Profession and Resume Guidance: Student Edition

With the launch of YC’s list of startups hiring for fall 2020 interns, I have actually been getting a lot of requests for guidance from students about their approaching fall plans.

I offered some resume suggestions previously, and now I wish to answer some regularly asked questions that are relevant to students.

Q: I’m considering taking an internship this fall but I do not know how to weigh the pros/cons of taking a semester off. What should I do?

There are so many variables to think about, there’s no simple response. That said, you’ll benefit by getting 3 crucial perspectives/pieces of information to help you navigate a choice:

  • Ask your college/university what their policy is for taking a leave of absence. Some universities have a policy that you can not leave, others have a period by which you must return in order to graduate. Comprehend your scenario, so you do not put your enlisting in jeopardy.
  • Comprehend the expenses of taking a leave. This may consist of foregoing any pre-paid tuition or room and board at your university; it might also incur re-enrollment fees.
  • Talk to your parents. This is not a choice to make in isolation, as your family has a beneficial interest in your graduation. They may likely be shocked, so anticipate lots of questions on whether this is in your benefit.

Nathan Leung faced a comparable decision as an increasing sophomore, and selected to take a leave from college to sign up with Jupiter (YC S19). He composed a terrific piece on his experience and how he considered taking a gap year. You can read his post here.

Eventually, lots of leading companies– and startups also– look positively at candidates who have completed a 4-year university. So unless you actually are the next Zuckerberg, completing your degree eventually is probably the right relocation.

Q: How should I approach internships in expectation for beginning a profession after college?

When I was in college, I knew I desired to be a software application engineer, however didn’t understand what kind of environment would be a great fit.

If you’re still trying to figure out what you like/don’ t like, treat each internship as a chance to advance your skillset and discover about a specific market.

Q: I ultimately want to begin my own start-up. What are some crucial things I should be considering in picking an internship opportunity?

At little start-ups, you get more direct exposure to how to operate a service and even start your own start-up.

So believe critically about which skillset you might wish to develop during your internship– product management, customer support, organisation, etc– and be proactive about asking questions or proposing jobs that might move the needle for the business.

Q: I have actually never had an internship prior to. Should I take classes, work on more projects, research study more or something else to prepare?

Among the primary reasons that larger companies use internships is to train and employ a future labor force. There’s an expectation that you might not understand everything on day one, however that you’re bright adequate to find out quickly on the job. (Startups are also looking longer-term to hire you, however there’s not as much structure or resources to get you up to speed. They might desire to see a little more fit in terms of ability set or familiarity with their stack.)

In either case, it’s worth applying and seeing what you’re able to land. And if you can’t get an internship that matches your dream function or skillset, attempt to find other nearby roles that may provide you domain experience.

Finally, here are some fast ideas for student resumes:

  • Keep it to one page. In most cases, you can cover all your experiences in a single sheet.
  • If you have work experience, put that at the top– either initially or right after your education. If you come from a lesser-known school, having work experience first might help.
  • Avoid a section listing skills/proficiencies. For example, putting list ” Python, C , SQL, Typescript”
  • Include a “Projects” section sparingly. There’s inadequate signal to determine if it helped you establish applicable abilities, specifically if it’s a side job or a hackathon. One caveat is if you’re obtaining a role that requires Python and you have it– then it might be a great indicator of your fit. However do not have a section purely listing Projects at the expense of other appropriate experience.
  • If you’re a designer, make your portfolio or Dribbble page plainly visible. Put it alongside your name, and even think about not having other links there.

And if you missed it, read out basic resume advice, which talks more about impact, your story and how to finest reach out.

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