How to network your way to work

One candidate's experience of Silicon Milkroundabout...

In today’s post, Razel Villanueva, Interaction Designer, explains how she networked her way into graze at Silicon Milkroundabout May 2014…

“It’s not that there is a lack of jobs in the market, the difficulty lies in finding a career that matches your skills and ambitions. It is possible to find the perfect role. Doing so though, requires a little more than simply searching job sites…”

The struggle is real

Job sites are invaluable. Indeed, they helped me secure my first interviews. However, when it came down to discussing the core responsibilities of a role during these interviews, more often than not, it didn’t match my expectations set from the job descriptions.

I struggled to find the right role and after rigorous searching began to convince myself that the roles I was applying for were just not meant for me. I was tempted to not apply for anything. Just when I was about to give up on my chosen career path, a friend recommended that I start networking.

Doing your homework

However...

You need to do your research to see if the event is relevant to your chosen career. Luckily for me, my first event, served as a featured post on Facebook, was called Silicon Milkroundabout (SMR).

In terms of how I researched SMR, I looked through the list of companies attending and selected my top 10 roles. Before attending the event I made sure my CV was up to date and visually different from the conventional format so I would stand out. I tailored my CV to each of the top ten roles I had identified.

Attending the event

During the event, I didn’t spend too much time talking to one person or on one stand. I kept it short, but at the same time showed genuine interest in the company and what they had to offer. I tried to share stories of how my experience and values fitted with their job descriptions and company backgrounds. If all went well (or even if it didn’t) I handed them a copy of my CV. The reaction was always positive, so spending time tailoring it had been worth it.

I was fortunate to get follow up emails from the companies I connected with and secured a few interviews. However, I wouldn’t have left it to chance if they hadn’t contacted me first. I would have contacted them to make sure they remembered me.

Reaping the rewards

In a matter of two weeks (I kid you not!) I started working for graze.com. They have far exceeded my expectation set from the job description.

When I first started, the team treated me to a welcome dinner and was really friendly. The company is full of genuine people that made me feel right at home. To this day, I am continuously learning and growing as I am given a variety of projects that ties into my longer term career goals. I am lucky to have been chosen to work in such an environment where I can be myself, take as many selfies as I like, and enjoy what I do!

The moral of the story?

Don’t underestimate networking. With the right event and the right preparation, you can secure your career much quicker than if you were to spend weeks searching for it online. Why? Because the recruiter will remember you as a person, rather than just a piece of paper, as Hannah Manku, a recruiter here at graze explains in tomorrow’s blog.

By Razel Villanueva

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Here at graze, we're always looking to hire smart people to join our tech team. If you love solving the types of technical challenges we face, send your CV to jobs@graze.com.

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