06 Apr Gen Z Networking: The Ultimate Guide
Gen Z Networking is changing. The days of waltzing into a business and handing someone a resume are long gone. In fact, it’s discouraged! With the increasing prevalence of social media, networking has never been easier. In today’s pandemic-adjusted world, the internet reigns supreme for networking and fostering relationships. With only a few clicks of a button, you can unlock a relationship with someone who can easily help put you on the path to success. The options of contacts you can make in the digital age are endless!
The focus on online relationships in the past two years has caused a shift in perspective surrounding the way we understand job seeking. According to a study, seven in ten job seekers now believe they simply don’t need to meet someone in person in order to form a worthwhile professional connection. This opens up possibilities and truly levels the playing field.
For Gen X and Baby Boomers, who a family knew was directly proportional to their ability to network. This greatly limits those without the privilege of knowing people in positions of power. Today, Gen Z Networking can completely bypass this step. According to an article from Handshake, “73% say it’s easier to make professional connections compared to their parents’ generation,”.
And students are fully taking advantage. With universities and high schools helping students become aware of websites such as Handshake that connect students to employers, it allows students to start earlier than in previous generations. No more waiting for the career fair to roll around. Students are becoming savvy, as new research states that as many as 3.5 million messages were sent between students and employees in the last 12 months.
LinkedIn: a continuous career fair for Gen Z’ers.
So, how do you start?
For a new jobseeker in the digital age, having an up to date LinkedIn profile is crucial.
From there, you can begin building a network of people in fields you find interesting. Check out your school/university alumni list on LinkedIn. Here, you can directly search for your industry and find people who work in it. Send a message and request to connect with anyone relevant to you. Always make sure you provide a call to action, such as “Let’s connect over Zoom so I can learn more about your journey,” or something of the sort. Relying on the automatic message that the site creates, is less personal and significantly less likely to work. There are other websites/socials that allow for networking, but LinkedIn remains the most popular at this time.
The second option is to find people organically off of social media. Now this is the less traditional way, but if someone is not responding, it might be worth it to reach out in another social space. The statistics are in your favor, as “More than 8 in 10 believe that messaging an employer may lead to a job opportunity,” according to Handshake.
Pro-tip: If someone of interest is particularly hard to reach, try finding their email with Hunt.io. This website is an amazing resource. It finds out how companies typically name the emails for employees, and saves the emails of those who have ever put their work email out online. This allows you to find the work email of anyone. Tread lightly, as not everyone will be thrilled that their email is available on the internet.
Alright, they responded. Now what?
You’ve made the connection. The hardest part is complete. From here you can tailor your experience depending on what you seek. First and foremost, it is important to learn about your new connection. Ask about their path, what they like about their job, and what they wish they’d known at your age. All of this information will be helpful to you. Make sure to tell them at some point, what it is that you hope to gain out of the connection. Let them know that you are interested in internship opportunities or in gaining more connections in your field. Being honest in what you’re looking for can help the connection be understood.
Offer to get a virtual coffee with your new connection. Grab a mug and schedule a time to video chat!
Remember: It is up to you to foster a meaningful relationship with your new connection. This might mean sending physical thank you cards when they make time for you. This could also mean making an effort to meet up in person as well if you’re able to. Effort speaks volumes when networking, and manners can often pay off.
Gen Z Networking Looking Forward
While the pandemic has forced most generations to turn to the internet for connection and opportunity, it seems as if it’s here to stay. Not only does turning to digital spaces seem inherent to Gen Z, but research shows that “54% of Handshake students want to continue attending career events virtually.” To companies, this puts pressure on them to continue to foster their online presence.
Whether it is preferred or not, it is absolutely imperative that Gen Z master their ability to present themselves online. According to Fortune.com, the number of remote opportunities grew 342% in 2021. The growth in remote professional job postings grew 219% during the same time period. The likelihood that some aspect of one’s career journey originates from the internet is extremely high, therefore the time is now to create a space for yourself.
Bottom line: Get your name heard. Intern Remotely! With access to virtually anyone on the planet at your fingertips, networking today has become essential in getting ahead.