job gets an average 250 resumes (Glassdoor). The first step towards landing your dream job, is to build a strong resume. Having a standardized format makes it easy for recruiters to go over your resume, and also for the AI bots to pass it without any troubles.
There are tons of formats available on how to format your resume – the one I used for mine was:
2-sided single page resume format
1 inch margins on both ends
10-12pt Times New Roman font
No inept colors
I also like to include links of some of my work, portfolio, website, research papers, videos, etc. This helps the recruiters to go over my work more than the page can talk about.
Tip: Try to create your own e-portfolio. My university had tools from career services that helped me with that – plus it’s all FREE.
2. You need that connection
As important as it is to build a strong resume and have all the keywords/skills to fit the company profile, you need to be as I like to call “On the Canyon”. There are multiple ways for you to connect with those who work at the same company you are applying to.
One stop shop for all is LinkedIn. There is an apt saying “Get LinkedIn, or Get Left Out”. As we domain ourselves with the inquisitee social media, LinkedIn is becoming a quintessential part of your professional account. When I meet people in the professional domain, I search them on LinkedIn and immediately get connected. Sending a personal note is a great addition.
Joining professional networks is another quick way to put yourself out there before you start digging for water when thirsty. My university had a great mentorship network, where I could connect with alums and folks in different concentrations. I also bought the subscription for Phoenix Business Journal where they would showcase monthly ‘People on the Move’ from all the sectors. This way I would choose the ones from my domain and try reaching out to them.
Tip : Start joining LinkedIn groups of your interests to begin, they have free online sessions you can use to get connected.
3. Scout for recommendations
95% of resumes do not get read and 60% of jobs are not even posted are the ingenuous truths of the modern day job application process.
The easiest way to solve the problem is to scout for recommendations from people around you, and sometimes literally ANYONE! I reached out to my Professors, and after seeing my performance in class, they helped. I also found some to be the liaison to companies for certain entry level positions.
Other resources were sitting right next to me in class – my colleagues. They could be already interning or working for the company you are looking at, why not be a part of a group project together and get the recommendation hyperbole going?
At Career Fairs there were specific booths which I would target a night before the fair and then optimize my time to talk to all of them by the end of the day. One such booth was Nikon. I used to visit them every semester and ask them about what the company is doing and seek for any opportunities. Did that for 3 semesters and finally they knew me well enough to at least give me an initial screening. The rest is history!
4. Attend professional mixers
Almost every company in the US is a part of one or more professional organization/clubs. This is not only for them to stay in business, but also to recruit new talent. I was a part of some organizations, which had industry leaders and practitioners who I would see at events. This allowed both of us time to get to know each other and possibly get my foot in the door.
Many times they have student discounts for memberships, and sometimes they even gave me free attendance to workshops, just because I asked. They also would have local chapters at my university, which helped me to connect locally with professionals in my area. I used those connections to seek out recommendations.
5. Persistence is key
You can get wearied out doing hundreds of applications, but don't give up. Sitting in front of the computer screen and making those personalized resumes and cover letters is not fun, but it’s the first and most important part of securing a job.
Even if you seek a recommendation for a job, the most obvious question you’ll end up getting is “Did you apply online?” When you knock that one out, it’s easier for the employer to move forward with you since you're already on the database. So it might seem to be a lot of wasted time, but consistently applying for jobs will open lot more doors.
Bonus – Stay Connected and Be Confident!
With all the efforts that went towards building the network, it’s equally important to stay in touch with them even if they couldn’t get you your dream job. Companies are always looking for talent, so staying in contact with your network can become rewarding when you don’t just remember them when you need them. Keep Networking!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shainil Jogani completed his Masters in Manufacturing Engineering from Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (Class of 2020). He is originally from India and currently working at Nikon Precision as an Applications Engineer. Shainil was recognized as "Face of ASU 2020" by the International Scholar's Center with his agile participation on ASU's diversity and inclusion charter - working with International Student Engagement (ISE) and Student & Cultural Engagement as an ASU Ignite Speaker, Sun Devil Civility Coordinator, Board member for Global Guides, Global Advocacy Certification Program, Bridges USA, FOI, Student Success Aide at Polytechnic Academic Advising and member of International Committee at Poly campus.