Lesson Plan 5: Networking
Leaving the comfort of smart phones, tablets, and our computers can be a scary proposition. In the job hunt, actually getting a job still relies heavily on who you know, a willingness to meet new people, and utilizing every possible resource. Using online sources to find and procure jobs has become just as necessary and easy as walking into a brick-and-mortar location and asking for an application. Still, getting out there and interacting in the real world, finding positions not posted on job boards, and getting first-hand experiences are key. This lesson plan demonstrates just how important networking really is, even to first-time job hunters, offering tips on how to comfortably ask for advice, ideas, and referrals from others around you.
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Believe it or not, in a day and age when being online is nearly second-nature to breathing, getting a job still depends on who you know, meeting new people, and exhausting all resources available. Sure, social media can be an invaluable source when searching for work, but getting out there and interacting in the real world may prove the difference between getting a job or not. Enlisting the help and support of others to comfortably ask for advice, ideas, and referrals means that young job seekers understand that others have been in their shoes and may know just the right avenue to travel in order to procure employment. All networking relationships should be “give-and-take” relationships, allowing for the sharing of information, resources, and help both ways.
To build a successful network, new workers should follow simple steps and always keep an eye open for new opportunities. Use referrals to find new job opportunities, volunteer, and attend networking events held in local communities or at university or college branches. Community message boards typically list schedules for when events are being held. Current high school students may want to check with teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, and, if the school offers, career-service officers about potential work openings and prospects. If students know of someone in the particular field in which they wish to work, see about job shadowing or if such a person would become a job mentor.
Networking becomes important for a variety of reasons. Younger job hopefuls may not really know where to start when it comes to searching for a job. Reach out to relatives, friends, and even friends of friends who work for companies and may be able to relay hiring opportunities or put in a good word to hiring managers. Some jobs may even be closed to outside applicants, but having a network allows for employees already working for such companies to let new workers know when internal postings go up or take a flyer on a referral.
Informational interviewing may prove the most valuable tool a new worker can keep in their portfolio of tools to get a job through networking. The process works exactly how it sounds: teen workers gather information about potential industries and job markets by seeking out and picking the brain of a person entrenched in one of those fields. Conversations should focus on what companies look for in employees, job responsibilities, company culture, and community involvement. All learned information can then help build successful interviewing techniques and help procure jobs over less-inclined individuals. In other words, informational interviewing gives the ultimate leg up.
All slides should present themselves in a way that students understand the basics about networking and growing in a community of job seekers and professionals. The accompanying video, links, and activities should be used at the teacher’s discretion to help supplement the presentation itself. Thank you for choosing our job skills curriculum, and please look to our additional presentations to help your students move into the job market with confidence and success.
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