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“Extreme” experience: how I got my internship.

stem internship

How do you get work experience when you need experience? The answer is simple: an internship.

As STEM students, we know success at school isn’t always enough to help us land a career in science and technology. Adding real workplace experience is crucial. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get your foot in the door when you don’t have previous experience to lean on.

That’s why I was so excited to be named the 2016-2017 3M™ VHB™ Tape Extreme Labs intern. A good placement is key to your career development plan. For those of you looking to do the same, here’s my advice to help you land your own internship experience.

my summer internship

How I found the 3M internship opportunity.

About this time last year, I was starting my final year of the materials engineering program at Dalhousie University. I had already completed a couple of other internship experiences, but felt I needed something more on my resume to help me land my first job.

That’s when I heard 3M was coming to campus for the 3M™ VHB™ Tape Extreme Labs. 3M’s visit was different than other company presentations – it wasn’t like the typical career fair; it was interactive. Some of us even got to participate in some pretty cool demos.

But what excited me the most was learning about their internship opportunity. I felt it was prestigious. Only a handful of students across Canada could apply – I couldn’t pass it up. I put my name in the running.

Over the Christmas break, I found out I made the top three! A few weeks later I was interviewed, and now here I am.

How I landed my internship.

internship experience

I went to school with a lot of smart, talented people so I knew the competition to land this job would be tough. How did I do it?

I credit three key things to helping me secure my internship opportunity:

  1. Being open-minded: Going into Extreme Labs, my knowledge of 3M products was pretty basic. At first, I couldn’t make the connection, and wasn’t sure it would be a good use of my time. But I’m glad I went because I learned about some really cool tech. One that really stood out was 3M™ VHB™ Tape. I learned this industrial tape bonds 884,500 lb of steel panels to the stiffeners on the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It blew my mind!
  2. Being persistent: It’s important for recruiters to know your name and face. Right away, I reached out to Talent Acquisition and Inclusion at 3M Canada. I wanted them to know my name. I knew it would be important to stay top-of-mind.
  3. Being ambitious: Product development and research is my passion and that’s what drew me to 3M: they have 46 core technology platforms! At first, the thought of working at a Fortune 500 company was a bit intimidating – would I even be considered? But I’m so glad I didn’t sell myself short. I would have missed a really great opportunity. So my best advice is to intern where you want to work.

Learn more about my extreme internship experience.

As I continue my stint at 3M, I’ll be sharing updates on my work experience, and this year’s internship opportunity.

Follow along on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up here to get email updates:

About the Author

[enBio=Ryan is the 2016-2017 3M™ VHB™ Tape Extreme Labs Research Scientist Intern. As a recent graduate of the materials engineering program at Dalhousie University, Ryan is in hot pursuit of the perfect first job. Prior to landing his internship at 3M, he has already completed placements at two major Canadian institutions. He’s also taken his passion for STEM to competition circles – he was a finalist in the 2016 Canadian Engineering Competition.],[enJob=3M™ VHB™ Tape Extreme Labs Research Scientist Intern, 3M Canada],[frBio=Ryan est le stagiaire des laboratoires de recherches extrêmes sur le ruban VHB de 3M pour 2016-2017. Récemment diplômé de l’Université Dalhousie en génie des matériaux, Ryan est à la recherche du premier emploi idéal. Avant d’obtenir un stage chez 3M, il avait déjà effectué d’autres stages dans deux grands établissements canadiens. Il a aussi mis sa passion pour les STIM à l’épreuve — il a été finaliste à la compétition canadienne d’ingénierie en 2016.],[frJob=Stagiaire au Laboratoire de recherches extrêmes sur le ruban VHB<sup>MC</sup> de 3M<sup>MC</sup>, Compagnie 3M Canada]

Profile Photo of Intern Ryan