Internship Networking and LinkedIN: Building digital relationships
This episode will focus on networking, why it is important, how it can help you get an internship and build your career with a specific focus on digital networking and using LinkedIn.
(intro music) - [Narrator] This is
Buffalo State Data Talk. Podcast where we introduce
you to how data is used and explore careers, that involve data. - Hello and welcome to the
Buffalo State Data Talk,
summer 2021 mini series,
All About Internships. I'm your host, Heather Campbell and our summer episodes
explore the process of finding and making the most of your internship. We'll be focusing on field
Data Science and Analytics,
but many of these tips will be applicable to numerous fields, and also if you're searching for a job. Networking to acing that interview, our experienced panel of guests ,
will provide excellent tips and tricks to land you, your next internship. In today's episode, we'll
be talking about networking. Why it's important and how it can help you find an internship
and build your career. We'll be specifically
focusing on digital networks and using LinkedIn. Let's introduce you to our speakers. Today we'll be talking to Claire Petrie,
a talent acquisition and
HR expert from Buffalo. Thanks for joining us today, Claire. - Thanks for having me, Heather. - Dr. Ramona Santa-Maria,
the internship coordinator for the Computer Information
at Buffalo State College. Thanks for joining us today Ramona. - Thanks for having me Heather. I love talking about CS and data - I'Jaz Eberhardt, a journalist
and a Buffalo State College, Data Science and Analytics alumni. Thanks for joining us today I'Jaz. - Thank you so much for having me. - We'll be welcoming
back to the show today,
Bill Bauer, the education
and diversity director at the Bio Expo, NSF Science
and Technology Center at Hauptman-Woodward Institute. Thanks for joining us today, Bill. - Thanks for having me.
- Denise Harris, the director of the
career development center at Buffalo State College. Thanks for joining us today, Denise. - Thank you so much.
I'm excited to be here.
- So I want to talk to you a
little bit about networking because we know that most people
find a job through somebody that they already know. There's lots of statistics out there. So what kind of advice do you have
for building your network? - Well, normally I would say
this is a great opportunity for us to connect with alumni and go to networking events
that, our office holds, but because of everything
that's going on in the pandemic,
a lot of these events are still happening. They're just happening
in a virtual platform. So I'm a big advocate for looking and seeing if you can
join as a student member to any of your professional organizations.
So a lot of times they'll
have chapters that are local or even if you can join as a student for your professional network our professional organizations,
you can see, you know what's going on, who are the key players?
What research are they doing? You know, what companies
are kind of up and coming? And again, if they're involved in a professional organization like that there's usually a mentorship program
where you can kind of ask,
if you could be a part of, asking your faculty or your
professors, you know, to see if they have, if you could
network with them or again informational interviews
where you're going around and you're asking individuals
about their professional careers. People really love to
talk about themselves. And if you're asking about
their professional careers and you're interested in
their actual journey, you know that makes you interesting.
So, you know, don't be afraid to say, "Hey, I would love to
hear a little bit more about your career path. Would you mind if we grabbed
a couple of virtual coffee and just chat, you know,
with zoom and everything."
So many people are dying
to have an opportunity to connect with people that
don't live in their house. And so this may be a great opportunity for you to connect with individuals. - You mentioned before that
you got your internship
because of the network
that you had already built. That you already knew
some of these people, and that's how you were
able to find your position. So would you say that
this is the same thing that has occurred to you
in all of the positions
that you found the position
since you graduated? Did you find having this solid
network was really important? - Absolutely. Networking is everything. It's absolutely everything. And for students out there
I would advise you take
advantage of every opportunity. There were so many that I
received as a DSA student from the talks to the guests that we would have come
to speak in our classes. And in my professional realm
just working my rings up in
the local journalism scene, it had a lot to do, not only with my unique background in DSA, which is in demand right now, but also because of the connections
that I was able to make
and the people that I knew. Networking is extremely important. So much of it is what you know but a lot of it is who you know as well. And even if it's not just
someone who can get you that job
or give you that referral, look for what you can learn from people, you would be surprised at how many people are willing to share and want to just because you ask
because you indicate that
I'm curious, I want to learn. I'm really interested in this and understand it's
your area of expertise. You know, I've had lunch
and coffee meetings with people just to pick
their brain, you know
not to ask for a referral
or position or anything. Just can I learn from you? You have been where I want to go. Can you share with me? And just the knowledge
I've gotten is invaluable.
It is absolutely. You can't put a price on it. - So networking can be kind
of an intimidating thing. You know, whether it's
in person or online. - Even at my age, it's terrifying.
- So do you have any advice
of how to connect with people? What to say, how to act,
how do you make connections? - So, I always have
business cards with me. I think that that's a really easy thing that all students should have
and it can just be your
name, student, you know whatever your department
is and your phone number. This is an easy way to make
yourself look professional. Hand out, just hand out your
card when it's face to face. I'll never forget there was this kid,
first day, freshman year
his name was Reggie. And Reggie came up to me in class. He's like, "hi, I just
wanted to introduce myself. I'm Reggie, here's my business card." I said, "what's this for?"
He said, "well, just in case there's
any opportunities for me." I said, "it's the first
day of freshman year." He's like, yeah. And like, he's like, you
won't forget about me now.
- I love that. That's awesome. - But it was, that was the
best advice from a student. Hand, your card. No students ever take
that advantage to do that. And as my, you know, as my son will say,
"mom, I don't want to
be the teacher's pet." Yeah, you do. You want it. That's something
I have never forgotten. And it's advice from a student. Distinguish yourself
with something as simple
and all there's all
those companies out there that if you, you know, have their their business address at the bottom of it you can get like 1,000
free business cards. You might as well do it.
No one is going to think
about an opportunity for you unless they know you're
looking for an opportunity. The same goes for when
you're looking for a job. When you're looking for a job, tell every single person that you know,
even when you're even if
you're in the grocery store, like, oh, Hey I'm talking to somebody, just so you know, I'm working
here at Abby's or, you know someplace, fast food place,
but I'm really looking, I'm in school and I'm looking
for more opportunities.
Do you have anything? So network with people, network with your career
development center, because if they know you're
looking for something and then a job comes
across somebody's desk,
they're going to send it to you. - So do you have any advice for like how to connect with
people at a networking event? I know we don't really have
any in person right now, but you know once we
hopefully are back in person
and having them, how do you go up to somebody
and start a conversation? - Right. So if it is an in-person event which I'm hoping we get back to soon I think it can really help
if they have a list ahead of time. And you look through the
list of people that are there and try to find someone
that can maybe help you. If you can do that, you can
plan a little bit better for this interaction you're
going to have with them.
And like I said before, if you have a specific goal in mind same with the online networking, and approach them with
that goal, whatever it is it can really help guide the
conversation towards that.
And I, and again, if they
give you your business card their business card or something it's always a good idea to
follow up with them after that. - I'd never thought to ask for a list of attendance beforehand.
I think that's a really great idea because then you can look
up information about them, maybe you have targeted
people that you want to meet instead of just trying
to work the whole room. I think that's an excellent suggestion.
Do you see a lot of people finding their position
through their network? - Through their network? Yes. So I don't necessarily think it's always through someone you already know
but I would say many people
find a job through networking. So someone, you know may know
someone who knows someone. So I always talk about with
other fellow young professionals and students, the
importance of just making that good first impression
when you meet someone,
even if you feel like they're
not in your line of work or they might not be a
valuable contact to you, again you never know when
they're going to remember you and you know, pass your name
onto some something else that would be a better fit.
So, yeah. So I guess ultimately, yes I do think a lot of people
get jobs through networking especially after the hard
year that we had of COVID and not a lot of in-person
I feel like networking has
become even more important because it's harder to like find people like you're not going to see
someone in person perhaps that you want to follow up with or that you could meet to help connect you
to that opportunity. So like, I've talked to a few, you know discouraged job seekers that are during this time when we're mainly online just spending a lot of
time applying to jobs
because they're like, well, I don't have those
in-person networking events to go to anymore but that's when you have
to kind of make that pivot to LinkedIn and again using
any established networks
that you might already have. So your professors or
neighbors or things like that. - So you mentioned using LinkedIn. And I think that especially,
you know, like you said we're in a pandemic, there's
not those in-person events.
LinkedIn has become that
much more important. So how do you build like a genuine digital
relationship with someone? - That's a great question. And there actually is a
couple of tips and techniques
that I want to share
with this group today. So the first is before you graduate I want to encourage every
Data Science student to build a LinkedIn profile. So again, you don't
want to just regurgitate
what's on your resume, but really highlighting skills and achievements, activities,
your degree, all on LinkedIn make sure you have a professional headshot because we know recruiters
are on LinkedIn.
Absolutely. That is where they're at especially with what's
going on in the world. Then I want you to start
making connections. It's one thing to have a profile but if you don't have any connections
you're not going to really
gonna be able to leverage that. So my goal for every
student before they graduate is to try to get 150 connections. Now that may sound like a lot but if you start to think
about the number of students
that are in your program, faculty, staff, you automatically start to kind of build this big group of people. And also like we have the Buffalo
State alumni organizations and things of that nature, where again
you can start to connect with
individuals in your field that also had done the same major as you so you can start to
live with them as well. So how do you make an
authentic connection, LinkedIn? You don't just want to
connect with somebody, right?
I mean, obviously classmates and people like me in the career center you want 100% can just send an invite to. But if it's someone that you're
reaching out to, you know you can say, oh, I recently
read this paper that you wrote.
And I would love to connect with you or talk with you about
your research, or, you know I interned at this
organization and, you know we didn't get a chance to
meet, but I would, you know I would be happy to connect with you.
I was wondering if we'd
be willing to connect. Sometimes you just have to
give people like some kind of frame of reference of where
you're connecting with them because I can't tell you how
many people connect with me. And I know they're just
trying to sell me something
or make a business connection. I want authentic connection. So I love what either former
students send me connections or people that are
colleagues that are saying Hey, listen, I'm working on this project.
Would you like to collaborate? Absolutely. And then you can kind of connect
back and forth with that. You know, again, 150
connections sounds like a lot but you'd be amazed at how
many connections you can start to build when you look at
who you are and you know.
- Do you use LinkedIn or
any other online platforms to build digital
relationships and connections? - Yeah. LinkedIn has
really been great for us and our students so it helps us promote our own work.
It helps create new context
and helps find jobs. Last summer, I watched a
virtual networking seminar by Alaina Levine, and
this was really helpful. So it, I would recommend
that anyone that's interested in learning more about virtual networking
look up this video, it's on YouTube and it's called "Virtual
Networking for Nerds." It's really good. - Yeah. We'll add that link to the description of the episode too.
- Another thing that I would
say is to utilize sites like LinkedIn, definitely
super helpful in showing you, what's available in your area and also not just using LinkedIn for looking for the position,
but for actually setting up your profile. LinkedIn has become honestly my favorite, if you can call it social media site, like I'm on LinkedIn probably
more than I'm Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
because I just love the
things that I'm able to share. And my professional compliments
that the accomplishments and things that I'm able
to learn from other people. And that's another great
thing to look at LinkedIn not just only for those obvious listings
but for people that you can connect with because maybe you can find, you know, you're following someone
and then they'll post, "Hey, I'm looking for an
intern for this company." I see a lot of people I follow
who make those sorts of posts that they're looking for interns. And that's a great way
to, you know, like I said it's all in networking. Even if it's someone you
can't meet face to face
you friend someone who you think might be in your field are able to help you out and make a shorter introduction. Hi, I'm really interested in your business or in what you're doing.
I'm in the area too. You know I would love to chat some time maybe even virtually, or
if you ever need an intern, please keep me in consideration. I'd love to tell you a little bit more
about my background and my skills. - So you mentioned that LinkedIn is now your favorite social media. I know that a lot of students are kind of intimidated by LinkedIn.
They're not really sure how to use it. What's appropriate, can they post things? What should they post? Can you give like a little bit advice of how to actually utilize
- Absolutely. So in the beginning I wasn't really certain
either about, you know, well what should I exactly be doing here? Should I even post or, you know when I first got on
LinkedIn, I pretty much
had nothing to share about
myself professionally, outside of the fact that I was
writing for my college paper. And then also like doing some
freelance here and there. So like, okay, well at
least I have a profile. So if people are looking for
me, they'll know what I can do.
But when you're looking at
the things that people post on LinkedIn, it's not just, Hey, you know this is my new job, or this
is what I did at work today. It really is a social network. It's a place for you to
be able to share things.
You can have fun with LinkedIn. Like you can give people a
glimpse into who you are. I mean, I was able to
like a few of my posts I was able to share,
you know, I was so happy about the accomplishments
of one of my friends.
So I re-posted something she posted. I re-posted you know something about when the Dean of
Arts and Humanities passed who I got very close to and he was such an influence in my life.
And I kind of was able to
write a blog about that. I was able to post when, trying to think of some other things. I shared a post from our
CIO here at Buff State about an interview she did
about how I was inspired
because she made a lot of
great points for, you know women of color in stem fields. And I said, Hey, this was
a really inspiring read. So even if it's something
that you want to share with people about, you know
I think people should check this out too. Or if you just want to give
a little blurb, you know sometimes people talk about
the funny kind of ways that their job crosses over
with their personal life. So LinkedIn
it definitely shouldn't be
seen as something scary. You can absolutely have fun with it. And it's actually great
to have fun with it and to give people a
glimpse of who you are on the personal side
because it shows that
you're a real person. That's what prospective
employers like to see. That's what your colleagues like to see. You know, you want to give
people a sense of who you are and what matters to you.
So, I would say like some
great things to do on LinkedIn are to maybe repost some stories that you've read that might be great or share those accomplishments
of your friends, you know, and congratulating them to share
how someone has impacted your life even on a professional
or on a personal level. You know, people love stories. People aren't looking to
just hire robots or, you know these people who have no personalities.
So don't be afraid to get
a bit personal on LinkedIn. Of course, keep it professional. Like you shouldn't be sharing,
Hey, here's a selfie of me went out to the bar with
my friends last night. Like, you don't want to
put that on LinkedIn.
You know, absolutely not. You want to keep it professional but you should keep it personal as well. Give people a glimpse of who you are. It's such a wonderful way to connect
with fellow people as well. So don't forget the social
in social networking. Be sociable. Be presentable and be yourself. - There are a lot of things
locally you can find out
about online. So one of the things that I'm
in on LinkedIn is, you know the Buffalo Computing Group. So I'm on that and through
that I've found different kind of professional development
that I've gone to.
And when I go into those
professional developments like I said, I try to ask a question. And if there's somebody
I think is interesting I will message them on the backend. Now, if you're a student and
you're inspired by somebody
definitely online message
them on the backend and say, again I would
love to talk to you more, talk to you more about your job. I think I, that might
be a good path for me. Do you have any time where we can meet up?
And if they say yes, and if they give you their email address, or if they say email me, you need to email them that day. It's not dating.
It's not you wait three days. If you wait three days, you're done. You email them that day and
you say in your email, hi let's say Heather Campbell. It was nice to meet you
at blah-blah-blah event.
I would love to speak with
you more about whatever topic. When would you be able to
meet within the next week and give a short timeframe
because people are busy and if you are available to
meet within the next week, do it.
- So do you have any suggestions of how to build a digital
relationship with somebody? Because you know, for a lot of people it may be kind of easy
to have a conversation with somebody when you're in
person and networking event
but when you're just online on LinkedIn how do you start that relationship and how do you actually build
a connection with somebody? - Yeah, so, well, the
first thing I'll say is in terms of how suggestions
for building digital relationships my first thing I'll start
off with is to connect posts and engage intentionally. So that's like my tagline
that I use in my business with other professionals that
I talk to about LinkedIn.
So definitely use LinkedIn
for that online networking send thoughtful connection request notes. So if you're going to
connect with somebody always add a note as to
why you're interested in making that connection.
Mentioning something specific either from their profile or
how you found out about them. If they came up in your
newsfeed, et cetera just saying something
thoughtful and specific and leaving comments
is a great way to start
those online connections as well. So if you're, you know, a student in HR and you're seeing articles come through your newsfeed that I post, or that Sean posts or someone
else in your network posts,
leaving a thoughtful
comment is a great way to proactively get your profile in front of that online HR community. And you're more likely to see, you know profile views or connection requests.
And then of course, for
online networking events with the BNHRA, the local
Sean chapter Buffalo Night or Human Resource Association, a lot of our events are on zoom. So my advice for that is
definitely to engage in the chat.
I personally have been loving
zoom, like networking events because when I used to
go to in-person events the tables would be those round tables of like eight or 10 people. Right? And there might be like 50 in the room
and you never get to see or
know of everybody who's there. So I actually think you
can really take advantage of the zoom events by looking
at the participant list participating in the chat, again similar to leaving
a comment on LinkedIn.
If you participate in the
chat, it brings your name you know, in front of
everybody's view, right? Everyone sees that chat
light up and they want to go and kind of see who's there. And it's happened to me where
like nothing is happening
in the chat. So I'll still just drop something like, glad to be here with everyone or hi, hope everyone's having a great day. So it's okay to still drop
something in the chat.
That's, you know, positive
and engaging just to again get your name out there,
even if there's not a lot of discussion going on. And then of course send
a connection request note to folks who might've engaged
within the chat on zoom
over on LinkedIn, that you
want to, you know, continue that professional relationship after that zoom networking event. And while we're on this
topic, since I said the BNHRA has professional development
events each month on zoom,
we have free student membership. So some, you know, local
professional affiliation groups have free student membership, which means if you join as a free member, you will get discounted, you
know, tickets to their events.
So you're treated just
like a professional member which means you get a
member rate at the events instead of the guest rate or whatnot. So if you could take
advantage of any, you know opportunities to get involved as a student
and those types of
things, and be able to go to those networking events, either cheaper or free of charge. - So, I think sometimes it
can be a little intimidating to reach out online when
you've never met somebody
even if it's through a contact. So do you have just a quick how do you even write that message? What should you say? - Yeah, unfortunately, a
lot of these things are not
in person anymore and
hoping they come back soon because it's can be a much less awkward. So there's a few things you
could do to make this easier. I think the first would be, like I said to find somebody else to make
this introduction for you
if they know the person. But also reach out to them and just ask if they have
any opportunities available. Make sure that when you
have you contact them or talking with them and you
have a specific goal in mind
this could be an internship or a contact or a job or whatever it is but don't just come out and ask for a job. That's probably not the best approach. You could probably say something like
this really seems like a great company. I'm wondering if you could show me where I can find some new opportunities to engage with the company
or something like that. And if you do end up
getting a response for them
make sure you follow up and write back to them and thank them. It could be that they're involved in the selection process
at some point too. - A lot of people talk about
creating a personal brand.
And how do you create a
personal brand for yourself? Like on your LinkedIn or
maybe you have a website. So what exactly does it
mean when somebody says, you need to create a personal brand and how do you create one?
- That is such a good question. Personal brand is such a buzz word. So I first heard it a few years ago. And as someone who does not come from like a marketing and sales background
I remember taking like a branding class. You know, it was part of my
undergrad, but I needed to look into this like personal branding
concept a little bit more. So how I think about it for myself and try to break it down for others
is it's really just what comes to mind when people like see your LinkedIn photo or you pop up in the comments what are those first
words kind of generating in their brain about you?
So similar to, if I think of Nike, Starbucks, Apple, you
know, you might think of things like quality
or high tech or service. So similar to those
things, like when you think of some of your favorite
people that you might follow
in the industry or your favorite brands what are those immediate
words that pop up? So what words do you want
people to come to mind when they see your LinkedIn
photo pop up in their newsfeeds? Or when someone might
mention your name at an event
but you're not there. What do you want kind of that conversation or impression to be about? So for me personally those keywords are like positive, helpful, encouraging.
So I want to be known for those things even if I'm not in the same room with you, but again if you see my online profile or something like that that's what you'll think of.
So you can build that
personal brand, I guess through those online interactions. So leaving the thoughtful comments, again the connection request notes. So any opportunity you have like that
to showcase your personality in your voice helps create those kinds of keywords that people will think about and remember you by. - Thank you so much for
listening to this episode
from our mini series,
All About Internships. If you liked the episode, make sure you check out
our previous podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you prefer to watch,
podcasts videos are now available on the Buffalo State, DSA YouTube channel. For more information about starting your
career as a data scientist go to dataanalytics.buffalosstate.edu
and don't forget to subscribe, so that you get notified each
time we release a new episode of Buffalo State Data Talk.
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