As an international student applying for internships abroad, how can I improve my chances at getting an interview?
closed as primarily opinion-based by Lilienthal♦, gnat, Dawny33, Jim G., David K Dec 18 '15 at 13:13
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Only the companies you applied to could tell you why you were not selected to go further in the process.
However, to improve your odds of being selected there are a few things you can do:
- Your resume is too long and not standard. As a student you should have a single page resume. It should focus on important skills, accomplishments and facts about you. Most companies/recruiters won't look past the first page anyway. Resume tips:
Tip #1: Do not put a picture of yourself on a resume unless your looks matter to getting the job.
Tip #2: Do not self-assess your skills. Communicate your skills by listing them and mentioning them when describing projects/experience. Beyond that an interview will allow the company to assess the skills. What if you discovered that you rated yourself worse than they would have?
Tip #3: Black and white. An "attention grabbing resume" can land you a job, but the odds are you will look too risky or never even be seen under normal circumstances. Any kind of automation may fail trying to decipher your creativity - and why would anyone go through the list of failed resumes looking for a "diamond in the rough" when they have a nice stack of resumes that didn't fail? And why try to figure out your resume when it's easy to read someone else's standard resume?
Tip #4: When listing experience, say what you did (an action) and the result (accomplishment). When you are on the job, your actions and results are what matter, so demonstrate your awareness on your resume.
Tip #5: Adapt your resume for the particular job for which you are applying. A generic resume is usually a weak resume. Each job and company is different. You should modify your resume to emphasize the skills that are appropriate for the particular job you are seeking, and remove everything else until it's 1 page.
There are lots of resources on how to write resumes. I'm not sure what resource you used to produce your resume, but I don't think the format and style you used are commonly accepted as successful.
If you only apply to companies with a lot of competition then your odds of success are low in general. If these companies get 100 resumes for each position, then expect to send out 100 resumes at least. Regardless of whether you are a top candidate, expect that all applicants are as equally qualified as you. The website you reference doesn't indicate the supply/demand for the internships, but given the area nearly all of them are going to have a lot of candidates.
As a student from India, if you want to work in the US, the odds are slim with most companies. Not that they don't want to recruit from abroad or that they don't, but it's much easier and less risky to select candidates that already are in the country in which they need employees, or to select experienced candidates.
At a quick look, I saw two issues.
One, that you mention, is work authorization. You are applying for jobs in California giving a non-US location with no indication that you are authorized to work in the US. That means additional work for HR compared to other applicants. Why California, rather than India, for an internship? Have you tried e.g. through your school, to identify companies that do hire interns internationally?
Another issue is resume format - this may affect applications even in India. I don't know how smart the automated resume processing programs are now, but will they be able to easily determine your skills etc? It may be better to try a simpler, more linear, more text-orientated format.
It doesn't look like you have a degree. There will be many candidates applying for these high profile .coms that do have one so you will be immediately ruled out if that is not immediately clear. Also are the percentages grades or % complete?
The best way to get a job is through networking to make industry contacts and get a recommendation, try and speak to people through conferences, webinars, programs like summer of code. Also you may need to target less well known companies where the competition isn't so large.
There is a single reason:
You weren't able to make it through their automated gauging system. The interviews, etc would start after that.
So, there is a very high probability that the company/recruiter has not even seen your resume.
It seems I can't see what the exactly the process is for applying through this website without registering, which I won't do. So I can't say if they ask for a cover letter. Often the CV has to be accompanied by a cover letter explaining why you're interested in working the job in question for this company. If the cover letter is too generic, or has obvious grammatical or spelling errors, the CV goes directly into the trash.
The CV looks pretty, but for a student I would expect a much more complete entry in "education", to get an idea of how old you are and if you skipped some years. There should be a standard form of the title you earn on graduation, and the expected date of graduation. "Education" should not be split into 2 parts on 2 pages. Additionally, the dates are some of the most important information, but they are somewhat hard to find - To make them easier to find for human and other readers, consider putting them on the same line as the event they belong to.
Being a foreign student from the other side of the world with presumably unknown work status also puts you at a severe disadvantage, because if you were to make it to later rounds, flying you in for a face to face interview is going to be expensive. And you also need a permit, so you will be held to higher standards. To make things worse, Indian CVs are very well known to often be hugely exaggerated, so even if yours is not, you will suffer by the actions of your peers.
As always, the best chance to land a hard to get job is through personal contacts, not some website. The world is smaller than you think. Maybe a professor at your university knows a guy who knows a guy? Or one of the code reviewers of the open source projects you worked on is a PM at Mozilla?