On the Job Hunt with Prof. Zadok – Internship and Career Advice for CS Students


The time has come for many students to begin applying for jobs and internships. Professor Erez Zadok of the Department of Computer Science recently provided students with advice on how to prepare for the working world and secure that perfect internship or full-time position.  

This video highlights some of Zadok’s key points that were made during his Fall 2017 presentation.

“Students spend 1–5 years here and decades as working professionals. That is why I thought it is very important to help them prepare for life outside of the University”, says Zadok.

To start, Zadok reminded students to prepare an updated résumé that fits the qualifications of the job or internship you are applying for. Many people say that a resume should never be more than one page long but Professor Zadok says that if you’re a graduate student with plenty of experience on your resume it is completely fine to have a two-page resume. It can be helpful to have a professor or advisor look over your resume before sending it out.

Use the resources of the Stony Brook Career Center for resume review and more. They are an important partner in the job search process so contact them for help at the start of the process. Supporting students from all over campus, Career Center tools such as Handshake expose students to thousands of opportunities. 

Another important step that many might forget is updating your professional websites and social media accounts. The best time to apply depends on when you plan on starting. For summer internships it is best to apply early in the spring semester; for full time jobs it's best to apply early in your graduating semester. Each company is different so anticipation for a response can be anywhere from a week to months, the key is to be patient!

Once you get a call back from a company, some may want to conduct a “cold call” or a phone interview on the spot. If you can, Zadok’s suggests it is best to try to reschedule for a later time so that you have time to prepare and are in a setting where you feel comfortable. Before any interview it is important to study the company and people within it harder than you studied for any exam before. This means brush up on the company’s relevant technology, research papers and research labs and developments. Make sure you brush up on your algorithms and data structures as these can make a difference.

When you make it into an actual interview it's important to remain calm and comfortable, according to Zadok. One good and helpful tip is to take notes during the interview- it helps you to remember everything the company is offering and looking for and makes you look exceptionally interested and responsible. Make sure you give yourself a few seconds to think about your answer to each question, don’t be too over-enthusiastic and interrupt the interviewer. For intense multi-day interviews, it is important to remain alert, some interviewers might ask the same questions but you should answer them with the same enthusiasm as you did the first time. Remember that the entire process is meant to judge you as a possible candidate for a job so even something as simple as a casual lunch is an interview, always remain professional.

If and when you are offered a job with a company make sure you assess the company’s offer before accepting. Important things to keep in mind that should factor into your decision are base annual salary, benefits, stock options, bonuses, etc. Keeping your future in mind and your plans are important as well. He reminds all students to never ever renege on an offer you already accepted, it reflects poorly on them and the University and could even result in a lawsuit. 

Zadok agrees with many career counselors in the Stony Brook Career Center when they say that internships can be one of your best tools to landing a full time job after college. An internship is your way of getting your foot in the door of a particular company or industry. Working alongside professionals in the field through an internship allows you to showcase your skills and make a memorable impression for when they begin looking for full time employees.

Note: CS Students have full access to Prof. Zadok's full job hunt video by logging on to the CS intranet. 

-Samantha Mercado