At Washington College, Kevin was a member of the Student Athlete Mentors, Presidential Fellows and a Captain on the Men’s Basketball Team.
Why is networking such an important skill and what advice do you have for current students?
“Networking is truly an important skill to have and learn when trying to get into an industry. You’ll see a lot of your friends get a job from a personal connection, such as a friend or parent “setting them up with an interview.” It may feel unfair if your circle doesn’t have those same connections. Networking is the way to level the playing field. The fact is, many employers have more confidence hiring a connection to a current employee – a friend, friend of a friend, or family member – because chances are that the new employee will have the same values, they will get along with that person, and they trust that they’ll be good at the job. If you’re outside of that circle it might be difficult to get your foot in the door, no matter how many applications you submit. You are much more likely to get an interview from an employee referral.
The best networking practices involve mutually beneficial relationships, and should be focused on long-term. It’s not good to just be asking for favors. It can happen anywhere; maybe you’re both at the gym or at a wedding, and it turns out they’re in the same field. You’ll notice experienced people are happy to help. In the back of their mind if they see a job opportunity come across their desk, their first thought is to let you know about it. It doesn’t just have to be about job openings either. Ask them about companies in the field to look at, ask them about their personal experience in the field, these are valuable things to know. In return you can give them something of value like recommendations of places to visit in a particular area. Ideally, both parties leave with something of value. Keep in touch with these connections because down the line they can make a big difference.
In terms of getting a first job out of college, make sure you’re fully bought in and it’s something you plan on sticking with. You must make it clear that you’re excited for the opportunity and not just looking for a short-term position. Employers are keen on sensing if you aren’t planning to stay with their company during interviews, and they will be much less likely to hire you.”