CP&R Hosts Geek Chic: Scripps Women in Technology

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

This blog post was originally posted on Beyond the Elms, a career planning and networking blog for college students, on April 13, 2011.

I had the pleasure of attending Geek Chic: Scripps Women in Technology, which was hosted in the Career Planning & Resources library. The panel included Cat Burhenne (’10), User Operations Analyst at Facebook, Aislinn Hetterman (’00),  Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Yahoo!, Julie Lapidus (’11), Student Ambassador at Google, and Melinda White (’91), University Relations, Programs, & Staffing at LinkedIn. These talented women shared their experiences earning a liberal arts degree at Scripps and how they used their degrees to find success in the wide world of technology. Interested in hearing the tips and tricks these women passed on? Here’s a quick list:

  • Network, network, network. This was the suggestion that could not be emphasized enough. In many industries, and especially the tech industry, networks can make or break your chance at getting a job. In this case, LinkedIn (the “Facebook for professionals,” as many call it) should be your best friend. Add any professional you meet to your network. Don’t be afraid to keep in contact. It was pointed out that many high-profile tech companies only have internships for undergrads through word of mouth — you have to know someone. So don’t be afraid to network!
  • Know what to put on your resume. What piques a recruiter’s interest? Prior internships, for one thing. Experience is paramount to show future employers what you’ve already accomplished and experienced, particularly if it’s in the field you would like to work in.
  • Do your research. The Internet is a fantastic tool for gathering information on your employer. Even if you think you know everything about the company, go and look online for more information. What are the problems they may be facing, or might face in the future? How can they grow? More importantly, how can you help make the company a stronger workplace? What can you bring to the table?
  • Show your enthusiasm. This may not be hard for Scripps women, since we’re an enthusiastic bunch to begin with. Don’t be afraid to show how excited you are by a job or opportunity with a company you love. Who wants to come off as boring, anyway? I know this helped me in my last internship interview: I confessed that I’d never done professional online community management before, but the notion of connecting with people online and sparking meaningful conversations was exciting to me. I was later told that my enthusiasm (!) and willingness to learn made my cover letter stand out. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind!
  • Be passionate. We all have passions. Whether it’s related to the field you want to work in or not, sharing what interests and drives you to a future employer shows depth and integrity. Want to work at Google, but you’re dedicated to saving sharks with Oceana North America? Are you dedicated to raising funds to keep music education in public schools? Maybe you love to volunteer at your local animal shelter, because really, who doesn’t enjoy loving on cute animals? Don’t be afraid to share what excites you, and what makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning. What do you do for fun? What energizes you? If you’re passionate and driven, odds are that you will be just as passionate about a job you enjoy — employers will notice.

While these women focused on how to succeed in the world of technology, their suggestions are helpful for any field. If you want more specifics on the technology field, however, these alumna are a fantastic resource for you. From this fantastic event alone, I’ve met a handful of inspiring women and gained insight into a field I’m interested in — a priceless experience!

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