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What's it Really Like to Intern at Apple?
by Claire Millard

It's the biggest IT company in the world. It pulls in something like $1 billion a week in profit. And it's market value makes it worth more than some small countries.

In fact, chances are, you're reading this article on an Apple product - an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

But what's it like to work there?

Apple offers internships and part time work for students, meaning you can get involved in various ways during your studies. Here's how (and why) to do it.

Land the job

Apple recruit for specific intern programs, many of which are based either at their California headquarters, or at Austin, Texas. That means that you need to choose the type of internship you are interested in (such as back end engineering, UI or web development), before you apply. This is unlike other intern programs like Google and Facebook, where you submit an application and the project you're working on is agreed later from a list of options.

Because all roles are individually advertised, you need to check out what's on offer for the time frame you're looking at. But the good news is that the interview process isn't intended to trip you up or trick you, with recruiters looking for cultural fit and passion as well as technical abilities.

Caitlin Connerney, an intern in 2015, explains the factors that she thought helped her ace the interview process.

“I truly want to learn, and I have very obvious passion for the field. These interviewers aren't just looking for someone who is very good in one specific field- they're also looking for a coworker, a teammate, and a friend. For Apple, you need to be good in every applicable area.”

Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through during your interview - the recruiters want to see the real you!

Make meaningful connections

Once you've got your internship arranged, you need to think about how to make the most of the opportunity.

Any internship gives a great opportunity to build your network and get to know other people with the same sort of professional ambitions as you. When you're looking at an internship with one of the tech giants like Apple, you are going to be surrounded by the cream of the proverbial crop. Use the opportunity to build your network, and make meaningful connections.

Luckily the team at Apple make it easy to hook up. You might find yourself sharing a flat with other interns during your time there, or you can take part in any of the company organised outings and events to help you get to know your new colleagues. Previous Apple interns report that intern groups get to know each other well, through cooperating on meaningful projects together. Take advantage of the options available, and become a networking superstar.

But keep it hush hush

Apple are known for their glitzy product launches where the media (and public) eagerly await the presentation of a new bit of tech. The speculation in the run up builds to a fury, and the product practically markets itself by virtue of the buzz created.

This only works if people on the Apple inside can keep a secret. If employees were to spill the  beans about what they are working on, the whole system would fail, so expect to keep your projects hush hush.

Interns are instructed early on, that they must not tell people outside of their family about their project - so don't expect to be able to brag about your work in the pub, or LinkedIn. In fact, the organisational structure is designed to make sure that even different teams don't know what each other are up to. That way there are no leaks, everyone stays focused on their part of the jigsaw, and even the employees get a nice surprise when the product launch rolls on round.

One unexpected upside - allegedly - is the lack of internal politics at Apple. With teams working on their own projects only, the focus is on pulling together and delivering; a refreshing alternative to workplace bickering!

Save for a rainy day

As if you needed more reasons to get your application in, Apple pays interns well. Really well.

According to Glassdoor surveys, the average income for an intern in the US is in the region of $38 per hour, which mounts up quickly to over $7000 a month. With extra pay for overtime above the forty hour mark, this can be a seriously lucrative internship.

Aside from the cash on offer, Apple’s internships come with some great benefits, according to previous role holders. Expect to have help to find accommodation, receive medical cover and even a bike to get to the office every day. Because they're used to recruiting interns from all over the world, Apple are also able to support international students who need to complete visa paperwork and make more complex travel arrangements. Maxime Britto, who traveled from France for his internship, wrote on Quora, “ Apple helps you all the way”, from customs paperwork to finding a home for the duration.

Once you're onboard, expect a startup’ style culture of small teams. While Apple’s famous secrecy means that little is really known about what it's like to work there, the business functions thanks to narrow accountability and razor sharp focus. Expect very clear roles, and defined responsibility.

Know your options

Getting an internship with Apple is tough. There will be a lot of competition - but it's not the only way to get an insight into the workings of this iconic organisation.

You may also be able to apply for a role as an AppleCare College Advisor, working from home and offering customer support to Apple users. This role comes with good benefits and career opportunities, as well as being flexible on location - well worth considering if you're looking for some part time experience with a reputable business.

If that's not for you, then you might be able to apply to be an Apple campus rep, for a different type of student work experience. Remember that what recruiters are looking for in their graduates is evidence of ambition, determination and drive - so even if you don't get an intern role straight away, taking the time to scope out other work opportunities shows your proactive side.

As a student you know that gathering up work experience is crucial. When it comes to finding a grad job, employers want to see that you've pushed yourself and developed the soft skills that are key to business, but not taught in school. An internship is a perfect way to do this, and where better than the world's biggest IT business?

Wherever you choose for your internship, make the most of the opportunity to grow and develop personally and professionally. You'll have fun, earn some extra cash, and the experience will make your graduate CV really stand out from the crowd. Good luck!


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