Opinion | Connections are important, essential to finding employment
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 01:09
This is not an ideal time to not know anyone and wish you did. We’ve reached peak season of the upperclassman job search – a time when Career Fair preparation takes precedence over exams, sending your GPA on a downward slope. But that’s okay because it is said that there isn’t a strong emphasis on your GPA when applying for jobs. After all, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know, right?
It seems as though students who know people “in the biz” is a commonality at Miami University. Many students are fortunate enough to have relatives who own a business or know someone in their desired industry with whom they can easily connect.
But what do the students who don’t have anyone to put in a good word for them do? What if they want an entirely different career than anyone in their family? What if they are the first person in their family to even attend college?
At first they are hit with the fear that they won’t find a career that places value on their degree. Then somewhere along the way, they accept the reality that they have control over this process; this also comes with a little more stress. They know one thing for certain: they have to connect with someone.
They seek out some type of advisor or mentor until they find someone who is knowledgeable and willing to assist them. They talk to their professors, classmates, managers, friends’ parents, housemates’ boyfriend’s friends – literally anyone – who could possibly steer them in the right direction.
Whether or not they make a personal connection, they spend hours, days and months researching. Hours upon hours are spent researching companies, departments within companies, positions within departments and job descriptions of available positions so they know which keywords to put on their resume. Then they hang on to the slim hope that their online application to this Fortune 500 Company is actually seen.
It’s now September and Career Fair has come and gone. This is when they feel like the last three years come down to one day… or a one-minute conversation with a recruiter. While trying to prepare to speak with five companies in hopes that they will connect on some level with one of them, they lose sleep, study time and some sanity.
Instead of spending months researching positions, they cram it into a couple weeks, maybe days, maybe hours. After all, this may be the best, most convenient opportunity they will have to network within the “big leagues.”
This isn’t to say that students with connections take the easy road or don’t work hard. Some of these students want to go into publishing but come from a family made up entirely of doctors. This piece is to offer the perspective of students who have to build a career from the ground up—building connections instead of receiving connections. It is to offer the perspective of students who know that if they want a career they truly enjoy, they have no choice but to spend relentless hours making sure it happens.