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IT's not just for the boys!

Female STEM students looking to forge successful careers in tech.

Sabeeka Qureshi

After attending TARGETjobs’ IT's not just for the boys in October 2017, I have been able to secure two internships – a summer internship with BT and a placement year at ARM.

At first, I was sceptical of applying as I was sure it was going to be competitive. However, the staff at TARGETjobs were very helpful throughout the application phase and motivated me to apply.

The day started off with inspiring talks by various successful women in the technology industry. Their stories about their careers in technology gave a real insight into the industry.

After the talks, we took part in 'mock assessment centres' where we did group activities. Each group had representatives from different companies telling us how to approach interviews and assessment centres. This was incredibly helpful as you learn what recruiters are looking for in a candidate! Later, we were given the opportunity to question a panel of women in senior roles from all the companies attending – allowing us to see what the industry is like beyond graduate roles.

The day ended off with networking, where we could talk to graduates, recruiters and other university students attending the event (TIP: this is a good opportunity to connect on LinkedIn with others!)

Some starter questions which may be helpful if networking seems daunting:

1. To grads - How do you find the culture? Was it easy to settle in? What kind of projects are you working on?

2. To recruiters - What is the application/interview/assessment stage like? What skills are you looking for in a candidate?

3. To other university students - what do you study? Where would you like to apply? (You could end up being on the same intern scheme!)

After the event, I wrote about the event on my CV and mentioned it on my cover letter to any company I applied to that also attended the event. This makes your application look more tailored and stands out as it shows you went out of your way to learn more about the firm you’re applying to. If you connect with anyone from the event on LinkedIn, make sure to follow up and thank them for taking the time to speak to you! A little effort goes a long way.

Most of all, keep an open mind and speak to as many companies as possible – even if you aren't interested in them now, you may end up realising it's your dream job!