Ruth Nuttall knows the challenges women face in the technology world.
A few years ago, while still in high school, the boys on her robotics
team sometimes ignored her strategic ideas and technical choices
during competitions and tried to take control. “I would step up and
tell them, ’You're backing off and letting me finish this,’” she says.
It wasn’t so much the tone of her voice, she says, as the fact that
she stood up for herself at an important moment. “And they listened to
that,” she said.
In 2018, that same determination led Nuttall to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration, the
world’s largest networking event for women in technology, and landed
her a coveted graduate-level, data science internship at
ServiceNow—while she was still an undergrad.
“I definitely learned a lot, especially being in a grad-level job,”
says Nuttall, who recently finished her summer internship and is now
back at California Polytechnic State University as a senior. At
ServiceNow, Nuttall helped develop predictive analytic models that
help customers find the products they need. “I appreciated that I had
an opportunity to do something like that,” she says.
Nuttall also learned a lot about how to prepare for a networking
event like Grace Hopper, which is being held this year in Orlando,
Florida and is expected to draw some 20,000 attendees.
Her fellow attendee that year, Teresa Li, also scored a role at
ServiceNow, as a full-time software engineer on the security team. At
the time of the event, Yi was a computer engineering grad student at
NYU who knew little about ServiceNow. A friend who did suggested Li
stop by its career booth. Li was impressed by what she heard of the
company’s founder, Fred Luddy, and his goal to make work better for
people. “The platform sounded fascinating,” she says. She adds, that’s
what’s great about the event, “getting a chance to know a company and
Li and Nuttall recently compared notes and came up with a handy guide.
Here are their four tips for how to network—and have—fun at Grace Hopper:
• Prepare: There are hundreds of tech companies recruiting at the
Grace Hopper career fair. Whether you’re a student seeking an
internship or a job holder looking to switch jobs, many of these
companies will pre-schedule interviews with you. But you have to
upload your resume to the Grace Hopper Resume
Database for that to happen. “I had a few companies contact me
before the event for certain time slots, so it’s good to do this
before getting there,” says Yi. Also, says Nuttal, “print hundreds of
resumes ‘cause you’re gonna hand them out to everyone.”
• Practice: Nearly every job seeker who attends the conference reads
the Coding Interview. “Everyone just had to know this book for
interviewing,” says Nuttall. Among the tips that she and Yi found most
helpful: Perform mock interviews with a friend. Sample questions: What
project are you working on? What are the most challenging components?
What role did you play? What technical choices did you make? At the
time of her interview with ServiceNow, Yi had been working on customer
relationship software to create faster page-response times. “I had to
learn to cooperate with other departments and plan the whole projects
scope,” she says, which she says impressed her ServiceNow interviewer.
• Pitch: You’ll want to introduce yourself to as many companies as
possible and you’ll want to be able to deliver a concise and engaging
pitch about who you are and what role you’re looking for. Companies
like ServiceNow are looking to spend quality time with you. “I really
practiced my elevator pitch so I could quickly get my message across,”
says Nuttall. It’s also helpful to print download an
event map ahead of time. “It helps if there are certain
companies you want to visit," says Nuttall. “I would definitely
plan ahead 'cause I definitely didn't do that.” Also, says Yi,
research companies you want to meet with ahead of time, “so you can
have a better chat with them and better discuss jobs.”
• Party: Part of networking at Grace Hopper is just socializing with
other women in tech. “I tell people who are going to try to have fun
there and meet as many people as possible,” says Nuttall. She also
advises people to pack light: “There’s a lot of great free ‘swag,’
like t-shirts, leggings, hats, earphones, bags,” she says. “So
definitely plan for that. Try and bring some extra luggage with you if
at all possible.”
Speaking of swag, make sure to stop by ServiceNow’s booth for a
custom button (Booth 922)!
Learn more about joining our team at the ServiceNow