8 Panthers’ Top Networking Tips Current Students + Young Alumni Share Their Success Stories
October 14, 2020
So we’ve all heard that networking can help us somehow connect with people… but what really is networking? Does saying “hi” to someone in the piazza count? How about the random conversation I had with someone while waiting for my order at the Beckman Starbucks? Or the employer I introduced myself to at the Career Fair before I proceeded to panic and awkwardly speedwalk away?
Read below to find out what networking means to some of our current and alumni Panthers. They share their networking success stories and tips!
1. Matthew Drucker ’20
Accounting, Business Administration, Finance
(He, Him, His)
“In the Spring of 2019, I was at Deloitte’s office in Costa Mesa for a round of in-person interviews. Before the interviews started, there was a networking session; I noticed a guy just arrive, and with all the other professionals chatting with others, I went out of my way to introduce myself to him and chat with him. The time period was perfect because I could easily strike up a conversation about March Madness, [something] besides ourselves. After the networking session, I looked at my interviewer list, and, coincidentally, he was my first interview. This networking moment made the actual interview less stressful and more fun because I already got to know him a little bit.”
2. Jessica Zhang ’22
Strategic & Corporate Communication, Public Relations & Advertising
(She, Her, Hers)
“From networking, I had the opportunity to work as a Publicity Assistant at Impact24 Public Relations, an entertainment publicity firm based in Los Angeles. We provide below-the-line artisans such as directors, cinematographers, composers, etc. with PR support, including award nominations like the Oscars and Emmys. I absolutely love my job and getting hands-on industry experience with a great mentor. My supervisor is a Chapman alumna whom I met through Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity. During the process of joining Alpha Kappa Psi in my freshman year, I had the opportunity to chat with her and learn about her career path. This year, I was able to reconnect with her and eventually work with her after hearing that she was seeking an intern. It was exciting to further develop our relationship and learn so much in my current role. I am so grateful that Chapman and Alpha Kappa Psi’s network led me to find one of the best professional experiences in my college career thus far!”
3. Melissa Borgmeyer ’20
(She, Her, Hers)
“Number one advice is to treat everyone like a CEO. You never know [if] the person in traffic or in line at coffee is your next boss or next network opportunity, so treat everyone with respect.”
4. Tiffany Lubrino ’22
Health Science, Pre-Medicine
(She, Her, Hers)
Networking has been an important part of my career journey, especially going into the medical field. Since I am planning to go to medical school to become a future physician, my focus right now is to look for medical experience to put on my resume and med school applications.
“Some organizations I am a part of on campus are Kapamilya (Filipino Club), AMSA (American Medical Student Association), and I was an Orientation Leader this past year. I am an undergraduate research assistant for the Department of Physical Therapy for the Chapman Rinker Health Science campus in Irvine, a pharmacy technician for Walmart, and most recently, a medical assistant for a family medicine physician for Hoag Medical Center in Woodbridge, Irvine.
Since I was involved in AMSA, the pre-med club on campus, I got to listen to two physicians share their stories on why they wanted to become doctors and their stories through med school and residency. This year in January, I was looking for a doctor to shadow. I contacted one of the doctors, attached my resume to the email, and told him I was so inspired by his story that I was interested in shadowing him in his office. The doctor read my email, and called me back inviting me to his office.
During my time in his office, I was able to answer phone calls from the pharmacy, patients, and insurance companies, as well as record vitals of the patients in the room. This doctor became my mentor as well, answering all of my questions as a pre-med student, and encouraging me towards future success. Overall, my biggest advice when it comes to networking is to not be afraid of putting yourself out there and taking that first step!”
5. Charlie Liu ’19
(He, Him, His)
“I’m currently working as a Software Engineer at Promenade Software. I had a friend who graduated a few years earlier and he referred me to the CEO of the company for an internship (connections are really important!). I interned here when I was still attending Chapman, so it was easy for them to transition me into a full-time Engineer once I graduated. I spend my days either developing Front-end software using React/Redux or developing embedded software using the YOCTO project.”
6. Kylie Parks ’21
Integrated Educational Studies, M.A. Leadership Development
(She, Her, Hers)
“I can say without hesitation that networking got me the wonderful job I have now! I met an employee for the company I work for about a year and a half ago in a Leadership class at Chapman. It was just luck that we sat next to each other and introduced ourselves. After some small talk, we broached the subject of work and she told me about the company she works for. It sounded great and it just so happened that I was looking for a job. I applied, and about a week later I was interviewed by the same person I met in class! I was lucky that it worked out that way and that she got a chance to see the type of person and student I am without the added stress of meeting for the first time during a job interview.
7. Sarah Wilson ’23
(She, Her, Hers)
Sarah stated that informational interviews or quick chats with anyone are a great way to network, and it is important to keep up the relationship. She also advises students to always try to get to know the other person beyond just what they do for work, but learn about them as a person.
Sarah was watching a webinar on the internet about educational research. Intrigued by the information, she Googled the woman featured in the webinar. The woman was a researcher at UCLA and Sarah decided to reach out and ask about her work. This led to an informational interview where Sarah spoke to the researcher for about an hour. After the call, Sarah made sure to send up a follow-up email thanking the researcher for her time. The researcher emailed Sarah back asking her for a resume and invited Sarah to do research with her in the future.
The Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies has its annual current student and alumni networking event. Due to the shift with Covid-19, the event organizers put together a PowerPoint of alumni for students to view. Sarah decided to take advantage of this opportunity and connect with one of the alumni on LinkedIn. She originally had summer travel-related plans but was hoping to find an internship instead due to the pandemic. She connected with a Chapman alumna and although she wasn’t able to find a summer internship, Sarah is able to start one for the fall at an educational technology company called Noodle Partners. Sarah’s piece of advice from this experience is to be patient and understand that not everything is instant, but to keep an eye out for the future. She says that “LinkedIn is one of the best tools I’ve used.”
8. Jason Alexander ’19
(He, Him, His)
Recognize that you’re always learning something. Even if you don’t think you fit for a position or it isn’t in your wheelhouse, take initiative to try something. In the end, you’ll at least learn that you didn’t like it… or unexpectedly find that you did.
Jason is the current Director of Park Operations at Tokyo Disney Resort and attributes receiving the position to networking. Jason, however, stresses that it isn’t just grabbing a business card or having a quick conversation with someone (only to never talk to them again). Rather, it is “all about building relationships. A genuine effort to build relationships.”
After working for Disney in Shanghai and California, and getting his Masters in Business Administration at Chapman, Jason found out about the opening for Director of Park Operations at the Disney Resort in Tokyo. He also realized that the person hiring for the position is someone he had grown to know in Shanghai. At the time, Jason hadn’t thought about any future positions but was focused on making real, genuine connections with people. He had done so with his boss at the time, who then introduced him to the man who was hiring for the Director position. He built a friendship with them and as a result, Jason was offered the job. Not only did Jason have some theme park experience that helped equip him to be successful in the role, but he had also already showcased his work ethic, professionalism, and values from the relationship he built.
Jason’s advice to students:
- If possible, meet people face to face (virtually or in-person) because it is an important way to build a real connection. Body language, tone, facial expressions are hard to communicate through emails and it is easier to showcase your true character when they can see you.
- Have that 10-second elevator pitch ready, but be genuine and really show who you are. Don’t use generic traits, but supplement them, or tell them why you are worth getting to know. People can tell when you are putting in an effort and when it is genuine, so just be true to who you are. Give it your personal touch.
- “Take initiative… do something!”
- “You’re always on stage [so] be awesome to everyone!”
- Follow up with people! “You never know where it might go… don’t limit yourself.” Building those long-term relationships can be worth it.
Hope some of these stories have encouraged you to go out there and get your network on! Remember to utilize your resources through the Office of Career and Professional Development and on Handshake.