I would describe my internships as one of the experiences that have highlighted my collegiate career. From the recruiting process, to the summers spent working for different companies, I have learnt a lot of things that have helped me not only in my job search but also personally made me a better human.
Here are the five things that I have learnt over the years, which I hope will help you in your internship search.
1. Your resume determines a lot on how far you get in the interviewing process.
When I began applying for internships, I remember submitting my resume to job application sites only to get a rejection a few hours later if not instantly. This was always such a bummer and it led me to consider dropping the whole internship search because I felt I was not qualified. During this time, as a last resort I had decided to send my resume to a friend for review and their feedback really helped with revamping my resume. I got to learn that for one the structure of your resume is very important. Moreover, the choice of words that you use in your resume can help in bringing out your strengths or sadly make you come off as a weak candidate. Therefore, it is important to take time in ensuring that your resume is structured and edited well enough. If you are looking to revamp your resume, here is an article that I believe should help.
2. The best way to learn and become good at interview problems is through iteration.
I always dreaded coding challenges and coding interviews, because in my opinion these were the hardest part of the interviewing process. There are times when I got asked coding problems which I absolutely had no idea about. This resulted in panic and most definitely me failing the interviews. However, over time I realized that the more interview problems I did, the better I got in them. Using resources like Leetcode and Cracking the Coding Interview, I started noticing patterns and similarities in the questions, which I prepared adequately for, and as a result I started doing better in my interviews. It takes time to become good at something, hence you should be ready to put the time in doing as many interview problems as you can.
3. Be confident, believe in yourself.
I am someone who has really struggled with confidence. I describe myself as shy and introverted, I find it hard to keep verbal conversations going. This really affected me in my interviews because I’d find it hard communicating. I realized that I had to learn to overcome this and started by going to networking events and making it a goal to talk to at least one person. Over time I started becoming more open to conversations as well as stopped shying away from voicing my ideas. Heck I attended the Grace Hopper Conference and talked to about 20 other people. Haha this is such a big feat for me. Anyways, all I am trying to say is confidence is a highly coveted quality, most especially to employers. Exuding confidence goes a long way in helping you during your interview. For instance, an interviewer would be drawn to someone who’s talking about their projects with confidence as opposed to someone who does not.
When you believe in yourself and ideas, you find that most people believe in you too.
4. A failed interview is only a failure if you did not learn from it.
I have gotten many rejections over time and honestly my biggest failures were from those where I didn’t get to ask for or get feedback on what I needed to do to become better. After failing an interview or failing to secure an internship, it is important to ask about insights on how you did and get valuable feedback on what you need to do to improve. This goes a long way in helping you during your next interviews.
5. Go for a company that matches your goals and one that values you.
I have seen people not make the best of their internship experience just because they made the wrong choice when it comes to choosing the company to go for. Sometimes you find yourself with offers from more than one company and I must admit deciding is not easy especially when the companies have different things they can offer. One thing that I am certain about is that choosing a company that values you will never be a wrong decision. By valuing you, I mean a company which thrives in seeing you succeed. You get to see that a company values its employees from how it treats them, the work life balance, the culture of the company and the employment offer package itself. All in all, you want a company where you will get to grow, learn and accomplish your goals.
Getting an internship or job is amazing, and as much as it is important to get it, do not fret if for some reason you are not able to secure one for the summer. Like I said, you become better through iteration, keep practicing and preparing. Most certainly everything will work out next time. All in all, I hope these lessons served in helping you as you keep on with internship search and even once you get to secure them!