You may already have a broad network: your family, friends, fellow students, student society, sportsclub, etc. In addition to these contacts, you can actively start looking for people you don’t know yet, but who can potentially help you along in your job hunt. This can also work the other way around: people may approach you because there is something you can do for them.
- By talking to people at career days, job fairs, workshops, social gatherings, etc.
- Through the people you know. Ask them whether they know someone who works in a given industry or company, or someone who's already doing a job you're still considering. Your friends will be able to introduce you, or you can ask them your questions yourself.
- Post your specific question in the official Utrecht University alumni group on LinkedIn. You might spark off an interesting discussion
- Find alumni using the LinkedIn alumni tool. They can give you the information you need and perhaps introduce you to other useful contacts. This video below explains how the alumnitool works.
You can make the best use of your network if you've already acquired some insight into your motivations, talents, and interests (REFLECT) and into your future prospects (EXPLORE). With that information, you'll be able to indicate what sort of job would be right for you.
- Tell your family, friends, acquaintances, and past and present fellow students that you're looking for a job and what sort of job you're looking for. Doing so might turn up some surprising leads.
- Consider where the people in your network work. They may know interesting people. You can ask your contacts whether they know people who work in a specific industry.
- After you meet new contacts, add them on LinkedIn with a personalised invitation.
- Find alumni using the LinkedIn alumni tool. They can give you the information you need and perhaps introduce you to other useful contacts. This video explains how the alumnitool works.
- Follow interesting people and discussions on Twitter.
- Keep in touch with people on Facebook.
- Visit job fairs and bring copies of your resume along. Practise telling people what you're looking for in just a few short sentences.
Someone in your network has indicated you should talk to someone they know. Maybe they offered to introduce you. Maybe they just gave you a phone number. Now what?
Tell your new contact who you are, how you found them and why you would like to meet them. Make it clear that you're not asking for a job. If your new contact agrees to meet you, thank them and make an appointment.
How to conduct a network meeting:
- Before your meeting, find as much information as you can about the company online. Look up your contact and their company on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. You might find content to talk about. Consider what additional information you need, but can't find online. Focus your questions on that.
- When you sit down, reintroduce yourself and briefly remind the other person why you're there. They likely have a lot going on and may not be clear on the purpose of your meeting.
- Take the initiative in the conversation so you make an active, engaged impression. You were the one who requested this meeting. The person you're talking to is expecting you to take the lead.
- This is an informative talk. You're not there to ask for a job. You may be hoping for a job offer, but if there is any chance of that, the person you're talking to has to be the one to bring it up. One thing you can do is indicate that the conversation has inspired you and ask where you might send an open application. Ask the person you're talking to whether you can mention their name in your application.
- You can also ask whether the person you're interviewing knows anyone else you should talk to. Because you have more questions, for instance.
- Thank the other person for meeting with you. The next day, send them a message saying thanks and telling them why the conversation was valuable to you. When someone does you a favour, let them know how it turned out.
- Do realise that you can meet interesting people and gather relevant information anywhere at any time.
- Do remember that everyone is approachable, even you. Be open to meeting people of different ages, with different backgrounds, or with different interests.
- Do keep your attitude professional when you're looking for a job. People usually don't respond well to desperation.
- Do be forthright and sincere. Don't scam your way into anything. That's likely to backfire.
- Don't spam LinkedIn invitations or emails and don't cold-call people. Just think how it feels when strangers ask you for favours.
- Don't forget who helped you out. Remember to thank people. When someone gets you a job, maybe send them flowers or take them to dinner.
- Do hang in there. These things take time, especially if there are few jobs to be had in your area of interest.