Introducing… Networking

Networking is such a weird concept, but you’ve simply got to learn how it goes. I graduated in Aerospace engineering and got my first career position due in part to networking. Relationships make the work world go ‘round, so here is how you can start.

Talk to everyone you can who is loosely related to your field. People love to be asked for advice and talk about themselves, so use that to your advantage. Your intentions? You are looking to learn about a person’s field, and you are currently seeking an internship. As an example, you go to a family event and you tell every aunt, uncle, and second cousin that you’re looking to get into biotech, and “do you know anyone at a biotech company?” Most won’t even know what biotech is, but that’s fine. Your Aunt has a friend at Genentech, and is surprisingly knowledgeable about the field! Cool. “That’s great Auntie, would you be willing to connect me with your friend? If you could introduce us over email, I’d appreciate it.” Your Aunt sends an email to both of you, “Hey Jeremy, this is my niece! She’d love to talk to you about your job.” You reply as soon as possible, “Hey Jeremy, nice to meet you! If you have some time, let’s set up a 20 minute call.” When you’re on the call, ask Jeremy lots of questions about the company, Jeremy’s job, and Jeremy’s story. Be interested in Jeremy, and he’ll be interested in you. At some point, tell him you are looking for an internship in biotech, and does he know of any opportunities at Genentech? If not, does he have any friends at Genentech or other companies that might have ideas? You hang up on good terms. Now record Jeremy’s contact info on a spreadsheet, some notes about Jeremy, and reach out every couple weeks to say hi. Just a simple “Hello Jeremy, this is what I’ve been up to, hope you’re well, talk to you later!”

Maybe Jeremy doesn’t help you get to an internship, but he is someone you can keep in touch with later as well. Keep having calls like the one with Jeremy. Once again, it is a numbers game. It might take you ten calls to find one who has a great connection on an internship, but this is one of the best ways to find one, career positions too. My first career position came because my friend’s dad worked at Lockheed Martin and connected me with their recruiting manager. My resume actually got looked at, and they realized that I was a good candidate. Was I better than the other 500 that applied online? Certainly not, but they chose me anyways because I was good enough, and they don’t want to go through all 500. Is that fair? Also, maybe not. But it is how things work.

Best of luck! Reach out if you want any tips, seriously I am happy to help or talk more about this.

Ben Holmquist
CEO, Penji
bwholmquist@gmail.com