It's time to apply for a job –woohoo! And while you may already have an impressive resume and cover letter, successfully landing a job goes far beyond the written application. According to career coaches at Indiana University Bloomington’s Walter Center for Career Achievement, you should be spending 60% of your time networking with people who are already employed at the place you're applying. Another 30% is for researching what the company actually does and why. The last 10% should be reserved for applying to the job itself.
So, what does that look like in action? Here’s a potential game plan for you.
Step 1: Check out our article on job boards for where to begin your search. Find a few companies that spark your interest! (LinkedIn is also a great place to start.)
Step 2: Do you know anyone who works at the company? If yes, reach out! If not, no worries. There are a ton of different ways to connect with companies.
Step 3: Check out the company on LinkedIn – click on "See all employees on LinkedIn," which will let you know if any of your existing connections work there. Start with alumni and begin reaching out to people for informational interviews. When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, you can also include a 250-character note for an informational interview request. Make every word count!
Step 4: Ask thoughtful questions. Networking is your chance to get to know as much about the company as you can – you're deciding if they’re a good fit as they are determining the same thing about you. Who better to tell you about the company than somebody who works there?
Whether you are meeting someone at a career fair or talking on the phone, here are some questions to get you started.
- Why did you choose to work for ___?
- What's your favorite thing about going to work each day?
- How do you stay up to date on the news in your industry?
- Has anything surprised you about this role?
- Are there any examples of challenges you have faced in this position that you can share?
- What advice would you give to yourself during your undergraduate days?
Remember, the best questions come from doing company research. When you research a company beforehand, you can ask about anything from their values to exciting initiatives they are pursuing.
“70 to 80 percent of jobs are found through networking,” writes author of Getting from College to Career, Lindsay Pollak (Pollak 89). Over here at IU Corps, we're cheering you on! Have more questions about the application process? Find us on LinkedIn or reach out to your career center here.
“Getting from College to Career.” Getting from College to Career, by Lindsey Pollak, Harpercollins, 2012, pp. 89–89.