My Journey In This Winter — Networking Level Up
Networking, networking, networking.
That’s the word I hear most often when I’m receiving job search advice. As an international student, networking is totally a new word for me. I really appreciate Professor Wendy Greenwood. She has invited many speakers to our class — all of whom are experts in the marketing industry. From their lectures, I was able to learn about their respective career paths and understand the different branches of the marketing industry from their perspectives.
I am really into social media, and I spend so much time on social media every day. Also, social media is the career that I want to explore more. Therefore, I have a strong interest in social media marketing, especially influencer marketing (I am eager to know how I spend my money on the products recommended by influencers, from a marketer’s perspective…).
Ashley Walsh gave us an excellent presentation as an influencer marketer. She introduced the fundamentals of influencer marketing and specific tasks. Also, she answered a lot of questions, such as how to deal with a PR crisis, and how to make sure an effective influencer marketing campaign (you can read this blog for more specific information).
I think it’s a very fast-growing industry. I am very hopeful that I will get a job in this industry. People can contribute and achieve in a wide variety of fields — so there are no limits to influencer marketing — you can find opportunities in a wide variety of fields. And it’s fresh and can always give marketers different experiences and perspectives on different fields. After listening to this lecture, I expressed my gratitude to Ashley. And I have added several marketers on LinkedIn who are also engaged in influencer marketing. I hope I will be able to do this in the future.
I am an introvert. I have to admit that… I don’t like to speak to others a lot. The first time I heard “networking”, I just thought “it will kill me”. Networking is challenging, at least in my mind. This is also a reason that I was afraid to start networking. But the cruel fact is, I need a job opportunity before May. Whether I like it or not, I have to start. I didn’t expect to get a job right away through networking, but at least I needed to learn about the industry and how to prepare for my interview.
I overcame my fear and sent cold emails to a lot of marketers and HR managers. Most of them were “cold”, actually. But I didn’t give up. I connected to some current students at GBC, who are in their coop semester now, and alumni. Because of our common background, most of them replied to me and gave me very practical advice on how to find a job. They told me about their own job search experiences, what I should highlight in my resume, and how to prepare my portfolio. Due to the pandemic, I couldn’t meet them and invite them for a coffee chat in person, so we just connected on LinkedIn.
I also participated in many job search activities, such as Campus Career Week from LobLaw. That was a great chance to talk with managers and the VP. They are so nice and friendly, would like to answer any questions from students. I enjoyed the conversation with the VP so much, and at the end of our conversation, he said “I’m looking forward to having you work with us in the future”, which gave me a lot of encouragement. At that moment, I felt I had conquered my fear. Even an introvert can do well in networking.
To practice my skills learned from courses, and out of my interest in social media, I’ve been taking a part-time job, responsible for creating content for GBC’s social media account. This is not only a job opportunity and work experience for me. More importantly, I have met more students with the same interests as me through this job. I have also kept in touch with my manager through this job and she has introduced me to a lot of information about college positions that I believe will be useful to me in the future as well.
I search for job opportunities mainly on LinkedIn and Indeed, and also, GBCareers (the official platform for GBC students and employees). LinkedIn and Indeed have a wide variety of job opportunities and detailed job descriptions. They cover almost all fields and can give a very wide range of options. GBCareers, or official platforms of colleges and universities, can provide reliable working opportunities best suitable for students. When I was looking for a job, I would first look at GBCareers, but it offered fewer jobs. After looking at all of them, I would turn to LinkedIn and Indeed to continue my search.
Although I didn’t get a job by referral from my network, I can receive several offers thanks to the advice given by some alumni that I connect with on LinkedIn. They gave me a lot of ideas on how to improve my resume and portfolio and encouraged me a lot when I failed in an interview.
Networking never ends and I need to do more. But for now, as an introvert, I have achieved my victory from 0 to 1. If you are also new to networking or struggling to know where to start, perhaps I have some tips to share with you.
- Never be afraid. Just start. It is never as difficult as you think.
- Just like you won’t make friends with everyone in the world, not everyone who receives your message will reply to you, so don’t feel frustrated.
- Be polite, friendly, and grateful.
- Networking is a skill to practice.
- Find out what you have in common (e.g., background, interests, etc.), and this will make it easier to start your conversation.
You can connect with the world, more and more.