A huge congratulations to Marija who has managed to secure a graduate role with Cisco. Here she gives us some insights to the application process and also gives some useful tips for future applicants.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
I did a year long internship with Cisco in the US, Silicon Valley, before returning to university to finish the 4th year of my MEng program and, at the same time, worked part time with the Cisco London office. So far I got to know the company very well, both the US and UK offices, as well as employees around the globe, in Australia, India and mainland Europe, as I am part of a global team. Why I choose to stay is because I absolutely love the company's culture and their family-like relationship with the employees, regardless of it being such a big multinational corporation. It definitely does not feel so on day to day level but in the same time it does, since you get to collaborate with people, literally, from all parts of the world. My full time role will be Software Engineer within the Collaboration Team, which provides all collaboration technology company wide, from one-on-one, teams to conference level. It is a very dynamic role and very exciting time to join since many new things are being worked on and rolled out.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
I didn't have to go though an application process for the full-time role since my internship in the US was in a way a year long assessment centre. I did have to apply for the internship though, and I was the only one from my degree year that got it, although I didn't have the highest average in the class or among those who did apply. This meant a lot to me since it proves that they are looking for more than just a 1st, than just an ability to pass exams. They are looking for a whole person, problem solver, creative thinker, team worker, easily adoptable and willing to learn not necessarily having all the knowledge already. That is something that drew me the most towards the company at the beginning, when I didn't know anything else about them. The toughest part of the application was them asking me what are my biggest strengths and my weaknesses.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
For the initial internship application, I was surprised that there were no technical questions, such as numeric tests or asking to solve coding questions. However, once I started working they encouraged me to explore as much as I can, I acquired a lot of new technical skills and expanded the ones I already had. I had the chance to work on stretch projects with other teams as well. I was still a bit surprised with the job offer in the UK without any further assessment, but it actually is logical since they were following me for a year working full time and then for another year working part time, on a variety of projects.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
- Always know your CV very well, they pick up on even the smallest details, so always be prepared to discuss anything you have in there as well as prove that you actually know those things or have those skills. If not than definitely don't put it in your CV in the first place. Do your research. Know the company, your possible team and role.
- Always have your questions prepared to ask, and make sure those are not trivial or something that could be found out by a google search anyways.
- I know it will sound super cheesy but be yourself. In such high pressure jobs, sooner or later it will come out that you faked whatever it is you did fake, even if you do pass the assessment process and get the job. Companies are looking for unique people and not just another 'brick in the wall'.
What was the toughest question you faced at interview?
For this particular job, 'Tell me 3 of your strengths and 3 weaknesses'
How has Bright Network helped you?
Although me getting this job wasn't directly a consequence of my interaction with Bright Network, you were of great help with your newsletters and all the content on the website. Since I became a member I browsed those resources extensively and found many useful tips which I used throughout my application process.