Written by Jesse Sannicandro
Networking is indisputably one of the most important skills to have when looking for a job. I secured two jobs and an internship because of people I know. Your personal contacts can tell you about an available position, including jobs that may not be publicly advertised. Not only that, but they can put in a good word so you can get your foot in the door. Networking makes the job search that much easier.
I worked at JCPenney at the Natick Mall for about a year. When that particular branch of the company closed, I was out of a job and had a moment of panic as to what to do next. Luckily for me, a coworker of mine also happened to work at The North Face. She mentioned in passing that they were hiring at her job, so I jumped at the opportunity and applied. I was hired at The North Face because of who I knew at my work.
My dad met the director of Framingham State University’s English Language Programs, Rebecca Hawk, while they were both getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Harvard University. He later performed the ceremony at Rebecca’s wedding. My parents have been in contact with her since then. My mom told about an opening for student workers in the English Language Programs office that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. I found this job, and was hired, because of who I knew in my family.
I was looking for an internship to get under my belt before my graduation. Initially, I had been looking at a grant writing internship, but it had been filled very quickly. I decided that it might not even be the best fit for me; I didn’t really know if I wanted to pursue grant writing as a career. I just knew that it was related to my English major and I would be able to use my writing skills. Desmond McCarthy, an English professor of mine, suggested that since I don’t entirely know what career path I want to take, I could intern at Career Services and Employer Relations. He had sent over several students in the past to work as professional writing interns. I secured this internship because of who I knew at school.
Your network can span several different spheres. There are professional relationships, like your professors and coworkers, that make up a more traditional network. There are other relationships that you may not think of as resources when looking for a job, like friends and family. When you imagine networking, you may think of job fairs and professional events, but it’s not always a deliberate activity. Quite often, you’re networking without realizing it. You never really know who can find you a job, or when an opportunity will rear is lovely head.