10 answers

Why is it hard to build my network and find a mentor in my field of study?

12
100% of 9 Pros
100% of 1 Students
Asked Viewed 94 times Translate

I am an IT major.
I tried my best to build my network and find a mentor, but it's really hard.

Maybe, I am not doing it the right way.

I need help....building my network, finding a mentor.....almost EVERYTHING.

Technology might be in demand, but it's really hard to find a job without skills.
#major #college #july20 #technology #networking #network #mentor #building #help

12
100% of 9 Pros
100% of 1 Students

10 answers

Ye’s Answer

2
100% of 2 Students
Updated Translate
Hi Nancy,
I can completely feel for you. As a software engineer, in addition to coding at work, there is really not many opportunities for people like us to social and build network.
So to avoid this from getting worse, my advice is, try to get out of your comfort zone, and reach out to people, either with a technical question, or just say hi.
At my old company, there is a happy hour event every Thursday afternoon, where different people get together, enjoy free food, talk to each other, and get to know each other. Things like this are great opportunities for us to build network.
In short, don't be shy, and reach out to get to know your colleagues.

Ye recommends the following next steps:

  • Schedule a short 1x1 meetings, say 15 minutes, with most, if not each of your colleagues, to say hi and introduce each other
  • Watch out for company wide conference events, activities, and sign up for them
Thank you so much. Nancy O. Translate
2
100% of 2 Students

Richard’s Answer

2
100% of 2 Students
Updated Translate
Hi Nancy,
Your question has a hidden, subtle context to it with your last sentence. If you are networking for a job, that is always tough because you feel in panic mode. Networking is a lot like gardening. You have to plant the seeds long before the flowers bloom. Several folks offered sound advice. Join, attend AND ACTIVELY participate in profesional organizations. That way, you'll start building a reputation and friendship with people in that group. People are likely to help people they know and trust.

Networking is more about what you can do for others than what others can do for you. If you are direct, as in, will you be my mentor or do you have a job for me, you are putting people on the spot and they may not be in a position to help at that moment in time so now they are uncomfortable in saying no to you. Not a good way to start a relationship and grow a network.

Be helpful for others, figure out how you can best serve their interests. If you do, you will be surprised how fast and large your network will grow. You probably already know a lot of people in the same field of study already so you have quite an etensive network without realizing it. But, you are uncomfortable, as are many others, in the mental context of "Networking". We tend to treat networking as hard work. Let it grow organically and it won't be.

LinkedIn is a good place for introverted folks to start connecting with people. Make comments on things people share. Add your own thoughts to their postings or simply pass along a kind word or something of interest to them. (are you seeing a theme?) I used to hate networking until I made that mental shift. Now, it's fun.

All the best.

Richard recommends the following next steps:

  • Update your LinkedIN profile and become an active participant in the linkedin community
  • Join professional organizations at school
  • Talk to people about their interests, how they got into the field, what they like about it, what they are a subject matter expert in (when they deflect back to you, quickly switch back to them-don't talk about your needs/wants)
2
100% of 2 Students

David’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
Good afternoon Nancy!

I recommend you to be more proactive and brave to find good mentors. I would like to share my story with you.

When I was in university in South Korea, I was also eagerly looking for my career mentor. Thus, I participated lots of career events to meet people who could be my mentors. One day, VP of Facebook Korea visited my university for alumni event. He told us about how he overcame his numerous failures and how he made the decision in his important life points. His speech was super impressive for me and I wanted to meet him in person to get some advice for my career and life. However, he was super busy person and left the university right after the speech.

Can you guess how I meet him in person at that situation? I searched his Facebook account (because he worked at "Facebook", I was sure that he may use his account a lot) and sent my sincere message to ask for short interview time. As you can expect, he sent me the reply but asked me to visit his office WITHOUT LOCATION (?). At that time, Facebook just set up the Korean office separately from Asian office and there was no official address information in the website. Thus, he wanted to test me whether or not I really wanted to meet him although I had to spend extra time to search and find its new office.

Well, it was hard to find the address but I finally found that address in Singapore article! (I might spend full day to search it.) At the end, I met him in person at his office and got various advice about my career and life. Since then, I occasionally communicated with him to get some advice and he always responded to my message.

If you really want to meet the mentor in your field, as I mentioned above, I recommend you to be more proactive and brave. You could visit college career events. Or, you could contact your alumni who work at companies you are interested in. They could ignore your message as they are busy people. However, there is a possibility for you to meet someone who is open to help students like you. Just try it first and see what miracle happens!

Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Morgan’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
I'd start by looking at your school. Does your department have any technical-interest groups (Women in IT, IT Club, ACM, Technical honor societies, etc)? Those could be great places to network with fellow students (who will one day be professionals too) and possibly hear from any speakers or sponsors those organizations may have. I'd also look in your region for any IT specialty groups. When I was in school, I was part of the San Antonio Women in Technology group, which was a great place to network with professionals in my area. I made a lot of great connections through them.

Developing a LinkedIn presence, future internships, attending conferences (yes, there are virtual ones now!), and volunteering within your industry are also all great ways to develop connections you might otherwise miss out on. And if you see someone at one of these group events or on LinkedIn who you'd like to have as a mentor, just ask! Lots of people love to help students learn about their field and would be flattered to even be considered someone worth taking advice from.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Kim’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
Hi Nancy! My name is Kim and I've been in technology as an Account Director for about 17 years now - my degree is in Comp Sci. I had, and continue to have the same problem. Although it's improving, technology and especially senior leadership positions tend to be very male dominated. It's also a field that generally has less networking events than others (i.e. law). It can definitely be challenging. I do have some experience in the field where I might be able to help you. I'm more than happy to connect and give you some guidance if you find that helpful.
1
100% of 1 Students

Adam’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
building a network can be tough to do, but have to look into engagement groups to be a part of to build connections. Reaching out to other peers or departments to learn about what they do day to day can give you an eye, but can also use when showing your other skillsets on how you were able to help on certain projects.

in some businesses and companies, you have to put yourself out there in a lot of networking groups. But building skillsets can be through programs and even projects that you can use as reference.

do not be one that just checks off the box of getting tasks done, but figuring out where ideas can help build and help the company can show you're always thinking outside of the box.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Krasti’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
Hi Nancy,
Networking and finding the right mentor can be quite intimidating, especially for someone early in their career. First, I would recommend actively participating in organizations, whether in school or at work. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you search hard enough. A lot of organizations these days offer mentor programs or something similar in that nature. Even without those programs, you can still meet professionals by attending career panels, networking activities, etc. Take advantage of that time and don't be afraid to introduce yourself to as many people as you can. When you meet more people, you open yourself to a wide range of people with different skill sets. From there, you can narrow your focus and see who can offer some time to help guide you. People go through multiple mentors, so don't worry about finding "the one mentor" because most likely, you will get some good insights from multiple individuals. Good luck!
1
100% of 1 Students

Leif’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
Hi Nancy,

I changed careers and also had trouble finding ways to network into the space. One of the things I found useful was local meet ups around technologies that I found interesting. Many times companies will sponsor some of these just to find people interested in the technology. With the current situation in person might be tough, but some groups may still be meeting online. The great part is you'll find people already working with the tech you want to know. Some other places I found groups to network were groups that focus on bridging the gap for people that are newer to the tech scene. There are some good discussion and practice boards on freecodecamp.org. Also, reach out to organizations that support women in code, like girls who code https://girlswhocode.com/programs/college-loops . Take advantage of the college resources also, look to alumni groups as a way to connect with people who are already working in the field. My last suggestion is try to get into a summer intern program. This year makes a lot of normal options unavailable, but keep looking. I really got some experience by just reaching out to friends and helping them with their issues at first.
Thank you so much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Adam’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
building a network can be tough to do, but have to look into engagement groups to be a part of to build connections. Reaching out to other peers or departments to learn about what they do day to day can give you an eye, but can also use when showing your other skillsets on how you were able to help on certain projects.

in some businesses and companies, you have to put yourself out there in a lot of networking groups. But building skillsets can be through programs and even projects that you can use as reference.

do not be one that just checks off the box of getting tasks done, but figuring out where ideas can help build and help the company can show you're always thinking outside of the box.
Thank you so much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Vikram’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate
Nancy Hello! I've been in the IT industry for the last 20 + years and it takes a lot more time to build a professional connect, but the easier way to find a more practical solution to your problem is get on LinkedIn network and post your profile and call out you need mentor in the region where you live ( time zone specific). I'm sure you will have folks who would happy to help you. Second, start building a list of folks you know who are working professionals, once you have the database ready start reaching out to them with specific or non specific topics and build on your connect. This way you will be in touch with a bunch of folks and also build your network. Other options that I can recommend is there are a lot of meetups that are being organized on various topics and these come up on LinkeIn more often than any other medium. These things should help you to get started.. hope this helps Nancy.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students