Battle of the Brains

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Entries from March 2012

Five Tips to Help Secure an Internship with a Top IT Company

March 29th, 2012 · Comments

Whether you competed at the regionals level or made it all the way to World Finals, the Battle of the Brains is an amazing addition to your resume.  Another key line for your resume?  Internship positions.  Real-world experience is one of the best ways to kick-start your career and prepare for a global workforce.


We asked IBM’s recruitment team to give us their top five tips to land a position in the information technology field:

Show Off Your Skills

Your resume and cover letter aren’t the place to be shy.  Emphasize your academics, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and awards.  You should also include previous jobs, even if they’re unrelated, and highlight skills you learned that could also apply to the internship.  These could include customer service, teamwork, and organization.

Be Persistent

Two to three weeks after you send in your application, follow up with a phone call to the hiring manager or human resources department to ensure they received your materials.  This is an excellent opportunity to make your name top of mind and show your sincere interest in the company.  You can continue to follow up every few weeks, but don’t overdo it.  Employers appreciate persistence, not pestering.

Use Your Network

Emailing your resume to a company and making a phone call only gets you so far.  The best way to get your foot in the door at a company is to have a connection.  Consider attending networking events through your school’s career services office or local club chapters.   You can also reach out to friends, family members and social media contacts to see if they know anyone at the company.

Make the First Move

Still haven’t found a connection?  Call someone in the department you’d like to work and ask them for just 15 minutes of their time.  Most people are very willing to help the next generation and share their personal career paths.  If you make a good impression, it’s likely that they’ll put in a good word for you with the hiring managers.

Come Prepared

Once you’ve secured an interview, you want to make a good first impression.  Enlist a friend or family member to give you a practice interview to boost your confidence.  You should also research the company and general industry trends so you can speak intelligently about why you want to work there.  Perhaps even mention a current initiative at the company that you’d love to learn more about.  On the day of your interview, “dress for success” in a clean, pressed suit or dress, and show up a few minutes early to give yourself a moment to relax.

If you’re interested in an internship at our ACM ICPC sponsor IBM, there are many options around the globe to give you real-world experience.  The IBM Extreme Blue Program is IBM's premier internship for top-notch students pursuing software development and MBA degrees. IBM also offers an IBM Research Intern Summer Program, including a variety of challenging and stimulating work assignments with one-on-one mentoring. If you have the desire to take part in cutting-edge research development while working with some of the most renowned minds in the field, these internships are a great fit.  If you want to speak with someone about your specific skills, you can get in-person advice from the IBM recruitment team in the IBM Chill Zone at World Finals in Poland.

Until then, best of luck to those preparing for World Finals.  Find travel details, schedules, and more on the ICPC Website, and don’t forget to follow and tweet us with the #ICPC2012!

Tags: World Finals

Twice is Nice: Two Time World Finalist Timothy Echtenkamp Shares Valuable Lessons Learned

March 15th, 2012 · Comments

Making it to World Finals once is quite the accomplishment.  Twice?  Even more impressive!

Today, podcast host Yinka Adedeji welcomes one such impressive past contestant:  IBMer Timothy Echtenkamp.  Tim and his teammates from University of Nebraska - Lincoln traveled to World Finals in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009 and Harbin, China, in 2010.  Tim shares inside tips on how to build a strong team and beat the competition.  Hint: Start early and practice hard.

Tim also tell us about his experience in the IBM Extreme Blue Internship Program, which helped him land his current job as an IBM programmer.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates on the contest.  Join in the conversation with our official hashtag: #ICPC2012

**We apologize for the glitches in sound quality, due to some recording issues.  Either way, Tim shares some great information. We appreciate your understanding!**


(Tim and his team at World Finals in Stockholm, Sweden)



Tags: World Finals