Hello! Today I thought I would do more of a traditional blog where I just yarn to you guys about my internship hunt. One of my favourite movies is actually The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson so I thought why not go through the process of how I got an internship for the summer of 2021/2022. Hope you enjoy!
It all started at the end of my first year. I was living at Waiparuru Hall and my Resident Advisor was telling me that I should search for an internship for the summer. Apprehensive and lazy, I decided against applying for any internship roles thinking I wouldn’t stand a chance and also I wanted to relax this summer. Thinking back, I should have thrown my name into the hat and who knows, I might have got some good interview experiences or at least go through the motions of how to apply for an internship. Even getting a virtual internship would be well worth it. As a first year, any industry experience related internship will be well worth the learning experience and will put you in front of the pack in upcoming years.
As the university year approached, I decided to apply for the Big 4. This was my first real taste of applying for a non-retail job and as you guessed, I failed miserably. Having applied with a scratchy cover letter and submitting a below average CV, no wonder I only got one virtual interview offer which I did poorly (oops). This taught me the value of having a well written and concise cover letter as well as doing your research on the company you’re applying for. I gained a lot from going through the motions where hopefully next year, I’ve learnt from my mistakes.
Fast forward to exam time, I spoke to some third year engsci students about internships. Long story short, they told me not many engsci’s get internships especially in second year and that a lot of their friends got rejected and ended up with no internship. They also told me I should be looking for internships all year round, however most companies hire internships around August and September so I didn’t completely miss the boat.
Having thought getting an internship will be relatively straight forward to hearing the truth about internships being scarce was a WAKE UP call. In the semester break, I did some research and made a table of possible engineering companies that could hire me! This table worked very well for me, it made everything concise and clear. Here is sample of what my table looked like:
By the end of the semester break, I had written out a generic CV that can be tailored to any engineering company and a modern up-to-date CV. I also had around 20 companies on my table that I was potentially interested in. The weeks that followed, I went into the business school and got my cover letter and CV checked by Tamsin! She was really lovely and gave me great pointers. I got my CV and cover letter checked by multiple people and also attended a few Summer Of Tech workshops which were really helpful. I also set up my Linkedin account in the holidays and started making connections!
Over the next couple months, companies started contacting me for virtual interviews/psychometric tests and then following that a formal interview. One of the companies I applied for had an assessment centre day where they paid for my flights to Wellington for a day to assess my ability and then fly me back up. My friend and I were really looking forward to it, however two days before the assessment centre lockdown struck and it ended up being online (grrr!).
Through this whole internship period, I became better at not only doing virtual interviews but also real online interviews with people. I learnt the proper ways on how to prepare and ensure I have the best opportunity of getting the internship. I won’t go over my tips here but majority are the same as other blogs. My number one tip would be confidence. Just like dating, it’s essential to come across as confident. This does not mean being dominant or overwhelming in conversation. Showing enthusiasm, passion for your studies and a willingness to learn really goes a long way. I think being a confident public speaker really helps with this!
Looking back I would say I did roughly ten online real interviews where in each interview I learnt a lot about my interview behaviour and interaction. Fortunately, I was offered eight different internships and had the tough decision on choosing one. I was super grateful to be in this position and be able to choose amongst some high quality and well-known companies such as Trade Me and Fisher & Paykel. In the end, I have decided to intern at Stantec as a data and systems intern on the transportation team. They have an office in NewMarket which is super close to where I’ll be living and they also have an office in Dunedin where I can work after Christmas break. They offered an amazing opportunity in two perfect locations where I’m passionate to learn more about the transport industry. I’m excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to get stuck in!