Job searching can be overwhelming at any level.
With saturated markets and recruiters flooded with job applications, it can feel like there is immense pressure to stand out.
Many career coaches will agree that a great way to get in front of a hiring manager is to use your network.
But what if you’re just starting out, and you haven’t had a chance to develop a network in your chosen field?
Good news: it’s never too late to build your network, and it’s never too early to start connecting with those who have your dream job.
Whether you are looking for an internship or a full-time position, there are many ways you can use your network for your benefit.
Everyone you admire had to start somewhere, and most will be happy to offer a hand to entry-level candidates. You just have to take the initiative and reach out to them.
Here are three avenues and networking tips for young professionals when starting their career search.
Finding common connections with others can help make building your network a bit easier. What better way to do so than to bond over your school’s Saturday morning breakfast in the cafeteria or recent football victories?
Shared experiences humanize us and make it easier for entry-level professionals relate to experienced ones.
Whether you are a recent graduate or still in school, your college or university (or even some high schools) should have an office dedicated to building relationships between alumni and current students.
Reach out to alumni relations or career development offices to see if they have information on fellow graduates who now work at your dream company. Most of these offices are responsible for organizing programs to facilitate these connections, so make sure you are checking your email to be aware of these opportunities.
There are other ways to find common connections with established employees beyond your college experience.
LinkedIn—the social network for business professionals—is a great way to identify and engage with people you may not otherwise have the chance to meet.
If you are targeting a specific company or location, reach out to recruiters or hiring managers within those areas. You can view a potential connection’s employment history, volunteer interests, and certificate programs. There’s another opportunity to relate to them!
LinkedIn also allows for quick communication: you can write an introductory note to those you ask to connect with you. This creates an opportunity for two-way communication so you can set up coffee chats or send your résumé.
Remember to use proper etiquette and introduce yourself before asking for someone’s time—especially when it’s free.
Times have changed, and many career fairs are happening virtually or in a hybrid structure. No matter the format, career fairs can still be a great opportunity for face-to-face interaction with recruiters and hiring managers.
Check with your college’s career office to learn more about virtual career events happening at your school. You may also find job fairs in your city, which can be a great first step!
Attending a career fair, even if it isn’t in person, can be a great way to show your confidence and create a strong first impression. This one-on-one face-time with the company can be invaluable in helping you get ahead and build a strong network.
A few more tips to keep in mind:
- Always be polite and open in your outreach.
- If the initial person can’t help, they may have connections to someone who can.
- Focus on hiring managers and recruiters whose job it is to find stellar candidates like yourself.
- Make sure you highlight what makes you unique.
Networking may seem like a challenge because it forces us to put ourselves out there and ask others for help. But it’s a skill that will come in handy throughout your entire career.
Utilize the networking tips listed above to help you better target your outreach to build a lifelong network of professionals.
TransPerfect is always looking for entry-level professionals to start their career with us. Connect with our recruiters on LinkedIn to start building your network. Then take a look at our careers page to find out what roles we are hiring for.