How early career programs give students a solid start

ServiceNow's early career program

This is part one of a three-blog series exploring the ServiceNow co-op program for college students.

In 2018, Cassidy G. was a senior at Northeastern University earning a degree in communications. Like many adventurous East Coasters, she started to think about making the move out West after graduation. To see if the world of tech and Silicon Valley would be the right fit for her, Cassidy decided to spend her final semester at Northeastern in a co-op role getting some hands-on experience.

She applied to ServiceNow and, following a great interview experience, was offered the product marketing co-op position even though her academic focus wasn’t in marketing. A few weeks later, she flew to the Bay Area for a six-month stint at ServiceNow’s Santa Clara headquarters.

[Check out early careers at ServiceNow.]

“I did not come to Santa Clara fully understanding what the cloud was or what enterprise software was, but I knew I was going to learn, and I knew that the company interested me,” Cassidy says. “I had never taken a marketing class, and I was so out of my comfort zone. But I pushed myself, and I did really well.”

Getting an early career start

ServiceNow and Northeastern University created the co-op program to develop and nurture early career talent into successful marketers. During her co-op assignment as a product marketer, Cassidy redesigned webpages, wrote external messaging, and managed employee staffing for Knowledge 2018, among other things.

After learning the ins and outs of marketing on the job, Cassidy was among the first of many co-ops to convert to a full-time position following graduation. Today, she’s a senior product marketing specialist at ServiceNow.

In June 2017, the marketing co-op program began its inaugural “test and learn” class of fewer than 10 Northeastern students. Since then, the program has grown, even through the pandemic.

The current 30 co-ops, including myself, are earning degrees ranging from business to computer science to journalism and have roles across all areas of marketing: from user experience research to customer advocacy to public relations. Co-ops are typically hosted at ServiceNow’s campuses throughout the US but had to pivot to a digital environment during COVID-19.

"I had never taken a marketing class, and I was so out of my comfort zone. But I pushed myself, and I did really well." Cassidy G., Senior Product Marketing Specialist, ServiceNow

A real-world career experience

When the pandemic forced country-wide office closures, ServiceNow didn’t skip a beat. The company quickly onboarded co-ops remotely and ensured we could enjoy a uniquely immersive learning experience.

During the six-month co-op term, students work as full-time employees, exchanging classes and homework for a desk and a 9-to-5 job. Co-ops come away with a deeper understanding and engagement with their work, their teams, and the company than typically offered by a 12-week summer internship.

In addition, students get real-world experience in a work environment before officially entering the workforce, enabling them to identify their areas of interest—or disinterest. After all, no one really knows exactly what to do after college (I'm still figuring it out), but this program brings students one step closer.

“Students have the chance to go really, truly deep into a role. A co-op immediately becomes a part of the team. They have a chance to contribute and have impact in a way that a shorter internship may not always offer,” says Therasa C., director of global early in career talent acquisition at ServiceNow.

“When a co-op then goes to write their resume and go into an interview, whether that’s with ServiceNow or elsewhere, they have so many more real-world, tangible examples and projects to highlight that showcase their impact on a team and in an organization.”

3 reasons for early career programs

Therasa notes that investing in early-in-career development programs like this one is imperative for business for three main reasons:

  1. Sustainability—Generation Z is expected to make up about a quarter of the workforce by 2025. For organizations to maintain a sustainable, long-term workforce, bringing in this talent is key.
  2. Diversity—Gen Z is the most diverse workforce ever. For organizations to create products and design with customers in mind, diverse backgrounds and perspectives are a necessity.
  3. Innovation—Gen Z are digital natives and, given the digital revolution, it's critical that companies lean into and seek to understand these new perspectives.

This is only the beginning for ServiceNow. The company hopes to evolve the co-op program internationally, developing a diverse pool of interns into confident, creative, 21st-century marketers. Although previous co-op cycles exclusively sourced talent from Northeastern University, the program is expected to expand in 2021 to seek talent from Singapore Management University, Australia’s Macquarie University, Georgia Tech, and Purdue University.

"A co-op immediately becomes a part of the team. They have a chance to contribute and have impact in a way that a shorter internship may not always offer." Therasa C., Director of Global Early in Career Talent Acquisition, ServiceNow

Tips for remote work success

For the time being, the program continues to be remote, which took some getting used to. But it’s been a good learning experience. For new remote co-ops joining the program, I leave you with some tips on working remotely that I’ve gathered during my time at ServiceNow:

  • Take notes in meetings. It’s easy to get distracted in Zoom meetings by other browser tabs. Jotting down a point or two in every meeting helps keep you accountable.
  • Engage with company execs. Remote work has created more opportunities for face time with executives through coffee chats and lunch and learns. Take advantage of opportunities to learn from the best.
  • Remember to have fun. Participate in the movie nights, happy hours, and virtual team cooking classes—they’re more fun than you might think and are great bonding opportunities within and across teams.

In the next blog in this series, we’ll hear from three current co-ops about their experiences.

ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


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