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Author Encourages Networking, Looking Ahead Beyond College

By Matt Kiernan / News Editor

Lindsey Pollack, best-selling author of the college advice book, “Getting from College to Career”, came to discuss her book and consult students on her top seven favorite things a student should do before they graduate.

Pollack said that students shouldn’t be afraid all the time and that they should take chances instead of playing it safe and doing nothing.

“Avoid making the biggest mistake in job hunting and career prep,” said Pollack to a crowd of students in Alumni Hall last Wednesday.

She recalled a time at a conference where she asked a CEO of a company what their biggest regret was when they first started preparing for their future career – they replied that they regretted not applying to the business schools and jobs they wanted to. The CEO said he was too afraid of getting rejected from them to take the risk of applying.

Pollack advised that students take the next step of becoming a very organized person and think of themselves less as students and more like a professional.

She suggested that students gather all of their information into one place for easy access and to professionalize their contact methods by creating a formal e-mail address as one form of contact.

“You want to think of something easy to contact you by and something that is appropriate,” said Pollack.

She said that one way of making contacts with people is by making business cards to pass out to other people you may meet so they’ll have all of your information available. She said that students need to become expert researchers by subscribing to “must-read” publications that report on topics related to the student’s career such as the Wall Street Journal if the student was a finance major and to set up Google alerts to tell them when something important to the topic is posted.

“You need to walk into a job fair or interview and know as much about them as possible.” Pollack said that students looking for jobs need to clean up their online presence to make themselves look respectable because companies looking to hire may see a student’s party photos online and decide not to employ that student.

“Your Facebook profile is essentially an easy background check,” she said and also recommended using LinkedIn.com as a way to network with others looking to hire. Networking with people you already know such as professors or family is one way she mentioned of getting connections with people who either may be hiring or know someone who is.

“Networking is just talking with people you already know and asking them for referrals,” she said.

She told students that persistence can lead to a job because as long as they keep themselves in the minds of the people looking to hire them, they’ll have a much higher rate of success. A call to follow-up on how your application and interview is coming along in the hiring process helps your chances. “So many jobs right now are going to the first person to follow-up,” she said.

Pollack finished her list by having her seventh step be to remember the three unbreakable rules for career success.

She asked student not to forget to take action, keep building contacts and to not go through the hiring process alone.

“The person that shows up with a smile on their face that is the person who will get the position.”