Engineering classes can be daunting enough on their own, but add internships, research opportunities, and career plans to the game and you are sure to get a whole other story. Although searching for these can be frustrating and often challenging, there are so many resources for us Viterbi students that make networking and applications so much simpler! Here are a few tips you can use to help you make the most of your Viterbi experience.
1) Use your Academic Advisor!
Every semester you are required to visit your academic advisor for an advisement appointment in which you discuss the progress you are making toward your degree and lay out what courses you will be taking the next semester. While a lot of students stop their relationship with their advisor right there, building and fostering a meaningful relationship with them can make a huge difference in how you plan your academic course path. Viterbi academic advisors are there to help us figure out how to make our undergraduate experience the most enjoyable, so do not be afraid to stop by during walk-in hours and ask questions! My advisor, Chris Noll, has been extremely helpful in answering questions about the importance of adding an emphasis within BME, what technical electives best fit my personal interests, and what extracurricular activities I might be interested in. Your own advisor will be happy to do the same for you, and even more if you simply ask!
2) Reach out to Alumni
The Trojan family is no joke. USC Alumni absolutely love to hear from current students about their career interests and will gladly field any questions you have about their USC experiences and how they got to where they are today. Many engineering departments have their own alumni databases with a list of alumni who asked to have their contact information put down for the very reason to have students contact them. I have personally utilized the BME Alumni database to contact Alumni who work for medical device companies such as Stryker and Medtronic to get a better understanding of what I can do to prepare myself for internships, in addition to getting a feel for what an average day is like in an engineering job. All of the Alumni I have contacted have been tremendously helpful, and as soon as you conquer the initial nerves of reaching out to someone you have never met it only gets easier. On that note, don’t simply ask for internships or jobs. While the Alumni are glad to hear from you, it is not professional or comfortable, and most do not directly work with their company’s recruiting office.
3) Look at The Viterbi Career Gateway
The Viterbi Career Gateway is a very easy-to-navigate online database that allows Viterbi students to get involved in On-Campus Recruiting. Sign in with your USC email and password, upload a copy of your resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and sample cover letters, and you are able to look at which companies are recruiting USC students and can express interest in specific companies. This site is also very helpful during the Viterbi Career Fair as you are able to search every company that will be on campus, identify if they are hiring interns or full-time employees, and express interest in them, which notifies the recruiter that you are interested in learning more about their company at the fair.
There are many other resources available to Viterbi students to aid in the internship and job search and look for research opportunities, but these three are some of the most helpful and widely used. You can also check out connectSC, USC’s campus wide job database, and sign up for the Career Center’s weekly emails which keep you updated on companies that are on campus or looking to hire students. Although it seems like a lot, the earlier you begin your search the less stressful it becomes, and the more rewarding your experience will be!