Have you heard on multiple occasions that networking is the best way to find job opportunities? Well it’s not BS, it’s the truth!

Did you know that 6 of the 7 Career Coaches in the Office of Professional Development were somehow connected or referred to Lonny for this open opportunity last February? Only one of us applied to the online job posting!

I always joke at orientation and in one-on-one’s with students that I don’t want you to be like me… I don’t want you to be unengaged and anonymous in your college. I want you to be involved and do a ton of internships (kind of like Sara Garcia) and give your internship employer a reason to not let you go… But I’m not naïve, and I know that for every 30 times I tell students to not be like me.. maybe one listens? So if you’re not going to listen to that advice.. maybe try listening to this:

Take advantage of your current situation. Are you currently waiting tables? If you are and you are good at it, you have probably created some regulars to your establishment. Get to know these people. Learn about their life, their family, their hobbies and their profession. Let them get to know you as well, tell them your passions and your dreams, both professionally and personally (but not to personal). You never know who is sitting at your table or bar! When I graduated college I continued serving and bartending… it was while bartending that I met my future boss who gave me a chance to be a recruiter. This is where taking chances comes into play. Dean Jarley wants you all to be data-driven, risk-taking, decision makers! Take some risks… When I was approached about recruiting I had NO idea what it was. In the moment, I said yes, I would be interested in interviewing, and the minute I got home I googled the term “recruiter.” The things that came up were less than thrilling (like “head hunter..” What does that even mean? What an awful title! Who would EVER want to be called that?), but I took a leap and interviewed anyway. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I hadn’t taken that risk and made the decision to interview, I would never be where I am today.

Waiting tables isn’t the only type of employment where you can network with guests and customers.. Are you a cashier at a grocery store? Start getting to know the guests that come through your line every week (I know if I see my favorite cashier at my favorite grocery store, I will beeline it to his/her line first). Are you the scheduler at a Hair Salon? Guests have to check in with you first.. start getting to know them. Are you a barista at a coffee shop? I stop at the same coffee establishment every day, not because they serve a good cup of coffee, but because I know my baristas.. I know what they’re studying.. they know I just got married.. they’re part of my network and it’s because they took the time to make it happen. Take that time to start meeting people you encounter every single day!

Since beginning my career as a recruiter I have held three positions. My first position was through networking at the restaurant.. the 2nd position was through my network again.. I bet you can’t even guess how I heard about my third position… yup, it was my network!

You get the point.. we’ll be saying it throughout your entire time here at UCF. Network your butt off, it will be the first and best step you take into your career!

Happy spring break! Enjoy your time off and have some fun, you all deserve it!

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Victoria Diaz (My name has officially been changed as of yesterday)

Career Coach – Marketing

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