We all know that old cliché of "It’s not what you know, but who you know" that will help you succeed in life. This is a real problem when the only people you know are your immediate family members, your university classmates and the same canteen auntie that you always buy kopi from in the morning.
When it comes to reaching out to connections who can potentially give you a career boost, don't limit yourself or feel embarrassed by it. It's completely okay to reach out to network and to ask for advice. Here are 4 types of people who probably exist in your life, and who you can get to know better:
1. Your University Seniors
If you're striking out for the first time in your career, your university classmates are not going to be of much help when it comes to getting jobs, since you're all starting out at the same rung in the career ladder.
Your seniors at university, on the other hand, can be a great help. These are people who have not only studied similar subjects as you in school, but might be working in similar career fields that you are looking to start out in. Best of all, they are also a few years ahead of you and might be able to refer you if their companies are looking for hires.
Even if their companies are not currently hiring, they can offer you advice on market conditions in your chosen industry. I personally landed my first job fresh out of uni from a university senior who happened to be for someone to take over her position as she got a job promotion.
2. Ex-Internship Colleagues
If you had the chance to experience a university internship, you would have interacted with people from your internship company. Now that you have officially graduated, you might be able to benefit from asking your former colleagues if the company (or those of their friends) are looking to hire for a role you could fill.
This can be a great way to get a job as companies are often willing to consider referrals even before they try to run job ads. Even better if you had been a part of the company before, and are already familiar with the company culture.
3. Online Connections
Creating a LinkedIn profile and ensuring that it impresses potential employers instead of making them yawn is one thing every fresh grad should have in their online lives.
You never know when someone might chance across your profile. It could be a HR person from the industry you listed down in your profile, or recruitment agents looking for potential hires. Start out by listing down your credentials, and follow up by including soft skills such as any volunteer experiences, or whether you were president of any of the university clubs.
Here's a great checklist on how to create a solid LinkedIn profile as a fresh grad. As your job experience grows, or you are the sort of person who’s open to changing jobs every few years, don't forget to periodically update your profile.
4. Your Parents' Connections
When you’re a fresh grad, virtually every working person is above you on the career ladder. This also means you can get career leads from the most unlikely of people.
If you’re young and have not had any industry experience, you might not know too many people who’re in a position to hire you. But your parents might.
Get your parents to broadcast to their friends that you, their beloved offspring, are looking for a job now that you've graduated. It’s often so much easier to get a first job through a referral than by competing with other grads with nearly the exact same resume. Most of your parents' friends may be in more senior positions in companies because of their age, so that's also an added bonus.