Key Steps to a Successful Internship and Full time Career Search

 – Ameet Chandak, MBA 2010

It is no secret that the overall economic and business environment in the US is currently going through tough times. This has surely impacted the way companies look at recruitment for internship and full time positions. The hiring process has become more stringent and highly selective due to the high unemployment and lack of future clarity on business. I would like to share some of the key steps I took to differentiate myself in this crowd. These steps, relentless focus and constant networking helped me land a full time job with a Big 4 Consulting firm, being an international student.

Working with a Target List of Companies: This is the starting point of a successful internship and full time job search. One needs to understand that there are plenty of different industries and functions that are out there in the market which are a fit with your career goals. You have to translate these in to a tangible list of target companies. You can have multiple career options, i.e. Management Consulting and Equity Research and have different companies in each of these buckets, but you need to spend time to come up with this list. The advantage is that you will spend your time in online research, informational interviews and all other related networking things with FOCUS. I can assure you without this list, you will be applying to every job you see online and it will only add to the frustration in the job search.

Informational Meetings: I cannot stress the importance of scheduling informational meetings with alumni and people in your target list of companies and job functions. The meetings serve 5 key purposes:

(1)       They serve as a big eye opener and give you a real understanding of what it takes to be successful in that particular job.

(2)       These conversations can give you information which is not there on the website. Things like current projects, clients being served, where the business is coming from, etc., are key to anticipating what the interview questions will be like and where the opportunities lie in the short term.

(3)       Answering basic questions like ‘give me a background about yourself’ and ‘describe your short term and long term goals’ give you the confidence to speak in a real interview. I can assure you that by the time I came to my first interview, I was so well prepared that I exhibited confidence and clarity on what I wanted to do as well as why!

(4)       These help you understand where within the company will your skill sets be most valuable. Most companies I spoke to had multiple teams where I could fit. It was important to ask a person within the company on what they felt was the best fit. This will help you focus and identify jobs where you have the highest possibility of actually making it until the end rather than have ‘wishful thinking.’

(5)       The people you speak to will become your entry point in the company and help you find the right hiring manager and HR to speak to and inform you of possible openings even when not advertised.

Consistently being able to talk to people in my target list was the key success factor for me and helped me understand where the opportunities are rather than wait for job openings to come up on websites. I wish you luck in the coming months and am confident that we will all embark on successful careers.

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