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Networking is coming back for the 2021 class

When Rebecca Moser, a 26-year-old MBA from Baruch College in New York City, first started graduate school Looking for a job, She spent countless hours scrolling through Glassdoor and LinkedIn posts. But her school career adviser told her to quit and pick up the phone.

“They really want you to get out of that habit of coldly applying to myriad jobs,” says Moser, who will graduate next month. Instead, she advised her to set up an information interview with graduates working in areas of interest, such as data analysis and digital marketing. She doesn’t have a full-time offer yet, but she feels hopeful.

2021 classes can be more optimistic 2020 class.. Employers plan to hire 7.2% more college graduates this year compared to last year. Research There are 207 respondents announced by the National College Employers Association in March. Job interviews are more tech than ever, and many remain completely virtual. But some imminent graduates are working on their job hunting in a more archaic way: networking.

Advice provided to MBA candidate Rebecca Moser: “Get out of that habit of calmly applying to a myriad of jobs.”


Rebecca Moser

“You get a lot of work from the side, not from the front door,” says Gorick Ng, a Harvard undergraduate career advisor. “This is especially true for entry-level positions.”

Many jobs have not yet been posted due to continued uncertainty about the company’s future. “This makes networking even more important than it was before the pandemic, and lets us know what positions are available behind the scenes.”

To identify good networking prospects, he encourages students to share commonalities (such as majors, hometowns, and STEM women) and look for older people who can make hiring decisions. For example, instruct Harvard athletes to look at all the archived rosters available for sports online to see if previous athletes work in areas or companies of interest.

“You get a lot of work from the side, not from the front door,” says Gorick Ng, a Harvard undergraduate career advisor.


Nile Scott

“When I get a message from someone who goes to my alma mater, I answer 100%,” says Jamie Zar, a tax lawyer in Lewiston, Maine, who graduated from Trinity University in Connecticut. “In my experience, graduates love students who are about to graduate from their alma mater.”

She added that she graduated from law school in 2009 at the end of the financial crisis and feels solidarity with pandemic graduates. “It was a really terrible year to graduate, and networking was important to getting my first job,” she says. “I think 2009 is now the equivalent of 2021 … it’s not much better, but people know what to expect in the second year of the crisis.”

Christopher Brown, a 21-year-old psychology major running back at the University of California, Berkeley, says both his school and his coach urged him to pursue virtual networking. This semester he started meeting online with a career mentor on Saturday. He was advised to contact a financial industry expert and would like to work for both LinkedIn and his school’s “Golden Bear” alumni network after graduating in the fall of 2021.

He has met with experts such as Qualcomm’s senior director and business coaches focused on helping former athletes start their businesses.

“It’s all zoomed, and there’s only 30 minutes at a time,” he says. “But that makes me feel much more ready to join the workforce later this year.”

Some seniors, like Laura Pauly, who started a full-time job at a consulting firm’s guidehouse after graduating from Colby College in Maine, sought graduates to guide them through rigorous interviews. She estimates that she spoke with more than 20 college graduates last fall in preparation for a consulting interview.

“They not only spoke through mental arithmetic and the thinking process of case studies, but also helped me in interviews about how best to present my liberal arts background and interests,” said 21-year-old Pauly. Says.

Senior Laura Pauly of Colby College prepared for a job interview by talking to school graduates.


Colby College

She wanted to work in consulting last year, so she was able to connect with many related graduates. For graduates who don’t know where they want to work, Harvard University’s Ng offers some suggestions for finding high-growth companies and disciplines. First destination: Google. “In addition to” I’m the fastest growing company ” City of your choice“He says. “You can also look at startup funding announcements to see who recently raised money. They’re probably hiring.”

Another creative way to find a job is to search your LinkedIn profile for the phrase “we’re hiring” or “I’m hiring” and get results on your primary or secondary connection. Is to filter.

Along with the 2021 classes, many of the 2020 classes are still in the job market and they are still networking.

23-year-old Alena Hyde, who graduated from Clemson University in South Carolina last year, worked in a thrift store for minimum wages and dog sitting, and has engaged in two different internships since graduation. But she still wants to play a full-time role in fashion purchases. She again turned to her personal network for help as the economy recovered this spring and more roles were posted online.

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“For example, my dad’s best friend, who works in the Human Resources department in New York, posted to LinkedIn on my behalf to see if I had the opportunity on her network. She helped edit my resume. She said. “I usually don’t send cold emails, so I’m really grateful for such guidance and support.”

for example Employment is recovering Blake Alan, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston, insists that this year there may be less full-time work after a pandemic.

“The labor market is already constrained and the pandemic has exacerbated it,” he says. “Young people graduating from this economy need to be flexible in different ways, rather than having one career in mind.”

2021 class works

Read more about the journal’s coverage of the new graduate job market and tips for landing entry-level roles.

Young job seekers tap the college reunion network for leads

Recent graduates struggling to start their career during a pandemic receive advice, interviews, and offers.

Preparing for your first job: 2-day boot camp

Practical advice from recruiters and recruitment managers on what new graduates can do now to improve their job hunting

How to get dressed for a job interview

“If done right, your look isn’t the first thing your future employer will notice,” says Dena Giannini, style director at British Vogue. “They find you sophisticated and have a quiet, confident atmosphere.” This is the way to get rid of it.

How to negotiate your salary

Payroll negotiations are an art, but there are proven techniques you can use to get what you want.

Catch up with the 2020 class

The Class of 2020 was ready to enter one of the strongest job markets in history. Instead, they faced one of the most difficult job markets for young people in decades. But things are looking up now.

Preparing for a video interview requires research, practice, and set design. Career coach Ashly Anderson, who has been working at home for 10 years, will teach you how to prepare and make eye contact through the screen.Photo: Adam Folk / Wall Street Journal

Write to Krithika Varagur at

Correction and amplification
Rebecca Moser will be graduating from Baruch College in May. Earlier versions of this article mistakenly stated that she would graduate in April. (Corrected on April 30)

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Networking is coming back for the 2021 class

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