The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” does carry some validity. Yes, of course your degree and your job performance is a huge factor for employment, but getting the right job might also depend on knowing the right people. Try these 4 methods to tap into current connections:
- Linked In:
- Create a LinkedIn account with a professional business photo and updated work experience. Be cautious with who you send requests to and whose requests you accept—on LinkedIn, once your connected, you’re connected for life.
- Then, go to the connections tab and click on find alumni. This feature is great for finding IU Alumni in any field and any location. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to someone who might work for a company you’re interested in. IU Alumni will be happy to help you out; once a hoosier, always a hoosier.
- Utilize your professors
- Professors have a ton of connections! Ask one of your professors if you could please set up a meeting with them to discuss career opportunities. Then, come to the meeting with potential companies and geographical locations you could see yourself working. Let your professor know your career goals, and ask them if they have anyone they can put you in contact with. Then, email/call those suggested connections (be professional, and make sure you have an updated resume ready to go!).
- Once you email the connections, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from them or find out they aren’t hiring. It happens. But, persistence is key if it’s something you really want. Save their contact information, and check back in with them again in the future.
- Business Cards
- Conferences and job fairs are great places to collect and distribute business cards. If you don’t have your own business cards, check out http://www.vistaprint.com (pretty cheap!).
- Giving out business cards was scary for me at first; I was always afraid to introduce myself to professionals I didn’t know. But, at the end of the day, what’s the worst that could happen? Get out in the community, go to conferences & job fairs, and visit companies you are interest in working for. Keep your business cards on hand, and give them out whenever you can.
- When someone gives you their business card, take notes! Write down any information you gathered from that person on the back of their business card, and then use it in the future. For example, if I walk up to a gym owner at a job fair and in small talk they mention that their birthday is this Friday, I’m going to write that on the back of their business card. Then, I’m going to follow up with an email letting them know how much I appreciated meeting them, and happy early birthday. The little extra personal touch shows you care, and will help you stand apart from other candidates.
- Strong ties/Weak ties
- Last semester I read a book for class called The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay (highly recommend it!). One part of the book talked about the importance of weak ties. Our strong ties are our close friends and family, the people we feel comfortable around. Our weak ties might be the connections we have that we don’t think about too often, but could actually be really important for your career (like professors, previous employers, co-workers). These weak ties have different social networks than you, and they might be more beneficial to you in the job search because they can connect you with people you might not be aware of. Dr. Meg Jay says, “Our strong ties feel comfortable and familiar but, other than support, they may have little to offer. They are usually too similar – even too similarly stuck – to provide more than sympathy. They often don’t know any more about jobs or relationships than we do.”
- As your job searching, you have to leave the comfort zone of your strong ties, and invest in weak ties. You never know who might know someone, who knows someone, who could potentially hire you for a job.
Shelby is currently a second year graduate student in the School of Public Health studying Physical Activity, Fitness, & Wellness. She is working on campus at IU Recreational Sports as a Group Exercise Graduate Assistant. Fitness is her biggest passion in life, and she hopes to ignite that passion in others.
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
•resume and cover letter preparation
•graduate school preparation