Please Choose Me
In my previous post, I wrote about feeling some fear and apprehension about starting my new grad program and trying to fit in with my classmates, and I outlined a three-step plan to manage my transition. Even though I am knee deep in preparing for my midterms I decided a little break to write this post was in order.
Goal: Work on Social Interactions. Result: These have been easier than I had planned. Once classes began, it was simple to talk to my classmates—now, toss in the recruiting process (see below) and there has been more bonding—stress creates fast bonds. At times, I still feel like the outsider—this is primarily due to my age and life stage, and so I try not to let it bother me.
Goal: Ask more questions & sit at the front of my classes. Result: I bounced around seats the first couple of weeks, but I have comfortably settled into the front row of all my classes. I am still a bit hesitant to ask questions in a few of my classes, but I have reached out to my classmates to seek their expertise. Our cohort has been helpful and supportive.
Goal: Have Fun. Result: Have I had fun? It's been very stressful with a little fun sprinkled throughout. Last week I hosted a pizza and game night, which was fun.
The real purpose of this post is to discuss the lows and highs of the recruiting process. This process is designed to place us in summer internships. One of the reasons I chose this program is because they have 100% placement rate for internships and job placement after graduation. If I was going to leave a secure and successful career, I needed a direct path to employment.
Get an internship in 11 easy steps:
Develop a killer resume (the trick is that it can only be 1 page)
Attend an early recruiting event (picture a corporate speed-dating event, 5-7 minutes per company, wearing high heels and a big grin)
Apply to companies (this is the easy part)
Practice behavioral interview questions (Tell me about a time when you...which are the basis for corporate interviewing)
Wait until companies notify for an interview slot / or a rejection
Frantically, schedule your interview, while also trying to avoid doing so during class / if rejected feel some measure of relief that you don't have to worry about missing class
Research company for the upcoming interview / if rejected tell your friends and family to never patronize the company again (just kidding)
Attend an information session for the recruiting company (this happens the night before they interview everyone). Most nights, there are two information sessions to attend. / if rejected, still attend the info session on the hopes that they left an additional interview slot open - then learn to smile when you get denied a second time.
Go to the interview / if rejected - watch enviously as your classmates come to class in their professional attire and wish them luck on their interviews
Wait anxiously for an offer from the company for an internship / if rejected try not to feel too dejected
Repeat steps 3-10 (until you sign an offer for your internship)
One of the benefits of going to grad school is that I'm living with my parents, who happen to live next door to my brother and his family. My brother's five-year-old-daughter is a source of constant joy. I've included one of the pictures that she created for me during the recruitment process. It says "I support you!" You know it’s bad when a five-year-old needs to cheer you up.
After 1 1/2 weeks of this recruiting process, I was feeling battered and sad—when I get to that state, then the useless negative questions arrive - What’s wrong with my resume? Why don’t they like me? Will, I ever find an internship? Will I be the last one to get an internship? I’m too old for this? Why did I leave a successful career?” The questions were never-ending.
I should note that I was not alone in this process; there was a sizable group who were (are) in the same position—our misery bonded us together.
I can happily report that I did get an internship at Dell--this happened at the end of week 2 of the full recruiting cycle. I officially signed my contract this week—therefore, I am spreading the good news.
It might have felt like I was dramatic earlier—but those two weeks felt like a lifetime. I was officially rejected from 12 companies. Now that I am on the other side of the process, I feel like I was a real wimp. Preparing for midterms seems almost blissfully easy—although my heart goes out to my friends who are still slugging through the recruiting process. I pray daily that they will find a great company and that this exhausting process will be over for them soon.
If all goes well, my internship will turn into a full-time position. I plan on working my butt off this summer so I don’t have to repeat this cycle next fall.