Gabe Dover (Economics ’14) is an Account Manager for MightyHive in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has some wise words for CC students who haven’t yet reached out to alumni on Tiger Link, CC’s alumni database. Read his advice below on why using your alumni network is critical to your job search.
Hey current CC students!
I’ve noticed a number of current CC students “follow” my TigerLink account, but, curiously — very few CC students have reached out directly. My assumption is that you’re thinking “I’m a student, so I’m not looking for a job now, but I should bookmark this guy whose company is hiring for down the road when I know what I want and am ready to apply for a job.”
That’s a great start, and it’s great that you’re thinking proactively about your future, but here’s my unsolicited (but friendly!) advice to you: your job search DOES NOT start when you need a job – you’re already in the middle of your job search, whether you know it or not!
The truth is, most highly-sought-after employers will only take you seriously if you come with a referral, and referrals come from people who a) know you, b) have an idea of your work ethic, grittiness and problem-solving skills, and c) understand your interests. You are also much more likely to get a good referral from someone who knew you before you needed their help.
“Networking” and “informational interviews” can feel like dirty words, but I promise that the best thing you can do for your upcoming career is find 5-10 people who are doing things that pique your curiosity. Message them something (TigerLink is fine, LinkedIn is better) along the lines of “Hi _____, Your career looks interesting! I’m not looking for a job right now but will be soon and want to hear from people who have made it into compelling lines of work. Do you mind chatting with me for 15-30 minutes about what you do and how you got there?”
The resulting conversations will help you build a roster of potential future referrers and can be a great place to start practicing your interview skills and polish up what you want to do after you graduate. No less important, when beginning your job search there’s so much to simply not know. This is a great opportunity to take notes and ask a lot of questions.
Recent CC alumni are probably the friendliest group of strangers you will ever come by — so start there. Speaking personally, I am always so happy to hear from CC students who are eager to figure out their next steps – it makes me feel proud of my alma mater.
Just make sure you follow up if the alumnus is nice enough to message you back. ☺
Have a great summer you crazy kids! – Gabe Dover ‘14
On another note – my company, MightyHive, is hiring in New York, San Francisco, and Sydney. If you think working in digital advertising (or more generally, San Francisco tech startups) sound cool, shoot me a message!