William Chow on Volunteering to Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Network

January 21, 2019
By Chris Girardi

William shows us how important it is to make the most of every opportunity to develop your skills and professional network to kickstart your job search!

You’ve probably seen we’ve just announced the launch of Activity Cards - a revolutionary way for you to showcase your experience in your Paddl Profile. This comes as we recognise we gain experience from absolutely everything we do - from reading a book to attending a conference or even volunteering.

William Chow is a prime example of how you can take skills from your experiences in vastly different activities, and use them to hone in on what you’re truly passionate about. Couple that with an awesome network and you’re able to start your job search off with a bang!

William first discovered Paddl all the way back in 2017! He was successful in a highly competitive application process tracking down volunteers for the 2017 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event in Sydney. Back then he was studying a Bachelor of Business (Economics) at University of Technology Sydney, and had taught himself to code on the side - which, by the way is one of the skills we recommend you develop this year! Now, in 2019, we’ve caught up with William to see how his career journey has progressed, and to find out more about what he’s been up to since!

So William, take us back to the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event. Can you share some insights from your time there?

william-chow-tech-crunch-battlefield.jpg

Being a part of the TechCrunch Battlefield event was an awesome experience for me, partly because my passion lies in tech and startups, and because I’m an avid reader of TechCrunch. I got to watch startups pitch their companies and answer gruelling questions from judges, listen to notable entrepreneurs talk, as well as network with fellow volunteers, investors and startups at the event and the after party!

I think it was an invaluable experience because I learnt a lot about pitching and being able to connect with like-minded people from the event. I highly recommend it to any students looking to get into the startup/tech space when the next opportunity arises. I was always participating in hackathons and pitching competitions during my time at Uni, so this helped a lot! I was also fortunate enough to visit San Francisco in 2018 to attend TechCrunch Disrupt, and got to meet some of the people I met at TC Battlefield there - the COO of TechCrunch for example!

That’s fantastic! It’s great to see you managed to build a network there too. Where have you gone since the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield?

I’m currently working full time in the operations team at an ad-tech company called Rokt. It’s exactly what I was looking for because it allowed me to use the technical skills I taught myself, and to work with multiple teams in the company. It’s been great so far! I’m also working on several side projects to keep me busy, and learning new skills at the same time!

You’ve definitely landed on your feet then! How did you prepare yourself for the world of work?

I always had a good sleeping pattern during Uni so that helps! On a more serious note, you’ll learn a lot when out in the workforce, and it could be skills totally unrelated to what you studied. Having a desire to learn and a good attitude makes everything so much easier and enjoyable. I taught myself a little programming to get myself ready for the role I am currently in!

On top of volunteering at TechCrunch Battlefield, I had previously worked as a web developer intern and had multiple part time jobs during University. Having part-time volunteer work or internship experience under your belt will make transitioning to full time work much easier, and I was fortunate enough to have all these. You can find some through Paddl now!

Obviously, that process isn’t without its challenges. Can you tell us a bit more about how you overcame some of the challenges in your job search?

The biggest challenge for me was finding a job that I would actually enjoy. I remember applying to places where I probably would have hated working at, just for the sake of finding a job. It’s common for new graduates to apply to as many places as they can and accept the first one that comes their way, regardless of whether or not they would enjoy the job.

I would recommend putting effort into applications for organisations you really really want to work for, and write a unique cover note for the hiring manager.

volunteering-build-skills-network.jpg

Do you have any other advice to help people kickstart their job search and develop their skills?

I’d highly recommend attending meetups (like the ones you can find at meetup.com) related to whatever you’re interested in. There are meetups for sales, data science, startups, machine learning, JavaScript, psychology, finance, etc. held regularly in Sydney! That way you can network with people in the fields you’re interested in - you never know what opportunities are available, and if you can find people from an organisation you’re interested in working for, and ask them questions!

Finally, I think everyone should attend conferences - whether they be tech, marketing, sales or management conferences and events. Even if you can’t afford a ticket, you can always volunteer and network with highly respected people in the industry! Also, upskilling yourself with in-demand skills and taking on personal projects will make yourself very attractive to companies looking to hire.

Interested in finding opportunities that advance your interests?

You’re in luck. Paddl continuously posts diverse opportunities on our platform to help you get involved in opportunities in the sectors that interest you most! Get Started by logging into your Paddl Profile, or create one for free here. Then, you’re ready to start applying for opportunities from top employers!