Are you gearing up to look for an internship or full-time position? While SET undergraduates need to be proactive in securing their own internships and full-time jobs, there are many resources to help you along the way.
Start preparing for your internship or job search early. It will take time to explore career options, attend career and networking events, write a clean and effective resume, practice for interviews, schedule and complete interviews, and negotiate job offers. While companies of all sizes hire year round, the primary recruiting season for big tech companies to hire summer interns and soon-to-be graduates for entry level jobs is often earlier than many students realize – summer through early winter.
Internships are a prime opportunity for students to apply classroom learning to the real world, gain valuable industry experience, and explore careers of interest before graduating. All SET majors are strongly encouraged to pursue internship opportunities and may be eligible to earn senior elective credit for it. SET students are typically great candidates for internships as they near completion of their 300-level core courses.
If you have lined up an internship and would like to earn academic credit, read Internships for Credit to determine if you’re eligible and the steps you need to take to register BEFORE the start of the quarter.
How do I find internship or job opportunities?
There are a wide variety of resources available to you in the internship/job hunt. You’re probably familiar with sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn (don’t forget to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date!) that have thousands of engineering and tech job postings across the country. Many professional organizations, like ACM and IEEE, maintain job posting sites. And, of course, check the employment pages of companies of interest.
There are many ways for you to connect with employers at UWT and closer to home.
- Set up an account and profile on Handshake to search for job opportunities and engage with prospective employers.
- Look for opportunities sent through the undergrad mailing lists.
- Attend the autumn and spring STEM career fairs hosted by UWT Career Development.
- Participate in employer info sessions, hackathons, and career prep events to network with company representatives.
- Talk with SET faculty about your interests. Many faculty partner with industry on research or projects and may be able to help you make a connection.
- Attend the quarterly "Life After Graduation" session offered by Donald Chinn and Andrew Fry to discuss next steps into careers or graduate school.
UWT students are often welcome to attend job fairs at the UW Seattle campus, like the autumn SEBA event. Keep an eye out on the UWS College of Engineering events page for upcoming fairs. Green River College also maintains the IT Connect page that is available to the public and advertises local tech and engineering internship opportunities.
Who can help me with my resume?
You may be new to resume and cover letter writing. You may feel uncertain about applying for positions because of your lack of work experience. That's ok. Employers don't expect students and new grads to have an extensive work history, but they will look to your technical resume to determine if you could be a good fit for a position. Technical resumes are different from standard chronological or functional resumes. Employers will want to see a resume that emphasizes your technical skills, projects, leadership, and accomplishments. If you’re new to resume and cover letter writing, you can find many examples and tips for getting started online. Once you have a draft, it’s a good idea to have people with experience take a look and give you feedback. You can make an appointment with a career coach at UWT Career Development, ask a SET ugrad advisor to take a look during an appointment, or drop by Andrew Fry’s (Director of Industry Partnerships at SET) office hours with a copy of your resume. Keep an eye out for career prep events, including resume writing workshops, hosted by SET or Career Development.
Don’t forget to keep your LinkedIn profile updated to make it easy for recruiters to match you with potential jobs and contact you there.
You may also find that a prospective employer will ask about or be interested in seeing your GitHub profile. Generally, it's not required that you have one, but it can be a really good way to further highlight personal projects or significant contributions to open source. When talking about a project during an interview, you can point to your GitHub profile as a place for interviewers to learn more and see an example of your work.
I have an interview! How do I prepare?
The key to success in interviewing is practice, practice, practice. The coaches at Career Development can help you practice for the behavioral questions you may encounter, but you'll also need to understand what to expect from a technical interview and prepare as much as possible. If you know someone who works at the company or who has interviewed there before, don't hesitate to ask for insight on what the interviewing process is like. You can find many coding practice questions online. Some SET students have found the book Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell indispensible in their preparation. If you have the opportunity to participate in mock technical interviews, jump on that chance to practice. Experience will help you grow into a skilled interviewee.
An important point to keep in mind is that often employers are just as interested (if not more) in your approach and thought process to problem solving as the actual solution you come up with to a challenging coding question. You'll want to get comfortable verbalizing and using tools, like whiteboards, to demonstrate how you think and work toward solutions to problems.
Looking for additional career prep advice?
You're in luck! Kim Nguyen, Career Coach for undergrads at the Paul G. Allen School for CSE at UW Seattle, shared her incredibly helpful career guide for students with us. Kim is a UW alum who spent several years at Microsoft as an engineer and then as a recruiter. Clear and concise, this guide is packed full of great info and resources, including presentation slides that cover recruiting basics, crafting your story, and preparing for the tech interview. Check it out!