1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What's the magic formula for ensuring that I land an internship?

  1. Jan 13, 2013 #1
    I attend ryerson university for computer engineering (freshman) and I'm wondering what the magic formula is to ensure that I land an internship.

    From Ryerson Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website:
    The problem is that I have zero work experience as of right now. Do they expect students to have work experience to get an internship? I knew some people worked as cashiers in high school, but is that really useful? I'm planning to become Comptia A+ certified while I'm in school and maybe land a job in the tech industry (not engineering related e.g. helpdesk employee for computer tech support) during the summer, but is that kind of work experience what they're looking for? Are grades the only thing distinguishing students from each other? The minimum CGPA is 2.67.

    Also, it seems that the only time I can apply for internships is the May at the end of third year. So if I miss that opportunity, I'm boned. Is there any way to apply for internships outside of Ryerson?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Make them an offer they can't refuse...
  4. Jan 13, 2013 #3
    Elaborate please.
  5. Jan 13, 2013 #4
    Conferences and connections help out quite a bit, if you can sell yourself and your skills well people are willing to let GPA slide in certain circumstances (that GPA will kill ya for a lot of job/internship offers if you don't have open minded recruiters, it did for me). Try doing some volunteer research for a professor in your EE dept and build up useful skills and amass projects that you've done that you can put on your resume. Keep documentation of those projects and present them when you go to interviews or conferences.
  6. Jan 13, 2013 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    There is no secret formula unless you mean the euler identity.

    You must write an effective resume outlining your interest targetted to the internship you're applying. So if the company makes lightbulbs you say your interest is in lightbulbs or something related to it. In other words each resume sent is customized to the internship you're applying to using the info they gave in the internship abstract. There is no general purpose resume. Hr groups will try to cull candidates if the resume doesn't say what they're looking for. You may have to research the company as well on the web. Think of it as a training exercise in finding a job. Doing it right now and working hard at your internship can assure you of a job later.

    A large computer company hired this one intern to do testing. It bored him so he spent a good deal of time making rubberband sculptures with rubberbands, pencils and other assorted office products. It was duly noted and I don't think he ever got hired. Companies use internships as a cheap way to find great employees ones that won't take advantage of company resources, one that finds things to do beneficial to the company. One intern got hired on the spot because he thought up a really great invention for the project he was assigned to.

    Expect to be interviewed and expect to be asked about anything you wrote on your resume or job application. I interviewed one student who was a sharp guy but couldn't answer in one sentence about a search project he worked on. You need to know your stuff and to answer accurately and succinctly. Communication is one of the biggest skills in any job. Practice an interview with someone with some experience who will ask you about anything on your resume.

    Expect to be given a challenging question or two to see how well you handle it. One intern was asked to write a sorting algorithm on the board luckily for her she just had the course and so wrote a bubble sort and nailed the interview. Another equally qualified intern didn't make it because when asked about her experience with MATLAB she said she had an encounter with it (english was not her first language but the interviewer didnt care and interpreted it as a bad experience with MATLAB when she actually meant she was familiar with the product have used it once or twice in her engineering courses).

    Break up your interview, ask questions. Research the company and ask questions. Sometimes the first interview is a phone call and if they like you then a real interview. It may be one person or several people at once. Know your stuff. Check the web to see if there's any track history company interview policies like microsoft and google are known to ask challenging questions looking for candidates who give out of the box solutions.

    As an aside, a king asks a scholar how many wheelbarrows are needed to cart awat all the sand on the sea shore. The scholar thinks a bit and says ONE. The king says ONE! How can that be? and the scholar replies its big enough to hold all the sea shore sand.

    Monitor your phone/email religiously daily if not twice a day. I once sent an email (left no phone) to an intern candidate to invite him in and it took nearly two weeks before I got a response. His apology was "Oh sorry, I use another email address now." This is how you can miss an opportunity.

    The secret is to be persistent, consistent and insistent in your search for the best internship. It also helps if you can get some partime job at college doing work related to your major or minor. Everything helps on your resume.

    Lastly, dont be modest on what you know. If you wrote a java program then you know something about java and that might be all the company is looking for. My nephew almost lost a job because he wrote on his resume that he knew C but when interviewed said he didn't know it that well. He should have said what he coded and what he knew. You must use postitve laguage when you talk no self deprecation....

    I could go on but will end it here...
  7. Jan 13, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Sit the guy down with a made man and get his signature...

    Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom, and you're done.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook