Guest Blogger: Griffin Young ’15. Griffin is a senior management major with a minor in Labor-Management Relations. He is also a Career Assistant in the Center for Career Education and Professional Development, Chair of the 2015 Commencement Core, former Coordinator for New Student Orientation and member of the executive board for Special Olympics on campus. He is from Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod and is currently in his job search for an entry level role in the Human Resources Field.
Just before Providence got walloped with all this snow, the Center for Career Education put on three student-alumni Networking Nights in the hubs of Boston, New York, and one right here in Providence. Over 150 alumni participated, and 325 students used their networking skills to build connections with valuable alumni. In January there was an article in The Cowl titled “Expand the Network at Networking Nights: Provide More Connections for English Majors.” The article called attention to the lack of alumni that were in attendance at the Providence event that had careers for Liberal Arts majors. While it is imperative for the student body to let Institutional Advancement, the Center for Career Education and SAA know what it is they are looking for in these networking nights, we also have to recognize that it is ultimately the alumni’s decision to attend these events or not, and it is ultimately the students’ responsibility to take control of our own career development. If we don’t find what we want at one event, we need to seek out other resources and services that will help us. For example, we can use the services that the Career Education Center offers such as quick question hours, individual counseling appointments, the “how to” videos online, and so on. There are probably a lot more resources out there that the school has than you may think.
Networking is a much underutilized, yet extremely powerful tool that students can use at any stage in their college career. Now that the formalized Networking Nights have passed, there is still a plethora of ways that you can continue (or start networking). Here are five ways I’ve built my network, in addition to the networking nights:
LinkedIn is arguably one of the best tools out there that can help you network your way into a job. The “Find Alumni” function can sort alumni based on geographic region, company, job type, and even their undergraduate major. This list of people can be used for informational interviewing or for potential job shadows. If you are thinking to yourself: “That’s so awkward! Why would I message someone I don’t know about a job that they have?” Take my word for it, it’s not like that at all. As much as you and your friends love PC, chances are that the alum loved PC just as much and most of them love to hear from current PC students. Putting yourself out there and asking the alum for career advice or asking to shadow them to see if you would like their job or not, shows your commitment to taking control of your career. Who knows, it may lead to an internship or a full-time offer down the road!
Because I’ve had an internship in human resources, some of my friends have asked me if recruiters even look at LinkedIn profiles, or if that’s just a myth.” Well, it isn’t a myth. At my internship, the company’s entire recruiting strategy revolved around LinkedIn. Very rarely do they post jobs and have people apply to them online. Having a robust and comprehensive profile on LinkedIn will put you at the top of the list when recruiters are searching for candidates. This past week alone, I have had two different recruiters reach out to me about potential opportunities for full-time positions after graduation. If you need any pointers on using LinkedIn, stop in for Quick Question hours or check out this link on building a LinkedIn profile. If you need a professional picture for your profile, the Spring Career Expo on March 4th from 2-5 in Peterson Center is offering free headshots by a professional photographer to the first 200 students who want one!
- Winter Break Shadowing Program
I had the opportunity to shadow two PC alums over this past winter break. This program is a great opportunity that gives you the chance to not only build connections with alumni, but also figure out if the career that you thought you wanted was all you hoped and dreamed for, or on the other side, if it was not what you thought it was going to be. Regardless of the outcome, both results are OK! I have had both results this past break, which has ultimately helped be narrow my job search down to a career path that I now know I want.
- Volunteer at PC
Have you ever been asked by your professors to help outside of class with a special project or research? Or asked you to be a part of a panel during an Accepted Students Day? Or maybe even asked to volunteer at an event off-campus? Whatever it may be, always say yes! You may meet someone there that you get talking to that may have a lead for a job or internship. This past weekend I was selected to speak on a panel of seniors for the Career Education Center. At the end, one of the parents came up to me, who coincidentally was an alum, and told me about an opportunity that he had at his company. Had I not been at that panel, I would not have had the chance to be approached. Showing that you want to be as involved as you can and availing yourself to opportunities like these just may lead you to your next job or internship.
- Get involved
Every year seniors graduate, right? Right. They are also involved in various clubs and organizations throughout campus, right? Right. Of those seniors, some of them may be in a career field that interests you immediately after they graduate, right? Right. The more you are involved on campus, the more chances that you get to meet people outside your class year and major, with which you might share a similar interest. As a result of my own involvement in various clubs, I have gained connections at different companies, including EMC, Liberty Mutual, and at a large hospital in Boston. The people that I have met in those organizations have given me the opportunity to network and get my foot in the door at each of those companies.
- Don’t forget the people you know at home
Over Christmas Break, I was lucky to see most of my extended family for a few days. One of my uncles, who I do not see that often, is a Vice President at a large, multi-national company. He asked me what my plans were after graduation and to forward my resume so he could send it to some people he knew. Although I did not pursue the opportunities that he was able to get me into, it was good for me to remind myself to utilize my family and friends from home as I look for opportunities after graduation.
For those of you who attended the Providence Networking Night, the keynote speaker, Mary Fox ’84, told a story about how she got one of her jobs while hosting a pizza party at her house. One of her son’s friend’s parents started talking to her and it was brought up that she was in transition between jobs. Low and behold, she landed the job. You never know what type of interaction may lead to a job. Whether it be online, by shadowing an alum, volunteering at an event, in a student club, or from a pizza party, be prepared to give your “elevator speech” because who knows, you may be talking to your future employer!