It’s ya boy.
Let’s talk about internships!
As you should know by now, all engineering students must complete 800 hours of practical work with an appropriate employer to graduate.
Yes. This is compulsory!
I know a few fourth-year friends who WON’T be graduating next year because they haven’t completed this requirement. They will officially graduate once they complete it. So even though it’s only 100 days of work (about 20 working weeks), it’s best to get on to this ASAP and not have to think about it during fourth year.
This additional pressure can be very stressful.
But not for you! You’re reading this post about how to suss* internships!
*Although I can say ‘suss’ cos I finally found one after four months of trying, it doesn’t mean I’m qualified to give you professional advice. Please see CDES – the fantastic people at UoA that run CV checks, interview seminars, and internship hunting presentations – to get real valuable feedback!
Anyway, here are my thoughts on how to approach intern-hunting
- Stack up ya CV and make a template cover letter. These are two staples that are absolutely essential to have for applicants. It’s a great idea to have someone provide feedback on CV layout and content (I send everything to my parents to get that extra polish). Recruiters spend 5-7 SECONDS looking through your CV, so have that in mind as you craft it. Employers also want to know a bit about your reasons for applying, which is when the cover letter comes in. That’s where you talk about how you are a professional (in-the-making), and how the position benefits you AND the company. What will you get out of the internship? What will they get out of having you there?
- NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK. This is where events like employers fairs, Engineering New Zealand events, and industry talks are great! And look, employers know you want internships – so don’t be afraid to ask them questions everyone will ask them! Also, add me on LinkedIn 🙂 (no joke, employers stalk you on LinkedIn and Facebook, be aware of that!) LinkedIn also tells you which companies have been looking at your profile, and how many searches you appeared in. It’s a bit weird, but yes, adults use LinkedIn rather than Instagram.
- Apply EVERYWHERE. There’s a big list on the UoA engineering practical work page that has most of the places you can work (link – https://practicalwork.foe.auckland.ac.nz/welcome_stud.php). I got 2 interviews for every 10 outright rejections, and that’s a pretty solid batting average. It’s a numbers game. There are big companies like Beca, Aurecon, Rocketlab, Downer, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare where EVERYONE applies to, but a bunch of other small engineering firms are looking for engineering students too! So apply everywhere!
- Get ready for interviews. You have to be prepared for these. Research some common interview questions and write down your responses to them. Think like a professional – how would they word things? How would they present themselves? What would they wear? If you look like a professional, you are well on your way to actually being one! Try saying responses out loud to see if it sounds like you – an interview should flow and feel natural. Every question should have an intro, main points, and a sentence to wrap up the answer into a nice package.
- Be prepared for rejections. It’s a fact of life that sometimes, you just weren’t what they had in mind for the role. It sucks, but everyone gets rejected (especially at Shadz on a Friday night :(( ). That’s why it’s a good idea to apply to as many places as possible. The best thing you can do is give a great interview, write a bomb-as CV and cover letter, and present yourself professionally. Eventually, someone will hire you!
- Write a Report – This is something more for after sussing an internship, but to complete practical work, you need to write a report on the layout of the job, what you did, what you learnt, and any key takeaways from the internship. It’s a good idea to spend some time on this because if ya fail…rip mate you’ll have to wait till the next time they’re accepting reports!
After four months of job-hunting, rejections, build-ups, and interviews, I was in the rare position of having two offers.
Weighing up the options took some time, but now my internship is confirmed!
All the applications, all those cover letters, all that time on LinkedIn – it paid off!
And I have three months of interning ahead of me 🙂
After coursework 🙁
And exams 🙁
I hope this post gave you a basic approach to intern-hunting, and I sincerely wish you good luck when you’re in my position next year (or even this year, why not get a headstart??).
It’s hard work, but it’s well worth putting in that effort!
Happy hunting! Stay tuned for the next post about Sem 2 courses xx