Ok, you are done with Finals. Whether you are a senior headed into your last semester or simply looking for a summer internship, the Holiday break is a great time to take advantage of time and contacts to help you out. According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking.  Simply sending out letters of interest to alumni or sending out resumes online without a warm intro or contact just does not get the job done. So, below are 5 tips to help you out.

First, try to set up a few informational calls or interviews over your break. This does not need to be with people that have a job opening. Try to meet with alumni who have careers in a field you’d like to work in and see if they have any ideas for you on how to go about it. Ask them about the networking associations they attend and see if you can come as a guest to a meeting or event with them. Some associations allow students to attend events at no cost or at a very reduced price. Ask alumni how they got started in the industry and jot down any pointers that might help you. Also, set up meetings with any friends or family that are well connected, even if their career is in a different field than the one you are looking to be in. People that are great networkers are great connectors and will likely know a few people you should talk to or connect with online once you have a conversation with them and explain your goals and what your ideal position would be. The more people that know what you are looking for, the better this is for your job search. They will keep their eyes and ears open for you in their own networks. Be prepared with your “pitch” about what you are looking for.  People can’t help you unless they know what you need.

Second, work on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a complete profile (percentage of completeness should be 100%). Work on the summary section. Work on getting testimonials on your profile. Connect with people and build your network. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to the industry you are looking to move into and engage in discussions in those groups to become more visible online. Attend any local networking events mentioned within these groups that are industry related. Make sure you have a professional headshot on your LinkedIn profile and if you don’t, use your break to have one taken.

Third, have “networking” cards made. Even if you are still a student, you should always have a professional card with your contact info on it to hand out at events or meetings. Take time over your break to design one. Include the professional headshot as well as your social media links on your card.

Fourth, clean up your social media. Take down any pictures/untag yourself from ones that are unprofessional. I am thankful I did not grow up in the social media age and therefore all my comments and photos from college are not documented. Potential employers will look at your social media presence right away. Do a search of yourself on google and go through your Facebook, Twitter and other social media and clean it up.

Finally, use the winter break as an opportunity to volunteer. This can be with an industry related non profit or simply an organization that assists a cause you care about. This is a great way to gain experience, meet new people and get references for your resume (and LinkedIn testimonials).  Also, volunteering is a great way to build solid connections and form relationships because they are formed with people that share your own values and beliefs.

Please feel free to check out other Networking tips on my blog: https://purposefulnetworking.wordpress.com/

 

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