How I Landed My Dream Internship

How I Landed My Dream Internship

 

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:

  1. Why (company name)?
  2. Why you?
  3. How do you use our product?
  4. 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

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. 

What I’m in for as a Woman in Tech

What I’m in for as a Woman in Tech

 

My Family

When I was younger I loved reading. I would read on average four books a day. My brother would read to me as I fell asleep. My father would tell me stories in the morning and at night. He was a writer, by passion. Words, sentences, novels— they shaped my childhood. Another thing that subconsciously shaped my childhood was my perception of the working world.

My father was a kickass engineer; he loved to write prose but that didn’t feed his family. Instead, he began coding at a young age, he moved to the United States from East Africa and began to write in different type of languages: Fortran IV, Pascal, C, C++, Java, and many many more.

My brother was an AP acing, number crunching, genius child. I was..well I was 8 years younger than my brother and was definitely still under the covers reading Harry Potter while he was interviewing for his post-uni jobs.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my future, but I did see the strongest figures in my life excel in their professional lives. My father and brother were the most successful people in my eyes and they still are till this day. They’re my role models. However, what I didn’t know when I was younger was that it was going to be very different for me to step into the same high-tech world, and also perform as well in my coveted job. I saw the struggles both my dad and brother faced. But what I would struggle over, what I would have to grapple with, would be a bit different.

 

Strike

Rewind 10 years, little me was in the 6th grade lining up for our routine P.E sports activity; this week it was baseball. The two team captains for baseball were male; they stood at the front eyeing our class ready to go to war at picking teammates. I was definitely not chosen first, but I eventually got on a team. I had never played baseball in my life, but I was excited to try it. I walked out to the field with my bat and high spirits. I missed the ball three times. But I told myself, “It’s okay! Try again next time.” I walked back to the benches and heard one of the boys snicker,

“That’s what happens when you give a girl a baseball bat.”

I told my P.E teacher that I felt sick and didn’t play again. Then I thought maybe it is just a guy sport. Now, I think, that kid can kiss my ass.

You see, I was a little girl then, thrust into a new environment, one in which I was ready to take on. I didn’t have thick skin then; I was 10 years old still building my confidence. I was thrust into an environment that didn’t believe in me. Now, I’m becoming a woman, graduating university, and once again to be thrust into a new environment. One that is unfortunately is still struggling to accept me.

 

Board Room Personality

This past summer I interned at Twitter in Product Marketing. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Aside from learning how to launch products, I learned work etiquette. I learned how to speak to executives, how to interact with teammates’; I observed, introspected, and then regurgitated. I built strong relationships with women in high positions and I spoke to them about their journeys.

Someone close to me told me that in order to be respected she had to harden her persona in business meetings. It took her a while to create a strong authoritative personality because she was a bubbly, kind, and loving person.  She would often go home and second guess whether or not she was too mean or too nice. I realized as I move forward in my career, I too will have to figure out the fine line of when to soften and when to harden.

This summer I realized if I wanted to be an executive woman in tech I needed to train myself to have two personalities. I don’t want to become a harsh, unemotional woman. Many people think this is what you need to be in order to succeed, in some cases that is the sad truth because of the environments many women in are thrusted into. The environment you are in shapes who you will become. Honestly, if I pursued baseball, I’d be one hell of a bitch.

 

Rotten

Recently women have come forward to speak of the hostile environment they were put in while working at Apple.

One woman recalled a meeting in which she was the only woman in a room filled with over a dozen men. The conversation turned to all of the men being dismissive about their wives and their significant others. I felt very uncomfortable of the reality that I was the only woman in the room as all of my male coworkers stereotyped women as nags and this was not countered by my manager as being inappropriate.’

Did you know that if you google the word, “CEO” the first dozen pages are all of men?

You have to scroll down about 10 times before you find a picture of a woman CEO, CEO Barbie that is. 

Now, it’s not Google’s fault. The images are driven by algorithms, and many CEOs are men. But it’s an indication of how underrepresented women are at the top of the corporate ladder.  If more women were working in high-tech there would be fewer situations where we felt like the minority. But think about it. You think women are going to voluntarily throw themselves in hostile work environments? We need to take the risk, we need to push the boundaries, because obviously people aren’t learning and we need to teach them. We are natural born leaders so let’s lead our way to the top-together as a team.

 

I know what I’m in for as I grow up to be the woman I have envisioned for my life. I know I will have roadblocks my male peers won’t necessarily face. I will get emotional, I will second guess my decisions, but I won’t give up. Women hold half the jobs within the U.S. However, they only hold 25% of STEM positions. Things need to change, and unfortunately we need to take the risks and the hits to make that change. I’m building my tough skin, my board room personality, and alongside many women in all industries, in hopes of kicking ass and kicking down the glass ceiling.  

 


RABIAH DAMJIRabiah 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.