With the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically changing the economy, people across all industries have been experiencing sudden changes in employment and job offers. Included in this group are undergraduate students who had been applying for their summer internships. With typical career fairs and in-person networking events moved to virtual formats or canceled all together, students in search of internships had to get creative in how they approached networking.
For Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business undergraduate student Peyton O’Malley, her solution was to turn to LinkedIn. After securing an internship with a software company in March, O’Malley lost the position a few weeks later due to Covid-19 layoffs. After getting the unfortunate news, O’Malley reached out to Craig Womack, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and Stan Broome, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Education, for help on how to move forward.
“Stan encouraged me to keep my head up and be aggressive,” said O’Malley. “I purchased LinkedIn Premium and I applied to everything I found through LinkedIn. I was also thankful that I had lost my internship early because I had more time to get ahead of the curve and be vocal. I remember that every person I talked to, I told them that I had lost my internship and asked if they heard of anything open to let me know. Craig was instrumental in helping me stay positive after telling me to not give up and that it was a minor setback for all of us.”
All of this helped O’Malley in a big way. One of her fellow classmates sent her a post that a recruiter made on LinkedIn encouraging college juniors to apply to a position with Truist Bank if they had lost their internships. With the reminder of ‘be aggressive’ in the back of her head and the emotional support of her parents, O’Malley, who was a sophomore at the time, applied anyway.
“After applying, I immediately received an email to set up a phone interview with Truist Bank. Then, I messaged anyone I found on LinkedIn who worked for Truist who went to Georgia Tech or was in my circle of friends. I messaged everyone that I could that I had some sort of connection to. A lot of people got back to me who went to Scheller. They talked me through what the interview was going to be like.”
O’Malley’s tenacity worked and she interned for Truist Bank this summer. However, her networking on LinkedIn did not stop there. Looking ahead to summer 2021, O’Malley utilized LinkedIn once again to secure another internship.
“An Alpha Delta Pi and Scheller alumna sent me a link for a women’s recruiting event for JP Morgan on LinkedIn,” O’Malley said. “I applied in July, interviewed in August, and found out a week later that I got it. I had about eight days before Labor Day weekend to decide. I went on LinkedIn and looked up my position and found someone who had interned in the same position last summer who I had mutual connections with. I sent him a cold direct message. He called me immediately to talk about the position.”
O’Malley wound up accepting the position and will be interning in private banking with JP Morgan in New York City next summer.
In a world where business changes daily and mostly everything is virtual, O’Malley encourages her fellow classmates to not feel guilty or embarrassed about reaching out to people on LinkedIn and direct messaging them. Reaching out to someone for insight on a position or to chat about their company can go a long way.
“I followed exactly what Stan told me, which was to be aggressive, be confident, and be yourself,” said O’Malley. “Don’t ever give up or stop trying. I almost gave up because of everything that had happened. I thought there was no hope. I luckily had my family, Scheller, and the advising team behind me telling me that I could do this and to not give up. I am incredibly grateful for everyone that has supported and uplifted me through my journey.”