One Thousand and One Applications; Internship Delights

Preface

Internships. Where do I even begin?

I am by no means proficient in regards to any part of the delightful process that is hunting for the aforementioned practical hours that ENGGEN 499 requires. Bearing that in mind, I have a collection of seemingly useful tips, suggestions, and recommendations that I have picked up along the way; I do hope that they may bear fruit for you.

Six pieces of dubious advice
  • The early student gets the internship, or something to that effect. This list is vaguely in a descending order of importance but starting early is definitely the superlative piece of advice. Begin your search early, even if it just a cursory glance at job boards, a CV spruce-up, or – preferably – a read of the Practical Work information. Doing something to get the ball rolling should help ease you into the job-search frame of mind. You almost can’t start early enough; some applications close around July, or August.
  • But where can you get started? Turn up to an expo. The University runs a few pertinent ones across the year (STEM and Engineering) and they are a great way of learning more about companies that you are interested in, or opportunities that you had not realised existed. The expos are usually quite full, so it is worthwhile coming to them with a plan of attack – think about who you want to talk to and what information you want to get from them. You should get a couple of reminder emails in advance (around April to May), and one of them should have a list of attendees, which lets you narrow down the relevant companies. And expos are only the start as across the year you will get sporadic emails about information nights, job openings and other opportunities – do take a look at them.
  • This one is a little odd, but it doesn’t hurt to be a wee bit sycophantic. University, and academia in general, is nepotistic at the best of times. Being noticed, even if it requires a soupçon of obsequious behavior, can get you places. You might be able to satiate the 800-hour practical work requirement with research assistant or lab technician roles – people recommend networking for a good reason.
  • Give others the opportunity to say no to you – apply to just about anything. Potential employers list job opportunities because they want people to fill those roles. Even if you don’t feel like you are exactly what they are after, apply anyway. The worst that can happen is they say no, but at least you have let them (who know better who they are looking for) reject you, rather than prematurely rejecting yourself. This advice may seem a bit obvious, bit I found it all too easy to convince myself that I wouldn’t be a good fit for a role, depriving myself of what would have otherwise been a perfectly good prospect. The worst possible outcome of applying is that you don’t get the job, which is the same outcome of not applying at all. The one counter to this point is if the company asks for students in years three and four; some roles require expertise that a second year just won’t have.
  • Keep your CV short and sweet – one A4 page should be enough room for you to get the pertinent information across. If you are not sure of your CV quality you can make use of the University’s career service, MyCDES. They can also help you with the job search in general. One last reminder: a CV should be a live document; keep it up to date as the year progresses and don’t be afraid of making changes to it as required. At the start of Part II it feels like you know almost nothing (my CV definitely felt bare) but you can add the skills that you have learned from your courses (technical ones and soft skills) as the year progresses.
  • Cover letters are another fun part of the application process. Some companies don’t ask for them, but most do, so it is a good idea to have one ready (you can have a template if you find that easier, but make sure that it doesn’t feel too formulaic). The cover letter is a place to talk to the employer before you have talked to them. Try to indicate your interest for the job (and why), what you can bring to the role (skills, enthusiasm, experience etc.), and most importantly how to get in contact with you. It doesn’t hurt to make reference to the company itself; take a look at the company’s website and mention if their goals/values align with your own.
Internships, internships, wherefore art thou internships?

But where can you find these elusive internships that I speak of? There are four main places to look: seek, student job search, MyCDES+ and company websites. LinkedIn can be useful as a sort of aggregation of jobs, but not all companies post there. Summer Research Projects are another great prospect, they are free to apply for so there is no reason not to. You might have better luck as a Part III student but give it a go anyway.

And just to get you started, here is a list of companies to get you started on your internship hunt. This list is by no means definitive, nor should it be the sum total of your search, but most of the list should offer internships for second years students.

  • Vector
  • Transpower
  • Mercury
  • Meridian
  • NZ Rail / KiwiRail
  • Fisher and Paykel Appliances
  • Fisher and Paykel Healthcare
  • Apple (they do prefer 3rd year students)
  • Invenco
  • Datamars
  • Navico
  • Tekron
  • Syrp
  • NEO Consulting
  • Other consulting firms (BECA, BCD, Johnstaff etc – talk to the consultancies the civil people talk to)
  • Then there is also this PDF of most of the companies that students from specific specialisations have registered practical work hours with

I do hope that this is useful. Even if you are not a prospective EEE student (why not ☹) these tips should transcend any specialization boundaries. On that subject, the other internship blogs – it must be a rite of passage at this point – will undoubtedly have some useful tidbits and inspiration that I have not covered.

Does anyone actually read these blogs?

– Fraser (Sincere apologies to Simple Minds once again)

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