Design students build relationships to secure jobs in future

Kelsey Roehrich

Networking to build relationships with professionals is an important step in establishing a future career. Justin Davis, junior in architecture, said he has already been getting his foot in the door by using his networking techniques.

“It’s all about who you know,” Davis said. 

Being an architecture student, Davis is fortunate enough to have parents in the housing industry who have helped him come in contact with people in the business.

However, since job opportunities are not plentiful for architects, Davis said he still makes an effort to go out and meet people on his own as well.

Davis said he has introduced himself to heads of architecture departments by attending trial groups for innovation projects on campus. The people Davis has met now have his information and can contact him for internships and jobs.

Davis said he believes that the best path toward successful networking is “word of mouth” and face-to-face communication. He also said he knows that the world is changing with the development of new technology.

An example of this new technology is social media sites. These sites have taken networking to a new level, and some students said they have begun to take notice.

Davis said he and some fellow design students have created Facebook and Twitter accounts to show off their work and the experience they have.

Davis mentioned that “you can follow companies on Twitter” and this can help students learn about the companies that interest them and what they are all about.

Tiffany Atilano, career counselor at the College of Design, said social media has changed the way students at Iowa State go about networking. She said more than 700 ISU alumni are currently using a website that was launched in 2003 called LinkedIn.

LinkedIn was made so that students can create accounts with information about what they are doing and what they plan to do.

Students can go online and connect with people who may offer them jobs, internships and other opportunities.

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site online. With more than 135 million members, it gives students a wide variety of jobs and opportunities worldwide.

Atilano said a good way to begin with networking is at the College of Design’s annual Career Days on March 1 and 2.

During Career Days, there will be opportunities for the students to introduce themselves to alumni and professionals. Students also will be able to learn about different design firms and companies.

“Students have been offered interviews through alumni presentations,” Atilano said.

It is important not to come to Career Days empty-handed or empty-minded, Atilano said. She recommended that students dress to impress as well as be prepared to talk about themselves and their work.

Also, before attending, research the firms that will be there and have questions in mind for them, Atilano said. She explained that when talking to companies, it is important to save their contact information because you never know when you may need it in the future.

“People at the career fair want to make connections with students to give them interviews,” Atilano said. 

Networking is a very important aspect for design majors here at Iowa State, Atilano said. Beginning to network can be as simple as joining student clubs and introducing yourself to as many people as possible.

Davis said he has already begun this process and has now met many people with whom he has built relationships. He said he believes these people will remember his name when they are looking to hire and these are the kinds of relationships that can change your future.