Written by Kunwarpreet Singh Behar, 2018 Silicon Valley CareerPath Internship Program - SVO Research & Communications Intern
Ah yes, a universal rite of passage, my first job, because nothing says internship like spending a whole summer cleaning spreadsheets, taking calls, and earning minimum wage; am I right? Personally, I like work; it fantasizes me. I can sit and look at it for hours.
Well, that's one way of looking at it but the world changes when we change our perspectives. Imagine a salesman without the enthusiasm, he would just be another dull sales clerk. I say that because exactly three weeks ago, I walked into my office with that mindset. I didn‚Äôt expect to learn much, just looked forward to brushing up on some old skills, but I was in for a surprise.
The first step! The first step I took, I knew at that very moment that I had a valuable journey ahead of myself. It was nothing that I had pictured in my head, it was nothing that I had seen in movies. There was no old boss walking around, looking over the workers shoulders to see if they were on task. There weren‚Äôt people in there little cubicles, hunched over, typing away on their laptops. It was rather a hip and inviting environment, an environment where I knew I could prosper and thrive in.
Shaking hands with the CEO, watching the World Cup on my first day, meeting fellow interns from various industry sectors that had lots to offers, and my favorite, visiting a special conference room that looked like a place where James Bond would have a secret meeting with the president. It felt like a big family.
The Silicon Valley Organization. Having been raised in the Silicon Valley, Computer Science has played a vital role in my life. Java has become a second language for me. It‚Äôs no surprise, that in this day and age, technology touches every aspect of our lives. In result, whenever I thought of internships, the first companies that would pop up in my mind were Google, Apple, Facebook, and so on ‚Ä¶ but why never companies such as The SVO? Because it isn‚Äôt a Fortune 500 company?
It may not be a Fortune 500 company but I have learned that it‚Äôs much more than that, it‚Äôs the backbone of our community. Who would have ever thought that a team of 17 people could be capable of representing 300,000+ employees across the Silicon Valley. The company has been a connector, convener, and a collaborator of business for 130+ years with over 1400 business partners as of 2018.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs encouraging to see what tomorrow's workforce has to offer‚Äù - Geoffrey Sarabia-Mason, BPR Properties
Strive San Jose is a workforce education initiative with the goal of connecting education and industry through unique partnerships.
Since I am a research and communications intern, my current project is an employer engagement and research project. The goals are to engage employers and show them we appreciate them and also to gather useful data to help improve the program. My job was to call 100+ supervisors, gather feedback regarding their experience with their intern, and create social media posts with the use of the data. After two days of leaving voicemails and listening to Beethoven‚Äôs symphonies while on hold, I had managed to gather data from 52 supervisors. It may not have been 100% but why look at the 50% that's missing when you have 50% that's present.
The questions I asked the supervisors were:
The results that we got were nothing short of what we had expected.
What are these qualities exactly?
Strong work ethic ‚úÖ
Communication skills ‚úÖ
Attention to detail ‚úÖ
Who were the supervisors?
We had 100+ supervisors from 70+ companies in 14 industry sectors ranging from transportation to information technology to hospitality.
Here is a breakdown of the interns supervisors and the amount of time that they have worked for their respected companies.
Networking. A term that has been thrown around a lot in the last month or so, for me. But what does it really mean? Why is it so important? What is the trick to doing it correctly?
Networking, in its simplest terms, is connecting with people. We do it everyday! Every time we go to a family function, every time we go to work, every time we go to school, we are are always meeting new people. Having a well-established network has become a prominent part of our lives. Just think about it, who would you ask if you ever needed to buy a new car? A new house? Or needed to know a good place to dine at? I‚Äôm guessing you would likely ask a family member, a friend, a fellow peer, or maybe even a colleague.
These are all ways of networking.
In today‚Äôs world, networking has become an essential aspect of one‚Äôs journey to employment. Even if you don‚Äôt plan on searching for a new job, developing relationships and connections within your network may open more doors and provide opportunities to advance your career. So it‚Äôs all about who knows you.
That‚Äôs networking and its importance in a nutshell but where do we start?
Networking is definitely not quantum mechanics but its no piece of cake either. You don't want to go to a networking event and just hand out business cards left and right, that would be awkward, sadly many of us do that. So how would you network correctly?
Networking 101. Simple and effective steps to building relations.
What is the point of eyes if you have a blind mind? Change the way you look at things in life and the things you look at change.
What is an internship to me now?
It‚Äôs a milestone, an opportunity, a chance to create stepping stones out of tumbling rocks, my first work experience, because nothing says internship like spending the whole summer building professional connections, picking up on new skills from the industry, and becoming a more resourceful person than I was yesterday. Everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose, make the most of it.
If you wish on changing the world, start by changing yourself.