You are only as great as your network
Feature Writer: Liz Sauve
Aspiring Communications and Public Relations Professional
As you learned in my last post, I am relatively new to the professional networking world. However, I am quickly learning that in a city as small as Vancouver, you are only as great as your network. What do I mean by that, exactly? Well… keep reading.
I graduated just over a year ago with my degree from SFU. I always did well in school and had almost all of the skills and determination then than I do now. However, I learned just how difficult the job hunt is, even as an educated, driven young woman. I was constantly saying to myself ‘if only I got an interview, people would see what I have to offer’, or ‘I’m sure they already knew someone and had them in mind for the job’. Sound familiar?
After the self wallowing I gave myself a kick in the you-know-what and went back to school, where I was introduced to the notion of networking and the informational interview. Let me tell you, they have literally changed my life. I went from wishing I could land an interview to requesting them myself. From secretly hating that person that the organization knew, to being that girl who an organization knows. How does one accomplish this? By requesting informational interviews and networking. Plain and simple.
An informational interview is when you request a meeting between yourself and a desired future employer of yours. This is an opportunity for you to learn things about the organization (that are not on the internet, because this is not about wasting someone’s time asking them what their organization does when it’s on their home page), and is your chance to ask how someone got their start in an industry you desire to grow in. Make sure you are prepared with poignant questions, and only request these interviews with organizations you truly desire to work for – because I can guarantee the interviewee will notice if this is not an industry you are passionate about.
It’s important to note that an informational interview will not always lead to a job offer. It is simply a way of educating yourself about a desired employer of yours or the industry you see yourself professionally growing in. The bonus? If you make a great impression and demonstrate that your abilities would be an asset to their organization, you’ll likely be top of mind for future job opportunities.
Networking is the very basis for the informational interview. Get out there and meet people! As I said, this is a small city, and everyone seems to know one another. The more people you meet, the more people you can impress.
I’m slowly learning that you are only as great as your network, as your network is often the best tool in fostering your professional development. It’s also a wonderful way to make like-minded friends. Be sure to introduce them to others too! Networking is a two-way street.
I have recently experienced the benefits of stretching outside of my comfort zone and getting out there, and I strongly encourage all of you job-seekers to do the same. Feel free to share some of your best networking stories in the comments are below or tweet me.
Follow Liz on Twitter: @lizsauve