Many of my peers have been messaging me with congratulatory emoji’s and hashtags filled with puns on landing my summer internship at Twitter. Following these positive remarks was the “How did you do it?” So, here are some tips, tactics, and techniques for landing your dream internship!
While writing my first Linkedin blog post, I was doing some research on recruiting tactics at various tech firms, and studying the different recruiting software available on the market, when I stumbled upon a Product and Consumer Growth Marketing opening at Twitter. This role was MY DREAM. Once I saw this, my mind was set- I needed this internship.
Tip #1: Have an ideal role in mind
Apply to anything related to that role but have a goal position noted.
There are three stages in recruiting: applying, interviewing, and accepting. The only advice I have for the apply phase is to literally apply everywhere. Applying to jobs is easy- once you get the interview the real work begins. Here is a break down of how I dealt with my multiple round interviews for tech firms.
Tip #2: Research your interviewers
For all the firms I interviewed with there were at least three rounds of interviews. Starting with a recruiter phone call and ending with an on-site. From the first phone call you have, the most important thing to do is to research those who will be interviewing you. This gives you some context on the person and allows you the opportunity to create a personal connection. Remember, these people interview hundreds of candidates and you need to stand out. Common ground makes you memorable.
Second, research the company. News articles, new features, mission statement, etc. When I was interviewing, I read all blog posts my interviewers published and all recent tech articles related to the company. These became talking points I then brought up in my interview. These topics resulted in a great conversation rather than a nerve-racking interview. Always ask questions. Ideas which connect, drive conversation.
Tip # 3: Have a plan
For many, practicing their answers only makes them more nervous. For me, having a plan is what eases my nerves. I prepared a google doc of all the firms I was interviewing with, listed a set of basic questions which are almost always asked, and then tailored each answer to the firm for which I was interviewing. Here are some examples of questions:
- Why (company name)?
- Why you?
- How do you use our product?
- What is the most recent news article (company name) has been in?
These are basic questions normally asked in the first or second interview. Having some go to answers really helped me. Another thing which helped me craft my answers was knowing the company culture and mission and how it related to what I was looking for in an internship. By aligning these two things I was able to relay how their company and my future goals matched up.
For Twitter, it was simple: the company was my ideal. Their mission: “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers,” is what I wanted to do. I want to make a positive impact and bring together the voices of millions of people. I knew what I wanted and where I could make that happen, and that’s how I got what I wanted.
Tip #4: Mentality is key
We need to change the mentality we have when we walk through the doors of interviews. These companies need us just as much as we WANT them. You may be thinking; “This is my one shot of amazing these guys. This internship will jumpstart my career. I need this.” (at least, this is how I was thinking before I gave myself the ultimate pep talk).
What you should be thinking: “I want this. I will get this. I am an asset to this company. They need me.”
With that being said, be confident but stay humble. Remember you are not an expert in anything. You are just starting your career, willing and ready to learn and to absorb whatever is thrown your way. Be yourself and show them you are passionate and ready to learn EVERYTHING.
Many top firms want to see students with passion and potential. Your thought process and the enthusiasm you bring to these interviews will result in offers. During my on-site interviews I was given case studies which were not the walk in the park, basic questions I listed earlier. However, these interviewers were not looking for perfect answers, they were looking for an organized thought process and the ability to work with them. You will only portray organized thinking if you are calm and can think straight.
I know it’s easier said than done but… leave the nerves at home! You are a BOSS!
Tip #5: Social media is your BFF
I cannot emphasize how important your own social media presence is. Your social profiles are your brand. Brand yourself and sell your attributes in a way which makes recruiters run after you. In my experience, Linkedin publishing was one of the best ways I could leverage my social media platforms to show my passion and interests. I published my first blog and was featured in multiple columns which allowed my voice to be heard by thousands.
Social media has the power to reach the masses. Use that to your advantage. Having these posts published not only gave my writing credibility, but also gave me the confidence to continue voicing my opinion and showcasing my views in the tech world. To recruiters, I now had a portfolio of work experience and personality. My Linkedin blogs became a highlight during many of my interviews.
As university students many of us want to work at a Fortune 500 company, we all want to work alongside top talent in the industry. You have the potential to do what you set your mind to. Your mindset will take you to places unimaginable or it will take you nowhere, but it’s in your hands. Looking for an internship is challenging, it wasn’t easy for me and I know what it feels like to be rejected. Just remember you only need ONE. One offer. I promise your handwork will pay off!
When it comes to interviewing, be positive, be prepared, and be yourself!
Rabiah Damji is currently a Senior at UC Berkeley. She is a lover of dogs, travel, tech, and writing. Passionate about marketing, thought leadership, and women empowerment, in her free time Rabiah actively blogs on Linkedin reaching an audience of over 15K. She spent her most recent summer at Twitter in Consumer Product Marketing.