How to Network with Employers

You’ve heard the phrase, “it’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know,” that lands you the job. Often times that is the case. So how do you make those meaningful connections?

Casual Networking – You never know when you might find a great connection. Looks can be deceiving, so don’t discount anyone. Neighborhood and social functions are great places to make casual connections. Share your name, what you are studying at HFC, and something memorable such as what you enjoy about your program. Ask their advice on any number of items and listen to their response. At the end tell them how much you have enjoyed the conversation and ask if you can keep in touch. Later, they may recall your conversation or mention you to someone that is hiring.

Intentional Networking – If you want to be more purposeful, try to attend a job fair, trade show, employer open house, or conference where the people you want to connect with will actually be. Follow companies on social media to keep abreast of these events or check out the websites listed below. When you attend, dress to impress and offer a firm handshake. Practice your two to three sentence introduction beforehand. Don’t bluntly ask for a job. Recruiters have to go through a lengthy process to post and formally offer a position. At this point you are just gathering information. If you have business cards made up, hand one out and get theirs. (You can get cheap business cards at vistaprint.com.) Later you can email them a quick thank you and share something you appreciated about the conversation. This will help them remember you.

Networking is not a one way street – Ask them if there is anything you could help them with. You could be surprised with the answers you get. You may even be able to put them in touch with others. Have a place where you keep contact information for all your connections. LinkedIn or other social networking sites make this easy. A contact is only helpful if you use it. Reach out to your connections periodically to update them on your accomplishments and progress. Your hard work will pay off. Wondering where to find employers? Check out the Events tab at careers.hfcc.edu, or the job fair calendar on www.mitalent.org.

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