How To Land An Internship At Google, Apple And Facebook: Harvard Grad Gives Resume, Interview Tips


Looking to snag an internship at a Silicon Valley company?

A computer science and physics student at Harvard University shares how she received internship offers from eight different companies, presenting some tips on how to best prepare yourself for the job.

Harvard junior Jessica Pointing won internship offers from Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Bain, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. She received offers for roles in data science, software engineering, consulting, product management, trading, qualitative finance, and investment banking. Eventually, she accepted letter roles at Goldman & Sachs as an investment banking intern, as well as at Bain & Company as a consulting intern.

Pointing says her formula for a successful interview includes being relaxed and prepared. On a blog post, she provides some tips on how to ace your job interview, as well as how to make your resume stellar and error-free.

Tips For The Perfect Resume

1. Show your contributions. Pointing says it's important to include your contributions to the company or organization you previously worked for. It's not enough to describe your past job, she says. What you need to demonstrate is the impact you made to the company.

2. Quantify your achievements. Instead of saying, "I was an exceptional employee," Pointing suggests quantifying your achievements when possible. Adding tangible and concrete facts will really help.

3. Use action verbs. Pointing cites an example: instead of saying, "I made a new program that increased conversion rate," it's much stronger to say, "Initiated a new program that increased conversion rate by 20 percent."

4. Never embellish. You may feel the need to embellish your resume to make it perfect, but Pointing says that's a no-no. She suggests taking down anything that you might be uncomfortable talking about during an interview.

How To Ace Your Job Interview

1. Read on about the industry. Pointing recalls reading more than six books for her internship interview. She says she treated the process as a class, studying material from books and doing some practice problems before the interview.

"There is usually a go-to book for each industry," she says. She recommends Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakman Dowell for software engineering and Case in Point by Marc Cosentino for consulting.

2. Get in the zone during your interview. Pointing highly suggests adopting a problem-solving mindset so that you avoid getting blanked out. It will allow you to communicate clearly with your interviewer.

Pointing's problem-solving structure for software engineering interviews:

- Repeat the question to make sure you understood it well.

- Clarify the function input and output.

- Check assumptions.

- Offer an approach to solving the issue.

- Discuss tradeoffs, such as time and complexity.

- Code the solution. Test it with a normal test case, then with some edge cases.

Pointing's problem-solving structure for consulting interviews:

- Repeat the question to make sure you understood it well.

- Explain objectives of the case. Ask if there are more. Clarify any questions.

- Generate ideas and a solution to the issue.

- Structure your answer.

- When calculations are involved, provide insights into what the calculated number means.

- Summarize the case.

3. Practice. Pointing suggests taking mock interviews if your college offers them. It's important to practice in an interview setting before the day of the interview itself. She recommends Refdash, which gives free mock interviews.

4. Have a Plan B. In case your job or interview falls through, Pointing recommends having a backup plan. "The more options you already have, the more relaxed you will be in the interview and the higher your chances are for the job."

5. Invest time. The interview is not just about allotting time to talk to hiring managers. You need to devote time to practicing, reading, and even travelling. Pointing says to make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to accomplish these preparations.

6. Write down interview questions and solutions. Pointing suggests that after every interview, you create your own "question bank," where you add questions and solutions, as well as areas you should improve on.

7. Lastly, prepare answers for behavioral questions. Pointing says questions about leadership, teamwork, successes, and challenges are equally as important as industry questions. "Writing down your answers to behavioral questions before the interview is important."

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