Learning To Master The Art Of Networking For Future Jobs
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
While college is often referred to as the best four years of your life, following graduation, students must embark on an entirely new chapter of their life. This new chapter often involves entering the work force. Landing that job right after graduation, however, is not quite as easy as going on a few interviews second semester of one’s senior year. By using the resources available right on Boston College’s campus at the Career Center and continually exploring career interests, students can prepare themselves to be attractive employees.
When looking at one’s possible career options, Louis Gaglini, associate director of employee relations and recruiting at the Career Center, suggested three criteria that one’s job of choice should fit. “We want you to point in a direction of doing something that brings you joy,” he said. “Do something where you have skill—essentially you want to be good at it. Beyond that you want to do what the world around you needs: vital services.”
During a student’s time at BC, it is connecting with possible employers and networks that is more important than nailing down exactly what one’s career path will be. “There is research out there that tells us that the typical graduate this year, between now and the time they retire will have five different careers and 25 different jobs on average,” Gaglini said.
Students looking to enter the workforce immediately following graduation should be thinking about the facilitation of contacts as opposed to deciding exactly what they want to do for the rest of their life. Opportunities to create those valuable contacts can occur during events like the Career Fair held at the beginning of each school year.
With the ever-growing virtual world, LinkedIn has become an extremely valuable tool for students to connect with possible employers. “It is an incredibly powerful tool,” Gaglini said. “Recruiters are spending time on LinkedIn. They are posting their jobs, hosting chats, and setting up groups only for students to join.” The creation of a strong online profile is one of the ways that students can help enhance their opportunities.
Another way for students to get their foot in the door at possible jobs is through internships. “Internships are the new entry level,” Gaglini said. It is through these internships that students can foster relationships with employers that can translate into fulltime opportunities.
Alex Christenson, CSOM ’14, explained how her internship turned into a postgrad job. “I am fortunate enough to be returning to the bank I completed an internship with in New York this past summer,” she said. “The firm has a strong BC connection, which has been a tremendous help both in the recruiting process and my decision to return. Beyond that, the firm I worked for seeks to hire all of their full-time employees directly from their internship program.”
When looking for internship opportunities, students can use UCAN, an internship exchange database. This database was created through a consortium of 22 colleges, including BC, as a way to share the over-9,000 internship opportunities of which these schools are aware.
The Career Center also offers students the opportunity to go on externships which involve a day of job shadowing in a field they are interested in. “You get the privilege of experiencing just one day on the job,” Gaglini said, “to really see if it is something you want to do or an industry you are interested in.” These externships often translate into summer internships, as well.
A good resume is an extremely valuable asset students can have as they go about their job search. The Career Center offers one-on-one resume critiques as well as workshops that provide tips on how to write a resume. Students should also consider practicing their interview and networking skills. “Interviewing and networking is the ability to sit down with someone person-to-person, face-to-face and have a productive conversation,” Gaglini said. The Career Center offers in-person practice interviews as well as virtual practice interviews through the online system, InterviewStream.
Students should also recognize the value in the BC alumni network when looking for a job. There is an alumni database available to students through the Career Center’s website. When interviews are conducted on campus and networking events are held, it is often BC alumni that come back to talk to students. As associate director of employer relations and recruiting, Gaglini sees the critical nature of BC alumni. “There is an instantaneous commitment on their part. I really don’t have to market BC too heavily to our alumnae, that piece is already done.”
One of the most important resources for students on campus appears to be EagleLink. “I would say to any sophomore, junior, or senior login to EagleLink at least once a day,” Gaglini said. “EagleLink is critical for a student right now.” EagleLink provides information on which companies are on campus everyday. It allows students to plan ahead and see the events, workshops, specialty discussions, and information sessions that are occurring. Thousands of job positions are also posted directly on EagleLink.