This article aims to provide some ideas and tools to help new and current students.
1 Gain Real life experience
- This can vary greatly depending on the industry so make sure you do your research on what is useful for your chosen industry
- Develop projects - use your imagination. Pick a topic and develop a project that relates to your proposed line of work. Business majors can write reports, developers build websites, and engineers draw up plans or build a product. Portfolios of work apply beyond traditional design industries. This is incredibly useful and tangible for now and years to come.
- Coffee is a key. Not only is it delicious, it’s a great (and cheap) method to network. If you’ve made it past the initial introduction - coffee is a great way to further it. Make sure you write down takeaways you want to gain from the meeting before hand and do your research on the company they work for.
- If you want to keep it broad, highlight the information about the industry that you know.
- Make the effort to go to somewhere convenient for them.
- Follow up with an email thanking them for the time they took.
- Add them to LinkedIn.
3 Perfect your elevator pitch
- Develop this as early as possible - while you’re researching, studying or before you’ve made a move.
- Introduce yourself
- Your background and/or experience
- Connect the dots
- What you’re trying to get into (this can be changed to the person you’re speaking to)
- Practice it as much as possible, the more you use it, the more comfortable you are delivering it
- Have a short and longer version
- Don’t labour it with industry jargon - keep it natural
4 Utilise LinkedIn
- Spend some time fixing up your profile. Change your settings to disable notifications of updates
- Find and follow groups and media publications that are related to your desired industry (as well as others you’re interested in). Facebook also has an abundance of information groups based on industries, ask to join them.
- You might think you don’t know anyone in an industry, but it’s worth exploring to see whether there are 2nd or 3rd degree contacts in the industry.
- Look up companies and explore industry groups.
- Like and comment on relevant topics
- Add people on LinkedIn but make sure you write an personalised invite.
5 Attend Networking Events / Meetups
- Meetups certainly apply to some industries more than others, but with the increasing breaking of barriers in most industries, you should be able to find */insert industry name/*-tech.
- If there’s nothing directly, look for industry body events.
- Look up key speakers, sponsors and attendees to do further research on.
- Feel free to add these people onto LinkedIn.
6 Apply for jobs (obviously!)
- Consider summarising your resume to ONLY 1 Page. If Elon Musk can do it…
- People reviewing a pile of resumes spend very little time going into the detail that you’ve put in, so keep it short, succinct and well formatted.
- Edit your resume to directly address the job that you are applying for
- Always write a cover letter.
7 Utilise Internal and external recruiters
- Some larger companies have career acquisition specialists. These people specialise at recruiting talent into their respective organisation. Often these are the people that will receive a brief from a department looking to hire. They will likely vet candidates. If a job ad doesn’t include a name, see if you can find this person and address your cover letter to them personally.
- External recruiters. I think they are a great and often unique gateway into an industry. They will have more contacts than most within the industry. They will deal with contacts that you don’t and know sectors and companies that are growing that you don’t.
If networking isn’t your thing, you’re definitely not alone. If it helps, put on a hat or hoodie when typing out an invite or introductory email. If you’re going to an event, don’t be afraid to go alone. Not knowing anyone else puts you in a much more likely scenario to meeting new people than clinging to someone else. Pretend you’re the host of the event and approach people and conversations appropriately.
If you do see someone you know, try not to gravitate to them the whole time. Don’t be afraid to add people on to LinkedIn that you’ve met. Always add a note when you invite someone - and try to add a follow up for a coffee.
While there are an enormous amount of tips out there, most of the time, it’s going to involve rolling up the sleeves and grinding away at it.
Andy - study101