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Job Skills Should I be Interviewing for Summer 09 Already?

  1. Sep 6, 2008 #1
    I'm a new EE transfer student with (roughly) Jr level status, although most of the classes I'm taking now are 2nd semester Soph-level. I've been at school for just 2 weeks now, but I'm already getting emails from the Career Office about upcoming interviews for summer internships. It all feels a bit rushed, really...and I have no idea what I'm doing, since I've never held a non-retail job in my life and don't feel like I have the experience yet to make a great impression. I'm barely getting adjusted to the new school, but I definitely don't want to miss out on any opportunities for next summer.

    I've already decided that a summer internship is a must, but I'm not sure about interviewing for positions this early. Most interviews are late September / early October, with the Career Fair in late Sept; but I have to reserve interview times within the next week. Should I be jumping in this early? What can I do to prepare myself for the first real interview of my life? I'm absolutely terrible at talking with strangers...so the thought of a serious interview already has me sweating bullets. Any advice?
     
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  3. Sep 7, 2008 #2

    Moonbear

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    Two bits of advice here. First, call the career office and ask them if this is just a first round of interview opportunities and career fairs, or if it is the one and only chance you'll have. I recall from my college days that there used to be career fairs several times a year, but that was a long time ago, and things might be different now.

    Second, the only way to get practice doing interviews is to do interviews. Again, call your career office about this. Usually, one of the things they can offer are mock interviews for you to get some practice. They also often have other materials available to help you prepare for an interview, such as how to dress, how to act, what to bring with you, and lists of typical interview type questions that you should be prepared to answer before you arrive to an interview.

    If this is the first of several career fairs, instead of focusing on setting up interview times this time around, just go and walk around and see who is there, what they have to share about their companies, and get used to talking to them informally in a non-interview setting first.
     
  4. Sep 7, 2008 #3
    There are two career fairs on campus each year: one in September and one in February. I guess I'm just basically wanting to know if I need to try to land an internship for next summer this time around or can I wait until February in order to add some skills and polish my resume / interviewing skills. Not having an internship next summer is not an option, and I don't want to miss out on the good jobs.
     
  5. Sep 7, 2008 #4

    Moonbear

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    You can probably safely wait until February for next summer. The job fairs now might be more for those looking for internships over the winter break or those graduating in December/January who need jobs starting this winter.

    Also, keep in mind you don't HAVE to apply through career fairs. That's just one way employers try to find potential employees. You can also apply on your own directly to the companies. So, for example, if you're ready to start applying in November, call up places directly and ask about internship opportunities or summer jobs.

    Now, since you say your interviewing skills are pretty rough, one thing you might want to do is schedule a couple interviews for the upcoming career fair knowing you're not likely to be offered a position yet (though, if you get lucky and do get an offer, even better)...this will give you a chance to experience some real interviews so that when you're doing it to really count, you know what to expect and aren't as nervous.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2008 #5
    You should start developing skills if you have free time. Something like .NET would be helpful.
     
  7. Sep 7, 2008 #6
    ^ That's the plan. What skills are especially useful for a EE looking to get into the electronics end of things? I'm going to be brushing up on my C skills, but I think familiarizing myself with a different type of language would be helpful (i.e. a scripting language and a OO language). Other than that, I suppose there's not much else I could do? I dunno...I'm assuming it's wise to look at current job postings and try to match what I learn according to what they're looking for. Would personal electronics projects be helpful? Do they ask about that kind of stuff? Whatever I can do to make myself more marketable will also make me more confident going into an interview.
     
  8. Sep 8, 2008 #7
    Join some robotics team etc... They do ask about your interests & activities as far as I know. c++, c seem very important in EE.

    They love people who can fit into their environment (people skills), have skills and interest.

    I am also a junior so I can't give any other suggestions.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2008 #8
    I was in your position last year. I just finished my summer 08 internship.

    I got the position in December before the summer. I didn't interview for companies until then. December/January is the regular timeframe for applying and interviewing for internships with many companies, like Lockheed Martin for example. These career fairs are good, in that it gives you a glimpse and can jumpstart your search. Definitely go to it, but if nothing comes out of it, don't feel bummed... you have many more months to apply.

    If I were you, I would join clubs and have some proof on what you've done in them (leadership position, etc) and also pick up maybe C or C++ (object-oriented).
     
  10. Sep 18, 2008 #9
    Yes.
     
  11. Sep 19, 2008 #10
    Some of the companies I'm looking into for the summer (Intel for example) explicitly state they do their recruiting/hiring in the fall semester preceding the year you want to work. It's not too early.
     
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