Sowmya Renukuntla: A Guide to Networking: On & Offline
Networking is an essential skill that can open so many new doors for you as a student and future professional. While SCU offers numerous formal events to meet students, professors, and alumni, networking can be incredibly effective even when it’s unplanned. Say you’re put in a group for a class project and find out that a team member interned at your dream company. Taking five minutes after your meeting to set up a quick call with them to ask about their internship can be the key to your own success. Or, if you hear through the grapevine that an alumn founded a startup in your area of interest, you could utilize LinkedIn to reach out and get that interview. Speaking of which, here are some ways to get your foot in the door, in-person or online.
In-person: I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of upperclassmen through internships, clubs, and organizations, and they have been immensely helpful in offering me advice and access to opportunities. Although it might be hard to take the first leap and ask for help, I promise it’ll be well worth it in the long run. Anytime you’re introduced to someone or meet someone that has an experience of interest to you, remember their name! Even if you don’t have the time to get their contact information, you can always find them online. Also, take advantage of on-campus events! Signing up for mailing lists and following social media accounts will keep you up to date on all the events happening around campus. Career fairs are a great way to meet employers if you are ready to get neck-deep in the internship/job search process, but there are plenty of club-hosted events that will allow you to meet peers and professionals as well. Regardless of whether you’re just getting started or are ready to get your dream internship, SCU has a wonderful community that is willing to help you meet your every goal.
Online: LinkedIn is my favorite way to procrastinate because scrolling through hundreds of posts somehow still feels productive. All jokes aside, there is no better way to find people to (literally) connect with than using LinkedIn. Unlike your resume, you aren’t forced to condense all of your hard work into one page and instead, have the ability to really show off exactly what you’ve done. I highly recommend building a strong profile from the getgo and including detailed descriptions of your experiences, what you’re studying, your soft and hard skills, etc. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is not one-sided. Just as you may reach out to people in search of a job, it’s just as likely that employers may reach out to you with a job. I myself have gotten two internships at SCU-run startups just by responding to messages from students here. Once your profile is complete, there are many ways you can start reaching out to people. One of my favorite ways to find people is to type in “Santa Clara University” in the search bar. Then go to the “alumni” tab and type in the company or field you want to work in. You’ll find a list of current students and alumni that you can reach out to, and play being a student at SCU to your advantage!