<This post is actively under construction. Check back in a week or two!>
Recruiting for internships (and clubs, and research positions, and…) as a freshman or sophomore can be daunting at times. Where do you start? How do you apply? How do you maximize your chances of getting responses? How do you “do” a technical interview? This blog post will be the second in a series aimed at freshmen and sophomores that will hopefully answer those questions!
We will be discussing the process of applying to companies and how to maximize your changes of getting a positive response to your application.
Part 2: Applying to Companies–Start Now!
You might ask, “I want to apply to companies, but what if I’m not technically ready? I need time to prep interview skills/data structures/algorithms/etc” It’s okay! Just start applying. The most important thing is to start. You will never feel like you are ready until you start applying. And there is no better motivation to prep interview questions like an actual interview deadline that is coming up! Also, how to prep technically coming in a later blog post!
Getting positive responses is a mixture of sending out many applications and sending out quality applications; quantity and quality both matter. The best way to maximize your quantity is to start sending applications out as soon as possible. The bulk of the rest of this blog post will detail some common (and uncommon)
- Fastest method, you can “shotgun” your resume out there
- But, unreliable
- Resume dropped into a “black hole”, companies sometimes “ghost” you
Multiple resources for aggregation:
- that excel spreadsheet of companies
- LinkedIn job pages
Yes, applying online can be tedious. But there are ways to make things easier. If you have two screens, applying to companies on one screen while watching TV shows on another–sending out applications won’t be boring. If you want to be even more productive, you can watch lecture webcasts (but I prefer TV shows myself). Listening to podcasts is also a good way.
- how do referrals work?
- personal anecdote–I’ve been rejected from a company after applying online, only to be invited for an interview after I got a referral a couple weeks later.
- referrals are gold, always try to get a referral, and don’t be afraid to ask! The worst they can say is “no”, which rarely happens because they have no good reason to.
It is OKAY to be Picky!
When people are asked “which companies/what kind of companies are you interested in interning next summer?” they say often something along the lines of “Oh, I will intern at any company that will accept me, I can’t be picky.” But they are selling themselves short! It is perfectly fine to have preferences. You, as an applicant, have a lot of power and faculty in recruiting! Recruiting is as much of an opportunity You can and should decide which companies you are passionate about, whose values you share, whose projects you are interested in. You should also have an idea of which kinds of companies you are not interested in working for–applying to those would actually be a waste of time, because you could have used that time applying to companies that you are actually interested in working for. If you actually end up interning with those companies, that would be a waste of a summer if you are unhappy and unenthusiastic.
This ties back to “applying with purpose” I mentioned earlier. If you apply to companies you are genuinely interested in, the interest will show through!
Mindset: Expect Rejections, and Persevere
- applying in the fall vs applying in the spring
- there are many companies that still recruit in the spring, so dont give up.