Tag Archives: Caitlin Pionke

Networking for Success

Caitlin Pionke '12, a management major at Michigan Tech, talks about how she used networking to secure a job at Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich.

“Networking” is no more than a vague concept for many students, something they might do in a far-off professional future. For management major Caitlin Pionke, networking came into play far earlier as a crucial job-hunting tool.

Like many graduating students, Pionke started her job search in a tough, highly competitive market.

“One of my friends applied for thirty-five jobs without success,” said Pionke. “I applied for two. And, thanks to networking, I got offers for both.”

Pionke’s networking opportunities came on the heels of her 2011 Woman of Promise award in the School of Business and Economics. Michigan Tech’s Women of Promise program, which was initiated in 1999 by the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA), is a way to recognize a female student in each department who goes above and beyond what is expected of them. Students who win the award gain an introduction into the network of alumnae who have been recognized for outstanding professional achievements.

Pionke made full use of the opportunities afforded her as a Woman of Promise, fearlessly using the network of PCA alumnae as a support system. “During the first event, I introduced myself to PCA members, asked for career advice, and sent my résumé to everyone I met,” she said. “All of the women in the network were supportive and happy to be of service. They helped me get my résumé to the right people.”

Well aware of the scarcity of jobs, Pionke worked tirelessly to build on these relationships in the months leading up to her senior job fair at Michigan Tech. “You have to actively show that you are interested in the job with regular contact and follow-ups,” she said. “Face-to-face connections and name recognition are important, especially when many students are applying online. You can’t just click “apply” and send a résumé.”

Using tools like LinkedIn, she branded herself as a strong communicator and promoted her experience as the business team leader for the International Business Ventures group, a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma national honor society, and a small business owner.

Pionke’s hard work and strategic job hunt paid off. By the time she arrived at Dow Chemical’s booth at the job fair, company representatives knew her by name. After several rounds of interviews, Pionke accepted a position as an information analyst in the company’s IT department, which she will start in June 2012.

“The whole experience was a lesson in the importance of networking,” she said. “I’d advise all students to do the same.”

PCA members pictured, top to bottom, are Ellen Horsch ’78, Carrie Schaller ’87, and Marie Cleveland ’82.
Originally published in Impact, Spring 2012.


Networking Equals Career Fair Success for 2011 Woman of Promise

Caitlin Pionke networks to receive job offer at DOW Chemical in Midland, Mich.

Caitlin Pionke jokingly refers to herself as a “business management major who got a job in the IT department at a chemical company.”

Pionke was named the 2011 Woman of Promise for Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics and has taken full advantage of the honor.  She is a senior in Management and an active student across campus belonging to Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society and the International Business Ventures Enterprise among other commitments.  For her, being selected as the Woman of Promise by the School of Business and Economics, opened up possibilities for networking with the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA) and landed her a job at DOW Chemical.

Immediately upon receiving the award this spring, Pionke began attending PCA events and developing relationships. The time she spent networking allowed her to identify helpful people who would best assist her in finding employment. Almost immediately Caitlin noticed how important networking was to her job search. She made contacts with DOW Chemical prior to the Michigan Tech Fall Career Fair and was then able to secure follow up interviews—both on campus and on site in Midland.

When thinking about her job hunt, Pionke recalls, “It was a great feeling walking up to the DOW Chemical booth at the Career Fair and having the recruiter already know me. Not only did they know my name but they had also already reviewed my resume which had been sent directly to them by my contacts in the company.”

Networking undoubtedly played a large role in her success at the Career Fair.  Pionke noted that for her it wasn’t just the day of the Career Fair that was important, but rather Career Fair month.  Prior to the event she sent out resumes to targeted companies and followed up with thank-yous after the fair.  Even though DOW Chemical did not list that they were looking for Business Management majors, Pionke’s networking had allowed her to stand apart from the crowd and prove herself worthy of an interview.

Pionke will begin her new job at DOW Chemical in Midland, MI as an Information Systems Analyst on June 18th.  Our School is happy to report that she is living up to her name as the 2011 Woman of Promise.