Santa Clara University 2019
My name is Claire Hultquist and I am currently a junior at Santa Clara University double majoring in bioengineering and public health, scheduled to graduate June 2019. Outside of class, I am a member of Santa Clara’s biomedical engineering society and am the vice president of the society of women engineers. I am also a member of alpha phi. In my free time, I love to travel and exercise. I especially love skiing and yoga! In the future, I hope to work as a bioengineer to improve medical technologies by making them more user-friendly.
The Perfect Applicant
5:20 AM first alarm beeps. Snooze. 5:35. Second alarm. Silent. I’m up. A chill runs through me, as I leave the safety of my bed and prepare myself to face the day ahead. Ten minutes later, I am in the kitchen packing my lunch, my backpack, my violin, my tennis bag. Load the car, grab the keys, hit the road by 6:15. Breakfast bar to-go. I hope I remembered everything.
Pull into the lot, lock the car. Full day ahead. Five classes, orchestral, tennis, work. 8:15 home. Quick dinner. Homework. I am tired, but that is not an excuse. Shower. 12:30 Bed. 5:20 first alarm beeps.Repeat. No rest for the weary. I dream of going places with my life.
This robotic routine dominated my high school career; my admission to a “good college.” I played the same game as every other applicant from my high school, but found the reality to be that it is not enough simply to get good grades, participate in extracurriculars and hold leadership positions, play sports, and work. Everyone does that. To stand out you have to be better.
How can you be better than your best? As I worked to answer this question, I observed the behavior of my peers and noticed the actions they took to reach success. I was horrified by their willingness to put other individuals out to highlight their own attributes and “get ahead.”
I eventually realized that promoting myself to reflect my passions is a much healthier way to “get ahead.” Showcasing my talents and marketing myself without putting other people down is the best to stand out in a pool of applications. Showing enthusiasm towards a specific project and explaining why I am needed on the team shows future employers why they need to hire me, and is more effective than highlighting the negative qualities of other candidates.
There are four things I keep in mind every time I submit an application. I begin by asking myself why I am applying for the position. It is important to care about the work because it reflects in the quality of work produced. Active engagement in work rather than simply performing tasks robotically leads to higher productivity levels and avoids team divisions. Secondly, it is important to adapt to the desired job. Coming prepared to an interview with a resume that has been tailored for the position makes a greater impression than coming with a resume with all general information. Next, it is essential to have a willingness to learn. Being open to learning more about the company, the job, and the skills required is important when stepping into a new role because with each new position comes its own set of challenges that must be addressed to best suit the corporate culture. This compliments asking valuable questions to the interviewer, showing an interest in learning more about the job or the company in general. For an applicant to stand out, a willingness to serve the company is very important. This means participating in the work beyond “work.” It may include corporate social responsibility and volunteering. Giving back to the community is a great way to foster individual growth and fosters social relationships between coworkers, which can greatly improve the climate of a team or a company.
I applied the concepts of care, adaptation, learning, and service to my summer internship. I worked in Bangalore, India for seven weeks for Prafull Oorja, a non-profit organization that brings yoga to special needs schools and other under-resourced communities. I had this unique opportunity to go abroad through Santa Clara University’s Global Fellows Program, and the application process helped me practice these skills in an academic and corporate setting. Using my voice during the interview process to explain how I planned to apply these concepts to my internship experience showed my interviewers that I was qualified and fit for the position even though the work I did was unrelated to my current major.
Employers look for people who go above and beyond. What this means differs from one case to another, but to me it means being willing to care, adapt, learn, and serve. Showing up for the interview prepared and willing to take on the roles the position offers are critical steps in standing out in a competitive pool of applicants. As I get older, I recognize that a lot of times, there is “somebody more qualified,” “somebody more prepared,” “somebody smarter.” Recognizing that their skills are different than mine, being comfortable with my best, and understanding that I have a unique set of skills of my own makes me the most qualified for the position to which I am applying. This acceptance makes me a stand out in the application process.