IEEE - Talk series 2
The Illinois Tech chapter of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) held their second talk series for the Spring 2017 semester at Wishnick Hall room 116 on Thursday, March 30 during lunch. The executive board members, Aqueel Miqdad (computer science, third year) and Aditya Parakh (computer engineering, third year), shared ‘hacks’ on how to lock an internship. They mainly addressed themselves to students majoring in computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE), and electrical and computer engineering (ECE).
Quick note about the speakers: both Parakh and Miqdad have received internships from prestigious tech companies like Goldman Sachs, Twitter, Linkedln, Facebook, and Google, among others. Parakh is from Bangkok, Thailand and is the project chair for IEEE and currently is a Finance Board advisor for SGA on campus. His other campus involvement includes the Model United Nations (MUN) chapter at IIT. He was the co-founder of this organization. Miqdad is equally involved in a plethora of on-campus activities. He has been a teaching assistant for computer science classes and is currently a resident advisor for MSV (McCormick State Village). He has accepted his internship offer with Goldman Sachs. He purely believes that “you won’t get rejected if you don’t apply” is a doltish approach and mindset that have eclipsed and faded one’s confidence. What works best is “believing in yourself, and set goals to prepare your resume.”
But, how do you prepare one? Both Parakh and Miqdad confirmed that companies have an already in-built system whereby resumes are screened out. Hence, it is crucial to prepare a resume that is able to pass successfully from the algorithm set. He summarizes that the resume should include coding-related experience, software projects, achievements, and coursework. An additional feature could include adding on personal experience or leadership roles. Miqdad adds humorously that “you want to make yourself look human, and not a machine!”
Often, students tend to neglect the fact that other candidates may have the exact same profile as theirs. As such, just a minute detail can make a resume look unique. It demands customization. For instance, if one is applying for a software engineering role, it is necessary to emphasize more on software-related projects. Parakh discusses that the role description of projects should be tailored in a quantitative fashion. In other words, it should highlight one’s involvement rather than attempt to lobby one’s project as a potential market product.
Miqdad further discusses how recruiters streamline through the whole document in just ten seconds. But, what bags him an interview with the Twitter team? Actually, he shares that he possesses coding experience in swift, the language that Twitter works on. Hence, this was certainly an add-on feature for him to successfully gain a technical interview. Different companies have different approaches. For instance, start-ups that are really small can be dedicated to a specific field, hence they will require strict specification, while larger companies like Goldman Sachs might appreciate leadership skills too.
Coming to the format of this singly A4 document, Miqdad thinks that the double formatted page works best for him. Parakh further connects that there are different templates available online. It does not need to be a standard one; it can surely vary.
Additionally, both speakers stress upon the optimization usage of career services resources at IIT. Parakh shared how he had had his resume revised several times with the career coaches. He believes that there exists no pitch perfect resume and polishing is always required. Also, he personally thinks that GPAs do not totally spoil or adhere to a resume. It totally depends if one is satisfied with their figures, then they can go ahead and include it on top of it, but it is optional.
“But I have nothing to put on my resume!” Parakh has often heard this complaint from his fellow peers. Together with Miqdad, he has worked on a project for a period as long as 6 months. This shows their pure dedication to make a difference. They built an iOS fitness app. During their process, they happened to learn its development alongside. It was totally a self-experiential journey. A less intense path would be attending hack-a-thons. It is easy to build something from scratch in as little as 36 hours with all those resources available at such an event. Besides, it is possible to obtain funding through the IEEE organization for a certain project. All it takes is dedication.
Finally, it is important to start working towards building an awesome resume. The key is to start early. Summer is imminent. Students should establish their preferences about the specific industry that they wish to dive in, but not necessarily limit themselves to just one type. They should apply to a pool of companies. A checklist for the summer is: make a resume, get it reviewed multiple times, find a list of internships/jobs you like, and apply to all companies on the list. And, deadlines should be respected.
Any specific questions related for internships are most welcome to Aqueel Miqdad. He encourages his fellow peers to email him at email@example.com. This week, there will be a follow-up talk about technical interview by IEEE members.