Getting a Job as an IMSA Student: an Interview with Natalie Sanchez (’20)

Natalie Sanchez graduated last year from IMSA, and she has already earned a position at Endiro, a Ugandan-themed cafe in Aurora. While she merely applied as a barista, after the CEO looked at her resume, she acquired a full time salary and position as an “Assistant Branding Manager.”

As IMSA now allows students to have a job because of COVID-19, I asked Natalie for advice on finding work as a student.

Should I get a job?

“Because these are troubling times, I felt like I needed to work while going to school in order to financially support myself. That wasn’t always the case for me and probably millions of people out there, but now it is a reality for a lot of us. I definitely recommend getting a job right now. This is also the only time most IMSA students would ever get a chance to get a job during high school! 

What should I be aiming for?

“IMSA students are so talented and powerful. I applied simply as a barista, but I made sure to list all of my skills, experiences, talents, etc. on my job application to every where I applied. You never know if a company needs more than what you wanted to apply for. My takeaway from all of this, for IMSA students, is to not submit yourself immediately to some mindless job. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, my first job was at my local Dairy Queen, but I think IMSA students are much more capable. It is in your every right to boast because you all are amazing but always tend to sell yourself short. Put yourself out there in terms of skills and capabilities to potential employers, but also know any job is a great experience. ”

So, where do I apply?

“For IMSA students who are looking to find a job, my advice is to apply everywhere. I applied to Endiro on a whim looking to be a barista. So look everywhere! Look on Indeed, browse through your network, and ask your local connections if they’re looking to hire. You will get plenty of no’s before you achieve that single ‘yes.’ And if you do work at your local Walgreens, McDonalds or whatever it may be, that is great because you are doing something with your time and adding another piece of experience to your resumé.”

And, how do I prepare for an interview?

“Look into the background of your employers. When I went to go interview for Chipotle, I had no idea that they had really cool green and sustainable initiatives. They were really passionate about sourcing their produce and meats from local farmers. Learning about this, I can easily hype that up in an interview with a future big employer or simply on my resumé”

If I get a job, I can’t balance an internship/SIR on top of that, is that okay?

“Internships aren’t the only way to be productive. You can get a letter of recommendation from your boss at Chipotle if you work diligently and dynamically with the customers and the crew AND you get paid AND you get job perks (free food!) AND you get to put it on your resumé.”

How do I schedule a job during school?

“When you finally get your job, think about it as more than another extracurricular. Sometimes I was guilty of not taking IMSA clubs as seriously, and say my head hurt to skip meetings when in reality I was lollygagging or napping, but this is outside of the IMSA bubble. It’s really important to build trust and be reliable to your employers especially, if you want a letter of recommendation. Be transparent with your employer when you are available. If you get off Zoom classes at 2:30 you can take a shift from 4-9. Build your schedule on what you think you can manage, with school being first”

“If you need help setting up your LinkedIn, need interview tips (I am a boss at interviews), or need someone to look over your resumé, ask me or ask Betty Hart from IN2! That is what she is here for!”

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