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Tips on Applying to Jobs!

General Tips

Use a Mailtracker Extension

I use something like Mailpanion, which is a Chrome email extension, which allows you to add a 1x1 invisible pixel to your emails to know when someone opens your email. This is great for cold-emailing.

Just don't go looking at your own email after you send them. I know I made that mistake, looking at the emails on my phone, and thinking, "Wow, the recruiter read the email" when it was just me. 😅

Applying with multiple identities

Companies track you (in my hypothetical guess through): address, phone number, email, name. The name can have a lot of overlap, so I think you can fake the others.

  1. Don't give your address if you can help it. And if you need a second address, ask a friend, ask a family member, use your parent's address, an old dorm address, etc.

  2. Phone numbers: you can sign up for a Google Voice account, and get a second phone number if you have a US number. There are also other ways to "rent numbers" and acquire numbers, but I haven't looked too deeply, as Google voice works for me.

  3. Your name, you can keep as your name. If you are in a unique situation, some people have their "actual name" (for ex. a Chinese name), and a US / English name. So if that is your situation, you can maybe have one of them be your actual name, and the other be your English name (maybe add your international name as a middle name). The main thing is just to prevent collisions that you are the same person in the system easily. But I think names are quite common to be the same.

  4. With the help of ChatGPT now and LLMs, I don't think there is any excuse to be able to rewrite your resume to look different, with different wordings and so-on. Maybe even change your "title" up a bit, instead of "Software Engineer internship" can write "SWE internship".

For students specifically

If your finances and visa allow it, you may be able to use the multiple identify method. For example, if you're graduating in May 2010, you could create one application that says you're graduating in May 2010 and another one that says you're graduating in December 2010.

The December 2010 application could potentially make it easier for you to get an internship, while the May 2010 application could still capture new grad opportunities. The risk is that managing two identities can be more complicated, and converting from an internship to a full-time offer can be more difficult than getting a full-time offer directly. But it could still be helpful in some cases b/c internships are easier to get, and maybe in times of bad economy sometimes internship opportunities are released while fulltime is not.

There are also scenarios where someone has a PhD but most jobs only require a bachelor's or master's degree. In this case, you could create one identity for your master's degree and one for your PhD.

You may be wondering why you can apply with a December 2010 graduation date even if you're really graduating in May 2010. This is because many applications ask for your "expected graduation date", which means you could be "expecting" to go to grad school after graduating, making you eligible for an internship, or that you are expecting to take a gap semester. These plans can also change, so applying with a later graduation date is okay, and once you are done with the internship, you just need to ask when is the earliest they can allow you to be a full-time. It could potentially be next year January. (Thus, you need to figure out if you could make it work if you are in a specific visa situation.)

Personally, I have never done this myself, but I have seen it done successfully in some cases. It can be especially helpful if you just need to pass the initial resume screening and be given a chance to complete an online assessment and phone screening.