A student’s guide to attending vGHC 2020: FAQs
I wrote a blog “Attending vGHC 2020? Here’s what you need to know and do” a few days ago and received a lot of LinkedIn connection requests with questions on vGHC 2020 from the career fair to making the most out of vGHC, sessions, networking, interviews and a lot more. Finally, Friday evening, I sat to make a list of questions I received or came across most frequently on vGHC 2020 and here are my answers to the FAQs in a blog!
The Grace Hopper Celebration 2020 is going virtual this year! Happening September 29 — October 3, GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists! Grace Hopper Celebration commemorates, celebrates, fosters, and encourages the magnificent women in technology who dared to shed their inhibitions and recognized the genius in them.
With the virtual GHC, as the rules of the game have changed, the experience, preparation, and excitement are different too.
As we all prepare to attend the celebration, here are some FAQs you wished someone published. I accept thank you’s in all forms! 😉
1. Where can we find a list of companies for the career fair?
The Facebook group for GHC has multiple posts with people sharing Google Docs on companies attending vGHC20. However, for me, the link below is the sure-shot to knowing what companies are attending. There are always more companies than the sponsor list and for that, you can refer one of those Facebook lists.
2. Where to upload my resume?
A very very integral part of GHC is the Career Fair!
To get recruiter eyeballs to your profile even before you land up in vGHC, the Resume Database is your shot. You can submit your resumes and gain an inside track to the best tech organizations.
Last year, GHC had more than 300 booths from companies A-Z you can think you. From the Resume Database, employers can review thousands of resumes and schedule an interview with you talented women technologists during GHC.
Resume Database is your first step to getting hired from vGHC!
You can upload your resume here.
3. How to stand out on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the way for students to connect with the professional world.
- Make sure to add #GHC 20 or #vGHC20 in your LinkedIn headline. That makes it easy for recruiters to know if you are attending
- Be active on LinkedIn with GHC posts; like comment, share, or write your own post. The more active you are on LinkedIn should make you more relevant amongst the pool of people attending GHC
AnitaB.org and LinkedIn are teaming up to connect you with companies that are hiring at vGHC 20. Submit your profile in a quick minute to make yourself visible to and searchable by participating companies. Submit HERE to stand out to hiring teams looking for talented candidates all the way to the end of the year.
4. With 200+ companies, how should I prepare for the career fair?
- Find what companies you want to interact with and make a list
(Excel sheet works best)
- Connect with the recruiters/employees on LinkedIn before-hand
- Prepare your elevator pitch!
- Hone on your professional visibility & profiles (LinkedIn, Github)
- Practice and practice for the career fair (coding tests, mock interviews)
5. What should my elevator pitch include?
An elevator pitch is an interesting, memorable, and succinct story about yourself in no more than 30–45 seconds. Your elevator pitch must end with a request, question, or next steps, such as contact exchange or scheduling follow-up meetings.
- Introduce yourself with your name and education
- Specify what role are you looking for: entry-level full-time position or internships (Summer or Spring)
- Mention when will you be graduating: December 2020 or May 2021 for full-time roles
- If you are open to relocation, it’s good to add that too
- The value proposition — do not shy out on mentioning if you are a self-taught data scientist or a tech blogger like I mention [This does not mean you can talk about making perfect banana bread during lockdown] This is how you want the recruiters to identify you
- Past experience — start with the most recent, internship from Summer 2020 and drive to your past work experience
- Your skills and projects: can be one or two best projects of yours that can invite further discussion
Make sure your elevator pitch is no longer than 45 seconds. A human attention span is not more than 30 seconds I hear. Speak less but nail it!
6. How should I reach out to recruiters prior to vGHC?
Reaching out to recruiters, sending out cold texts is as nerve-wrecking as it can be. The black box of curating the perfect note for a recruiter is still a discovery to be made. However, we can at least try to ace the text in the best possible.
- ALWAYS send a personalized invite when connecting over LinkedIn
- Study the recruiter’s profile and find a common talking point
- You can include something along the lines “I see you recruit for xx. I was hoping to connect with you. I’d be at vGHC 2020, are you attending as well?”
- Include a question — that creates a point of return to your text
7. Can I schedule interviews prior to vGHC?
By far, I know that recruiters reach out to you if they are interested in interviewing you. If you are interested in moving forward, you can sign up for an interview slot. You can however always reach out to a recruiter from LinkedIn and ask for help.
Companies also have open slots for interviews you can ask for when interacting at the company booth during the celebration.
8. How to land a job at vGHC?
Now that’s a question I often find in my LinkedIn InMails but there is no specific answer to this.
Each case is different, what works for one person might not for others, I just would say, do the best you can to prepare yourself, leave no stone unturned from your end and then leave the rest to the future waiting to unfold. And on a philosophical note, if it’s meant to be, it will happen without any warning, just like that!
9. Being a first-timer, how to get the most out of GHC?
Attending Grace Hopper Celebration is an experience!
It is a shame the celebration is not in-person for you to witness the prowess and impact being a first-timer. If you are not actively looking for internships or jobs, make sure to attend as many sessions as you can attend, interact with the women around and connect over stories: of hopes, failures, disappointments, achievements, and successes.
The empowerment and confidence GHC provides as to a woman technologist is beyond parallel. At least for me, the greatest validation from GHC 2019 was: I am not alone! There are hundreds of more women who feel the same I do or have major imposter attacks at 2 am in the night working on deadlines.
At GHC 2019, seeing 26000+ women technologists at the same time under one roof, I am out of words to even today to describe that experience. I did try to put words to the aftermath of GHC 2019, do give it a read here if you’re interested in a little backstory of my love for GHC!
10. What would be some pro tips for vGHC 2020?
- Keep your elevator pitch, summary, or career objective noted down in a document for easy copy-pasting when interacting in chats
- Make a note with useful links: LinkedIn, Github, Resume, Portfolio
- Plan your days well in advance: create a timetable for your days at vGHC
- Make sure to attend the networking sessions outside career fairs: who said you can meet recruiters only inside career fair! [Amazon, Discover has networking sessions, do check out and register from the agenda]
- Do take contact details of the person you connect with, at least for the companies you’re really into
- Follow up, follow up, follow up!
That’s it from my end for this blog. Thank you for reading! I hope this helps to navigate through the virtual Grace Hopper Celebration. Do let me know if you have more questions in the comments here or reach out to me on LinkedIn. I would be more than happy to write a part II to this with more FAQs.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent a strict outlook.
Know your author
Rashi is a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She loves to visualize data and create insightful stories. When not rushing to meet school deadlines, she adores writing about technology, UX and more with a good cup of hot chocolate.