Let’s Talk Networking!

As a sequel to our first blog, Academic Tips for a Great Career in Tech, I thought it would be helpful to share with our community some tips and resources when it comes to networking in Tech. 

This might be a cliche to say but as a student who has been gaining experience in job/internship applications, I can’t stress enough how important networking is when it comes to finding an internship. Imagine you cold apply for an internship with twenty thousand other applicants, what are the chances that your resume will get read by a recruiter? Networking can help you beat the odds and increase your chances! Caileigh ‘19 shared her story about how she landed her first internship at 3M. She was introduced to 3M through a common connection at a conference, which led to her landing a job as a Software Engineer at 3M. Connections like these don’t always come out of thin air, but here’s how we can organically build relationships with industry professionals. (Since the word networking itself signifies a transactional relationship, I will frame this as a process of building connections.)

So how do you go about applying to companies that don’t target Denison specifically? The most promising approach is to reach out to Denison alumni who are working in the companies you apply to. The quickest way is to look them up on LinkedIn through Denison University’s LinkedIn page, and send them a short and sweet message to express your interest and learn about their experiences. Don’t be shy to schedule a virtual meeting with them and ask them for advice and build a connection from there. It might not come naturally at first, but it will after some practice! This process is extremely important because gaining a referral from someone working in that company will give you a leg up in the recruiting process.

Outside of the Denison circle, if you see like-minded people on LinkedIn, feel free to connect with them to gain advice and build relationships.

Another great resource is to take advantage of speakers events at Denison, whether that’s from a club or the Knowlton Center. It’s an awesome opportunity to connect and build a professional relationship with them since the fact that they speak at an event means that they are willing to help students out. So don’t waste those opportunities!

I’m saving the best tip for last. Not a lot of people do this, but the companies that you are applying for are most likely to hold insight sessions or events before they roll out their applications. Why is this a good opportunity? Some of these professional events are selective, and you have to go through an application process to get in. Once you get in, some may put you in a different pool in the recruiting process and some even give accelerated interviews afterwards, depending on which event and company that is. Not all of the events are like this but it is still a good way to learn about the company and build your professional network through attending events.

There are also organizations and diversity programs that are created to bring resources for underrepresented students. Some of them are OCWIC, Grace Hopper Conference, Girls Who Code, etc. Be on the lookout for those because they will help you develop professionally!

Have questions? Feel free to schedule a session with our Tech, Data and Science community coach!

Stay tuned for our next blog in our series!

By Thao Pham
Thao Pham Peer Career Fellow: Technology, Data and Science