11 May Psst, Graduates! Don’t Run Away from Networking Opportunities!
Congratulations on earning your Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or Fill-in-the-Blank degree! Now what? For starters, put down your cell phone, pick up your business cards and get yourself to a networking event. (No business cards yet? Create them. Now. There are plenty of online sites, but more on that later.)
Looking for a job after graduation is a job in and of itself. Searching online, emailing resumes, updating your LinkedIn profile – it’s enough to make you want to crawl back into your dorm room and nap. But sitting inside all day sending hundreds of emails is not the answer to finding your first job. Here’s how to do it:
Top 5 Tips for Recent Graduates
- Network – We don’t mean on your Facebook or Instagram account. We mean actually going to a Chamber of Commerce morning mixer, or a young professionals meet-and-greet event. Just Google ‘networking opportunities’ for your area and see what comes up. Get off of the couch and into a professional scene.
- Get Carded – Create a business card for yourself. If your initial thought is “But I don’t have a job yet,” think again. You need a professional-looking card with your name, cell phone, email and LinkedIn URL on it when networking, meeting a potential employer or handing it to someone who says they have a contact for you. And please, change your email from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ to something more suitable for business.
- Don’t Take Shortcuts via Emails and Texts – If you receive an email from someone who thinks they may have a job connection or idea for you, email them back as if you were writing a formal ‘thank you.’ Just typing, ‘thanks!’ is not appropriate. At all. Replying like this is the way to go: ‘Dear Mr. Smith, Thank you for taking the time to let me know about this opportunity. I will look into it and let you know when I have made the connection. Thanks again, John Doe.” And don’t text in emojis. You’re all grownup now.
- Volunteer to Write – (This is one is specifically for communication grads; we are a PR and marketing firm, after all!) – If you weren’t able to gain enough writing experience while you pursued your degree, but you want to enter the PR industry, you’ll have to act fast to boost your portfolio. Volunteer to write a newsletter article or press release for a nonprofit, a church, a civic association, or any other organization that may not have a paid writer on staff. They can ‘pay’ you with a referral about your work. This is a win-win offer, as you’ll gain writing experience and serve the community at the same time.
- Research the companies where you want to work – Be informed – It shows in your interview. The more you know about the company (their mission, services, customer-base, etc.), the more you’ll be able to convince your future boss that you do your homework and you’re prepared to learn.
Bonus tip: Learn about the local sports teams for small talk during interviews: “I’m glad to see the Phillies won last night!” vs. Anything Political. (People don’t mind chatting about baseball or hockey, but offering your opinion on anything political could end the interview before it begins.)
GillespieHall is full of college graduates (some recent, some not-so-recent) who all know how to network and communicate. If you’re looking to improve your online professional profile, or want to market your new business, check out our services: www.gillespiehall.com/services/.