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Fontbonne Junior is Career Ready after Internship with Edward Jones

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In early April 2023, Fontbonne University junior, Tim Brennan received a call from Edward Jones. After over three months of applying to internships, he was finally chosen for a role. During the 10 weeks of summer, Brennan worked on Edward Jones’ Test Framework team, where he helped support the tools that developers use in software development to test code.

“For my project, I built an accelerator utility.” Brennan shared “It is a tool to help testers read spreadsheets when they run various kinds of tests.”

Brennan’s internship at Edward Jones was his first full-time professional experience. He had previously worked part-time as an assistant at Fontbonne’s Jack C. Taylor Library where he worked to archive and digitize collections of photographs and establish a user-friendly database.

A Math and Computer Science major at Fontbonne University, Brennan’s Java programming skills and basic SQL database programming knowledge helped him stand out on his applications. He had gained both skills in classes at Fontbonne University.

While learning new technical skills was to be expected in his new role, Brennan also encountered a learning curve for other nuanced workplace skills such as professional communication.  “Writing an email at work is different from writing one in school.” Brennan shared “It was important to learn how to balance being professional without sounding too stiff.”

The internship at Edward Jones was set up to help Brennan succeed. Over the course of his internship, Brennan received support from his team mentor and his manager. “The team mentor is the person who guides you on your team.” Said Brennan. “He was able to help me with my code and guided me. I also received good career advice in general from them. My manager was also super supportive.”

Edward Jones also provided accommodations for remote work since they were headquartered in Maryland Heights and Brennan lived in South City, a privilege that made for a stress-free and successful internship.

A Challenging Start.

Brennan started applying for internships in fall 2022. In the beginning, Brennan had a hard time getting any attention to his applications. Despite his interest in the field of Math and Computer Science, he had yet to work on any substantial projects that could attract the kind of attention he needed to his resume. “I had such limited experience and had never had an internship before,” Brennan said of the experience. “I think that’s probably a pretty common problem with people looking for their first job.”

As active member of the Fontbonne community, Brennan was used to putting his best foot forward. He is a member of choir and honor-leadership societies such as Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Lambda Delta.  Brennan reviewed his strategy and worked to refine his job application process.

Until then, Brennan had applied to any internship position he thought he had a shot at. He soon switched strategies and focused on applying to local companies in the St. Louis area.

“A mistake I made was that I would see a remote position and would say ‘Oh, I can do that.’” Brennan recounted. “But those positions where far more competitive and my chances of success were limited.”

By applying randomly and to remote jobs, Brennan was entering a larger competitive pool of local and remote workers. However, when he focused his efforts on local, in-person roles, He was able to focus his energy on select applications where he was more likely to stand out.

Brennan had also asked for tips from Emily Huey, director of career development at Fontbonne’s Career Development Office. There, Brennan got sample resume templates and advice on how to make his resume and cover letter effective.

“Emily advised that my resume and cover letter be written in active voice. It had been in passive” Brennan said. “So, I flipped that around, and that made it much better.”

Future Plans.

Brennan received a call from Edward Jones. His strategy had worked. Following the 10 weeks at Edward Jones, Brennan returned to classes with a renewed sense of purpose. He credited his summer experience at Edward Jones for his renewed engagement with his courses at Fontbonne. Brennan is the new President of the Math and Computer Science Club showing a renewed dedication to growing the field and community.

“The internship made me a lot more engaged with my classes because I know where all this is going.” Brennan said. “Before, it was all theory, now I know how to apply it practically.”

“I am hoping to be an IT developer.” He added, “In the IT world they value experience. A bachelor’s degree is great, but if you have that and a summer where you worked at a company and learned all the things that I learned, I think employers are likely to be more excited about you.”

While Brennan hopes to secure another internship for the summer of 2024, he is confident that his time at Edward Jones has provided him with a strong foundation for his career. His message to students seeking internships is clear: don’t be discouraged during your search. You never know why a company might take a chance on you.

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