Ambassador Catarina is a Technical Analyst Intern at Adobe, she recently hosted our CV skills workshop which you can watch below. In this months blog she talks about her own experiences with The Girls' Network and how she found a job in tech, as well as some of her top tips for writing a CV. Further details about the applying to the Adobe Internship Programme that Catarina is taking part in can be found at the end of this page.

A photo of CatarinaDid you know what you wanted to do when you were a mentee?

During my sixth form years I was still unsure of what I wanted to pursue. Although my grades were good, I was lacking passion or a career which I think I would enjoy. My mentor at The Girls’ Network found that I had an interest in gaming, which allowed her to find societies and events related to gaming and these technologies. The Girls’ Network allowed me to find a passion and know what to pursue.

What happened next?

I decided to study Computer Science. Currently, only 26% of the tech workforce are women. In a male dominated field, sometimes we have to put extra effort into our careers. Happily, a lot of companies are starting to realise this and giving more space to different groups of people. One of these companies is Adobe: A tech company focused on changing the world through personalised digital experience. They’re highly inclusive and offer a great learning path into the tech world for interns. That doesn’t mean my application was any easier. The internships are highly competitive!

Applying for jobs and internships can be tiring

I’ve put a lot of hard work into my CV and applications for internships. At the time, I applied to several companies and got rejected from many. Applying to jobs can be very tiring, so it’s important to, before anything, have the right mindset. You will get rejections, and that is totally normal. There are a lot of bright students applying to the same position, and getting rejected doesn’t necessarily mean you are worse than another student. Getting discouraged is setting yourself up for failure.

Top tips on how to make your CV stand out

That’s the first thing a lot of recruiters will see from you, and also the most important. So of course, it needs to have a clean, simple, but also professional design. When putting in your work experience, you should always phrase it in a way that shows what you’ve achieved and quantify it if possible. So, for example, instead of “Helped students learn for their GCSEs”, try “Mentored 12 students bi-weekly for Maths GCSE, 80% of them passing”. You can check out a great page on writing bullet points for CV’s here: Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points | Columbia CCE

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything that impressive, recruiters aren’t expecting huge accomplishments from interns. The important part is to show the skills you acquired through what you’ve done, and any results you achieved. There are many more tips on CV writing on the Girls’ Network workshop with Adobe, in which I also share my experience [put hyperlink here from session].

What happens when you are selected for interviews?

If you get selected after the CV screening, you will most likely go through many rounds of interviews or assessment days. These can seem scary. I remember I felt very anxious for most of them. The trick I found to perform well in interviews is to really treat it like a conversation and show as much of you as you can. They know everyone is nervous - so you don’t need to worry too much about this either. Many times, your technical skills or experiences can be matched to other students, so how well you communicate your experiences and your personality can be the deciding factor. When you are talking about yourself and your skills, it is very important to give examples and prove what you are saying. In a question like “What are your greatest strengths?”, your answer should be filled with actions you took, examples of how you’ve learnt something, and results.

Thinking of these things on the spot takes time and practice, so I recommend you search for common interview questions and have a think of how you can answer those, with as many examples as possible. The more you do this, the easier it will be to come up with good answers quickly.

Going from school to having a career is a long and difficult process for everyone, even the most smart and capable. Have that in mind for when you are tired from interviews, or after you get a rejection. But all the effort you put into your career, research and applications is paid off after a single “yes” from a company.

Thanks and good luck!

Thanks to Catarina for this great blog, she gives some really good advice. It can be tough finding a job or training placement, but it's really important to stay positive and keep going. You can hear from employers about what they look for in a CV in the workshop recording below, as well as find out how to apply for the Adobe Internship Programme that Catarina is part of.