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Landing the Internship or Full-Time Job 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the wear-a-tie dept.
fires_of_heaven writes "Faced with some technical site interviews, I decided to rummage the web and came across a blog titled Landing The Job. I found the advice on the blog far more useful than the other random tidbits I found, so I emailed its author a quick note of thanks. The next day I found Landing the Internship or Full-Time Job at my doorstep. Normally, I don't bother with career books, but this title is written by people that have recently landed an awesome job at companies like Google and EA Games rather than a hiring manager or recruiter. It even includes the resumes they used to "Land The Job." Read the rest of Paul's review.
Landing the Internship or Full-Time Job During College
author Robert R. Peterson
pages 299
publisher iUniverse
rating 9/10
reviewer Paul Gerken
ISBN 0595366813
summary A guide written by those that have recently landed jobs at Google, EA Games, Intel, Amazon, IBM, and others


The book starts out with a foreword by an IBM Executive and then covers 10 chapters which I comment on individually below. Each chapter is followed by a profile from either an intern or new hire at a fortune 50 company. The profiles include a Q&A and the resume of the individual. I found them to be practical and honest. For example, Ben Lewis who is profiled as an Xbox developer said that he sometimes feels that he can't make a difference at Microsoft.

As a busy computer science student, I can really appreciate how the contents are written. Each chapter has a "Bare Minimum To Do" list with suggestions on how much time each item should take. They also include "Common Mistakes" sections. I especially used the to-do list for the company research chapter.

Another observation I should share is that everything is by example. When cover letters are discussed, there are two example letters--when rejecting an offer is discussed there are example emails. There are even example dialogs for behavioral interviews and for salary negotiation. I think most career books endlessly rant on about methods and rules. Landing the Job seems to be more centered in reality.

The only complaint I have is that there are a few minor grammatical errors. Overall, I think this book is going to be a classic. I haven't had all my site interviews yet, but I know it will help me land my future job.

Chapter 10. HR Interviews and Salary Negotiation
In my opinion, this chapter should be first because it is the best one. It starts off by talking about why recruiters act the way they do. Then it covers salary negotiation which includes a sample dialog between a student with an offer and a manager. I used the "Offer Comparison" section and am sure I will use again. It walks through how to evaluate the worth of an offer step-by-step. It even has a sample offer letter that it walks through as an example.

Chapter 1. Building Unmatched Credentials
If you are like me you often skip the first chapter of books. I didn't read this chapter at first because it talks about how to get experience while you are in college before you are looking for a job. Since I am already looking for a job, it doesn't really apply to me. After looking over it again though, I think it has really good advice. For instance, it recommends that spending endless hours to increase your GPA by a tenth of a point is not as important as finding personal projects or interests in your field.

Chapter 2. Crafting a Successful Resume
This chapter walks through writing a resume from a brainstorm to text and pdf versions. I didn't follow the entire process because I already had a resume, but the examples really helped. I also used the resumes from the profiled new hires and interns at the end of each chapter for ideas.

Chapter 3. Writing a Strong Cover Letter
I didn't have a cover letter prior to reading this. This is one of my favorite chapters because it is a short and sweet guide to getting together a nice cover letter. It includes two sample cover letters written by a mechanical engineer and a computer scientist. It also explains when to use a cover letter. For example, it suggests that a cover letter on-top of a resume can be mailed to any company address--say their customer service department--generating job leads outside of typical HR channels.

Chapter 4. Researching an Organization
I used this chapter less than the others, but it does answer some vital questions--what you need to find out and where to find it. It covers research with the internet, at company career sites, and at libraries. It has a profile of an IBM new hire at the end explaining how company research helped him.

Chapter 5. Secrets of Applying Online
This chapter is amazing. I didn't know how to put together a text resume properly until I read this chapter. I didn't know that many online forms accept unicode 2.0 not ascii so you can add bullets, underlines, and other characters to text resumes. The end has a profile from an Intel new hire and how he got his job by applying online.

Chapter 6. Mastering Career Fairs
This chapter wasn't that much use to me since I've been to a lot of career fairs. However, I agree with all the advice which is basically to know what you are going to highlight from your resume, how to act calm and confident in front of a recruiter, and to pay attention to who is attending a fair. It also cites references of where to find career fairs.

Chapter 7. Learning the Art of Interviewing
This chapter covers interviewing in general and topics that are not specific to behavioral or technical interviews. I read this chapter twice and I think I'm going to read it again before my next site interview. It covers how not to be nervous, getting safety offers, phone interviews, dinner interviews, and what you should try to emphasis about yourself during an interview (as well as what not to say). The end profiles a PhD student deciding between Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Chapter 8. Behavioral Interviews
Although I don't often do behavioral interviews and I don't think they are that big of a deal, I found this chapter useful. It explains why employers like behavioral interviews so much (in a nut shell they are assume future behavior will reflect past behavior). It also has an example behavioral interview and example questions--they are hard ones too.

Chapter 9. Technical Interviews
It is clear that the author has had some serious technical interviews. This chapter covers brain teasers to quality assurance questions to hard-core programming questions. It has a huge section on example questions and solutions (which takes up about a 4th of the book). It covers how to write good pseudo code, how to handle the situation when you haven't a clue what the answer is, and even technical questions for non-computer majors like civil engineering and mechanical engineering.

This is an excellent book for any major in college."


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Landing the Internship or Full-Time Job

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  • Good source? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2006 @03:41PM (#14429878)
    I'm not so sure that the book is necessarily a must-read for those looking to get an internship. From the author's blog, it looks like it's simply an eclectic collection of "profiles" from soon-to-be-graduates that are in the market for an internship or full-time job. Heck, I could've written this book too. In fact, anyone with sufficient interviewing experience (which isn't hard to come by if you're going through recruiting in your senior year of college) can give the same advice. The book is just a collection of these experiences, re-hashed and aggregated into print form. Oh well, if you really want to check it out you can see it here too: Landing the Internship or Full-Time Job During College [amazon.com].
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:00PM (#14430037) Homepage Journal
    resumes. I have been looking for a job on Monster and got nowhere with the jobs I physically applied to, but just for kicks made my resume searchable. Nothing but a headhunter for a few months and basically I forget about it. Then about a month ago out of the blue I get an email from a person who wants to set up an interview, and now I am just waiting on the formalities before I get the job offer of my dreams.
    Now it's time to share your job site stories; reply if you had
    a)no luck with job sites and swore them off forever
    b)got the job through going through the "official" application process
    c)were contacted through someone searching your resume
    d)If Cowboy Neal set you up with this awesome freelance gig.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#14430053)
    Obviously this gotta be a scam mostly because:

    All those big 3 are using agencies to fulfill their needs in short term and contract basises.

    Where the hell is networking in all of this, to keep things consistent with what people talk you should include the networking factor period.

    Do you really think I'm gonna buy the "landing the job" crap when downsizing and financial restructuring are the trends nowadays.

    C'mon this is a blogger page are you gonna fall for this that easy?.

    Most of the content are regurgitations of many books and tips out there, gimme a break.

  • by DamienMcKenna (181101) <damien.mc-kenna@com> on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:19PM (#14430200)
    A tip I gleamed from an in-law is that at the end of the (formal) interview ask the interviewer(s) if they feel you have the ability to do the job. If they say yes, ask them for the job! I've typically phrased it from the point of view of saving them time, e.g. "so, why don't you save yourself some time and hassle, and just hire me now?" Has worked quite well I must say. One HR person (albeing fresh off the block) was actually taken aback and visibly impressed by my asking this and I had a job offer half an hour later (I was waiting for a lift home and he came over to make me an offer), while another was comfortable enough already by this point to say yes.

    Then again, if you get a "no, we're not sure if you're quite right" there's not much point in pushing it unless you can first get past their issues.

    Damien
  • by HardCase (14757) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:22PM (#14430222)
    I heartily second that, except with correct capitalization and punctuation. Five years ago, I started as an intern and started the Monday after graduation with a full time job. Besides doing actual engineering work (at my company, interns fill actual engineering job reqs), that year counted towards corporate benefits - 401K and stock vesting, vacation time accrual and the like.

    I got the intern job because I paid attention to what was going on around me. I overheard a friend of a friend say that he knew a VP at the company, so I asked him to drop a resume on the VP's desk. I had an interview and an internship offer the next week.

    Maybe that's another lesson - don't be afraid to use whatever "connection" comes up. Your abilities will carry the day, but you've gotta get your foot in the door.

    -h-
  • by BVis (267028) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:23PM (#14430226)
    I might be talking nonsense, but IMHO the reason the EA Europe people may have at least seemed more sane is because most European countries actually give a shit about how the employees of a large corporation get treated. For example, if someone in Europe was told "You need to work 14 hours a day, six days a week (or whatever long hours EA Spouse was talking about) until further notice, and no, we're not paying overtime" that person would quickly introduce you to several uses for four-letter words you might have been unfamiliar with, and refuse to do so. Employment law would also back them up and prevent the company from firing them for refusing. Whereas, over here in the U$A where the government is of the companies, for the companies and by the companies, said employee would nearly immediately be sacked without notice or reason, and without any recourse, since more than likely they would be an "at-will" employee, subject to termination at any time for any reason, or no reason.
     
    Exhausted employees on the verge of a psychotic break don't produce well. The Europeans have realized this.
  • Re:Great Jobs at EA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by creimer (824291) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:38PM (#14430373) Homepage
    I quit Atari after six years. I didn't want to sacrifice my personal life to the video game gods. During my last three years there, I started going to school part time to learn programming and picked up some certifications (A+, Network+, MS W2K). Five months ago I got a job working on the IBM Help Desk. I'm a lot happier now working only 40 hours a week for the same amount of money that I was making at Atari working 80 hours week for months on end. I'm finishing up school this semester to get my associate degree and complete the Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MSCA) certification.
  • by psu_whammy (940612) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:41PM (#14430397)
    The point is that someone with a 4.0 GPA will have difficulty getting hired due to lack of directly applicable experience, and someone with a 3.0 GPA who's had a co-op/internship with a major technology company will find it much easier.

    For every 4.0 studious, analytical student out there who fits well into the work world, there's a 4.0 GPA "professional student" who doesn't have the soft skills to fit into corporate culture.
  • by Anthony Liguori (820979) on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:52PM (#14430500) Homepage
    I don't see why we applaud that type of advice when it comes to grades, but heap scorn upon it when it comes to software development.

    It really, really, depends here. GPA is widely accepted to not be a good indicator of corporate success (forget about exceptional cases, I'm talking about the average case).

    It's somewhat irresponsible to say that GPA doesn't matter (because it does), but it OP's point, I think, is that sometimes one's time can be better spent pursuing other things instead of focusing on getting the highest possible GPA (which I do believe is true).
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Monday January 09, 2006 @06:00PM (#14431173) Homepage Journal
    The type of person who goes and talks to their professor or spends an extra day per test studying to get the extra 1/10th of a GPA point, is exactly the type of person who will analyze a problem into the ground.
    But look at it from the employer's point of view: how do you know what they did to get that extra 1/10? Did the student go to a lot of extra trouble, or were the tests just easy? Damn, a fluctuation of .1 in GPA can just be a factor of the weather or traffic on the day before a test. You don't have any idea, just a number.

    Think about the last time you chose to hire anyone for anything. (Even if you're not an "employer", you have probably hired a mechanic, plumber, doctor, lawyer, whatever.) Did you ever even slightly care what their grades were? It probably came down to 33% references, 34% presentation, and 33% price. Ok, I just pulled those fractions out of my ass, but the point is, their GPA probably isn't even in the top 20 things that you cared about. I bet you didn't even ask.

  • by Shirlockc (916165) on Monday January 09, 2006 @06:16PM (#14431312) Homepage
    Having reviewed lots of resumes (no, I'm not in HR), I have assembled a short list of what to do if you DON'T want to be hired - in no particular order, and yes, I have had all of these in the past, and no, haven't hired or even interviewed any of these candidates:

    1) Mass email your CV and let everyone see everyone else's email addresses.
    2) Have a mini blog on your website/portfolio that says the city you're in "has design studios that are crap and all they produce is shit".
    3) Send me links for work examples that don't work - if you're applying for a web developer job, I expect to see web work. Similarly if you're applying for a copy editing job, I don't want to see a typo on your CV.
    3) Send me "questionable" work samples to review - that gay porn site that you got paid to put together might not be something you want to be remembered by.
    4) Spell my name incorrectly if you're emailing me.
    5) Call me when I specifically say on the job ad NO PHONE CALLS.
    6) Show up late or not show up at all for the interview.
    7) Inappropriate dress, demeanor at interview - you would think this is a given but it isn't.
    8) Tell me your life story at the interview as opposed to your work experience.
    9) List age, marital status, GPA etc. on the CV - this may be SOP in other countries but not in the U.S.
    10) Send out your CV and cover letter without getting a friend to review it. If you have no friends, pay someone, get your mother to do it. Ultimatley, you're not "waiting for my replay" and I don't want to "TTYL".

  • by mgranit11 (862145) on Monday January 09, 2006 @06:37PM (#14431482) Homepage
    Networking! I have landed most of my jobs from attending seminars and conferences and networking. People like to hire people they have met and know. Get invovled with user groups and attend conferences and seminars in your area.
  • Finally, someone who points out the (admittedly painful) truth. Most real jobs are gained because you were able to do an end run around HR and talk to the real people in charge.

    This is often done by having an "in" in the company you want to work for. Sometimes, however (as in my case), it is done by standing out in a crowd and being able to chat comfortably with random people.

    In my case, I decided to be different and wear a sign which announced my availability on my backpack when I went to a tech conference last year. I ended up getting stopped by a lot of people there who ran companies. =]

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