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Students network to aid job search

By Samantha Esgro
On February 19, 2013

In the business world, "it's not only what you know, it's who you know," according to Gregory Boller, associate professor of the department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
That being said, businesses look for five primary things: communication skills, oral and written skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to be a team player, critical thinking skills and honesty and integrity.
The two Boller emphasizes are creativity and communication skills.
"Those skills tend to not be taught. They're assumed you've learned them along the way, but I do teach them to my students because I know how much those are desired by employers and, unfortunately, you can't find those in academic curriculum," Boller said.
It is important that students get as much of a head start while they are in college as possible. One way to do that is through internships.
"Internships, internships, internships," Boller said. "The University of Memphis has outstanding internship programs, it is one of the things that distinguishes our university from others."
As the career fair approaches, students are reminded of the responsibilities they have to prepare themselves for the "real world."
One of those responsibilities is networking, and, while the task may seem minor and unnecessary, folks in the business world say otherwise.
Courtney Cook, the assistant director of employer relations and internships, said networking is necessary for more reasons than merely introducing oneself to the "head honchos" of a particular business.
"Networking is really important. It gives you the opportunity to speak with people who are in the field and allows you to gain insight about it," Cook said.
Not only can students learn more about their field of interest through proper networking, it could also determine whether or not he or she receives the job.  
"It could make a huge difference - at some networking opportunities, the manager might be looking to seek out possible employees or use the opportunity to seal a position," Cook said, adding that networkers should always be at the "top of your game" in case such an opportunity presents itself.
Kathy Tuberville, the director of the department of management, agrees with Cook on how essential networking is to a career.
"It is absolutely critical, you have to do it, for you to really be at the right place at the right time and understand the players and what they're looking for," Tuberville said.
Tuberville also encourages networking to learn about the different areas of said career.
"I would also say it gives you more opportunities for getting what you want. It broadens your opportunities and gives you more chances to evaluate those opportunities, while also providing you with a much greater opportunity to be successful in the career," she said.
Networking is also a way to establish contacts in any field of interest, according to Tuberville. This at least provides those interested with a greater opportunity in the field than if they went in with no prior introductions.
"It's not a guarantee, it just exposes you to more opportunities," Tuberville said.


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