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Months of nothing, and then internship offer bonanza

I began my internship process in early January. This was for three reasons. First, I was (and am) specializing in HCI, and was anxious that my lack of programming experience would set me apart from other candidates seeking the same jobs. I felt a strong need to prepare for the process in order to distinguish myself from other candidates through better preparation. Second, I had never experienced a formal interview in my life. I felt that I needed to prepare early in order to polish my non-existent interviewing skills. Lastly, I had never written a resume before. I felt, (once again) that I needed to work at it if I was going to represent myself favorably against the competition.

The results of my preparation were not encouraging, at least initially. I went to every SI-sponsered pizza-party-job-search- powerpoint event offered this winter. I endured two mock interviews. I had several long, concerned discussions with a tailor about the right color of tie to wear to an interview. I met with Tonya at least 5 times in order to get my resume, coverletter, and interviewing skills in order. I went to the drycleaners. I even tried to critique my own body language (an appalling, fruitless task) by interviewing myself in front of the mirror. By March, I had painstakingly crafted coverletters to 10 internships I felt were enticing, including PARC, SAP, Honeywell, IBM, Oracle, and Pfizer. I had written a "strong" resume, honed several times over the months, and had been interviewed several times.

But nobody was interested. No one. By late March I had recieved no offers. Or rejection letters, even. I started to panic. I decided to go to the SI internship/employment fair, and talked to representatives from the top 10 employers there that interested me. I rehearsed my internship fair schpiel, did research on my target companies, and ironed my pants. At the fair, I talked to employers, (far easier this way than in formal interviews) distributed my resume, and asked how long it would be before I was contacted regarding employment.

Again, nobody was intereseted. By mid-April, I still had no offers. Or rejection letters, even.

And then, suddenly, I did have an offer. Early one morning MITRE (a company that had said they would contact me the next day about employment, and never did) called me offering a job out in Boston that is right up my alley and pays spectacularly. The next day I interviewed with Jewelry Television and was approached by their recruiter a week after. This week, I received 3 emails from employers I met at the SI job fair, including Organic and Enlighten, regarding internship opportunities. It seems that the internship process for HCI is famine and then feast, with many job offers arriving very late in the semester, most likely because recruiters don't understand why Michigan's school year ends so early.

I accepted the job with MITRE and have taken considerable relish in the task of writing chilly, polite, terse, apologetic-but-patronizing letters of rejection to employers that just don't meet my internship experience needs.

Posted by cwmatthe at April 20, 2006 11:40 AM


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