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3 things we learned at Download CareerCon

Learn what employers said at Handshake and Base10’s virtual event about how to get the inside track on jobs in tech

In September 2023, Handshake teamed up with Base10 to host the 2nd annual Download CareerCon, a virtual event to help students from minority serving institutions get the inside track on jobs in tech.

Throughout the two-day event, over 1,000 students from 240 minority serving institutions met with dozens of innovative employers—including Devoted Health, Ibotta, Hilton, and more—to gain advice on how to kick start their career in tech.

The event provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with some amazing students with very bright futures. Our 30-minute educational workshop had great questions from students and our engineers and product managers really enjoyed the opportunity to conduct 1:1 mentoring sessions with students.

- Devoted Health

If you weren’t able to attend, no worries! Check out the three top takeaways from the event and stay tuned for next year’s Download CareerCon.

1. Authenticity is key

One resounding message we heard at Download was the importance of authenticity. In a world where everyone seems to be striving for perfection, it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit a predetermined mold. But remember this: no one knows what they're doing! The key is to embrace your genuine self and acknowledge that growth and learning are part of the journey. Moreover, being authentic doesn't mean you have to abandon professionalism. You can strike a balance between being true to yourself and showing your professional side. Talk about your interests and passions in the interview and highlight them on your resume. Authenticity can set you apart from others, making you a more relatable and memorable candidate in the eyes of potential employers.

2. Always be learning

Learning doesn't end with graduation. It's a lifelong journey, and many employers at Download reminded us of this fundamental truth. The world is constantly evolving, and industries are adapting to new technologies and trends. As aspiring professionals, it's your responsibility to keep up with these changes. Ahead of tech interviews, do your research. Take a look at the company website, research the industry, and what’s happening in the space. Come prepared to the interview with questions that highlight that you did your prep work. In a rapidly changing job market, your ability to adapt and learn can be your greatest asset.

Asking questions is a powerful tool for personal and professional development. It's a sign of curiosity! The team at Devoted Health reminded us that after all, change is constant, and you're not the only one with questions.

So, embrace the uncertainty, and let it fuel your quest for knowledge.

3. Build your network

One of the most valuable takeaways from Download was the importance of building and nurturing your professional network. Whether it's through platforms like Handshake or LinkedIn — or face-to-face interactions at career fairs, connecting with recruiters, industry leaders, and fellow students is crucial. Your college's career services team can be an invaluable resource in this regard. They can help you connect with alumni in the industry you're interested in. These alumni can provide valuable insights, advice, and potentially even job opportunities.

The team at Travelers (which is leading the charge in student loan repayment benefits) also emphasized the value of using social media to not only build your network but also your personal brand. Post and interact with content on platforms like LinkedIn that show your curiosity, professional interests, and past experience. Follow people on social media within the industries and spaces you’re interested in to join in on that conversation and make connections.

Remember, networking isn't just about securing a job; it's about building relationships that can last throughout your career. Reach out, attend industry events, and actively engage with your peers and professionals in areas you’re interested in.

We can’t wait until Download 2024!

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