The reality that senior year is almost halfway over is really sinking in. These past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to friends about applying to grad school and full-time jobs, and it reminds me a lot of when I was applying to colleges. I know it’s always a stressful time, but here’s what I’ve learned about mastering applications, whether it’s for an internship, college, or your first full-time job.
There’s nothing to master! Every application is different and every applicant is different. This was the first thing I learned about college applications. I found myself comparing my test scores or extracurriculars, and quickly learned that there’s nothing to gain from that. What matters most is to put your best foot forward and be yourself. There isn’t a game or system to play. In my college essays, I wrote about my family and how much they mean to me, my interest in computer science that I discovered the first time I wrote a Java program that printed a picture in ASCII characters, and why I felt USC is the best college for me.
I’ve found the same thing hold true for internship applications. Apart from putting my favorite projects and relevant experience on my resume, I spent most of my time talking to recruiters about my interest in their company and what I see myself working on. Again, there’s no way to play the game when all applicants have a unique and meaningful perspective. Sometimes what matters more is just how you can connect with someone. In my first phone call with my recruiter at Slack, where I’ll be working full-time after graduation, we spent the last few minutes talking about our favorite TV shows!
The takeaway is to stop stressing about how to perfect your application. You bring something special to the table, and that’s yourself. Your experiences, hobbies, and goals that drive and motivate you make your application interesting and meaningful.
Good luck to everyone on their applications! You’re going to do great things 🙂