I love networking events. It’s exciting to see students and employers in the same room. Connections are made, information is exchanged, and career paths many times begin to take shape. An employer meet & greet was held at the School of Social Policy & Practice this week. Several employers came with jobs to fill. On my way to the event, I passed students in the hall and encouraged them to attend, “Five minutes is all you need!” One student admitted that she wanted to attend but just had too much to do. With some encouraging she ended up stopping by. She later left the event saying, “I’m so glad I came.” She attended for a matter of minutes but made a positive first impression on an employer of interest. If that five minutes got her an interview, there is no doubt that was time well spent!
In my experience, I’ve never met with a student who regretted attending a networking event or reaching out to someone in a related field. I hear the opposite. Even a brief, positive encounter with an employer can make a big difference. It can seem daunting to find time in your day to attend events or seek out networking opportunities, particularly when it means putting on a professional hat in the midst of project deadlines, personal obligations, and other commitments. If you take advantage of the networking resources at your fingertips as a student, whether through a formal event like a meet & greet or an informal connection made through the alumni network, face-to-face interactions are powerful in the job search. The time dedicated to that process may very well save you hours of applications.
The point of my blog today is simple – take advantage of any opportunity for face time with an employer. In a sea of applicants, connecting in person can make a big impact. A strong handshake and a well-prepared intro are two key pieces to making a solid first impression. It just might get your resume to the top of the stack!