Bite Sized Networking Tips

Networking is a contact sport. Guest blogger John Marbach, student at Wake Forest and founder of Glider, drops by to share some practical networking tips!

Networking is a “contact sport.” Lately, the transition from college to career has become a hot topic among career educators and professionals alike. Students like me have to learn new ways to find jobs, and companies of every size are doing their best to identify potential hires through new means of communication.

Meanwhile, parents and job counselors remain tireless in their effort to help students get jobs using a broad, conventional approach. Their seemingly endless recommendations consist of a series of mounting tasks that quickly become overwhelming…”And as long as you check off these to-do boxes and change your resume to this font, you’ll have a job, right? Wrong.

Then maybe all you have to do is “network” to get a job, right? Students hear this blanket strategy but what does ‘network’ mean anyway? Is this truly practical advice? Indeed, I’m here to say that it is, if you remember that networking is a “contact sport.”

I invested my time in connecting to people (from Founders to coders) in a meaningful way in order to make them a part of my network and (more importantly) vice versa. I made them aware of my interest in their idea, product or service as well as shared my opinions about their industry. They got to know me and I became a member of their network.

Getting connected to a company that I wanted to work for meant that I focused my activity in the places I was already investing my time: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Here is a list of a few tips sprinkled with a little advice that helped me get my foot in the door:

  1. Hope is not a strategy for getting a job.
  2. Send tweets to the people already working where you want to work. Not the company Twitter account, but to the individuals who work for the company. You can find their names via LinkedIN.
  3. Continuously update your LinkedIn account with my skills and work experience.
  4. Make sure your one-page resume is always refreshed and ready to go. Quick replies show that you are actively engaged in the process.
  5. Search company executives’ names online for their personal blogs. If they have one, comment on a recent post and email them personally.
  6. “Like” your favorite companies on Facebook to keep an eye-out for job openings.
  7. Just because the job isn’t listed on a website doesn’t mean it’s not available. Ask.
  8. Start a blog and write about topics related to the industry which you are one day hoping to lead.
  9. Follow industry leaders on Twitter and respond to their thoughts with your comments.
  10. “Thank you” notes go a long way. Be sure to offer your gratitude to those who help you along the way.

I recognize that students have phenomenal tools for job hunting today. At the same I time I assert that these are simply resource guides or channels. For students who truly want to get ahead, you have to make your own path and use these tools to bubble up opportunities for yourself. In other words, don’t wait for the hits to come your way, start hitting first!

John GUEST BLOGGER John Marbach (@jmarbach) is Founder of Glider and a Thiel Fellow: 20 Under 20. He is a student at Wake Forest University with years of experience working as an Internet marketer in customer development; founded a vacation rental portal as a high school freshman; blogs frequently about emerging technologies. His start-up Glider, helps people spend less time in their inbox. You can find his blog at jmarbach.com.

(photo by Flickr user jairoagua used under a Creative Commons License.)

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