While job applications and internship searches can feel tedious, there are many ways to find jobs and get interviews by virtual relationship building. Many of us have heard “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” and there is some truth to this statement. According to a May 2020 Harvard Business Review article, “For every 100 applicants, referrals generated 70% more good hires than non-referrals” and stronger relationships among referrers and job candidates correlates with a stronger hire.
Below are three tools to improve your chances of getting a job or internship:
- Use LinkedIn to Connect with Professionals
LinkedIn makes connecting with professionals extremely easy. This powerful professional networking platform has helped me and countless others create relationships with individuals at some of the most coveted organizations.
Many students and professionals are anxious to connect with others on LinkedIn. At first, it can be uncomfortable to connect with strangers but once you do it a few times, you’ll quickly realize that many individuals will happily connect with you, and it only gets easier. It’s just like riding a bike — scary at first, but once you’re riding, you forget that there was once a time when you had any trepidation.
When connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, be sure to “Add a Note” rather than just connect with the person. Many users do not send a professional note and this can make the difference in whether the person accepts your connection. State your interest in learning more about the company or a specific position at the organization. You may also want to mention similarities, such as having attended the same university. Alternatively, consider sharing something of value, like an article that he/she may find valuable. In any case, keep your message short and be clear about what you are seeking (e.g., a 15-minute chat to learn about the company, information about available internships, etc).
- Attend Virtual Career Events
At Queens College, the Center for Career Engagement and Internships provides a variety of career events throughout the academic year in business, technology, government, education, and healthcare. Be sure to register for our events in HireQC.
When attending these events, prepare thoughtful questions to engage with the speakers in the chat box or verbally. Create questions based on your research of the speakers and employers attending. Use our internal resources such as Vault and Linkedin Learning to prepare for these events and interviews (login with QC email to access it). Additionally, go to The Muse and WayUp websites to get valuable tips to prepare for interviews, develop your resume, and other career-related topics.
Engage with employers at these events. It is important to demonstrate your curiosity throughout the event with thoughtful questions. This can lead to a follow-up call or interview after the event.
- Follow-up and Share Value
After attending an event or one-on-one session with an employer, send a follow-up email with a short thank you note, and ask to schedule an informational phone or video call to learn more about the organization and person’s role. The follow-up is very important to demonstrate that you want to work at the company. In the follow up email, you may also want to share information that you think the employer might find valuable, such as an article or video that may help that employer solve their specific challenges.
Many students and job candidates are seeking to “get” from the employer and forget to consider what they can “give” to the employer. When you meet with a recruiter or an individual at a company, learn about some of their challenges and what the organization seeks in job candidates. Do research online (watch videos, review the company’s website, go to websites like Reddit, The Muse and Glassdoor). When engaging, consider how you can add value to that company or team. Sharing helpful information without expecting anything in return can benefit you tremendously.
A few years ago, I considered working in Human Resources at a large tech company. After connecting with a recruiter at the company, I asked for an informational call. We had a successful call, after which I followed up to thank her and sent some information that I thought might be valuable to her. This was the beginning of a relationship that brought me into the company’s headquarters to experience the company’s culture. She was kind enough to introduce me to several of her colleagues, and eventually I interviewed at the company. This relationship developed over months, so be sure to keep a long-term approach. Most contacts will not materialize in a significant interaction but some will and, for most people, just one job or internship is what they’re looking for. Connecting, following up and the value-added mindset are keys to landing your job or internship!
To learn more tips and tricks, please schedule an appointment with myself or colleagues at the Center for Career Engagement and Internships at Queens College through QC Navigate. Please also feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
*Editors Note: Engel is a well-respected Employer Engagement Specialist.