The best time to develop a network is before you need it. People will be most receptive to your initial outreach when you are still a student, seeking advice and information about what you want to do with your life.
Do you understand what goes on in different industries or what different career functions entail? Do you have some ideas of the types of companies or positions you’re interested in? The work/life experience of others can be tremendously helpful to your exploration by providing you information about jobs, industries, companies and the transition from campus to career.
The most compelling reason to network is that it’s the single best way to find the career you want. Why? It’s simple. Most of the best jobs are never advertised – anywhere. As amazing as it sounds, the evidence has consistently shown that 7 out of 10 jobs are landed through networking. Most organizations look first at people they know – and people who are recommended by someone they know – when it’s time to hire someone. Many companies report that 40 – 50% of open positions are filled by candidates referred by staff members. There is no denying that networking requires more effort and, for many students, a step outside of their comfort zone. It is no doubt easier, and less scary, to wait (and wait!) for job offers to pour in from the resume you posted online, but the data shows clearly that networking is much more likely to produce the result you want.
Networking your way to success!