The Reality of the Business World
Experience is a word used so often it could make you go crazy, especially if you have none of it. The real world is tough. Companies are brutally honest about your resume and those volunteer hours that you put in is great for personal growth and the community, but not for landing a job or internship. Nowadays, the level of competition to secure a job is ramping up. People are more skilled and knowledgeable than ever before. The only way that you can stand out amongst a crowd to get that crucial interview is by having your resume packed with hard technical skills and real-world experiences.
For me, I have never had real world business experience until now. The cash register at a retail store does not cut it. Going into the internship search process, I believed that my course projects and my love for data would be enough to land my first internship relating to data analytics. However, I learned the hard way that my experiences in the classroom would not suffice. In a pool of hundreds to thousands of applicants who all share common interests, it was tough to differentiate myself when I had little to none of the experiences that would prove that I was capable. I applied to over 50 internships on Handshake through Babson. In addition, I applied to over 50 more on LinkedIn and other career sites. After continuous editing of my resume, a multitude of cover letters, researching into different companies, and many late nights, I got 4 interviews. This all happened during the spring semester while I was overloading in courses, rushing a business fraternity, and working. I got many emails back, yet none of them said what I wanted to hear.
Out of the 4 interviews, I didn’t hear back from 3 of them and got one on the spot just before the start of the summer. This goes to show the level of difficulty of obtaining an internship, especially during freshman and sophomore year of college. I was grateful for ISlide believing in my abilities and giving me a chance to learn and grow with their company. This experience has been both rewarding and a good learning experience for my future.
Here are my takeaways from my career development process:
Do not let constant rejection emails from the internships you applied for stop you from applying to more. You never know what company will take a chance on you. Make an effort to improve your resume and ask for help. Your persistence will be rewarded.
Network and Ask for Referrals
I learned recently the power of getting a referral for a company. Referrals will instantly give you an advantage over regular applicants because your resume will be prioritized. If you know people at a company, ask for a referral. If there are people in an industry, you are interested in, network with them and get to know more about what they do.
The most important advice I have is to find something you are passionate about and seek an internship in that field. The more you care about what you are doing, the more you are willing to put in the time to secure that internship and get the most out of it. Do not do it because it pays well. Do it because it interests you and will help you get to where you want to be in the future.