“Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, but filled through word-of-mouth or networking – known as the ‘hidden job market.’ The likelihood of a job opening not being advertised at all increases with the level of the job. Yet, even with this knowledge, most job seekers fail to fully utilize networking for all it’s worth.”
– Randall S. Hansen, PhD, Founder of Quintessential Careers
Certainly networking is a critical job-search strategy. I have read numerous studies that report more than 80 percent of successful job seekers say networking made all the difference in their searches. Career professionals know that most jobs aren’t advertised, and this fact is even more severe regarding internships; therefore, it’s imperative to utilize networking to find internship opportunities.
Here are six effective networking practices you can use during your internship search:
1.) Do a self-assessment of your interests, skills, and experiences. Think about what you want from your internship (responsibilities? compensation? experience? other goals?).
2.) Have a resume that has been well-crafted and is targeted toward the type of internship being sought. Our office uses Optimal Resume, and UIU students are developing more competitive resumes and other documents (we’ve recently added “Letterbuilder”) as a result of using this professional system that is FREE to students and alumni.
3.) Networking should start with getting in touch with those individuals in your circle of influence (family, friends, coworkers, professors, students, administrators, alumni). Many times when I speak with internship seekers about their search they’ve overlooked this easy approach. If individuals don’t know, they can’t be resources during this process. For example, you may desire a finance internship, and one of your contacts knows a hiring manager in this industry. What if another student’s brother works at the company where you’d like to do an internship?
4.) Get involved in a local or regional professional association in your field of study. Student memberships are often very inexpensive compared to memberships post-graduation. Attend a workshop or networking event; volunteer to help out during a local conference. Here are some examples of professional associations in Iowa:
5.) Conduct informational interviews and job shadows. You can benefit greatly from meeting and speaking with professionals in your field(s) of interest. I recommend you conduct an informational interview or job shadow each term. Through these experiences you’ll be introduced to professionals, and your network will grow.
6.) Utilize the UIU Office of Career Development and attend events throughout the year. Examples include “Pizza Chats” on various career-related topics (RSVP to the “Networking & LinkedIn” Thursday, 2/9 @ 12:10), The Big Dream™ Gathering (2/23, @ 6:00pm), and our Internship & Volunteer Fair (forthcoming Fall, 2012). Also visit our job/internship posting system, Peacock Career Network, and our Facebook group page, to view internship opportunities. Stay posted for future online events as well . . .
Here are some other practical networking tips: create a business card, have an organized database/file system to use during your internship search, meet individuals for coffee and ask questions, go out of your way to meet new people, send thank-you cards (more impactful than emails) after each meeting, be a good listener and take a genuine interest in others, get off campus occasionally (e.g. Pavo Blue or Victories), develop an elevator speech, and finally . . . practice.
We invite you to call/e-mail/drop by our office if you have any questions; also, contact us to schedule an in-person, phone, or email appointment to discuss networking, internships, or other career-related topics.
All the best, and go Peacocks!
Darren L. Noble, M.A.
Director, UIU Office of Career Development
Webpage, LinkedIn Group , Facebook Group
P.O. Box 1857 ~~ 605 Washington Street
Fayette, IA 52142
Student Center (223)