Hi, everyone. It’s Zhaodi Liu(Jodi) here. Thanks for reading my blog!
Previously, I wrote two blog posts which recommend on-campus (10 organizations you don’t want to miss out in UTD) and outside school events (The 8 events all international students should check out). I also wrote a blog about tips on networking called 5 Tips I wish I have known earlier when I began networking — From F1 student perspective.Students kept asking me why they should attend these workshops. Well, I think it is time to list some of the direct benefits.
Learn what is NEW in your industry
Attending the industry workshops is one of the best ways to learn the latest industry developments. In an ever-changing industry like digital marketing, almost 80% of the required knowledge is picked up outside of school. Especially in digital marketing, there is a huge gap between industry knowledge and textbook knowledge. I recommend following trade publications and networking regularly to keep up with the latest news.
Learn which track you should focus.
As we all know, there are the several different focus areas in digital marketing, such as SEO, social media, PPC, web analytics, marketing automation, etc. It is difficult to determine which one which one is the best fit without talking to professionals. Personally, I come up with questions while I’m in school, and then I ask those questions to the industry experts when I meet them at networking events. Doing this helps me understand not only what I am good at but also what I can improve on.
Build your network while you are still in college
We all know the importance of networking. (See my previous blog about how to improve your social networking skills.) However, we often don’t know where and how to begin. Well, industry events are one of the best places you should start networking. I hear so many students complain about how difficult it is to find an internship or job in United States. I can understand the frustration — sending out hundreds of resumes and never hearing back. Well, instead of complaining about it, you might also want to try asking your industry contacts out for a casual coffee chat (This is what we called an “informational interview”) In doing so, you increase your chance of becoming top of mind when your industry contact may be in a hiring position.
For my personal experience, I got my current job using this system. Because of showing my involvement in Dallas startup community, I was selected as a DEC Ambassador (The DEC stands for Dallas Entrepreneur Center. Find my name on the page!)
Practice your English and ‘understand’ the culture
In China, English is not our first language, and this situation constrains our confidence in communication. However, this is not an excuse that did not participate in industry events. Practice makes perfect. The more your practice, the more your know how to express your ideas and handle all kinds of conversations. Believe me, as someone who only got 60 on her TOEFL examination and now feels no difficulty in communication (Yes, me!), you can do it too!
To better help the international student to reach out the industry, Jiaxin and I decided to partner with the Chinese student association to hold our first marketing workshop. We had two distinguished speakers Tommy and Melissa on board. Our topic will be: ‘Do you really know how to be a marketer in United States’.
I appreciate your support and participation. I will update the workshop information in my next blog. (Read Jiaxin LinkedIn post in here) Stay tuned!
Zhaodi Liu (Jodi) recently graduated from UTD with a master’s degree in digital marketing. She is a digital marketer, social media enthusiast, and individual blogger. In the daytime, she works at Burada, a local custom software development company. In the nighttime, she becomes a DEC Ambassador and industry event promoter for UTD international students. In the future, she would like to become an international business liaison between China and the United States.