Entering the workforce in May? Looking for a beneficial internship? Cultivate your network! According to research, about 60% of jobs are filled through networking and informal contacts, not advertising or applications sent to “firstname.lastname@example.org” addresses.
Asking friends, professors, and mentors for help with your job search allows you to call upon their expertise and connections in a meaningful, personal way. Here are a few tips for asking effectively:
- Acknowledge that you are asking for their help because you trust their judgment and value their opinions (who wouldn’t be flattered?!)
- Follow up! Failing to follow up with someone who helped you can sour a relationship if they feel like they are being used.
- Use discretion when asking individuals for their help; don’t ask for help from someone you wouldn’t be willing to help in return
- Make it easy on them: send your resume & areas of interest. I even included a list of companies I was interested in and asked 1) if they knew anyone there and 2) if they knew of similar companies (see screenshot below for my email template!)
- Use the “Get Introduced” feature on LinkedIn. I happened to know of a girl who worked at a company I wanted to join, so I searched for her on LinkedIn. I saw that we had a friend in common, so I asked him to connect us. Voila- instant connection!
All of this being said, don’t be afraid to take a shot in the dark. You never know unless you ask! When I was a freshmen, I saw a Washington Diplomat golf tournament flyer in an office. I called them and asked if they needed volunteers for the event. The man on the phone asked if I was looking to “rub elbows with ambassadors.” I laughingly admitted that I was. That man became my boss for the year that I interned at the newspaper; in fact, on May 6, I will be working my 4th consecutive golf tournament for them!
Addendum: check out BranchOut, an application that allows you to capitalize on your network of Facebook friend during your job search!