It doesn't matter who you know. What matters is who knows you.

I had a senior in my office the other day and they were brilliant. They had published articles with professors, they were in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU and they almost had a 4.0 GPA. They also had not one single job offer, and no contacts to reach out to. It doesn’t matter if you’re brilliant if no one knows you are.

The W. P. Carey Career Services team talks to students about their four-year plan. Each year a student should be engaged in activities that will make you the most valuable job candidate you can be. Here is a VERY brief overview:

  • Freshman year — join clubs/start to figure out your skills and how they translate into a major
  • Sophomore year — take leadership roles in clubs/look for internships and get one for the summer
  • Junior year — take higher leadership roles in clubs/expand internships in industry and start to communicate with your manager at your internship about a full time job offer when it is over
  • Senior year — expand your network

Your senior year is about letting people know your value.

What if there is no job offer at the end of your internship? Have you made contacts in other departments or other companies in the industry? You should have. Eighty-five percent of the best jobs (high paying, interesting) are never posted on a job website or if they are the hiring manager already has a candidate in mind and is simply posting it to comply with HR requirements.

In WPC 301 we talk about branding. More specifically we ask, “What is your brand?” Here is an eighteen minute TED Talk from Scott Ginsberg where he talks about branding. Eighteen minutes may seem like a long video, it isn’t. Scott is funny and you are going to be very surprised how he built his brand.

Scott has written many books about networking as well. He too knows networking is about relationship building. Here are a few of my favorites from a list of 50 tips he has created:

  • Come to every networking event with three great questions ready to go. Be sure they begin with, "What's the one thing?" "What's your favorite?" and "What was the best part about?"
  • Be able to give an unforgettable personal introduction in 10 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds.
  • Email articles of interest, links or other cool stuff of value, (not spam), to people you've met.

Senior year is the time to polish your brand and expand your network so people will get to know you, your brand, and ultimately the value you can provide an organization. Companies are always looking for talented students to come work for them, but they can’t offer you the job if they don’t know you exist.

Discover many other opportunities to develop — and build awareness around — your personal brand through W. P. Carey Career Services.

Michael Sanders, W. P. Carey Career Services

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