For one WSU student, networking with multiple individuals is how she landed her summer internship.
“That is the No. 1 way to get a job or even to learn about an industry,” said Ella Spillane, senior marketing and international business double major. “Going to [networking events] can help you better understand what you’re going to be doing once you get out of college.”
Spillane is one of the students who attended Cougar Career Community, which is an online networking and career development session launched by the WSU Academic Success and Career Center.
Cougar Career Community provides students the opportunity to virtually engage and network with industry professionals, said Melanie Kiel, career coach and academic adviser at ASCC.
“Still getting your name out there and still making connections is honestly even more important than it was before the pandemic,” Spillane said.
There are four sessions scheduled for September, Kiel said. The first session occurred Sept. 9, which included representatives from a winery in California.
Even though there was not a huge turnout at the session, it made it more intimate, which was a more valuable experience for Spillane, she said. She liked how the presenters were personable and interactive.
“Nothing can beat face-to-face,” Spillane said, “but this definitely provided a good experience for getting to know them as people and not just as the name of a corporation or company.”
The academic center’s other sessions will occur Sept. 16, 23 and 30, Kiel said. The Sept. 16 session will involve a presenter from City Year, a nonprofit organization that helps young adults, who will discuss opportunities offered through nonprofit work.
“[The speakers] may talk a little bit about how to use your student employment as a professional development experience,” Kiel said. “They’re not thinking of it as this … entry-level position, but it’s also a way to develop professionally in terms of work ethic.”
Cougar Career Community also helps prepare students for this year’s Career Expo, which will be held online, Kiel said. The expo will occur from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Oct. 5-7. Students can register for the event via Handshake.
“Networking is a really important part of the job and internship search process,” Kiel said. “This just gives students that really close connection to start building or continue building their professional network.”