Chaim Shapiro: I would like to focus on the social media aspect of networking, specifically the opportunities that the professional networking website, LinkedIn, affords. We all know or are acquainted with many people. While we may or may not know where they are employed, we almost certainly do not know the full extent of their range of contacts and acquaintances.
LinkedIn reveals those secondary connections. Connecting to a community member will open up his/her LinkedIn contact list so you can see if they are connected with someone at your company of interest. As a result, a simple request for an introduction can transform your cold resume from one in a stack of thousands into a direct referral by a respected member of that company.
Chesed is a foundation of our communities. I have found that most people are very willing to help if, and when, they can. The most common impediment is simply not knowing how they can help. LinkedIn can help reveal those opportunities and provide the avenue for fulfilling them. As the founder and owner of the Frum Network on LinkedIn, I have seen this scenario played out multiple times.
If you are not on LinkedIn, I advise you to join right away. Even if you are not looking for a job, create an account because the best time to build your networking capital is before you actually need anything – and there is always a chance one of those connections may be the key to a job for one of your friends and neighbors. We are all in this together.
Sarri Singer: Internships are key. They provide the opportunity for college students to determine if a career is right for them and to gain practical experience in that field. It is also a chance to network and build relationships with professionals who might be able to assist them in their job search.
Building a strong network of contacts is crucial in landing a job. On May 18, 2011, The New York Times published an article in which an unemployed college graduate said, “I have friends with the same degree as me, from a worse school, but because of who they knew … they’re in much better jobs…It’s more about luck than anything else.”
It isn’t all about luck! According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers nearly 58% of new college graduates who had internships, turned those internships into full-time hires. That’s the highest percentage that they have seen since 2001 when they began tracking this information.
Classroom learning can only do so much – hands-on experience, whether it’s in the office or in the field, is extremely important to many employers. My advice to students is to complete as many internships as possible. You can make that happen by talking to friends, family members, work colleagues or professors. An internship gives an employer the chance to get to know you in the work setting and see you as someone that they could potentially work with in the future. Remember that employers want to hire not only competent and productive individuals, but also people who will fit into their work setting. Internships give employers the opportunity to see your value and fit. They are the best investment in your future.
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