It’s common knowledge that this year is the worst yet for new graduates trying to find a decent job. Public sector cuts and international uncertainty mean that the current job market has never looked bleaker as several years of downturn piles up the inexperienced unemployed.
The competition for anything advertised on a job website will be enormous; if you can see it, so can everyone else. More than ever before, who you and your parents know can be the defining factor in whether you get to the interview stage of an application process.
…I think I may have a silver lining for this very large black cloud.
This is bad news for social mobility, as once again (or possibly still) those who have connections are more likely to get better jobs and those who come from simpler backgrounds will be sorely disadvantaged. However, if the recruitment websites and the blind emailing are becoming disheartening, I think I may have a silver lining for this very large black cloud.
Connections are all about networks, and something that the younger generation can hold over our elders is our experience with using social networking websites. Some of these sites facilitate connecting people who have already met; Facebook is not useful for meeting new people although it does help with staying in touch.
…dating websites which are experiencing unprecedented growth and success.
Other sites have the explicit purpose of introducing people, as can be seen with dating websites which are experiencing unprecedented growth and success. If people can create social connections to meet future partners via the internet, why should this not be possible for business contacts as well?
Twitter has the potential to be a brilliant networking tool. You can start with one small company and look at who is following them, using a chain of similarity to find many other organisations. Following the CEO is much better than following the whole company as it is more personal; an individual is more likely to decide to follow you back and this might give you the inroad you need. Twitter works best if you can show you are very interested in the field you are aiming for.
If you look interested and interesting, people are more likely to follow you.
Personal branding is extremely important in a world of online transparency and this means commenting on articles, attending talks and going to events and openings. If you start to keep an eye out for your chosen field you can comb the newspapers and internet for references to people who might be useful and start following them. If you look interested and interesting, people are more likely to follow you.
LinkedIn is another site which is underused by recent graduates as it is considered less user-friendly and is not as aesthetically pleasing as similar networks. It does, though, have the function of advertising relevant positions that are tailored to your skills. It is also useful for sectors which haven’t yet made it onto other social networks as it has been around the longest. People who are not on Twitter will almost definitely feature on LinkedIn. If you meet someone at a talk or event, this site could help cement the connection and make it easier to have a follow-up chat.
Social media is the future of business networking. With the right technique, it could be used to create connections that may prove equally beneficial as those of parents or friends. Perhaps this is a way that the internet really can help to level the playing field.