Tag Archives | networking

7 Ways Furthering Your Education Will Help You Land a More Professional Career

Image by Fabian Irsara, unsplash.com

Image by Fabian Irsara, unsplash.com

There are many great reasons to pursue a professional career, but education is often essential for certain professions. Those considering careers in areas such as law, business, or medicine must consider the costs, but education can be a catalyst for advancement. Here are seven ways education can benefit your professional career.

1. Professional Requirements
Certain careers require education or training. For example, becoming a lawyer requires a law degree. After law school, aspiring attorneys sit for the bar exam in their state and are licensed upon passing. Similarly, paralegals also require certification. Paralegal schools offer certificates, after which exams are required for licensure. For many other fields, similar programs are necessary to enter the profession.

2. Management Positions
For those seeking promotions, many businesses look for people with experience and education. It can be so important that some firms pay for employees to complete degree programs. Once you have the right educational background, it will simply take time and experience to move up the corporate ladder.

3. Alumni Networks
If you attend a prestigious university with a loyal alumni base, you can tap into that professional network. Many graduates look to hire students from their old school. Networking is a great way to get a foot in the door at competitive firms.

4. Diverse Skills
Education also develops valuable skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration. These skills are highly valuable in the workplace. A graduate degree like an MBA will provide a broad foundation that can be applied to any field.

5. Experience and Training
One of the most valuable assets for any professional is experience. Many schools offer internships for students to gain work experience. A company may even hire you for a full-time position upon completion.

6. Learn from Professionals
In college, many professors have years of professional experience. You can benefit from their wisdom in any given industry as you learn how to navigate your own career path.

7. Personal Development and Maturity
The process of learning will also give you perspective and maturity as your career moves forward. Understanding the expectations and possibilities in a field is a huge advantage as you make your way professionally.

A professional career offers many great incentives but education is often needed to enter or advance in certain fields. As you consider the costs, also remember the benefits that an education can provide. Education will certainly open many doors and provide great ways to advance in your selected profession.

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakley.

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Simple networking tips for college students

network

One of the simple ways to further your career is through networking. You need to know the right people and have the right contacts so you can identify opportunities that you would otherwise not have access to. How? Let’s take a look at some effective ways for you to network as a college student and enhance the odds of making it big in the industry. The job market is extremely competitive and getting a good job can be highly difficult if you do not network.

Remember who you meet: Throughout your college life you will come across several people who might be able to assist you in landing a job. From college professors, to people who come to visit for guest lectures – try to remember everyone you meet! If you are bad at remembering names you should write down names in a notepad or in your phone. Getting business cards is a good start. You should not be too aggressive in your approach, as there might be instances when professionals you meet might not be interested in talking or sharing their contact information with you due to personal reasons – you should accept that without question.

Get into internships or apprenticeships: Most colleges these days offer internship opportunities and you should try to gain as much experience from your internship or apprenticeship period as much as possible. One of the biggest advantages that an internship provides is that you get direct access to industry professionals and you can enhance your network during the time you work. There may be very influential contacts who can help you, and you need to be able to communicate efficiently to be successful in landing the right opportunities. Internships are not only about learning opportunities, but also opportunities that allow organizations to know if you are fit for the roles you apply for. You can also offer to work for free, and working on a short term project with an organization can benefit your job search greatly. It will allow you to identify networking trends at the workplace and how people communicate. The experience you earn can boost the odds of you getting a job and it’s one of the most effective ways to expand your network.

Use social networking websites: Ever since the introduction of LinkedIn, there has been a huge spurt in social media based recruitment. Platforms like LinkedIn allow organizations to get an overview of potential employees and they can easily shortlist people for job roles by going through the networks candidates are a part of, as well as their skill sets. Having a good network on LinkedIn is important and you will easily find top professionals you meet during your college life on the website. As soon as you build strong profiles on social media websites, you will be able to tap into the network and identify opportunities that can further your career.

Networking events: There are various events conducted by colleges to allow students to network and gain insightful knowledge from industry experts. Recruitment drives are also common in these networking events and you will find tons of booths with recruiters who share opportunities with students. You can walk up to any organization you are interested in and find out more. In most cases, HR professionals are present in these events who may even take on-the-spots interviews. These events can be greatly beneficial if you want to expand your network. Who knows, you might be able to land a job at the event! If networking events are not conducted by your institution you should actively join clubs and other societies in your college and be involved with them to gain opportunities to tap into. While networking, do not forget your classmates, as some courses have students from a wide variety of fields, and networking with them can open doors to multiple career options for the rest of you life.

Use your direct contacts: There is no harm in taking help from your friends or family in gaining a foothold in the industry. Many people are shy in approaching their parents or their friends to get jobs, but there’s no shame in doing so. Your parents can have reliable contacts, and even if your parents or direct contacts are not able to provide you with references, simply talking about their networking experiences can help you greatly by allowing you to identify how to network and go about with your job search.

Contact your faculty: College faculty and administrators can be very valuable for your job search and you should approach them in case they can refer you to job opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you. College professors and administrators are actively involved with the industry tie ups and will surely help you out in getting your first job.

This article was contributed by guest author Paresh Dhake.

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A Student’s Guide to Networking

Image by National Rural Knowledge Exchange, Flickr

Image by National Rural Knowledge Exchange, Flickr

The best way to get to know someone is to communicate. Ask questions. Listen intently. Make direct eye contact. Ok, sounds simple – these are common techniques, but when attending an event, mastering these skills becomes an art form – better known as networking.

Before the Event

Read the description to make sure this is an event you’d like to attend. It may seem like a simple act, but look at the schedule, find the location to plan your trip accordingly and most importantly, research the event. What is the event about? Who is attending? This will give you a good idea about what topics will be discussed throughout the event, as well as the speakers and their backgrounds.

Business Cards

Take business cards, not resumes.

  1. Write your name. If people have struggled with your name in the past, include pronunciation or your nickname in brackets.
  2. In place of a job title, it is fine to say you’re a student looking for “__” position.
  3. Don’t forget to include your contact information: phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind your email address should be professional. Don’t make it your school email address. If you’re still using your elementary school nickname, create a free Gmail account – it’s worth it. If you have a website with your portfolio or a site that you created, include it.
  4. Make sure the information is legible and accurate. This is how they’ll remember you – make sure it represents the professionalism you tried to convey in person.
  5. If someone asks you for your card, ask for his or hers.
  6. Don’t just hand out cards. Develop some interest so they put the card in their “follow up” pocket and not in their “don’t bother” pocket (yes, some do this).

At the Event

  • Be comfortable but professional. Yes, you’re trying to get a job – but you’re also trying to connect with another person.
  • If you aren’t sure, ask. Don’t just agree with everything they say. Show them you’re listening by asking questions and displaying your interest in them and the position.
  • If you have a name tag, place it on your right side. After shaking hands the person will notice your name. Introduce yourself verbally on top of this.
  • Have a good firm handshake. Speak clearly, confidently and coherently. It’s all about the first impression!

Eating

  • If there is food, help yourself, but depending on the meal, don’t make it an opportunity to network. If a company is hosting a dinner, employees might be there to enjoy themselves – the last thing they want is to be pestered for a job. Weigh the room.
  • If you are right handed and have a drink, take it in your left hand, and the opposite if you are left handed. When you go to shake hands, you won’t have a damp hand.

Conversations

  • Listen carefully. Ask questions if you’d like to know more about something.
  • Don’t make it all about you. Take this as an opportunity to learn about the other person and what they do – remember, you want a job that will fit your personality.
  • Ensure they have the opportunity to ask you questions.
  • You won’t be the only person there. Measure the right time to insert yourself into the conversation, and make room if someone is waiting. You want recruiters to notice your politeness and respect for others.
  • If the conversation isn’t great, politely say, “Thank you, it was nice to meet you,” shake their hand and excuse yourself.

After the Event

The follow up is one of the most important parts of networking – and one many students forget about. How are you going to connect with them in the future? If you got their card, great. If they have LinkedIn, connect with them and write a quick message, i.e. “You and I met at “__” where we spoke about “__”. I loved your view on “___”. I’d like to connect with you.”

Keep in mind networking opportunities don’t just take place during events. You can research potential companies you’d like to work for or intern with and contact the head of the department and speak to them over the phone. It is more personal, and your message won’t get lost among all the emails they receive. It isn’t being too forward, it is creating your own opportunities. Some sites such as Ten Thousand Coffees allow you to get to know someone in the industry and ask for advice. (Read our previous article on Ten Thousand Coffees here.)

Regardless of the event or the individual, keep these four things in mind: 1) Why are you attending the event? 2) What do you want them to know about you? 3) Who are you going to talk to? 4) What do you want to take away?

This ends the chapter on the guide to networking. Embrace opportunities or create them yourself. Put yourself out there and start the conversation.

Meet a CEO for Coffee. Yes, it’s That Easy.

Are your emails to company representatives getting lost in overflowing inboxes? Well, there’s a new way to get the attention of industry executives – and even go for coffee with them.

TenThousandCoffees.com is a new initiative started by Dave Wilkin, a 25-year-old entrepreneur with a classic dream: to connect businesspeople with the next generation over a cup of coffee. And, surprisingly, it’s catching on not only with students, but with experienced executives as well. Why? Wilkin attributes it to knowledge sharing. As much as students want to hear about how people got to where they are today, top executives want to know what the younger generation is thinking.

That’s right students: now is your time to shine.

These “coffee dates” are casual and non-committal. Don’t think you’ll be walking into a meeting and walking out with a job offer. Instead, use the opportunity to ask questions, propose ideas, and get feedback from your business idols. Yes, increase your network, but increase your knowledge as well.

The website is free to join for both Experts (anyone with experience or advice to share) and Novices (students and young professionals). More than 300 industry experts have already signed up for the site – and these include well-known faces such as astronaut Chris Hadfield, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, Elle Canada Editor-in-Chief Noreen Flanagan, and even the blast-from-the-past co-founder of Bodybreak, Hal Johnson.

We’ve barely scratched the surface with these participants, who have all signed up of their own accord.

They want to meet you.

Go to TenThousandCoffees.com and you can browse the profiles of executives from LinkedIn, Cineplex, Corus, Toronto International Film Festival, Telus, Maple Leaf Foods, PepsiCo, L’Oreal, Metrolinx, TD, MLSE, NHL, Molson Coors, Canadian Red Cross, Samsung, McDonald’s, and many, many more.

The list of Experts includes comedians and actors, marketers and project managers, CEOs and Presidents, professors, lawyers, politicians, news anchors and columnists, publishers, restauranteurs, a fire chief, and an Olympian.

Can you learn from these people? Definitely.

All you need to do is sign up on the site, for free, and send a coffee request to anyone you’d like to meet with. If they accept, you schedule a date and time to meet – it can even be a video chat. Remember, all of these Experts have experience to share. Even if your one business idol hasn’t signed up (yet), get some practice meeting with other executives and listen to what they have to say.

The site is currently open to Canadians, but Wilkin has expressed a plan to expand to the US and UK in the near future.

Share your coffee experience with us on Twitter @StudentsDotOrg. Who did you meet? What did you talk about?

You can also follow @10kcoffees on Twitter and on Facebook.