There’s a favorite book of mine, “Acres of Diamonds” that teaches us that the jewel we seek is often buried in our own backyard. I find it useful to apply this as a motto and it fits with many endeavours.
A diamond that is in your backyard right now, is the opportunity that YOU HAVE to build a powerful communication network that can help you to find great paying jobs when you graduate. You can start you own “Skull and Bones” society. Well, sort of. Well, not quite so esoteric and not so exclusive.
Finding great-paying jobs is hard work. One of the biggest barriers to doing so is the LACK OF CONTACTS, a poor network and therefore difficulty in uncovering where those opportunities for employment may lie. But if I told you that you are overlooking one of the best tools available, and it rests with you being a student right now, would you be surprised?
If you are a student you have one potential process right there in your own backyard, so to say.
When attending any class of yours, just take a moment and look around you. Look at how MANY people are sitting in that room with you. In your earlier years you’ll have probably several hundred in some of your classrooms. In your later years, you’ll have maybe 50 or 100. In your post-graduate years, in some classrooms you may have as few as 20. Each of those people can be valuable contacts in your own network, if you take the time to develop and nurture such a network. You can create your own “diamond in your own backyard.”
THOSE PEOPLE will one day become your customers, financiers, references, and may even be the person making the decision to hire you or one of your other contacts. THOSE PEOPLE can play a powerful role if you know how to dig for the diamond they can represent.
- Start right now to begin building a valuable network for your future. Even as straight forwardly as speaking to that person sitting beside you. Make contact. Meet them. Introduce yourself to them. Invite yourself or them to join for lunch or during a break.
- Smile. Be friendly and outgoing. Say hello to just about everyone.
- Make it well know that your are building a network that can be as valuable to them as to yourself. Don’t keep it a secret.
- Build a list of names and learn of their interests and skills. Especially their majors be it finance or marketing or whatever. Learn of their hopes and ambitions for employment. Later when you are employed and learn of openings and opportunities you may be able to inform them of such opportunities.
- ENLIST THEM in your common cause. In this case the common cause is to promise to stay in touch, to communicate on a regular, periodical basis, AFTER GRADUATION, such as the fourth Sunday evening of each month, at 9 pm Eastern time. Be specific and stick to an easy-to-remember time and routine.
- For those who agree, introduce all participants with this “common cause” to each other so each member of your “group” can relate to each other member.
- Convene the group on a regular basis by internet by using some application that is suited to allowing written discussion by a chat forum. You can find applications suited to this if you do some digging. Sent a distribution email to remind the members before hand, and then an email to any member who is absent to “summarize” some of the good points from the meeting. That way your name will be reinforced and you will stay top of mind for all group members.
- Maintain the group, or grow it by reinforcing, encouraging participation, and occasionally inviting a new member to join. Try to encourage those absent from future net meetings to get back involved.
The beauty of internet is the power to stay in touch no matter to where your school colleagues eventually relocate. As you mature, they will also. As you land future jobs and climb the ladder within your company, they will do the same in theirs. There is a very powerful, RICH opportunity here among your fellow school mates to create your own special interest group to help each other for the rest of your life.
Later, if you need to seek employment, let your group, that you have been nurturing all along, be among your very first contacts to advise them that you are seeking employment. One of them might hire you. But one of them might also know of some firm or someone who is looking for a performer just like you.
Build your lifetime network right now while in school. And…if you are a parent, pass this valuable advice along to them, too.