As you gear up, for a very crucial phase in your life, I wanted to stress on one thing that lingers around the back of your minds, i.e. internships. I am aware this would not be your first priority right now, but this would most certainly exist in the back of your heads. So here are some of the things that can probably help you be up to speed when you land in the U.S.: Build your profile for Summer Internships
One Page Resume:
When you applied for your respective master’s programs you had made a two page resume, which was comprehensive and probably covered your extra-curricular activities to the smallest projects that you might have done in your first year. YOU WILL NOT NEED IT WHEN YOU APPLY for INTERNSHIPS. Without exception, every employer seeks a one page resume, weather you have worked for one year or seven. So start working towards a one page resume. I can tell you, your first draft will not be good enough. You will be very busy in settling down at your new location and with university, to work on a new resume. So start early!! Make the first draft, get an opinion and make n drafts till you hit the optimal draft. Build your profile for Summer Internships
Remember, your resume is dynamic and will change as you progress into your program. But as of now, companies will come to your campus, before you can even finish your first month, so better to be prepared.
I went to a career fair on the second day of my Master’s program.
The career specific resume:
Remember, there is no generic resume for any role. Have specific resumes that can cater to each role. So for instance, if you want to pursue an internship as a data analyst, then have a resume that will cater to that. If you want to work in QA, make a QA specific resume and if you want to get into software development, make one for it. There are many roles this can apply to, but I mentioned the three examples above, to drive home a point. It would be a lot easier for you to modify, tailored resumes as opposed to a generic one page resume.
Now this, can vary from university to university, but remember, your career counsellors at the university may also be able to help you with your resumes if you have doubts. Be sure to interact with them, and respectfully ask them for assistance, and they will be more than willing to assist you. In many universities, they may even schedule a mock interview with you. Make full use of this and you may be more confident.
Now, you may hear many mixed reviews about these, but I can tell you, this is one area where you can interact with prospective employers and gain some insight into a company. Speak to people here, carry the one page resumes that you made here and remember, to take the visiting card of whoever you meet. Many will not carry them and will simply ask you to note down an email id. Make note of it and at the end of the day, send a small thank you message to them, stating it was a very valuable conversation and how much you look forward to be a part of that company et al. If they give you a visiting card, DO NOT CALL THEM. Many have made this mistake and it will almost always didn’t end well.
I tried this at one career fair, where I made my visiting card. One benefit of this is that even if the person has a visiting card and he/she may not want to give you one and you give them your visiting card, as professional courtesy, they will be forced to give you their visiting card in return. If they don’t have one, then they will tell you, and you can be assured that they genuinely may not have one.
An information session is where a company will come to the college and tell you about themselves and what they are looking for in students. Unlike a career fair, this usually involves staff from entry level associates right up to Vice Presidents and Partners. And you will have people who RSVP for this. So you stand to have a guaranteed interaction with senior staff members.
This is particularly important. In a career fair, there will be people from all the programs at your university. You may not be able to interact with all of the company representatives and discuss your prospects at their company. You may at the most meet a recruiter or some current associates. You want to make an impact, head down to an information session and interact with the managers. I was able to interact with a senior manager and I got his visiting card, when others simply kept their email IDs on a badge. Take a guess how I did that. I did not get an internship at that company, but I took one step towards expanding my network.
The time of an internship:
Now this is something that was never mentioned when I arrived in the states. When do people get an internship? I am sure this question may have not come on your mind, since you may have only thought of how do I get one and not when will I get one. Let me tell you something, some people may get an internship in the first semester itself. You didn’t get one in the first semester? Do not worry. There were many who bagged one in the start of the second semester. Didn’t get one then? I can tell of some who got it when they were giving their midterm exams. Still worried? I can tell you about some people who got it towards the end of the second semester. Still worried? I got my internship a week AFTER I finished my second semester. Still not convinced? I have two friends who got an internship last week, and we are in mid-June. So if anybody tells you that you can only get an internship in the first semester, think otherwise.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN BE COMPLACENT IN THE FIRST SEMESTER
Remember, it is not when you bag an internship. You achieve nothing by being the first to get an internship or you lose nothing by being the last. You have to get to the finish line. That is it.
With this, I wish you the very best for your upcoming phase in life. I hope you have a great trip to the states.
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