Networking from Your Couch: Internapalooza
By Tyler Enfinger
Activation Associate, Chegg
While it’s always pretty tough to get yourself in front of the right companies at the right time, there are normally tools and events to help people like you and me connect with those companies. But as we all know, right now is not “normally.” Unfortunately, a lot of companies and organizations have been forced to cancel career fairs, meet-and-greets, and other similar events. However, some event organizers are taking the plunge and moving their events online.
Internapalooza is an event hosted annually with the goal of connecting the interns of Silicon Valley with great job opportunities and fostering those connections. Each year Internapalooza hosts speakers that want to talk to and inspire the up-and-coming tech workforce. On top of that, there are typically a myriad of companies, from start-ups to tech giants, in attendance—and they’re all excited to chat with you. I’ve personally attended Internapalooza twice, so I can attest to its value for a budding intern looking for growth opportunities.
The first time I went to Internapalooza, I was able to connect with recruiters from Google about what it would take to break into such a desired company in a non-technical role. It had always seemed like such a daunting task, so it was really enlightening to get to ask the recruiters for their tips. Then, at my second Internapalooza, I was able to talk to someone who had my desired job title, and I asked them to sit down with me another time and chat about their career path. Being connected with someone who has your desired job title is so useful because it gives you a better idea of what your career path may look like.
Rather than cancel their event this year, the organizers and sponsors of Internapalooza are transitioning to an online format, so that they can still foster those connections during quarantine.
The speaker series will still continue, with Dylan Field, CEO and founder of Figma, being the headliner this year, Last year, the keynote speaker was Marissa Mayer, employee #20 at Google and former CEO of Yahoo.
If you’re more interested in the individual connections that you can make at Internapalooza, there will be breakout sessions provided by the sponsoring companies. At these sessions you will be able to learn more about a company’s culture and make connections. I’ve been on both sides of the conversation at Internapalooza, and I can say that even if an actual opportunity does not emerge from the conversations, there are always plenty of learnings to be had. You can talk to professionals in your desired field or at your dream company to learn more about how you can end up in a position like them. Oftentimes we believe that our career paths need to be calculated and linear, but you’ll find that not all career paths look like that.
I also believe that the transition to an online event could be a blessing in disguise because the event is now accessible to interns all over the country. This creates a great opportunity for people who may not be in the Valley but are looking for an opportunity to break into tech. On top of that, the transition to an online event reduces the logistical challenges of event planning. Previously, Internapalooza was limited to around 1,000 students. Now, there is less reason to cap the event, making it even more accessible for everyone. And finally, there is the convenience factor. It will be really nice to have such a great networking opportunity shipped directly to our computer screens with minimal effort.
Internapalooza is currently scheduled to start on Tuesday, July 21st at 5pm PST. Now that I’ve got you excited to attend, all you have to do is visit their website, scroll down and hit “RSVP.” The application will have you provide some basic contact information and resumé so that you can be contacted by any interested companies. On their site you will also find past and current sponsors to have a good idea of what type of companies will be “e-ttending.”
If Internapalooza’s scheduling doesn’t work for you, or it’s not the exact type of event that you’re interested in, I strongly recommend searching for other virtual job fairs and opportunities to build your network during this time. One thing to keep in mind is that even if the activities and networking don’t lead to immediate opportunities or results, they can always pay dividends down the road. So, make sure to explore anything and everything.