By Carly Smith, Assistant Director of Campus Outreach
You probably have heard the number one way to find a job is through networking. Well, I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that made me remember this is not always the case. This article talked about new research that shows that contacting potential employers directly is the most effective way to find a job. Does that surprise you?
I immediately remembered a time when I was a college student. My senior year I was required to complete an internship/practicum to obtain my degree, and the way we were told to find these internships was not to look for job postings or contact people in our circle. Instead, our professors told us to locate companies we wanted to work for, find a person in charge of hiring or who managed the department we wanted to work in, and send them a cover letter asking for an opportunity to work for them.
This idea was new to me- and a bit scary. I had to directly reach out to a person I never spoke with before and prove in my cover letter why I would be a great addition to their company. Also, this person had not posted an open position and would not be expecting me. Still, the scariest part was that our professor required us to write in our cover letters that we would “follow up in a week to discuss the possibility of completing a practicum with your organization.” What if this person did NOT want to talk to me?
And, with each letter I sent out- I think about 7 or 8- I attempted to call the people I wrote to the week after they would have received my message. It was nerve-racking to put myself out there like that, but with great risk came great reward. I got on the phone with more than half of the people I had reached out to with my cover letter and finally landed an internship with one of my top choices, working for a community college as a practicum student.
So, my challenge for you is to not wait for an internship or job opportunity to come to you. You may find an amazing posting on a website such as HireACane.com or through a person in your network, but don’t limit yourself to finding job opportunities in these ways.
Take a risk. Be proactive. Create your own opportunities.