A brief bout of rain did little to deter over 200 people from coming to LinkedIn’s San Francisco office for the 2019 iteration of Breaking Into Tech. Powered by sf.citi in partnership with LinkedIn, HireClub, and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), Breaking Into Tech brought together tech employees, recent graduates, job seekers, and more, to network and exchange questions and insight on working in tech.
sf.citi first hosted Breaking Into Tech in 2018. Overwhelmed with positive feedback from mentors and mentees alike, we were thrilled to repeat and revamp the experience this year with several exciting additions to the program. After attendees arrived, Ketan Anjaria, founder of career coaching platform HireClub, briefed our 150 job seekers on the art of networking. At the same time, employees from sf.citi member companies AdRoll, Dropbox, Facebook, Holberton School, Meadow, Okta, Optimizely, Postmates, Twitter, and many more, gathered in LinkedIn’s brand new “InCommon” Community Space (more news on that to come) for a quick presentation on being a mentor for the night.
WHY NETWORKING MATTERS
To kick off the formal speed networking session, we heard from two members of sf.citi’s One City Forum, the force behind Breaking Into Tech and other sf.citi events connecting tech and community in San Francisco. Both Katie Ferrick, Senior Director of Workplace, Community, and Environment at LinkedIn, and Abby Snay, CEO of Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), emphasized the importance of networking and using connections to secure a job.
Real life networking makes a huge difference in the trajectory of your career. 70% of applicants get a job because of their connections.
-Katie Ferrick, LinkedIn
Following Katie, Abby noted that although people understand how crucial networking is in the job search, not everyone has equal access to networking opportunities. Breaking Into Tech sought to change that. Attendees participated in five 12-minute speed networking rounds, each session spent with a different mentor and tech company.
Tonight is a really great opportunity for you to ask questions and learn about some of the nuances of hiring.
-Abby Snay, JVS
Attendees heard excellent career advice all night long, but one revelation for many in the room came at the end of the evening from our gracious host, LinkedIn. With over 200 people mixing and mingling in the space, the prospect of exchanging contact information with everyone present could seem daunting, if not downright impossible.
Luckily, LinkedIn Social Impact Partnerships Manager Jordan Medina demonstrated how to use the “Find Nearby” feature on the LinkedIn app to connect with a large group of people at once. It proved ideal for a large-scale networking event like Breaking Into Tech.
One participant shared another helpful hack she learned during one of the speed networking rounds.
“At the end of connecting with someone, ask who can you connect with me in your network who you think can get me closer to this company, or this goal, or this position.”
-Natasha Price, Graphic Designer
The sheer variety of Breaking Into Tech participants defied categorization. We had recent graduates, participants of workforce development programs, coding bootcamp students, seasoned professionals looking to make a career switch, and everything in between. Here’s what they had to say about why they attended Breaking Into Tech and what they thought of the event:
“My background is different from the industry I’m looking for, and I wanted some career advice about how to make this change.”
–Participant, Breaking Into Tech
“Breaking Into Tech provided a focused effort to link jobseekers directly to industry leaders who truly cared to help and offer specific insight to each participant. In every group I was a part of, I witnessed a valuable connection being made. Breaking Into Tech reshaped my ideas of meaningful networking both in-person and using the LinkedIn platform.”
–Nick Melchor, Recent Grad
“I found this event to be very insightful in terms of what I’ll need to get a job in tech and ways to highlight the great qualities I already have.”
-Alex Siegers, Student at Larkin Street Tech Academy
All photos courtesy of Daniel Bahmani