Adelina completed a Masters in Econometrics and Operation Research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and graduated in 2014. She now works as a Junior IT Specialist at ING.
“ITEA helped me get more information for my application. There’s always the possibility of writing in your motivation letter that you met a recruiter at the event, which is an advantage when you apply.”
Adelina started applying for jobs before her graduation. She attended ITEA 2014 with a friend after seeing it advertised on the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Facebook page, and while at the event, spoke with many different companies. Though she didn’t get her current job through ITEA—she eventually decided to do an IT traineeship at ING, a rotational programme that allowed her to experience different parts of the company—she attended ITEA 2015 as an ING representative of the IT traineeship.
How did your career path go after attending ITEA?
In 2014, I was doing an internship in data analysis. I was at the point of finishing this internship, and I was looking at the next step. I went to ITEA with a friend, and we just wanted to see the opportunities because we knew it was for international students, and we liked that. I talked to several companies and students that were doing internships with the company. I was already in the process of applying with different companies at the time. During the summer, I sent applications to different companies, and I got my job at ING before I finished my thesis in August.
What would you advise international students?
There are so many students graduating, and the most important thing is take some time to analyse yourself: what are your main skills and what do you bring the most to companies? Not necessarily in terms of hard skills, but also soft skills. It’s quite hard for some people, especially if they’ve studied at university, to figure out what to do and what they like. What are your biggest strengths, and where can you fit in the market? Take your time to write your CV and motivation letter, because if you don’t do this well, your chances are probably not high.
One of the things to do is to start looking for internships and traineeships. These are the best ways to get into the company and to make the transition from university to working life—even three-month assignments. Not only for experience, but also for understanding how companies work. University can only teach you this up to a certain point. Also, even junior positions can require up to one year of experience, and even if they don’t, it’s a plus to have it.
What would you advise international students who intend to visit ITEA 2017?
I also realised that even though you should bring your CV, it’s not the most important thing. You should talk to people and try to understand what the company is offering and if you fit there. Networking after the event is also quite important, so stay for drinks. Spend time talking with people who are there representing companies. Try to understand what they offer and try to capture the people’s attention. If you’re trying to apply at a specific company and you know they’re going to be at the fair, it’s especially important to go and meet them!