Back in May, we heard from SciTech Participant Hannah Lender about how she overcame hiring roadblocks and successfully secured a paid internship in her field. While her determination and perseverance carried her far, Hannah also had a lot of valuable advice around the importance of networking! 

To some, “networking” can be a scary word. But it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as you might think.
Here are some of Hannah’s suggestions on how get the most out of the people around you:

  • As a student, you have access to career prep resources you might not have once you graduate! Use them!
  • During the school year, bring your resume to networking events and your school’s career center. Ask them what they think and to suggest improvements.
  • Talk to industry professionals at events and tell them you’re interested. If they’ve personally spoken to you and know you’re genuinely interested in their company and career, they’re more likely to be interested in you and look at your resume in more detail.
  • Stay in contact with industry and academic professionals you meet! Send them an email once every few months to check in with them about your career and/or school advancement and ask how their career is going.
  • Outside of work and school, find things that interest you. It’s super important to find your work-life balance.
  • The world is a small place, so your hobbies might serendipitously become a great networking resource! For example, I took some welding art courses for fun at Saint Paul College, and two other 3Mers happened to be taking the same courses! My interest in welding got me more involved at 3M testing and improving personal protective equipment for welders.
  • Ask people for advice!!! Showing that you have genuine interest in someone’s career is flattering and a great way to form positive relationships with coworkers and superiors.

Take it from a professional (me), these tips are a gold mine! It really is true what they say, “It’s all about who you know.” Your skillset and personality are valuable and important, and with the right enthusiasm, that alone can open many doors. But it certainly helps if you already know someone on the inside who can open that door for you and welcome you in.

For more inspiration, check out Hannah’s full story and see how she refused to let a low GPA keep her from showing her true potential.