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Internships: How do I beat the computer?

  1. Jun 15, 2013 #1
    Hi! I've reached my 3rd year of undergrad in ME and I've reached that point where I'm applying for just about any internship that is a) paid and b ) mentions an engineering degree. I am at a happy point where I honestly don't care what the work is, as long as its a job that applies mechanical engineering principles. The idea is for me to explore the careers available with the degree.. right?

    Anyway, I've noticed that seemingly EVERYONE uses a computer-automated resume parsing utility that basically stores all of your info and then gives you the finger. My question is two-fold: How do I increase my odds of beating the resume-software gateway, and how do I find out who to actually talk to? I'm not afraid to make a phone call or 10 if it could land me a job, but companies (rightly, I suppose) hide their HR department contact information.

    I've tried to revise my resume with each submission in order to match my skills summary to the skills desired in the posting (truthfully of course. I simply change the verbs or mention experience I didn't consider important before) in order to catch as many keywords as possible.

    So, what am I supposed to do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2013 #2
    Attend career fairs... easiest way to get your resume to a human without personal connections.
  4. Jun 15, 2013 #3


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    Education Advisor

    I second meanrev's suggestion about attending career fairs. I would also add that another place to check into is your school's career centre (most colleges/universities in Canada and the US have them, if I'm not mistaken) or the ME department itself, since there may be people there who may know which employers may be hiring and provide specific contact information. In addition, the career centre may provide sessions giving you tips on how to customize your resume to increase your odds of getting that internship.

    Also, in addition to all of the above, I would suggest setting up a profile on LinkedIn if you haven't done so already. In this way, you can put your qualifications out there and have recruiters potentially contact you for internship opportunities.
  5. Jun 17, 2013 #4
    The only way to win is not to play....

    I third the advice about visiting career fairs. But go beyond that. Contact individual people at companies or institutions where you'd like to work. They will mostly ignore you, but not everyone will. I've hired interns who introduced themselves to me via email. Just be sincere and have a coherent story for why you want to work with them, and what you can offer.

    LinkedIn is a great way to find individuals at companies (so you can get past the HR drones). Also attend Engineering Society meetings, and try to go to a conference or convention of some kind and don't be afraid to introduce yourself! (they typically have drastically reduced ticket prices for students).

    Good luck!!
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