Monday, February 19, 2018

Making Connections That Matter

Can you socialize your way to a better career? Absolutely.

Although most people start the hunt for a new job online, most recruiters start the hunt for candidates by activating their networks. They ask their colleagues, friends, and professional contacts for referrals, because they assume that contacts who know their businesses will know what makes for a successful employee in that particular environment.

Because of this, analysts estimate that 80% of open positions are not formally advertised. This means that you need to be in the know to hear about these job openings – which means that you need to network, network, network.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend your evenings handing out business cards at formal networking events. Instead, start talking to people. Strike up conversations at your kid’s soccer game, or in the elevator, or with other students in your classes. As you build rapport with a wide range of people – especially if you are able to quickly share your goals for your next career move in those conversations – you’ll be more likely to get tapped when opportunity arises.

Remember that the strongest leads come from the weakest ties: there’s a better chance you’ll get new information by talking to people who move in different circles than you do.

And make sure that you don’t overlook the power of online networking. Employers are increasingly using social media to screen candidates for job openings, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey that reached over 2,300 hiring managers across industries. They’re looking online for evidence that you are the professional you claim to be, so make sure that’s what they find!

Most professionals have heard the advice to keep party pictures away from their profiles, but have you heard that not having an online presence at all can hurt you? CareerBuilder found that 57% of employers are less likely to schedule an interview with a candidate if they can’t find that person anywhere online.

A LinkedIn profile is a like a modern-day business card; you need to have one if you’d like to be taken seriously as a professional. After you meet new people, connect on LinkedIn by sending a note reflecting on where you met and the conversation you had. That way you’ll be able to keep in touch, and also share opportunities you come across. (Pro tip: Career Development Services can not only help you create a polished LinkedIn profile, we can also evaluate your overall online presence to provide insight into how potential employers might perceive you.)

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with recruiters face-to-face at events like job fairs. Most recruiters attend job fairs not to hire on the spot but in order to connect with candidates and quickly prioritize the applications they receive. If you are actively looking for a new job, think of a job fair as a way to offer a smile and a handshake, leaving a good first impression that will help your resume stand out from the crowd.

Check Peircelink, Peirce’s proprietary job board for students and alumni, for announcements about upcoming job fairs and networking opportunities. Here are a few coming up that you won’t want to miss:
  • NET/WORK (Tuesday, February 27, 3-8pm at the Fillmore) is a technology job fair showcasing vibrant companies seeking talent and talented people seeking work. Peirce’s Career Development Services will be providing mock interviews for attendees, and Peirce students can receive a 20% discount by registering with the code PEIRCE.
  • A Virtual Veteran’s Job Fair (Tuesday, February 27) is planned for former service members. Attend from anywhere and connect with recruiters looking to hire veterans with college experience.
  • Campus Philly’s Social Impact Expo (Friday, February 23, 1-4pm at Temple University’s Mitten Hall) will feature the region’s leading mission-driven organizations, recruiting students interested in careers that make an impact. Learn how to get involved with mission driven work—whether you’re looking for an internship or a job offer, volunteer or service work—and meet recruiters from across the region. This is a great way to find out how to work in Philadelphia’s non-profit and social impact community.
  • Hire Talent (Tuesday, April 10, 11am-2:30pm, at the 23rd Street Armory) is an alumni-only career fair. The fair will feature employers from a variety of industries, including education, investment banking, technology, consulting, healthcare, sales, government, and the nonprofit sector. 
  • Peirce’s Annual Job Fair (Thursday, April 26, 3-6:30pm in College Hall, Rooms 51/52) is free for students, alumni, and friends of Peirce to attend. Employers include companies interested in hiring from all academic disciplines at Peirce. 
As always, Career Development Services is here to help you practice your elevator pitch, warm up for interviews, make introductions, and generally support you in mapping out a pathway to your next job. Call 215-670-9202 or email to set up an appointment today!