The Career Development Office at Geneseo partnered with the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development Program to host a Speed Networking Event on Tuesday Nov. 18 at Big Tree Inn. The Speed Networking was organized into seven different tables where one, two or three Geneseo alumni were seated. Each table was assigned a different category: Interview Questions, Problem Solving, Networking and Group Interviews. The sessions were divided into a circulation of 10 minutes per table. For seven minutes at each table the students––myself included––had the chance to participate in each activity. For the remaining three minutes, we were given feedback on what we did right and what we could improve on.
According to assistant director for programming and development Kathy Tonkovich, the event was open to all majors and class years and even counted for the GOLD Leadership Certificate. “As a department, we had planned and just brainstormed the structure that would be the most helpful and the most fun,” she said. Tonkovich reported that 13 alumni and 24 students participated in the event.
The event aimed at practicing both interviewing and networking skills in an attempt to show students how to market these skills in a professional environment. “I think this event brought together a lot of different people from different backgrounds in both private and public sectors,” interviewer and Educational Opportunity Program counselor and Geneseo alumnus Brian Rivera ’04 said. “It’s good to bring the students into a setting like this and have them think quickly, promoting good networking skills that they’ll need to have.”
“There is a strong value in networking with alumni,” Tonkovich explained. “Seeing where alumni have gone in their career paths can be very insightful and it can give ideas on different paths that you could pursue.”
Tonkovich urged students to “maintain contact with the alumni that they met and then follow up with them at the time that they are looking for an internship.”
As an attendee, my confidence level increased with each table and I tended to share more information about my interests and skill sets. Most importantly, I learned that there are many things I had to pay particular attention to in order to get hired.
The Career Development Office does many programs, including weekly “How to Find an Internship” workshops on Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. The locations for these workshops can be found on the KnightJobs website. The Office’s next main event is the Business Etiquette Dinner on Feb. 17, which will help students apply their networking skills over a meal.