A lot of people are familiar with Penn’s on-campus recruiting, or OCR. Typically, companies will come to campus during the spring semester looking for summer interns, registering this process through Penn’s office of career services. This is a very formalized process that many students throughout Penn are able to commiserate over.
I like to occasionally take a non-traditional route in life; for instance, I exclusively recruited for internships during the end of summer and start of fall semester. While this seemed early to my friends, I personally preferred being able to finish my job search early on. Looking for a job is inherently stressful, so why not be done with it as early as possible?
This strategy worked very well for me, so here are a few ways in which to recruit early for internships in the tech sector. I cannot speak for financial companies, although I believe that many investment banks do have an early recruiting round to lock in rock star summer analysts.
Top tech companies want to snag next year’s intern class as early as possible. For this reason, the HR departments at well-known tech firms will ask their current summer intern class to recommend any strong candidates for next summer. This is fantastic because you do not need to write a cover letter, and you can often skip any sort of preliminary screen; these companies view the personal recommendation of an intern to be a stronger talent signal than performance on a coding test.
M&T is an especially great resource for this; an M&T senior personally referred me to the internship I am accepting for summer 2014.
Your professional network
In the same vein as asking friends to help you out, your professional network can help you make a connection you desire. Due to my successful participation in PennApps and hackRU (Rutgers’s biannual hackathon), I was able to reach out to venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to connect me to several start-ups that I was very interested in.
Additionally, I had several large tech companies reach out to me because I was a 2013 Kleiner Perkins Engineering Fellow. This was not only a great way to circumvent needing to apply to jobs (being reached out to is awesome!), but I was able to further develop my professional network for the future through these conversations and subsequent interviews.
Shoot off job applications
Twelve months ago, my network was not as well-established, but I still had a job before the 2013 spring semester started. I achieved this through simply sending out applications on my own accord. This works partially because of programs like KPCB Engineering Fellows and partially because tech companies are generally much more liberal with when and how they recruit than financial firms.
I haven’t regretted two years of fall internship recruiting. I’m looking forward to being able to focus on spring semester without needing to worry about OCR. This is great because there are so many interesting things going on at Penn; why spend more time interviewing than needed?