California Networking

We asked our Sales Certificate Candidates to give a little information about what they learned this summer at their internships.  The next two weeks will be focusing on these students and what they had to write about.
This first post was written by senior Eric Lang who had a great opportunity this summer in California and this is what he learned:
Thanks to the Schey Sales Centre, I was fortunate enough to find myself just south of San Francisco, California for the summer in Silicon Valley.  Initially I was hired by Merced Systems, who was officially acquired by NICE Systems in the first few months of 2012.  NICE Systems is a billion dollar software company based out of Israel that is split into three divisions.  I work with the Enterprise division, who specializes in customer interactions with a focus on contact centers.  There is much more to the company and what I am doing, but that is short and sweet, and not something I was able to comprehend or explain to others when I first arrived.
When preparing for the career fair, people say “do your homework on the company”, meaning you should go research them and find out what they do before talking to their recruiter.  Part of my role was working with the New Business Generation team.  After spending a large amount of my time this summer researching companies before emailing them, I realized one cannot fully grasp a company after five minutes on LinkedIn.  It is common for employees to spend months in their positions before feeling comfortable with explaining what they do and what their company does.  So, how do you learn about a company without spending hours of research on potentially irrelevant facts?  The answer is simple; utilize your network.  Chances are someone in the Sales Centre knows someone that has interned for that company or currently works for them.  Researching these companies are great and very important; but if you want a real feel of what the company does and what you would be doing for them, ask someone who was just there.  They will be able to give you a descriptive overview of what the company does,  without overwhelming you with details.
As you prepare for the school year to start and get ready for the career fairs and job interviews, think about this; recruiters have networks of their own, and will reach out to those people when considering candidates.  If no one knows who you are, then how can anyone have anything good to say about you?  At the end of the day you have to be able to perform and be capable of handling that job or internship, and the recruiter will most likely be able to see that.  As they sift through interviews and candidates, only a few will rise to the top.  When it comes down to the wire, chances are the one who attends events and has a strong network will be looking a lot better than the person who no one has heard about.
I am probably preaching to the choir since those who read this are the ones that are most involved.  However, I have learned that having a strong network is extremely important in finding a job or internship, and having someone say good things about you can never be a bad thing.
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