From 20 internship applications to one perfect fit with Textron Aviation

Aisha Thaj
Posted by Aisha Thaj on

In September, I participated in the Engineering Expo at Parkview, where I handed out resumes and talked to recruiters. Stryker seemed really promising; they wrote my name down and told me to send in an application right away. However, no design positions had been posted online yet. I was encouraged to go to the Engineering Expo by my Industrial Engineering professors. 

In October I reviewed my portfolio with different designers from Newell and Stryker. They had good feedback as to what projects I should show and which ones I shouldn’t, which processes I was stronger in than others, etc. The Newell portfolio review was set up by my professor and director of the Product Design program, Mike Elwell. One of the Stryker designers who looked at my portfolio was a mentor who I was set up with through my last internship and by Elwell. 

In the first week of November, I began scrolling through job offerings on LinkedIn. At first, I had to sort through Product Design and Industrial Design internships and set the filters to what types of industry and where in the country I was interested in working. I was more interested in medical device design and in the tech industry than in the others but was willing to be open to opportunities at the same time. I was also interested in expanding my skills in digital software and in visual strategy. 

Over the next two weeks, I applied to over 20 internship offerings, some of which were less technically relevant to me than others. Volume was key at this point in time. I knew from experience that bigger corporate companies tend to hire in the fall, but can take months to complete the multiple-interview process. I wanted to get my name and portfolio out there. 

On November 13, I got a call from Textron Aviation. The recruiter was super helpful in clarifying the company’s mission and culture. Online, the internship had been posted as a Graphics Designer, and I wasn’t quite sure what the interview was going to be like. 

On November 14, I interviewed over the phone with the hiring manager for the role. She explained that the internship was a mix of graphic design, product design, VR/AR development, digital art, and interior design. In the interview, she asked me a specific software question, which threw me off, because I actually knew what she was talking about (it was about a process I had used through my job working at the VR development studio on campus). After that win, the rest of the interview felt easy!

On November 19, Textron Aviation sent me an offer of employment and the recruiter called to congratulate me. I was excited and relieved that the stress of searching was over. I accepted the offer after talking to my parents about the logistics of moving to Wichita, Kansas for 10 weeks. 

Since then, I’ve been rejected by a lot of companies and called back for an interview by one. I’m working on learning more about the processes and software they use at Textron so that I’m ready to go in May. I’m excited about an internship where I’m not the only intern, but also nervous at the thought of living so far away from home. Thankfully, I have a friend that works at Textron in Wichita (which I found out after this process), so I won’t be completely alone in a new place! I’m already making a list of all the things I want to see and do in and around Wichita.