Getting a job is hard! Scouring work advertisements, sending out resumes, writing cover letters, –trust me, there’s a lot to do. And as a recent graduate, I have some tips & tricks for young professionals that I’m looking forward to sharing with you on the 4CTechnologies blog!
I’m a recent graduate from IUP with a bachelor’s in MIS, and currently attending Penn State to earn my Master’s in Software Engineering. I am an IBM Certified Application Developer here at 4CTechnologies in Pittsburgh.
The theme of today’s post is building relationships. As many of you know, one of the best ways to gain opportunities within a company is to know someone within the organization already. According to John Bennett, director of the Master of Science at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, “Research tells us that between 60-80% of jobs are found through personal relationships.”
Love it or hate it, networking is a necessity! It’s the best way to show your skills. And no, I’m not telling you to hang out in a company parking lot in order to start making friends with an employee from a company (nor do I think this would yield very positive results). But for those of you who get slightly nauseous just THINKING of the word “networking,” there are two alternatives that I can offer you.
The first method would be to attend job fairs that are held at or around your college. And believe me, there are probably WAY more happening than you think. Your school probably has a career services department, and they’ll have flyers or other email listings that you can sign up for to alert you to job fairs coming up.
When you’re there, find a way to make yourself stand out from the rest of the students attending, whether that be by having a very well-rehearsed 2-minute speech about who you are, or by creating business cards with yourself and having a link to a website you have made which has your skillset and a digital copy of your resume. Be creative! There are hundreds of kids whose resume looks exactly like yours. Figure out a way to stand out from the pack.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH PROFESSORS
The second method, the one which helped me get my position here at 4C, is having good relationships with your professors or alumni network. While you’re still in school, make an effort to go to your professors’ office hours once in a while. Develop a relationship with them so they know you on a personal level. Your professors are probably the best resources for letting potential employers know about intangible traits like your drive, responsibility, creativity, and personality– which can be as or more important than your grades on paper.
The way I did it: I was a member of our local A.M.I.S. Chapter (Association of Management and Information Systems majors). I always tried to take the time to talk to my professors and ask their opinions on both classroom-related topics, as well as just making conversation with them. Having a close relationship benefitted me greatly in two ways. The first was because the Chairperson for my MIS was willing to write me a letter of recommendation for my graduate studies. The second was from another professor. He heard about the opening at 4C Technologies through a former IUP student and reached out to me via social media and recommended that I apply.
Here are a few more links on ways you can get started building your professional network: