Old-fashioned networking still reigns supreme

Tiffany Butler

When I was sixteen, I started applying to jobs for the first time. I would fill out the applications in the store or restaurant and my mom would make me introduce myself to the manager. She would remind me to call after a few days to make sure they got it, and after a few weeks to make sure they didn’t forget about it, and I hated it. I knew they had the application, she knew it, and so did they — but that wasn’t the point.

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 Graphic by Cassidy Alexander

The point was, and still is, that in order to get hired, you have to do something to stand out. Sometimes, having a killer resume is enough. Sometimes, you have to call them or update the application once a month for almost a year before they hire you (as was the case with my first job).

Because of the increasing popularity of employment sites and hiring apps, Spinnaker spoke to Career Services and a few local employers. It turns out, mom had it right from the very beginning.

It’s important that the convenience of applying from our smartphones doesn’t cause us to forget the value of being personable, and networking is still the best way to do that.

Networking yourself can start in the classroom. Take note of which professors you work well with, and build those relationships. They’ll be able to plug you in with clubs, groups and internships geared towards your goals and  interests.

Renee Sparkman, director of talent acquisition at RF-SMART, is one of many recruiters who actively participates at UNF’s job fairs. She said that by attending events like that and meeting with prospective employers, students can begin establishing a rapport with recruiters. Then, not only are you more likely to get the interview, but you may even have the added bonus of interviewing with a familiar face.

Evan Hudson, national sales recruiter at Total Quality Logistics (TQL), said that during the recruiting process, they use social media platforms, Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn to connect with prospective employees, but the company is still primarily founded on referrals.

“If you’re happy and challenged and excited about where you work, you’re going to want to bring in people who feel the same,” Hudson said.

If you know what kind of job you’re looking for, but don’t know many people in the field, all hope is not lost. Director of Career Services Rick Roberts recommends compiling a list of companies you’re interested in working for and trying to make connections from there.

“Now you’ve got the names of companies you want to work for, you’ve been able to find the names of the hiring people, and now you send your resume to them. Then, follow-up is the key,” Roberts said.

Once any application and resume is submitted, it’s important to follow up on it. Roberts said the follow-up is really just telling them your name, what position you applied for, and letting them know that you’re grateful for their consideration and will be calling back in a few weeks if you don’t hear from them sooner.

“The more in-contact you stay, the more invested you are and the more invested the company is going to be in you,” Hudson said.

She said even if they don’t choose someone for the first job they applied for, consistently following-up can help them land a position in the long run. It shows ambition, and that’s what people want to see in their employees.

 Graphic by Ben Cross
Graphic by Ben Cross

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