For many millennial job seekers, investing time into creating a fancy resume that stands out and preparing for the job interviews is straightforward. But when it comes to networking and finding a job, it can seem like a daunting and time-consuming process.
Millennials don’t always recognise the value in networking today. We’re not talking about the kind where you go to an event, get a name tag and talk to a bunch of people who you wouldn’t usually associate with, networking takes place in different forms and now more than ever has a big presence online.
There are many advantages to this: it’s often free, can be in the comfort of your own home (or favourite cafe) and you can connect with people you'd never usually meet.
The Millennial generation, born between 1981 - 1996, have become ‘creative nomads’ as I like to describe them. Millennials are looking to develop and grow. They can easily adapt to new environmental changes. That is why networking is paramount to their career success.
1) Reach Out to People Within Your Industry
Don’t be afraid to build connections with people from the industry you want to work in. LinkedIn is a great place to start finding those connections. Look at the top companies in your field and reach out to key people who specialise in your area of interest. You will find lots of industry-related virtual events or webinars happening right now!
Don’t just connect with them and send the generic “I’d like to connect with you” message. Introduce yourself and give them a reason to connect or respond to you. Once you have introduced yourself and the connection has been made, be proactive and prepare questions you want to ask them.
Questions you may ask potential connections:
What motivates you to work in this field?
What aspect of your job would you change?
How does the company support your work-life balance and wellbeing?
These are just some examples of questions you can ask when networking. The idea is to engage in conversation with the connection you’ve just made, but also use this as an opportunity to talk about yourself. You will be surprised at how many people will respond. But remember to be professional, honest and of course, be yourself!
2) Be Creative
Millennials are known for thinking outside the box through being creative and collaborating well with others. Use your time wisely to innovate and show off your skills so an employer can see your potential. Particularly if you work in a creative role. Use social media to share your visual projects and ideas to connect with others in the same field.
Millennials are increasingly blending their work and hobbies to network. Build connections at your weekly salsa class, pilates or even at the gym.
It’s in places like these that you will network with people you share similar interests with to build contacts. Broaden your horizons because you never know who you may come across.
3) Communicate Effectively
There is nothing more daunting than not being prepared for an interview. In the same way, whether you are networking virtually or in person, be prepared to talk about yourself when making those connections.
We all know that first impressions are important. And that is why it’s so important to make sure you are able to talk about your career in a clear, concise and effective way. People don’t just want to hear a list of places you’ve worked at. Add a bit more spice to the conversation. Talk about your specific interests within the industry, a recent success you’ve had or what you are looking to accomplish next.
An important point to remember, don’t be clingy. There’s nothing more annoying than someone persisting to monopolise their time when they’re also there to connect with others. Share your details and drop them an email after the event.
Remember there are lots of possibilities out there, be professional and prepared with how you convey yourself!
About the Author:
Pooja Borkhataria is a Virtual Career and Confidence Coach and Founder of Millennial Strategist a platform launched with the purpose of creating a better multi-generational understanding and appreciation of one another in the workplace. With the mission focusing particularly on championing millennials, supporting them through change by using coaching.