Winning the internship of my dreams

Natalie Kyong Swope is a senior at the University of California, Davis where she majors in computer engineering and minors in technology management.

When I first created my page, it was not because I thought I would win a contest. For the past two years, I’ve held a passion for technology and networking online. I am confident to say that I have explored nearly every service, social, and resourceful web page out there. I spent Saturday nights on my computer – whether I was blogging on my “Learn Techno Logic” blog, creating page templates on my Bamboo, or browsing any free software uploads I could find– I was growing. For what cause? At the time I had no idea.

After entering the contest in April, I decided to check for updates. To my surprise, I had a message in the right corner of my screen from the contest update notification. I was in the top 5%! I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic! To me, that message in the corner of my screen was like my own personal coach warning me to pick up speed and go for it. So, I didn’t stop at Facebook. Or Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr or Posterous.

I started thinking of new ways to promote my page and new audiences I could discover. Social networking was no longer the only option because I had promoted myself on every site. I’ve always loved the idea of QR codes and found it curious that they haven’t been used more frequently. I made a QR template (which took hours) and planned different ways of using it. My first strategy was to spray paint my code template on shirts and hand them out to my friends and sorority sisters.

While online searching for QR items, I was redirected to a site that created stamps and sold ink pads as well. The prices weren’t very high, so I ordered 1 QR stamp and 1 pad of purple to be expressed mailed to my home in Davis. I decided to print stickers too. Hundreds of stickers that I cut out and stuck in random places.

One morning, I went to Michaels and purchased cake batter, cupcake decorations and icing. I went home and made 88 cupcakes that night. The next day I found the site,, and immediately ordered as many custom cupcake toppers as I could afford. My custom order was a picture of my QR code centered within each topper. When I received them, I stuck them on my pre-iced treats and distributed them.

The house I lived in at UC Davis frequently hosted mixers or BBQs for our friends or chapter. I displayed my business cards (with my address included) by the speakers. Each card had a different painting or picture I made. People noticed them, and asked me if they could take some. I was more than happy to give them away and encouraged everyone to vote. I also left my stamp and stamp pad out.

Throughout my campaign, I made sure I was still sticking to my normal, college-life routine. I continued to blog, attend my classes and write articles for I tried to keep myself distracted, but the contest eventually ended and I would get nervous as the days passed and my phone remained silent.

The call finally came, and I was a nervous wreck. I talked to Jesse Chambers, the Director of Sales Operations & Monetization for AOL Tech (including TechCrunch, Engadget, TUAW and Joystiq). We ended up having a long but interesting discussion about a bunch of things. Some topics were about my passion for technology and reason for wanting the position, my experience and degree challenges, and my future plans (even though my plans are more like a rough, almost non-existent outline). When I hung up the phone, I felt great. I talked to a really nice, easygoing person and had a noteworthy discussion.

When I was informed that I, Natalie Kyong Swope, won the contest and a summer internship with TechCrunch… I still can’t find the words to express the excitement pouring over me. I was, to say the least, extremely thankful. I was proud of myself and grateful for both Jesse and Caitlin Geraghty (HR for AOL) for presenting me with the news. I actually want to let them know now that this opportunity means the world for me and I want to thank you both for treating me so nicely! I won’t let you down over the next 3 months – I promise!

Announcing…Summer Interns, 2012

They tweeted, they pinned, they created videos and penned bios. They got both visitors and interviewers excited. We’re thrilled to announce the summer interns for 2012.

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Optimizing your page for an internship

Ashley Mosley is the Community Manager for InternMatch, a free online internship database based in San Francisco, CA with positions all over.

By now you’ve probably heard about the Ultimate Internship contest that we’re helping promote: open until April 22nd, students can enter to win one of five paid internships at companies like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, a $1k stipend and the chance to meet top industry execs like Arianna Huffington and AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong.

One of the key features of this contest is creating an profile, detailing why you’re the top candidate for a summer internship position, and getting everyone in your network to vote. We want to make sure you come out on top, so we’ve profiled awesome strategies from some of our favorite winners!

1) Barack Obama – Craft the right message

One of the most vital aspects of any successful campaign is the message and President Barack Obama is no stranger to great messaging. He inspired millions of Americans to vote for him based on a campaign platform of “Hope.” In addition to a captivating campaign message, Obama used multiple platforms like email, video, cold-calling and text messaging to deliver it.

What does your campaign message say about you? How are you leveraging all of your social platforms to make sure that people are inspired to vote for you? Social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest can help you spread the word about this contest. Creating a profile that reflects how/why you’re a great fit for the internship position and combining it with a compelling social campaign message is sure to make you a winner!

2) Matthew Epstein – Go viral

Since Google is ranked as the number one place to work among college students and offers tons of perks (like free food, laundry and sleep pods), it makes a lot of sense that Matthew Epstein created a viral video to land a job interview with the tech giant.

With its creative call to action, “Google, please hire me” has been viewed over 1 million times and has helped Matthew land a job interview at Google and more than 100 other companies.

Did you know that more than 700 videos are shared each minute on Twitter and more than 500 years worth of video are shared each day on Facebook? What are you waiting for? Create a video encouraging people to vote for you!

Check out 2011’s list of top viral videos to get started!

3) Jay-Z – Make it a full-time job

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man…”

Whether he’s launching a new sneaker line, buying a sports team, opening a club, promoting a computer or releasing a new song, rapper Jay-Z realizes that promoting his brand is a full-time job.

Approach your internship search and this contest with the same intensity. Maybe you have a friend who writes for the school newspaper and needs a new story? Developing a list of key resources and people that can help you is a great way to give you a leg up in this contest. After all, it takes a village!

4) Katniss Everdeen – Understand your odds and find your strength

Sure, the leading lady of the Hunger Games is fictional but we can still learn a thing or two from Katniss about winning. When Katniss volunteers to replace her sister in the Hunger Games competition, she understands her odds: to win she must stay alive.

The majority of full-time employment offers are extended to students who have completed internships. What’s your strategy to make sure that you land the internship of your dreams and ultimately, full-time employment after graduation?

One of Katniss’ many techniques to stay alive was that she identified her strength and knew how to use it. Are you an awesome singer? Belt you’re your way to an internship with a great video! Maybe writing is your talent, start a blog and share your contest journey with readers. This is the perfect opportunity for you to use your strength(s) to create a strategy for landing one of these awesome internships.

5) Michael Jordan – Don’t give up

Everyone has their favorite Michael Jordan story and mine is the “Flu Game.” In game four of the 1997 NBA finals, Jordan was sick with the flu. He played for 44 minutes, scoring 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block – ultimately winning the game and landing the 5th MVP title of his career.

Competing for an internship can be challenging but developing a strong message, leveraging your allies and staying focused is a sure way to help you become a winner.

Students for hire

We saw some great-looking pages created by Internmatch readers.

Above, Ashli is a student journalist aiming to “create a new medium of solid reporting.” She integrates a story she’s written into her background image, a creative way to display her expertise.

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Give recruiters a glimpse of who you are

We first posted this to the Internmatch blog.

We’ve seen a lot of great student profiles at But, what are they for and how can they help you get hired?

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Every student needs awesome business cards

This is a guest post by Tara Seshan at Internmatch.

Does the “internship application blues” have you down? It’s a common frustration. After sending in file after file and pdf after pdf, most students are tired of applying to positions and ready to give up! However, don’t throw in the towel quite yet-we’ve got a solution that will help you stand out from the crowd!

While applying for internships, make yourself memorable with business cards.

Not For the Jack Donaghy’s Among Us Anymore

Dismiss those stereotypes associated with business card use, because Jack Donaghy is not the only one using business cards anymore. While many think that cards are simply for the old time business professionals among us, in reality almost everyone has been using business cards to their advantage!
“In nearly every industry-from world changing non-profits to early stage startups business cards are used regularly. Even volunteers at the Red Cross use business cards. This is not a business school thing, it is a I am no longer thinking like a student thing” says Nathan Parcells, CMO of InternMatch.

Why They Matter

Businesses know that while hiring interns, they’re coming in with very little experience. The greatest fear of any manager is completely unprofessional and untrained interns who must learn job associated basics and etiquette.

Business cards dispel those fears, because let’s face it: most students don’t have them. With your cards, you’re showing an employer that you are trained, in the know, professional, and that you “get it.” You’re ready to contribute, rather than endlessly learn basics!

Business cards also provide an opportunity for you to brand yourself (not in the cattle raising sense, y’all.) With a customized card that speaks to what you do and what you’re interested in, you’re putting forth a cohesive idea of who you are as a person and why you’re right for the job. You’re developing a carefully cultured identify-and the mere fact that you’ve taken the effort to do show displays skill and professionalism to an employer! And for more information, and an excellent example of student branding, check out Matthew Epstein’s “Google Please Hire Me” venture!

And They’re Really Fun

Let’s be honest – creating business cards is first and foremost really entertaining! Devising designs and choosing pictures and layout is fun for any student, and when it contributes to your professional development, it’s guilt free.

So spend some time visiting or sign up for and receive 50 free cards. When attending career fairs, recruiting events, or simply meeting individuals, pass your cards out and take their cards, too! It’s a great opportunity to avoid the internship blues, and push your career forward!

Got questions about landing internships? Feel free to ask any of them @InternMatch on Twitter, Facebook, or email!

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