Finding a job in line with your studies is something you might not start thinking about until university is over, and when you do, the first thing you will probably do is type “graduate jobs” into Google and trawl through the jobs on offer. This is the most obvious way to go, but there is another way of improving your chances of finding a job which you may or may not have already thought of: professional networks.
But what is a professional network? Put simply, a professional network is a social network (like Facebook) that focuses solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature, rather than personal interactions. LinkedIn is probably the first name that springs to mind when professional networks are mentioned, but there are also other options available. Wizbii, for example, is a professional network designed specifically for students and graduates, with jobs and internships requiring little or no previous experience – the maximum experience required for jobs is 2 years. Professional networks aren’t just for graduates looking for their first professional job after university. It’s a good idea to sign up and be active whilst you are studying to build up your professional network, have access useful career advice and find internships and other work opportunities. Having a profile on professional networks also shows that you are serious about your career.
Why are professional networks useful?
Professional networks allow you to be headhunted by recruiters who are looking for employees with your particular skills and background, which could save you a lot of time and effort. Like traditional job search sites, you will also be able to search for jobs directly and find opportunities in your desired sector. Wizbii lets you know if any of your contacts have worked at companies you wish to apply to who could therefore give you some useful tips. The social aspect of professional networks is yet another great advantage. You can join public groups, share information on subjects that interest you and read news and articles shared by other members. These interactions will allow you to make new contacts and expand your professional network. And you never know, these contacts could be very useful for your job search and could help steer you in the right direction.
How can you make the most of professional networks?
Simply signing up isn’t enough if you want to benefit from all that professional networks have to offer. Being visible (easily found) by recruiters and other members is one of the keys to finding a job and building your professional network. Below are some steps which can help you increase your visibility and therefore your chances of finding a job or internship:
- Choose a professional yet friendly looking profile photo to encourage confidence and make recruiters want to meet you.
- Complete all sections of your profile, including your education, skills, employment history and your current/last position along with your responsibilities. Don’t forget to complete your tagline as this is often the first thing recruiters will read about you and should make them want to know more.
- Use key words on your profile, so that you can be easily found, for example: Marketing Graduate, B2B, Sales, etc. along with your location.
- Ask for recommendations from former employers or university tutors to help inspire confidence in your skills and abilities.
- Join groups, share articles and interact with others by liking and commenting on their posts.
If you don’t already have an account, we hope this advice has helped encourage you to give professional networks a go! Mix different professional networks, sign up for job alerts and you will soon reap the benefits!
– This article was written by Cherie Gamble from Wizbii, a professional social network for 18-30 year olds, with over 300,000 internship, placement and job opportunities in the UK and throughout Europe.