Post # 1
I’m in college with one year left to complete my BS in electrical engineering. And I’ve been applying for all kinds of internships since January. I’ve had my resume looked over by classmates, professors, and the nice people at the career center but I am having absolutely no luck. I’ve gotten a couple of phone interviews but all of them resulted in very pleasant emails along the lines of “We appreciate your interest in our company but unfortunately we have found a more qualified candidate.” Since my field is technical I can respect this but I’m getting a little frustrated by the number of my classmates that are being offered internships but not being asked any technical questions. From my experience a phone interview is 15 min of pleasantries and questions about previous work experience and then an hour to an hour and a half of technical questions to judge understanding and familiarity with the area of emphasis. My classmates on the other hand… only one of them has ever been asked any technical questions.
I was working in lab soldering a printed circuit board with my lab partner when he stepped aside for a phone interview. I was working quietly so he stayed in the room and I did a little ease dropping trying to pick up some hints since he was successful in getting an internship last year. He was on the phone for 20 min and they offered him the job. They didn’t ask him anything technical. They didn’t even ask him what he did for his previous internship.
I just don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. Its not even that I don’t know the answers to the technical questions I get asked. Generally I know at least 90% of the answers and can logic my way through the other 10%. Help!?
I could really use some tips/advice. Or just some words of encouragement. Thank you bees.
Post # 3
@NoOneYouExpect: I’m graduating with my B.S. in EE in just over a month ( as long as all goes well)! Hopefully I can help you out a little!
What kind of companies have you applied to? Generally what I have noticed is that smaller companies ask more technical questions, and larger companies ask more behavioral questions. I think it also depends on the industry.
Also, when you submit resumes, try to make sure you’re kind of tailoring it to the job description. My school offers mock interviews, maybe you could see if your school has those.
Personally, when I interviewed for my internship, I didn’t get any technical questions. I also never got any when I interviewed for full time. I have however heard of classmates getting some.
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have, I’ve been through quite a few interview for our field!
Post # 4
I’ve applied to the big names and the know name companies. I mostly get contacted by the smaller companies but I’ve talked to two of the big names where I live. As far as industry… I would like to make a career out of power systems but I’ve applied to for every internship looking for EE. Around here communication systems (which I’m competent in but not particularly interested by) are king and programing queen. At least where I live one seems to be at a bit of a disadvantage if they don’t know python and java in addition to Verilog and C (I only know that later two). Have you found this to be true where you are at as well? I’ll happily analyze three phase transformers all day but I don’t seem to think the right way to be a successful programmer. I do okay with hardware description languages but even at the assembly level I just don’t seem to be able to produce efficient programing code.
I’ve done a few mock interviews as well and I do well with the behavioral question but my school doesn’t have mock interviews set up specifically for the technical fields so I only get practice there when I’m doing a phone interview. Oh, I was also told to wear flats instead of heels because “your height can be intimidating” but that tip will only get used if I ever get to meet someone in person. (*sigh* thank you for letting me vent.)
As for personalizing the resume, I try. I move the most relevant skills to the top of the technical skills section and adjust the profile to indicate interest in the particular subject. I’ve also been working on my cover letter writing skills but they always seem awkward. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask would you mind sharing an example intro paragraph? It seems like starting is always the hardest part.
Post # 5
@NoOneYouExpect: Oh wow, you’re experience has been WAY different than mine. I have never been asked about any programming languages besides C++, and even then, it would be considered an extra, not a requirement. I only had one interview for my internship, but from what I’ve seen, they just want to know your competent, not that you are a master in anything.
That being said, I haven’t applied to anything in communication systems or power. It’s all been defense for me. What region do you live in? Just curious, I go to Penn State.
Phone interviews, SUCK. They’re awkward and so hard to judge how the person is taking what you are saying. Does your school hold any career fairs or any in the closest big city? Those have been beneficial for a lot of my classmates.
As for cover letters, this sounds terrible, but I hate writing them, and successfully avoided applying to jobs out there that required them.
Also, I did get my internship last year with like three weeks of my semester left, so don’t give up hope!
Post # 6
@NoOneYouExpect: Have you thought about/applied for any co-ops? It may put you back a year in graduating, but it would look even better than an internship (and you would be making a decent amount of money doing it). This late in the semester it may be easier to get a co-op that would be work summer/school fall/work spring/break summer/work fall/last semester spring. My SO ended up doing that (the place he co-oped only hired students who were 21+.
Try askamanager.org for resume/cover letter/interview tips. It’s a great resource.
Post # 7
I’m located in a military city in the midwest for lack of a better description. There are two air force bases, one army base, and one of the military academies all inside of an hour drive from me. The navy has a presence here too (which is a bit beyond me because we’re land locked) but the big business here is the communication systems for military and aerospace applications. Some of the DOD contactors are around too but the divisions in the city mostly do the software support. For example Boeing has an entire building in the tech center filled with nothing but programmers.
I went to the last career fair and did the appropriate amount of mingling and handing out of resumes. Of the 15 to 20 tech companies there only 3 of them were looking for hardware rather than software engineers. One of them already hired a classmate of mine. Another sent me a nice rejection email. And the last one actually just sent me an email today.
Have you ever done a video interview? They want me to answer several questions in individual video clips and submit them.
Follow up question if they “want to get to know you better” what would you tell them? I’m discovering that having the ability to record, watch, and re-record my answers makes me less confident in my answers (too much time to stress compared to an interview where you are having an actual conversation).
Post # 8
I’ve applied for several co-ops and with the exception of a Friday morning class the rest of my courses will be in the evening so I can easily work a daytime job like many co-ops seem to require. (Is it sad that I have my course schedule planed out for the next year already?) And I will take a look at that website. Thank you.
Post # 9
@NoOneYouExpect: Wow, sounds like the area you are in is doesn’t even want electrical engineers, they want computer or software engineers! That’s terrible! I assume you also want to stay in the area, but maybe looking elsewhere might not be a bad idea.
What, I haven’t heard of submitting video interview questions either! I have heard of skype interviews though. For wanting to get to know you better, I assume that is similar to the tell me about yourself question. I have usually said something to the extent of:
“I’m a college student that is looking to learn a lot from an internship/position that will help me learn and grow as a student and as a person. I want to challenge myself and want to get out there and see what it is like to implement things I have learned in school, as well as learning new things that I might not get the chance to in school.”
As for watching the videos you record, maybe don’t watch them! Have a friend/SO/classmate watch them, tell you what they think, and that’s that! Overthinking them will just stress you out more!
Ah good luck, I hope you get something! Us girl EE’s are hard to come by! You’ll have to update me, and feel free to ask anything else!
Post # 10
@NoOneYouExpect: My very first job was advising and placing students in internships with the federal government. Have you checked with usajobs.opm.gov? Some agencies do offer internships especially summer ones. However, I will advise you that you may have to relocate for some position during your internship period.
Before I started working for the government, I was an intern. I had 3 internships in total with one being a co-op. My very first internship was during my sophomore year in college and it had nothing to do with my area of study. However, it helped me build my resume, made some very good connections thru networking and I got an internship in my area of study which then led to a co-op. What I’m trying to say is to try to look for internships within your field but do not just concentrate on just one specific branch of it. Also, not sure if you are doing this but check out all types of internships….paid and non-paying ones.
If you need any advice or questions feel free to PM 🙂 GL!