Many graduate students attend networking events for job opportunities. However, few follow up with the people and the companies they get to know in the events. I used to think networking was just a trend that students blindly follow because an important person would hardly remember you, a student without significant experience or achievement.
What happened during my stay in the U.S. completely changed my attitude towards networking. By connecting and following up with employers actively, I got my paid internship as a Chinese student in the U.S. and my current full-time job in China.
Here’s how I did it.
I attended the 2015 Startup Fest held at Carey on April 10th, 2015. After talking with employers from companies I was interested in, I sent an email along with my resume and a cover letter to each individual employer, introducing myself and presenting my passion for working with the company. The email was customized for each receiver. I was sure all the companies had received many resumes during the event, but a digital copy was more viewer-friendly and could stand out among all the paper copies.
Three days later, I heard from an employer from DoublePositive, a digital marketing company in Baltimore. I replied to that email within a few hours. While thinking I could never compete with native English speakers when hunting for an internship, I received an invite for an interview with DoublePositive after about a month. I had a phone interview on May 12th and an onsite interview on May 20th. To my surprise, I got the offer on the day after the interview!
I owe my full-time job opportunity to the Career Development Office at Carey. I’ve been passionate about digital marketing and Katy Montgomery connected me with an Associate Director at the DC Career Development office who has a connection at Ogilvy. I got in touch with her and was introduced to a VP at Social@Ogilvy North American. He had a one-hour talk with me via phone on May 19th. In addition to offering detailed information according to my interest, he sent my resume to Ogilvy AP office located in Hong Kong. Then, my resume was sent to the Managing Director in Ogilvy Shanghai. I had a Skype interview with him in June. After getting back to China in September, I had the opportunity to have an informal onsite interview with a director and got the offer within one month.
I sent my first email to DoublePositive on April 10th and got the internship offer on May 20th. During these days, I sent 13 emails and received 7 emails from employers. My resume was sent or forwarded to 4 employers. Regarding Ogilvy, I was introduced to the VP on May 12th and got the job offer on November 5th. During these days, I sent about 35 emails and received 22 emails from the employers. Five employers at Ogilvy were involved.
As the numbers above show, job hunting through networking really works but you have to make an effort. From my personal experience, there are 8 key points to keep in mind if you want to successfully connect and follow up with employers.
- Send your resume and a customized email to the individual employee after networking events.
- Attach your work samples or portfolio when appropriate.
- Introduce yourself again when you are available to start a job or have not heard from the employers for a while.
- Always be the one who closes the conversation.
- Send a thank you note after phone interviews, Skype interviews, onsite interviews, and even just a short talk.
- Thank the one who introduced you before starting an email conversation with a new connection.
- Job hunting takes time. Keep calm when there is no reply.
- Never be anxious when your resume is sent from one person to another person, and to another person.
Happy job hunting!