It has never been easy to find a dream career right out of grad school. However, with today’s job market and economy it can be next to impossible if you do not have some sort of “in” with your chosen/target industry. It is because of this that you need to know how to network in order to find those lucrative “ins” in your industry.
Create A Current Networking List
A good place to start your networking strategy is to identify all of the people that you already know. You can list friends, family members, professors, online social network contacts, colleagues and even past employers. Next to each of these people identify what they do, who they work for and what connections they may have that can help you in your job search. For example, your friend may not have connections in your industry, but she may have an uncle that does.
Create a List of What You Have to Offer
Networking is a two way street. If you start hitting up your friends and business contacts for a favor without offering them something in return you are going to find yourself turning a lot of people off. There are a lot of things that you can offer to your network sources. For example, you can help them with contacts that you have, you can provide them with professional advice or you can just take them out to coffee to discuss your job hunting endeavors.
Building New Business Contacts
If your attempts to network within your existing social and professional circle fails your next step is to build new business contacts. This can be done through a number of strategies. For example, you can go to job/career fairs, you can attend industry seminars or conventions and you can volunteer to serve on board of directors for agencies within your industry. You can also join professional organizations, which usually offer you access to exclusive job listing.
Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Field
If you just graduated from grad school and you do not have a lot of professional experience, then this could be why you are not getting any job offers. To improve your professional appeal and to expand your business contacts try getting an article published in a professional journal. This will demonstrate that you know what you are talking about, that you are innovative and that you have self-initiative. It will also provide you with great exposure to your target industry, which could produce a job offer. What is great about getting an article published in a professional journal is that these journals usually also publish a short bio with the article, which will summarize the information in your resume.