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I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal the other day,  How to Make Employers Want You, about how to stand out to employers, especially in this economy. It feels like every other word I hear is about the economy these days and how terrible the job market is right now… great words to hear as a graduating Senior! But the rough economy should really serve as extra motivation for all of us–in times like these, we have to do everything we can to stand out and differentiate ourselves from the thousands of other students employers are looking at.

Over and over again, you hear “it’s all about who you know,” and this statement is absolutely correct. Now, and always, networking is a crucial component of the job search and getting your foot in the door. An enormous percentage of jobs are never listed and the best way to get into a company is through the back door. As college students, we have to keep this in mind in every situation. You never know who will be able to help you later, whether it’s someone you meet at a presentation or workshop, a former teacher, or an older sorority sister. For me personally, I never would’ve gotten my summer marketing internship if it weren’t for an older sorority sister I’ve kept in touch with over the years. She was an older sister I’d always admired in my sorority who also majored in Marketing and had previously held my office position in the sorority. Keeping in touch with her lead to her passing along my name to her boss, and I was able to have an amazing internship experience that I wouldn’t have even heard about otherwise.

Work on expanding your network and building up your connections and remember to stay in contact with those people. Reach out to friends of friends who work in the industry you’re interested in, and set up a meeting to talk to them and find out more about their career, how they started, and what they like about it. And always remember to follow-up with a thank you note–a handwritten note card thanking someone for their time and mentioning what you found interesting can really go a long way.

So get out there and network!

Best of luck, Kristina