By: Derek Yun
As a Questrom student, you’ve probably seen the Events tab on Handshake. Whether you’ve stumbled upon it or gone on purpose, as you scroll through the limitless events, you may start asking yourself why you aren’t already at one of these events OR why you SHOULD go to one of these events. Your options are fairly extensive when it comes to types of events, but any opportunity you get to attend a networking events (a career fair, a meet & greet, an info session, etc.) is invaluable and should be taken advantage of. Applying-to-every-internship-possible season is upon us, and while it may be easy to press “quick-apply” and forget the company and/or position you applied to, it’s not really the best strategy. It is much more meaningful to have a physical interaction with recruiters and employees of the company through networking events and can often lead to much more success than just applying.
There are many benefits to attending a networking event. Often times students think an information session, meet & greet, or career fair is just going to be employees telling them what they can learn by Googling the company website. What students don’t realize is that it’s an opportunity to learn information from an inside perspective AND an opportunity to meet people who could have a direct impact on your candidacy. When a recruiter or employer can meet you directly, it helps you become more than just another resume and/or cover letter in the pile. In addition, a direct interaction allows you an opportunity to ask questions that might help you in your application materials or directly in an interview. For example, you may ask a recruiter or employee “what are the top 3 skills that make a candidate successful at X company?”. Their answer to that can give you insights into what specific competencies you could highlight on a resume or cover letter and may also provide direction into what type of interview you may have or the content they will be most curious about. If they respond with 3 technical skills or programmatic specifics, you know to mention those systems in your materials, or you know what you might want to make yourself more familiar with before interviews.
Hopefully, as you continue to explore events and attend more networking specific ones, you’ll realize that these networking events aren’t simply a better way to apply, but also an opportunity to create meaningful interactions and build your network. As a result, don’t think of these networking events as an obligation, but rather as an opportunity to learn and expand on your professional career.