You may have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” As it turns out, in today’s competitive job market, that old cliché isn’t quite right.
Each year, it is becoming harder and harder to make a strong impression and stand out in the application process when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for an internship or job. Meanwhile, national surveys estimate that between 65 and 85 percent of jobs are found through networking, which reveals that personal relationships are essential to standing out in the application process.
It’s not what you know. It’s not even who you know. It’s who knows you! In other words, building personal relationships with alumni and employers is the best thing students can do for their careers.
Here’s how we at the Career Center can help your student, and how you can help us, too.
How we can help your student…
- Encourage your student to look for internships, jobs, and other opportunities labeled “Carl Connection” by using Handshake. Alumni and parents are great sources of opportunities for us to post to students. Many also agree to serve as points of contact for students to ask questions and learn more about their organizations. In addition to giving students insights for strengthening their applications, alumni and parents also provide accessible, less-intimidating ways for students to begin networking within industries and organizations of interest to them.
- Ask your student to sign up for employer events, including informal office hours, information sessions, résumé reviews, and workshops. One of the things I’ve observed is that sometimes students won’t sign up for these events because they’re not sure what to ask or they may feel like they already have enough information, overlooking the importance of investing in relationships with alumni and employers. This is normal, and often once a student participates in an event, they will gain confidence for more. The employer events are as follows:
- Informal Office Hours – Alumni and employers offer to meet with students in one-on-one meetings to get to know them individually and answer their specific questions.
- Information Sessions – We work with organizations to host information sessions to help students learn about organizations and their opportunities in a larger group setting.
- Résumé Reviews – In February and September, as a part of the career fair preparation process, we invite dozens of alumni and recruiters from a wide variety of industries and organizations to review students’ résumés.
- Skill-Based Workshops – Alumni and employers lead workshops to instruct students on relevant skills or how to stand out in their industries, such as case interview preparation, leadership, networking, résumé writing, technical interview strategies, and more.
How you can help us
All of the above are driven by alumni and parents, like you, who serve as “Carl Connections” for internships and jobs at their places of work or who graciously give their time in offering office hours, information sessions, résumé reviews, or workshops.
Please reach out to us if you are willing to serve in any of these ways. We take care of all of the scheduling and logistical support for the events, and are flexible to adapt to your time constraints. Providing these opportunities for students to build professional relationships truly makes a difference.