Today we feature a guest post from Microsoft university recruiter Anthony Rotoli in which he offers his advice for students looking to stand out as they look for internships and jobs. Share with us what you're doing to prepare for your career and stand out as a student in the comments.
As a recruiter, when I head to a career fair, I shake hundreds of hands, each equipped with a clean, crisp resume ready for my review in a few short hours. Later, as I dig through the stack of bright, talented, ambitious individuals, I’m on the hunt for the stand outs; these are the ones who go above and beyond to make the most of their college years, preparing for the road ahead.
Here are five simple ways I see students go the extra mile that prepares them for the career they want:
1: Internship experience
Coursework is vital for establishing strong understanding of the foundations and theory vital to being productive in the world of work, but few things will prepare you for an industry better than an internship in the area you’re pursuing a job in. As a recruiter, if I see that you interned at a company similar to ours, that’s a clear sign that, not only did you make it through interviews, but that you learned by getting your hands dirty. Further, these experiences teach you a great deal about contributing to a team and working under the demands that often come with shipping products. Learn about internship opportunities with Microsoft here.
2: Club and campus organization leadership
When you’re involved in a campus organization it tells me two things: You have the capacity to balance your regular responsibilities while going above and beyond and your passion for your field of choice is so strong that you follow it outside classroom. Further, by taking on a leadership role, you show you want to help push your peers further – this is something any employer needs!
3: Teaching assistant experience and advanced coursework
Maybe you found a particular interest in Artificial Intelligence, and decided to take that one course everyone else is afraid of. This shows recruiters that you push yourself when you find a passion, and demonstrates you aren’t afraid of a challenge. Recruiters make it their business to know what those tough, above and beyond classes are, and when we see them on your resume, we take note. Another great way to show you’ve advanced beyond your peers in the classroom is through a Teaching Assistant position. If you’re comfortable enough with your field to teach others that’s a wonderful sign!
4: Side projects
Working on projects outside classroom, perhaps with a few classmates, is a great way to strengthen your skills. Mobile application development is a good example of a side project you can pursue in your spare time. Publishing an app and then being able to show it off to me at a career fair is a sure way you can be sure I won’t forget you face after that long day.
These events are often fantastic opportunities for growth. Not only do they give you a chance to assess your abilities in relation to your peers, but it provides a great chance to express your own ideas outside the limits of the classroom. You’ll also have a chance to meet other people who are truly passionate about tech and, who knows, maybe you’ll find someone to work on a side project with.
The common thread, with all of these points, is demonstrating your true passion for technology. At Microsoft we live and breathe cutting edge tech and innovation, and we’re excited to meet others who have that same geeky gleam in their eyes!
Nice article Anthony. Hope to see you at Iowa State this semester!