Searching for a Job After College
Utilizing Networking as a Strategy to Get a Job
Throughout my entire senior year, I did have a strategy—to network. My dad had mentioned networking. And I had seen its power first-hand: it was how I had secured summer internships in the past. I knew that I wanted to go into Internet Marketing, and I knew that I wanted to be in Northern California (the home of every online company: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Apple, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, Sony, etc.), but I did not know anyone in the area and the college recruiters were not very helpful.
Step 1: Find People to Network With through Linked-In
I used Linked-In to find relevant people in the field I was interested in to grow my network. (Note: I’m not getting paid by LinkedIn to state any of this. This is truthfully what I did.) I paid for the Premium features which allowed me to do advanced searches for people, get their full name and contact information. I searched for people in internet marketing who graduated from my school (Cornell University) and now live in Silicon Valley. And I got a list of thousands of people. It is a lot easier to network with alumni from your school as they are more willing to help because you already have a connection with them.
Every day for my entire senior year, I networked with one new person. I would go onto LinkedIn and find someone I wanted to network with (based off of their experiences, the company they worked at, or anything else that interested me). I would then write a letter to the person and contact them via email. In my email, I asked for 10 minutes of their time to conduct a phone conversation on how to break into the Internet marketing field.
Step 2: Craft an Email to Get a High Response Rate Through Networking
It was important to write a proper letter in order to get a high response rate through email (especially from people who don’t know you). In fact, I got about a 90% response rate with the letters I wrote (daily over senior year). In order to get the high response rate I received, I had to make sure that the email was written in a way that the person could not ignore. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE MASS EMAILS! Think about it: it would be very easy to ignore something that was sent out to the masses. However, if you received an incredibly personal email, you’d feel the need to respond.
In order to get a high response rate, create an incredibly personal email. Every day, for each new person I “targeted,” I would spend a good amount of time researching the person’s LinkedIn page and doing Google searches for his/her name. And in the first paragraph, I would always mention what I had learned about the person. This way, I showed interest and that I was serious about getting a job. This is because, if you received a letter from someone speaking about your accomplishments, you’d have a greater chance of reading the email.
In order to get a high response, I also made a connection with each person I sent an email to. People like to help others who they can see a small bit of themselves in. In my second paragraph, I always mapped and connected one aspect of each person onto myself. For example, I chose to connect with people who were born and raised in Hawaii (my home state), who went to Cornell, and now live in Northern California.
And therefore, the structure of my email included the following:
Paragraph 1: Open with the purpose of the email (you’re a new college grad from the same school), and Talk about the person
Paragraph 2: Map the person onto yourself, and talk about your interests
Paragraph 3: Close the email and ask for a 10 minute phone call
I proceeded with this process every day of senior year (it took me about one hour per day). When I received the response, I would schedule a time to call each person.
Step 3: Strengthen Your Career Network Relationships to Get a Job
In order to get sincere help from someone, you need to create a strong bond with the person. An email is only the first step into creating this relationship with a new person. A phone call can really help to increase the enthusiasm and help a person can offer. This was the main purpose of all of my calls: I became someone they wanted to help. At the end of each call, I asked if they also knew someone they could get me in contact with to help further my goal (and if they could introduce me). And this is how I exponentially grew my network. Many doors were opened this way as the barriers disappeared: people are willing to help someone who comes highly recommended from a friend.
During my Spring Break, I strengthened my network connections by flying out to Silicon Valley to meet with the people I had been networking with. I set up so many meetings: I got through about seven to ten per day (I was grabbing coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between with people). This step helped even more. People were willing to offer me jobs at this point. I received many verbal offers as well as a greater willingness to help me.
Successfully Getting a High Paying, High Level Job
By the end of Senior Year, I had an incredibly strong network of over 300 people. But I still didn’t have an official job offer. This was incredibly disappointing to me. However, after I graduated, I flew over and moved to Northern California and that is when I started receiving the offers. I sent an email out to all of the people I had networked with over the past year (thanking them for all of their help and letting them know that I was successfully able to get a job through the alumni network and through LinkedIn). Little did I know, but this letter got passed around so much, it got into the hands of LinkedIn who contacted me personally and stated that they were interested in hiring me.
The job that I ended up taking included working directly with the CEO of the internet marketing company. I was able to negotiate a higher-paying salary than a lot of my peers. And I was able to skip the job requirement (of X years of experience) because, through networking, they knew me and were willing to work and teach me.
I would have never been able to acquire the job that I got without having networked. The requirements would have immediately disqualified my application if I had applied the normal way. Because I networked and got to know people in the company, they overlooked these requirements. This is how I was able to get a higher level, higher paying job.
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