As a senior student at an American university, I have some advice on how to search for jobs and how to make connections with companies’ recruiters.
In order to get a job offer, the first step you need to take is to get an interview. During the interview, promote your abilities and skills to the recruiters. Basically, there are three ways for a company to offer an interview opportunity: at a career fair, other networking opportunities, and in response to an online application.
1. Career fair
The career fair is a very important opportunity for students to network with recruiters because companies attending the fair value the quality of the school’s students. Polish your resume and do research on your target companies before attending career fair. If possible, try to connect with the recruiters prior to the fair by sending an email. The email should include a brief introduction with your name, major, graduation date, and a statement expressing interest in talking to them at the career fair. After talking to the recruiters remember to send them a thank you email. The more a recruiter remembers you favorably the more likely you will advance to the next stage of the recruitment process.
Take advantage of any chance to meet with recruiters or company representatives. Many campus organizations invite recruiters/business experts to come to their meetings and give presentations. You can talk to the guest speaker after presentation, letting them know that how much you liked the presentation and expressing interest in the company. At that time also inquire as to whether there are any job openings.
I personally have benefited from networking. I attend the Logistics Association at my business school, weekly. Every time I find a company or position that I’m interested in, I talk to the recruiters after the presentation or email them. It’s actually very easy for them to remember me in this way, and they have contacted me if there were any interview opportunities coming up. One of the recruiters even invited me to visit their office without an interview. I was able to have good conversations with the people from different departments, building my network. Two months later, I got an interview with this company!
3. Applying online
Submitting an online application is also a way to get a job, but in my opinion, your chances are quite low. There are several online job search websites you can use to hunt for jobs.
Indeed.com is a job search engine where you type in the description of the job you desire and the location you want to work in, and a list of opportunities will be generated. You can also search by advanced criteria, such as salary, travel time, willingness to relocate, etc. On Monster.com, your resume once uploaded will be visible to recruiters, and the recruiters will contact you if they find that your experience fits their job requirements. Some other similar websites include Careerbuilder.com, Glassdoor.com, and LinkedIn.
Networking: What it’s all about
The biggest difference between conducting a job search in US versus from China, in my opinion, is that in U.S. networking is extremely important. According to an article on Forbes magazine, 41% people said they got a job offer through networking, whereas, only 8% got a job offer through direct approach, and 4% through online network.
Since networking plays such an important part in job search, the following are some of personal advice on how to network.
According to Wikipedia, Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.
Lots of students get nervous hearing the word “networking”. This may sound like an overwhelming word, but for students, it is simply an activity by which job seekers build lasting and mutually beneficial professional relationships that will help them get connected to discover ies. At the beginning, you don’t have to expect any big takeaway from the networking, such as an interview opportunity, because the stress and pressure may feel overwhelming. Instead you can consider it as a gathering where you can choose who you want to talk to and how long you want the conversation to be. With this in mind, you will find yourself very comfortable in that environment and not afraid of networking any more.
If you decide to network with any recruiter, you have to do research of that company beforehand. Go through the company’s website and be knowledgeable of its products, services, strategic interests, and internship/full-time programs. Recruiters will know whether you did your homework or not in just one second, so be prepared.
As far as what to discuss during the conversation, there is honestly no fixed pattern. First, give a firm hand shake. Then hand in your resume and if you bring one and introduce yourself. You don’t have to make your educational and/or work experience exactly match the work opportunity. Just be honest. Talk about what you learned from your research of the company and what you found of interest to make the conversation continue. Finally, wrap up the conversation by thanking them for their time. Then as you give them your business card, ask for theirs. As I stated earlier, there is no certain pattern to follow.
As long as you do your research and are honest, open-minded and polite, it is a good networking. So go meet as many people and make as many connections as possible, because a small conversation may end up in a job offer.