With summer fast approaching and students around New Zealand looking to wrap up their studies for another year, SilverStripe is once again engaging in the Summer of Tech program and participating in the first Summer of Biz program. Here’s our take on the event plus a few nuggets of wisdom for future interns to consider.
Summer of Tech & Summer of Biz
Summer of Tech/Biz is the premier IT internship programme for New Zealand students and tech companies alike.
The summer internship programs aim to provide the top local students with the opportunity to flow straight into paid work experience after completing their training. SilverStripe shares the belief that the future of the New Zealand’s technology industry is in the hands of the next generation.
It takes two to tango
For graduates, The Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz programs provides the opportunity for paid work experience over summer as well as resources and mentoring to help develop interviewing and networking skills. For anyone entering the workforce, it’s simply not enough to rely on skills or grades alone to land that first job. Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing CVs, interviewing and demonstrating how you’ll add value to a team, when given the opportunity.
For businesses, bringing on an intern helps with staying relevant, while at the same time introduces the energy and optimism to the organisation that a graduate brings to work each day. It’s an opportunity for us to show we care about nurturing the future and that everyone deserves a shot at success, irrespective of experience, gender, ethnicity or age.
The Meet and Greet
A few weeks back, SilverStripe attended the Wellington Meet and Greet for Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz interns. The meet and greet event kicked off the first time interns and employers could get to know each other. Over 400 students attended the event who were all eager to chat with their top companies. We were equally keen to talk with interns who had singled out SilverStripe as their first choice for an internship.
Much to our delight, a wave of interns swarmed on the SilverStripe booth. We spoke with developers, designers and marketing students, all with different strengths and skillsets, but all with one common attribute, an eagerness to learn and succeed. Students that exhibited interest in our company, had the confidence to talk about themselves and asked questions were ultimately the ones that made the biggest impression.
Networking feedback to future interns
We were really impressed with all of you who made the effort to talk with us at the Meet and Greet. In saying that there is always room for improvement :)
Confident Kiwis - It seems to be in our DNA to play down our success or outright not mention it at all. Put that aside when it comes to interviewing and talking to potential employers. Let employers know, while staying classy, if you built a website for a friend, tried something and failed but ultimately learnt something big from it or that you wrote a guest blog post for a local business. Confidence is key!
Generalist vs Specialist - Employers are looking for specific people to fill specific roles. Align yourself those skills, even if it’s a longshot given you might not have loads of experience. If you do see yourself as a generalist, make that apparent during the next round of interviews or when you land the job, otherwise, as employers we have nothing to grab onto when it comes to you and your skills.
Do your research - As an employer, nothing is more disappointing than to learn that the person who wants a job with you, doesn’t know what you spend 40+ hours a week doing.. Keep your mind open when networking with future employers but also take the time, if you can, to learn about the businesses you are interested in.
This might be a dumb question but.. - No, there are no dumb questions. Asking questions shows that you are inquisitive, eager to learn and gives you the opportunity to direct the conversation to where your strengths/knowledge lie. Heck, ask a question you know the answer to, that way you can take the conversation somewhere interesting!
Summing it up
Nerves and shotgun networking aside, we trust all the Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz participants had as much fun at the Meet and Greet as we did! Congratulations for taking the initiative so early in your careers and making it this far. We look forward to meeting more of you in the coming weeks and doing it all again next year.