This post was authored by Mohammad Syed, an alumni from our SoT2015 tech internship programme. Mohammad is passionate about supporting more students to succeed through Summer of Tech, so here are his top tips for students preparing for Summer of Tech’s recruitment season.
On our “Alumni Chat” video series, Mohammad who is currently working as Identity Engineer at Xero shared his story in entering the tech industry through the public sector as the very first intern at the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). He also shared how that tech internship has prepared him tremendously for his current role at Xero.
He gave some tips on how to nail Meet & Greet by having a buddy system and staying curious while going through SoT journey. Our recruiting season is just around the corner but do not worry! Mohammad shares these top tips so you will feel more confident and ready to succeed!
Know your target audience.
At the Meet & Greet, all the potential employers are aware that this might be your first time applying for a job. It’s normal to be scared and make mistakes. If you do make a mistake, own it – they will understand. An example I can think of is that you may say that iPhones are running 32-bit apps (they only run 64-bit apps now). If you get corrected, you can say, oh, thanks for letting me know! I didn’t know that, so I might look into that a bit more when I have time.
Meet and Greet is really busy, and you’ll see there are lines to chat to some employers. Just be patient and listen in. Wait for an opening or a long pause before adding to the discussion or starting a new one. Remember, first impressions count, so be polite and read the situation!
Have a plan!
Look through the list of employers who are attending Meet and Greet. Identify the top 5 that you’re keen to have a chat with and maybe another 5 you’re interested in but need more detail on. Focus on their material and how you would be a better fit for them. Keep an eye on them and approach them when you see a gap. If they are too busy, don’t give up, move on to an employer who isn’t as busy. Instead, look at other less busy stalls. It’s better to approach employers you’re genuinely interested in first. If you’ve seen everyone you wanted to see, don’t rule out random chats with other companies – you never know what you will find!
If you have a short-list of only the largest companies you would want to work with, I would suggest that you also consider small businesses. Large companies tend to have more structure in place. In a small business, you may find that their roles have a wider reach, allowing you to learn more about their business. Having a mix of company sizes on your list means you’re considering a diverse range of role options.
The aim of Meet & Greet is to chat with as many employers on your list as possible and leave a positive and memorable impression. Employers have created or changed roles to suit the right candidate, so give it your best shot!
If you’re finding things a bit overwhelming, have a break. You want to show your best self to the employers, so take a bit of time out for self-care and then get back into it. It can be a very overwhelming experience and employers can empathise with that so remember to be yourself and look after yourself.
Find your USP (Unique Selling Point) and ensure you make it visible.
Some people (myself included) find it really hard to “promote” themselves. Having a network of trusted friends can really come in handy. Ask them to list the top 5 qualities that they like about you, and offer to do the same for them. Now you have something you can focus on when you’re networking for your tech internship.
Bring your whole self – draw attention to what makes you unique, employers will notice that and be keen to engage with students who are authentic.
Remember your profile and CV is there to help you get an interview. Make sure it’s well structured, interesting and detailed. Make sure you’re communicating who you are and what you want to learn!
I really liked the advice to have an opening sentence that’s personal, rather than a fact! Check out the Summer of Tech event page for previous CV boot camp videos.
To start your journey to a paid summer tech internship, register for Summer of Tech here.