If you’ve been applying to countless job applications online and your finger is about to break from hitting the ‘Send’ button one more time, you should read this. Find out how I landed my internships in unconventional ways. Written by Juliet Rocco
“What am I doing with my life?” By the end of April 2012, my success of landing a co-op proved fruitless. Even after filling out tons of job applications, sending out cover letters and going on a few interviews, I didn’t have a co-op lined up for the summer.
If I had any hope of graduating on time by May 2013, I would have to find a summer position.
Networking without realizing it: My big break came in early May. I received a phone call from Herb at Dale Carnegie Training to schedule an interview. He was recommended by my co-op advisor, Emily, who had my resume ready on file. Emily and I had met a couple of times and networked at a few events together. I was also in the RIT Student Ambassador program which worked closely with the Co-op & Career Services office. By forming that relationship early on, I was able to stand out as a good candidate for a job.
The second big break: Right before my call from Dale Carnegie Training, I had just interviewed with the New Jersey Devils for their internship program. This opportunity was something that happened by pure luck though.
Here’s the story: I decided to enter in the Devils’ Drop the Puck Playoff event back in April. To my surprise, I was one of the 100 out of over a thousand random entries selected. To be honest, I’m not sure why I entered in the first place, because I’ve been living in Rochester and there was no way I could make it down for a game (the Devil made me do it).
My parents went instead. My dad, being the extrovert he is, chatted it up with a guy who happened to be a marketing executive at the Devils. He got his business card and sent me the information. I emailed him within the next few weeks, expressing my interest in the internship, and attached my resume. He sent my information to HR, and I received a call within the next few days.
When it rains, it pours: My phone interview with the Devils went great! But Dale Carnegie offered me a paid position on the spot, which left me in shock initially. I didn’t know what to do. Did I wait to get the phone call back from the Devils and hopefully start during their playoff and Stanley Cup run? Or should I take the offer with Dale Carnegie because they needed an answer within a few days? This was one of the toughest decisions I had to make.
In the end, I chose to work with Dale Carnegie as their marketing coordinator and was blessed to get another interview opportunity with the Devils, leading up to my internship with the organization in the fall. I learned so much from both of these experiences and feel incredibly confident going into my next challenge.
Takeaway: The power of networking happens when you’re least expecting it sometimes. I learned that forming relationships with people and networking outside of your area of study broadens your reach. People are more likely to trust a candidate if they come from a reference that they have done work with previously or have a solid relationship with. Focus on networking, and not just becoming another name in the online application system.