Networking can be a make or break for an applicant. Often the new graduate of a qualified program is miles above lesser caliber programs; however, they are just a name to a recruiter. Anything you can do to get your name out there and get yourself known is going to benefit you. This is something you need to start now, not the day or month before you are ready for that job. Networking is a lifelong process.
Here was my experience. I joined AHDI as a student and decided to volunteer for the membership committee because I was interested in working with other students. There I met someone who I became friends with and introduced me to people starting the Student Alliance. After helping to get the Student Alliance up and running, I was introduced to my local chapter and state association by a co-founder of the Student Alliance. I decided to run for the treasurer in my local chapter because it was easy and I would meet more people. During that term I got to know several people, one of which offered me a job when I graduated. I was also asked to run as my state’s delegate. As a delegate I met even more people and due to that networking, a friend let me know about a job that very much interested me at the time. Fortunately I had come to know the person doing the hiring through my delegate work so the ice was definitely broken. My current job also came about in large part due to past association work, experience, and having my name out there.
Essentially every opportunity I had came from some type of networking/volunteer activity. People knew my name by the time I was ready for work. That really elevated the playing field in my favor. So how can you do the same?
- After joining AHDI, join the New Professional Alliance
This is where you will make some strong networking contacts over time. Many of the seasoned MTs will take students under the wing so to speak and give them relevant advice on job hunting and even let them know of companies that are hiring.
Consider running for a local office or volunteering for a committee
Often students are afraid of this because they do not know much about the industry; however, there are many ways that you can help out. Sometimes something as simple as helping stuff welcome bags is greatly appreciated. You can volunteer at a registration booth so that you see people’s names and they see yours.
Whatever you do, do not exist in a vacuum. Talk to people. It is easier than you think. You never know which of your current students will be the one to one day offer you your dream job or put you in touch with a company that will meet your needs.
Photo Credit: smemon87
Chad C. Sines, MS, MBA, AHDI-F
Director of Client Services and Security