Larissa Ishimwe was searching for an engineering internship where she could supplement her academic knowledge with some hands-on experience. As if finding a job during the start of the Coronavirus pandemic wasn’t hard enough, Larissa also didn’t have a network of local friends and family that could assist her in her search. One connection, though, proved to be all she needed.
A native of Rwanda, Larissa came to the United States to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. When her schooling was nearly complete in the spring of 2020, Larissa started on a search for an internship. “During the short time I was looking on my own, I found that most places I applied to didn’t respond,” commented Larissa. “I also don’t know a lot of people here in the U.S., so I don’t have the connections that could help me get a foot in the door.”
A friend, however, was following Staff Hunters on LinkedIn, and when Kendra Palmer posted that she was looking for engineering candidates, Larissa’s friend tagged her on the post. Larissa sent Kendra her resume and they immediately hit the ground running.
As this was Larissa’s first foray into engineering, she leaned on Kendra’s expertise in the industry and in the hiring process. The two honed Larissa’s interviewing skills and fine-tuned her resume while Kendra set up an interview at a local manufacturer. “Just a few days after I talked to Kendra, I was interviewing,” Larissa said. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh, my goodness! Connections really do work!’”
Kendra felt good about Larissa from the start. “She was very inspiring to me,” she said. “She liked to push limits, especially if she were ever told she could not do something. She’s a go-getter and very pleasant to work with. I knew Larissa would interview well because of her enthusiasm and her perseverance, and I think the hiring manager could also see her drive and capabilities, too, because she was quickly hired for the internship.”
Larissa is now two months into her internship and is happy for the real-world experience. “School tends to be theory only, so the internship is allowing me to get hands-on experience,” she said. “I’m also learning how to write technical documents, which isn’t easy to do.”
She found so much success with using a staffing agency for her internship that she is working with Kendra on sourcing opportunities for her first actual engineering position. “Having somebody like Kendra who has worked with the client company and knows the people is an efficient and effective way to get your resume in the right hands.”
Congratulations, Larissa, and best wishes for your continued success as you start your engineering career!