Leveraging the Power of Networking
January 19, 2018
When Meghan Monroy, ’17, graduated from UConn in May with a Master’s degree in Microbiology, she immediately began a contract position that lasted her through September. Up until that point, Meghan says, opportunities had just fallen into her lap—but once the contract position was up, and it was time to look for new work as not a student, but a graduate, she found herself uncertain on how to proceed.
“Everything was getting lost in the Internet abyss,” Meghan explains, noting that even as she scrolled job boards and submitted her résumé, she felt she wasn’t connecting with employers, and wasn’t sure how to improve her candidacy.
Soon, Meghan found the Husky Mentor Network through UConn’s website, and reached out to a few advisors for a consultation. At first, she limited her searches to alumni in the sciences, but then stumbled upon Tanya Smolkin’s profile. Tanya didn’t have a science background, but she had great reviews on the site. Moreover, she worked at Indeed, so “she clearly knows what people are looking for,” Meghan says.
Tanya was able to give Meghan some great advice on how to get noticed, including information about how programs can sometimes sort résumés by format, font, address, and more. She also boosted Meghan’s confidence, telling her that even though she was still building her experience, someone may be looking for exactly what she had to offer. But first, Tanya noted, Meghan had to put herself out there.
To that end, Tanya advised Meghan to attend some networking events, even though she knew that it could be uncomfortable. Many students and recent grads are initially feeling overwhelmed and scared, Tanya notes, but reaching out to people in the industry can be extremely powerful. She advises students to utilize all resources available to them, and to “find an advisor or a mentor, somewhere in school, somebody who can help guide you and give you that basic ‘what to expect.’”
Armed with new confidence from her consultation with Tanya on the Husky Mentor Network, Meghan attended a networking event and found that people were positive, kind, and very helpful. After, she landed three phone interviews, one in-person interview, and an internship—all very promising, and all in the bio-tech industry.
“You’ve got to just get out of your comfort zone in order to see something great come of it,” Meghan says. “If you want it bad enough, go out there and get it.”