4. Try in-person networking events.
Online networking can play an important part in building relationships, but it only goes so far. One of the best ways to create contacts would be to attend in-person networking events.
It has worked wonders for me! For example, local chapters of the Business Marketing Association, American Advertising Federation, and other industry groups hold dozens of events each year, and most welcome college students and recent graduates for a much smaller fee, as well.
The trick is to look at it not necessarily as a night of mini-interviews to get yourself a job, but symbiotic networking — think, “What can I do for them?” Create relationships with them and help them out on a volunteer basis. By showing them how great you are while helping them out, they may want you full-time or will recommend you to friends and colleagues who are hiring.
5. Arrange some informational interviews.
These are great ways to network and learn more about a company or industry. Like in-person networking, the trick is not to treat it as a real interview, which is usually a big turn-off to the person you are meeting with. Rather, see it as a friendly meeting that allows you to pick the brain of the person by asking intelligent questions. It is a great opportunity to let your personality shine, but still be polite and professional, of course!
Best-case scenario: they like you and want to: a) consider you for a position they are hiring for, b) have you to intern for them, or c) help them out on a volunteer basis (which is a great way to show them what you’ve got!)
What is more the norm, though, is that you have made a great networking contact and can keep in touch with them. When they hear of an open position, they might then think of you or will refer you to their colleagues for other informational interviews.
When I interned this past summer in NYC, I performed five informational interviews. I learned a ton about the industry and how the individual companies worked, not to mention gained extremely valuable networking contacts that I still keep in touch with today.
6. Don’t turn down an opportunity just because it’s not the “perfect” fit.
Through networking, you may receive various opportunities that may not be the most glamorous or even paid, but nearly every one will eventually pay off in some form or another.
For me personally, I try to never say no to any opportunity; each one is a chance to network and show people what I have to offer. However, this can be tough to balance if you already work a couple of other volunteer or part-time jobs or have a family and other responsibilities to care for. If you can handle it, though, you can almost guarantee it will be worth it.
Take a look at this article by Adrienne Waldo at Advertising Age on the types of offers you should jump at.
7. Have the job openings come to you.
Join relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups, follow job posting-related Twitter accounts, and set up job posting website alerts that email open positions right to your inbox every day or week.
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