Hey, are you a web developer? Fine, please make sure to add an “apply with LinkedIn” or import your CV selection whenever you decide to create yet another job portal.

If you are like me, studying for a degree that is without relevant experience, worthless. Eventually you'd find yourself searching for an internship. Some schools have it as a requirement. Whatever it may be here are some takeaways from my experience.

Follow-up to get feedback

Unless you are working in retail, or your career resembles a retail item (fast consumption, much needed, versatile, almost universal etc.) you, reaching out to a complete stranger - hiring manager- won't initiate a conversation by itself. You are at face value just another task to be dealt with.

A plethora of reasons might have led to them not considering you; generally entry-low level applications are ghosted when there is no fit. This inevitably leads to you doubting your talent and fit factor in workplace. They obviously don't have to time to tell anyone reasons.

Following-up helps in two ways. 1. You can get valuable feedback to improve your application, your presentation for the next time. 2. You will be sure of your talent and develop a more healthy way to approach the problem.

Don't juggle responsibilities

It's tempting to get more than you can handle to boost your profile. Although having shiny brand names with you does not do much anymore.

Look at it this way,

How many people you know wants to learn another language? Think about the percent who will actually commit to learn? What will be the final percent who will successful?

Internships are not performance heavy pursuits, you don't have to treat the experience as your only source of personal validation.

Automate

Companies do that all the time. They get CVs, feed them into ATS algorithms, review and send out results, conduct interviews. More or less all automated. So why don't you? Grab a copy of airtable's job hunting templates, sign up for startup.jobs‘s email alerts etc. This will save you a lot of time and makes sure that you don't allow opportunities to fall down in cracks.

Know when it pays to be genuine

Yep! just be yourself in job interviews! Well, not everytime. You see in 2019 and a small portion of 2020. I've always got similar results in personality tests, formal and informal, following that year where I got my first real responsibility of being a lead PM at a project; the way I approach jobs and people suddenly started to change, nowadays that tests gives out marginally different results that my 2019 version might not even believe.

So, dress for the job you want not the one you have. In some cases your attitude and personality can heavilty effect the outcomes (e.g. sales) that case reflecting your before-self 100% might not be the best strategy to win what is at stake. That is not to say to veil your true personality of course, but think about every early job and internship offer as a way to mold yourself a more complete set. Being open to opportunities and connecting bits of your true self to what the job requires is key.

Case of nepotism

I don't know about other countries, but if you share the same country as me (or same region) don't get upset when you are turned away. It might be just good old nepotism.

People would openly ask you if you have any relatives working in that company. References are a way to conduct nepotism. You will be easily hired being a relative of a relative.

If you are struggling due to this, narrow down your search and focus on building a personal brand as much as possible to get a few personal connections. You probably won't get any luck with shotgunning.

My support goes out to you if your only choice is to find work in this conditions.

University > work

Don't do internship more that it contributes to you or just to fill in the blanks in your CV. More time you dump on pointless internships will hurt you in the long run because of the valuable study and personal development time you've lost in the process.

Irrelevant = nonexistent

They rarely tell this to anyone. But as far as my experience goes. Most of the openings only look for candidates with relevant job / internship experience. So any type of experience or even closer ones won't count.

Don't be hard on yourself

I've been rejected for the dumbest reasons you can imagine. Chances are you have or will be too. If you haven't given up on trying something new everytime you've let down. You are still progressing.