North Texas Daily

Career Center helps students network online

Career Center helps students network online

Career Center helps students network online
February 06
00:32 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

In the past, job-hunters relied on a physical impression to land a position, but networking is now becoming an electronic process.

The Internet has taken hold of the job search process, with several popular websites dedicated to helping connect people with similar work interests. Perhaps the most prominent, LinkedIn started in 2003 and boasts 259 million users.

Collegefeed.com, a new site aimed especially at college students, tries to match people with jobs using personality algorithms inspired by popular dating sites.

Assistant director of career services Mark Pullam said before the Internet, when people looked for jobs they would dress up, get a stack of resumes and walk into the lobby of anywhere they could think of to get work. Want ads were in newspapers and other traditional advertising media. National societies, Greek organizations and local communities were a person’s network.

Now, in-person job hunting is simply looked down on.

“If you walk in and try to engage a gatekeeper, the first thing they’re going to tell you is go to our website,” he said. “I think that’s what’s so frustrating about the job search. Put in your resume, put in your information, push send and then not knowing what happened.”

Pullam said it is difficult to tell how many relationships begin online, in part because the dominant professional connections website, LinkedIn, relies on connections that were made in-person.

“If you don’t have any corresponding links, you can’t reach me,” he said. “So that’s when things come back to traditional networking.”

UNT’s Career Services Center is built, in part, around that networking. All students and alumni have access to the Eagle Network, which can help put students in contact with employers who have registered with UNT and keep them up-to-date on job fairs and Career Center workshops.

Leah Black, Career Center graduate assistant and higher education master’s student, said the workshops include mock-interviews, resume writing and how to use the Internet in your job search.

Black said there’s an entire seminar dedicated to the ins and outs of LinkedIn, including how to find UNT alumni who have gone into desirable positions.

Pullam urged students to visit the career center and start learning how to network as soon as possible.

Eagle Network and the rest of the Internet isn’t the only way for students to get a job. In-class networking is also important, and in an extreme case, as with music professor Debbie Brooks, it could lead directly to a job.

Brooks teaches a career development class, teaching students how to network and bringing in music professionals to talk about their career paths. She also works as a contractor hiring musicians for local performances and she’s been known to put her teaching in practice and hire former students if they have what it takes.

“If I’m able to hire some of them, I have done that before,” she said. “What’s really fun to me is to introduce them to other contractors where they might get more work.”

Though jobs aimed at post-graduates may eschew in-person applicants, jobs aimed at college students are fine with walk-ins. Crooked Crust general manager Josh Brawner said he has a mostly internet-free hiring process, often printing out applications for potential employees in the store, even though they are online. Even social media may not come into play until after the hire.

“It doesn’t really affect the hiring process,” he said. “There are things employees have posted about the store that have made us upset.”

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