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A Student's View--Preparing for a Successful Job Search

This week, ECS is featuring Skyler Reimer, a Computer Science and Engineering student graduating in May 2019. In today's blog, he breaks down his tips for success in obtaining an internship at JM Smucker Company as a Solution Development Intern this coming summer. Skyler has had a lot of experience preparing for interviews and in particular, technical interviews. Learn more about Skyler’s preparation for his job search and interviews below.  Some of the advice is specific to those interested in the computer science field, but there are broader job search tips for other types of engineering students as well.

I changed majors last fall and was completely lacking in anything related to computer science for my resume. I was looking at spending an extra year in college, so I wanted to take advantage of the time between semesters. Most freshman and sophomore students are in the same boat I was in. Unfortunately, you need to have some experience to get more experience. After successfully getting through this last fall’s recruiting season, I think I have a solid grasp on what people, who are in the position I was in, need to do to land their first internship. 

1. You need to prepare for technical interviews.  

You’re going to get asked really hard questions during the interview process.  You don’t want to land that interview and get caught off guard by a tricky question. If you can’t reverse a string or complete fizz buzz don’t worry. The software and foundations classes here really prepare you tackling these types of problems. There are also plenty of websites with practice problems. I personally have used both Leetcode and HackerRank to shore up my technical question deficiencies. On a side note, I got a question almost word for word, from Leetcode, on one of my software exams. These problems will make you a better programmer too. Never stop coding.

2. You need to apply literally everywhere you can.

Some of my friends who are still looking for internships have only applied to maybe ten companies. That’s fine if you fit a specialized skill set, but as a student you probably don’t have a specialized skill set. I applied to over 70 companies using a combination of Engineering Career Services and company websites. I heard back from about 20 of those companies. So if you are not hearing back yet, you haven’t applied to enough. Ohio State students are valuable, keep applying. I suggest keeping track of who you’ve applied to using a spreadsheet. 

3. Take advantage of on campus events.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the career fair. Go to both days and talk to as many companies as you can. I also get plenty of emails from career services and my advisors about on campus opportunities. I went to a JM Smucker event on a whim and that’s where I ended up interning this coming summer. I went to as many of these events as my schedule allowed. (Luckily, they often have free food.) Then I bothered those same people at the career fair and they mostly remembered me. I used these events to practice my elevator pitch (you should have one of those), and make a few connections. There’s a lot of them right before the career fair so clear your schedule.

For more career related advice and additional resources...consider scheduling time with an Engineering Career Services advisor or attending one of ECS' workshops before the career fair.  For dates, times, and locations, visit CareerEngine's "Events" tab. 

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

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