Zimo Wang

Guest speakers bring career experiences

As a graduating senior, I am so lost and even scared of my future. I am becoming independent from all perspectives. What am I going to do? Where can I find a job or an internship? Two guest speakers introduced their experiences in class last week, which helped me a lot.

John Hill, VP of Network at Techstars, used to be a Spartan, has worked for LinkedIn. He mentioned the importance of networking and I can’t agree more. He used a student who sits in the center of classroom as an example to illustrate the importance of knowing someone. He may know the person that you wanted to know.

Something I didn’t know before is the filter tool on LinkedIn. In class, he showed us how to build connections by selecting the criterial. For example, the city we want to stay, the career we want to have, looking for help from alumni. Then, go from there. It reminds me the time before I first came to U.S. in 2014, a teacher told me “everything is possible in America, you just have to try and find the opportunities”, I wasn’t sure how much I believed in it at that time. However, after 5 years, I have been benefited a lot from it, not I became successful, but that sentence provides me a lot of courage to overcome difficulties that you couldn’t imagine. I have never failed on something that because of the fear of trying. My ambitions and creativity did not get restricted because “I don’t think I could do that”.

I am not trying say everything could be achieved in here, but things are made toward this goal. I don’t think a professional would follow me or willing to, have time to help me, or respond my email without even knowing me. But once we have a function that was designed for this purpose intentionally, the “I don’t think” becomes “well, who knows, let’s try”.

So what I did once I get home was to update my profile, starting to think who do I know and then follow them.

Another speaker Julianne Pepitone, a freelancer writer/journalist who also knows digital medias, shared her experiences in class by FaceTime. As a freelancer, you do not have a company that helps to brand you, you are branding yourself. So the first thing I noticed about her was her engaging smile. I think the first impression is important especially in a business. Pepitone shared one tip that about writing was to keep words not over 40 more than the limitation. So if the length is 800, she won’t go beyond than 840 because it would take editors longer time to clean up her work.

Honestly, I have never thought about that before. But then I didn’t leave enough spaces for editors to revise. I am currently intern at the Michigan Supreme Court this semester and now I am working on writing features of court administrators. After listening to Pepitone’s suggestion, I changed my communication method right away. The goal is to hit 800 words, I turned 832 words in and left a note to my supervisor.

I think the whole point of the conversation was about “how to make others to feel comfortable to work with you”. A combination of what I have learnt from these two experiences is to be a networking person that people would like to work with.

And guess what I am going to do next? I am opening my LinkedIn page and about to connect with Julianne Pepitone! Good luck to me!

4 thoughts on “Guest speakers bring career experiences

  1. I like how you were upfront about how scary it is to graduate college – I think all of us seniors are feeling your pain! There are so many things that could happen, it’s easy to feel lost. Being so honest and vulnerable in your writing isn’t easy. I also like how you mentioned that Julianne’s wisdom helped you to make an immediate change to your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I share similar feelings in doubting the willingness of professionals to assist students. Applications like LinkedIn make that process a lot easier, and I find it really interesting how John was able to recognize this flaw in networking students for students, and he made an entire career out of finding new ways to improve this system. I wonder where our content creating skills will take us – it gives me a lot of hope for the future!


  3. I agree that networking is really the thing that is going to take us, journalism students, to the next level. I found John’s LinkedIn trick in class to be really useful. Who knew you could search so specifically to find exactly the person you want to start networking with! It’s also awesome that Julianne inspired you to change your communication methods at your internship. I hope your superiors notice your ongoing effort. Good luck!


  4. I also updated my LinkedIn account right after John Hill’s visit to our classroom! My profile was not updated at all, and I actually don’t really use the website as much as I should. I had no idea about the different tools you can utilize on LinkedIn, so it was really helpful when Hill showed us what we can do to further our connections with peers and professionals. Networking and making connections seems to be a common theme when listening to guest speakers, so I’m definitely going to work with LinkedIn more and maintain relationships throughout my career.


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