Lets talk about Networking and being a recent graduate

Friday, September 11th, 2015

So, you graduated, AWESOME!!!

Now what??  Do you go pound the pavement dropping off resumes to the lucrative business you are hoping to work for?  Do you apply online, and hope your excellent formatted resume gets you past the other 300 applicants applying for the same job?

Yea you can do this, and I am not saying it wont work, but you know what helps?   Networking!!

Networking as a graduate can be daunting to say the least.  Sure you may not have the 5 years’ experience they are looking for, chances are you are not 100% sure of your skills, and  the reality of it is you don’t want to call people and ask for jobs.

Good news, networking is not calling and asking for work, in fact its the opposite.  When you network you are looking to actually “expand your network”, to build a partnership, a connection with the ultimate goal being  helping each other.  

So, how do you do this? 

Let me give you some tips!!

1)  Use your own personal network:

You and your friends may be in the same situation, but it does not mean you do not have a valuable network.  One of your friends may know someone who may be able to help or you may know someone that may help a friend. Its as easy as reaching out to the person you know.  Lets use an example:  Your uncle Joe is an Engineer at a local firm, your best friend Denise is a recent graduate in engineering.  You reach out to your uncle Joe and ask if he minds you giving his contact info to your friend who is new to the field.   Chances are, your uncle Joe will say yes, and you just helped a friend. 

2)  Go to Events and Bring a Business Card
There are a lot of networking events happening in communities.  For example, Halifax has such organizations as:

Fusion Halifax,
As their website states, ” Fusion Halifax is a non-profit organization that challenges young professionals in Halifax to think forward and take charge in their city’s future. We connect, engage and inspire our members to making Halifax a destination of choice to live, work and play.  We value our community and believe that civic engagement and the development of young professionals are key to building a city that we can call home for years to come”

Halifax Partnership, http://www.halifaxpartnership.com/en/home/default.aspx
As described on their website “We are connectors. We know Halifax and can make the connections that fuel business and economic growth.  Through our partnerships and acclaimed programs, like SmartBusiness and Connector, the Partnership creates opportunities for people to connect and collaborate on big and small ideas that make our great city grow and prosper. ”  (this is just one part of there about us, check out their website for more!)

Chamber of Commerce, http://halifaxchamber.com/
The About Us section describes the Halifax Chamber of Commerce is a best-practice, business advocacy organization that continuously strives to make Halifax an even more attractive city in which to live, work and play.
Together the approximately 1,500 member businesses and their over 90,000 employees, act as a single powerful voice through the Chamber to promote local business interests.The volunteer board of directors and chamber staff undertake initiatives by request of, and on behalf of our diverse membership.
Events – the Chamber provides some of the best networking opportunities, facilitating over 100 events annually. Make individual business connections, promote your business and gain new business knowledge through Chamber events. Signature events include the Spring and Fall Dinners, the Halifax Business Awards and the Chamber Golf Challenge.

There are many more events and organizations who host them, googling Networking Events in your Community can help you narrow down your search.

As for your business cards, there are lots of sites our there where you can get free business cards or purchase them.  The one I like is called Moo, here is their website http://www.moo.com/us/

You can also reach out to local career resource centers to see if they make free business cards, or design your own and print them.  There are a lot of options here.

Remember a business card should have at the very least your name, field of interest, phone number and email.

3)  The last tip and a very important one is the Informational Interview

Your new to the industry, you would like to learn more about opportunities in your field, as well as grow and expand your existing network.  This can be done by making connections through events, through friends or even reaching out to companies through phone and email (phone is more personable).  
An informational interview is not you asking for a job, it is you asking to speak to a professional in your field of choice to learn more about the current industry and even potentially gain advice on how you can position yourself to enter it.  
People like to talk about their experiences, and people like to help each other. Asking a seasoned professional to take 10-15 minutes to meet with you is a great way to expand that network, learn about your field and gain some great insight to different companies out there. 

Here is a link to more info on informational interviews:

These are just a few tips for the networking beginner, be sure to check our blog again for more information on the recent graduates job search.  

Also feel free to visit our companies website, Run With it, at:
http://www.runwithit.work/, follow us on social media as we grow and prosper.
As well check out our in development Networking App designed  to connect recent graduates and employers, NetworkIt. http://www.networkit.today/

Ashley Burke is the Owner and CEO of Run With It.  She Currently works in the career development field and works hand in hand with recent graduates to help them in their job search.

Author: The NetWorkIt Team

The NetWorkIt Team is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We work to create content and tools to help you succeed in your career.