Thursday, June 13, 2013

Akshay Rao, Electrical & Computer Engineering, leverages LinkedIn to receive multiple job offers


Akshay Rao graduated with his master’s degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He joins the audio giant Bose Corporation this summer as a full-time Audio DSP software engineer in their car audio division. He worked with Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center Counselor Laura Godwin this year, and is happy to share what he learned with his peers.

 Being pro-active is the key, “ he says. “On LinkedIn, I started following companies I was interested in, looking at profiles of its employees and finding more companies in the same field from looking at their former employers. Once I found out a company’s name, I would scour its websites for openings I was interested in and apply online.

“Instead of just applying on and waiting for a response, I would actively seek out connections in my network to find people in those companies to speak to them over the phone or over emails,” he says.

Rao says he also made sure his resume would be seen. “I used LinkedIn extensively to connect with young employees in similar positions to ask them about their projects, satisfaction and ways I could make my resume stand out. Usually a few of them would offer to forward my resume to a hiring manager,” he says.

He made the most of LinkedIn by ensuring his profile (www.linkedin.com/in/raoakshay) contained most of the keywords that recruiters look for. “For example for my field, experience in speech enhancement is a big plus, so I would have keywords like ‘Speech Processing’, ‘Speech Enhancement’, and ‘Noise Reduction’ interspersed on my LinkedIn profile and resume. I did this by making sure I was using one of variants in the title of a project/work, but and another one in its description.

“Many recruiters from big and small companies contacted me on LinkedIn, including Skype and Apple. I received a full-time offer from Apple but did not materialize.

Rao’s proactive search led to multiple job offers, which Godwin helped him negotiate. “The career center helped me out by giving me tips on how to extend my acceptance deadline with the other company and request an expedited decision from Bose. Laura was very quick and helpful through our email correspondences.”

Additional tips Rao offers to his peers:

  • I capitalized on my prior work experience. I have found that getting a job as a fresh college grad is very difficult if one does not have prior industry experience. I urge all the freshman, sophomores and juniors to do useful internships and keep a track of what kind of technical experiences/projects the industry is looking for currently.
  • For my success at getting an offer from Bose, I also attribute my passion towards audio and music combined with the experiences I had gathered from other interviews prior to my interview with Bose. I realized that it was very important for me to able to convey my passion, just as it is important to convey my technical abilities in the interview.

Rao holds an undergraduate engineering degree from India in Information Technology and worked in the industry (in India) for three years as a software engineer. He came to the University of Rochester in 2011 for a Master's in the Electrical and Computer Engineering; concentrating on Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing (Audio DSP). During his master's he worked in Carney Lab (URMC) on algorithms for future hearing devices and interned last summer at Starkey Hearing Research Center in Berkeley, CA.

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