By Emmanuel Reid (COM’20)
This summer, I had the pleasure of working as an Human Resources Intern at LinkedIn’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. It was a 12-week internship, where I expanded on multiple skills and interests I’ve developed in COM. Working in tech was incredibly insightful, and I’m very thankful I have this internship on which to build . I learned a lot and look forward to using this to help paint a clearer picture of my possible career paths.
CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with LinkedIn. I worked on the Wellness Team, the department within Human Resources that oversees all things Wellness at LinkedIn. I reported to my manager, Director of Global Wellness, Michael Susi, and my mentor, Senior Regional Wellness Specialist, Jun Yoshida. Both these men were invested in me from the first day and it made my experience fantastic. I was responsible for helping the Wellness Team tell its story. My projects revolved around internal communications, social media content development, and data management.
Outside the workplace, I loved California. It’s where I want to be after I graduate. The culture of the Bay Area housed success and incredible innovation. The sights and cultures present there made exploring California equally as enjoyable as my actual work.
CCD: How did you get the position? What resources at BU or elsewhere did you use?
In short, I found this internship activating my networks. I contacted friends, professors, and faculty as soon as school started; I was late to Splash because I was busy applying to jobs that morning and lost track of time. I kept my ear close to the ground and through a close friend and recent graduates working for LinkedIn, I heard they were coming to Boston for a conference. I applied, received admittance, and made sure to be unique, authentic, and memorable. At the end of the conference, I was invited to apply and after multiple rounds of virtual interviews, I landed the position.
It’s key to get to work early on applying, as different industries have different time tables to apply, so get familiar with yours. I used the resume-building workshops at the CCD to strengthen my profile before sending it out on applications.
CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?
I got to spend a week in Las Vegas for work. LinkedIn kicked off its fiscal year with Sales Kickoff ‘20 where thousands of sales representatives from all over the world congregated for an epic week, filled with seminars and networking. I went to support the Wellness Team which had different expos and events during the week. I met incredible people and really felt a part of the team. For my first time in Vegas, it is surely a trip I’ll never forget! What was even better was the fact that my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, had its national convention down the street, so the way the schedules lined up seemed like an almost cosmological occurrence.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship, job, or other career-related experience?
Be appropriately aggressive. Think how many people have been in your position before you and after you. There have been countless people (potentially) who have gotten their starts and failures in the position you may be going for. Stand out. No matter your background, let your work speak volumes and your dialogue compliment it. Really make your limited time count. People pay attention to you, especially as an intern. Don’t think your work doesn’t matter. So wherever you end up, even if it’s not your dream position, don’t freak out. Do your job well, strap up your boots, and make your experience count. The rewards and return offers are never guaranteed, so put in your best effort regardless. After the experience is done, make sure to keep your relationships warm. You never know when your paths may collide again.
CCD: What was the work culture at LinkedIn like?
Everyone was extremely supportive at LinkedIn. People treated me like an adult; my team was small and I had a lot of autonomy over my projects. People didn’t mind how I worked, as long as I got my work done, thoroughly, and on time. As a people-oriented product, it was seamless to get along with people and people wanted to help me, a concept that isn’t true for all tech companies in Silicon Valley. I soaked up everything I could, and questions were always met with enthusiastic answers.
CCD: What challenges did you face during your internship?
First, I wanted to do as much as possible, and it took discipline to stay on task. I realized my internship would eventually come to an end. I had to properly prioritize in the professional work setting. I saw firsthand the penalties and consequences that happen when work is late. I had to make sure multitasking was not going to hinder my success.
Secondly, the tech industry needs more people of color. As an African-American, I wanted to see more representation at every level, and we need to focus as a community to inspire future generations to permeate tech spaces and stay there. There is plenty of opportunity for horizontal and vertical management positions, but with the heavy mobility and low job security, there is less of a blend of cultures in tech more than I’ve noticed in other industries. It’s tantamount for employees on every level, from interns to C-Suite executives, to feel like they belong and their voice matters, and proper implementation of communities of historical disenfranchisement in these super successful companies will undoubtedly be all-around beneficial agreements.
CCD: Did your internship help clarify your career goals?
Definitely. I am now more excited to be working in tech communications. The internship gave me access to different type of work that keeps the large tech companies of today alive, and I saw how my interests and skills not in hard science still fit into the larger picture. Before, I was very ignorant about what working for the popular social platforms and “online” companies was like. I am excited to graduate and get into making my career goals come true.