Gone are the days when simply finding a job posting and applying will land you an interview. (If those days ever existed in the first place!) In today’s job market it’s all about who you know. And I don’t mean that your aunt or uncle needs to be the CEO of the company you’re applying for; you don’t need to be born into connections to build them. By utilizing the UConn alumni network, students can build their own connections.
Developing professional connections with current employees at a company you’re applying for can give you a huge advantage in your job and internship search. Companies often have informal or formal systems for employees to make referrals, and this internal applicant pool is usually preferred over mass postings. Why do hiring managers want referrals? Because it enables them to choose from known entities, referrals from people they trust. If the hiring manager is considering two qualified résumés and one comes from an employee who can say “this person is well spoken, passionate, and driven,” its understandable that the manager would prefer to bring in the referral over the unknown candidate.
So how do you create connections at companies if you didn’t grow up swimming in the CFO’s pool every Sunday? LINKEDIN! LinkedIn is key to accessing the hidden job market, because it allows you to find and build connections with alumni and potential contacts at your target companies.