Internships

Real World Experience: Why You Should Intern In College

College may be little more than a four-year party to some, but for many it’s a time to learn new things, meet new people, and live independently. Students tend to hold their undergraduate years in such high esteem that they often end up calling them the best four years of their lives. Yet upon graduation, many still feel surprisingly ill prepared to venture out into the “real world”. Even those students who graduate with a high GPA can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the professional world, making them wonder if their academic accomplishments were ever worthwhile.

 If you’re looking for a manual on how to succeed in the real world, you have come to the wrong place. However, here’s one valuable piece of advice that may alleviate some stress once you graduate: find an internship.

Intern

  Interning in college is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your future.  An internship can open up a variety of networking opportunities and can provide you with valuable work experience in your intended field. It may also help you in determining whether the field you’ve chosen is right for you. Sure, the typical life of an intern may not be the professional life you imagined, but for what it’s worth, you could be taking a small step towards landing the job of your dreams.

Getting a taste of the real world while you’re still in school may seriously pay off in the long run.

Whether it’s mastering a certain skill, learning how to interact with coworkers, or finding ways to score points with your boss, an internship is a great way to break into the occupation of your choice without dealing with the crippling pressure of a year-round job. As college students, our summer and winter breaks provide great opportunities to work full-time. While you may be tempted to sit at home and lounge around during your time off, do yourself a favor and go find an internship. You’ll be glad you did it.

Preparing for Graduation: It’s Never Too Early

graduationWhy do we go to college? To get a degree and get a job in a specialized field, right? It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes the purpose of college tends to be forgotten with all of the friendships students make and events they participate in. College is a social institution where as soon as you get your degree, you are out in the real world. It might seem daunting, but there are ways you can prepare yourself while you are still getting your education.

Take advantage of your school’s career services office and its members. They are there to help you! They can assist with resumes, cover letters and everything you need to get a job once you get your diploma. You don’t have to wait until you are a senior or close to graduating. Work on building your resume and cover letters from the start, and you will be a master by the time you are ready for your first post-college job.

Take advantage of every career fair, even if it is not at your campus. College faculty want you to get a job as soon as you get out. They want you to feel confident in your degree and put it to good use. A lot of universities will hold frequently host job fairs on campus. If yours doesn’t, check out another campus nearby that does! This is a good chance to get your name out there and network. Networking is the key to getting a great position after graduation.

Experience and resume builders are everything. Join societies and clubs dedicated to your field of interest. Seek out internships no matter what education level you are at. The more experience, the better. It stands out to employers that you are dedicated to your field, and are willing to work to make yourself stand out as a prospective employee.

 

Have any other tips for students anxious about joining the workforce after college? Let us know in the comment section below!

How to Wow Recruiters with Your Resume and Cover Letters

For most of us, there’s nothing more challenging than sitting down and writing a cover letter. Writing about yourself is one thing. Writing about yourself in a way that shows you can do a job and gets you noticed out of 100 applicants is another. Resume and cover letter writing is just step one on job hunts, and can often be the hardest step. But thanks to career services and many other professional tips, it’s time all of us heading into the job market or applying to internships know how it’s done.
The best way to set up a resume is to make a list of everything you’ve done in college—once you’re a sophomore or older, you typically want to forget high school ever happened in your applications (unless you went to a highly prestigious boarding school or something of the like). Think about internships, clubs, courses and class projects relevant to the job. Once you have it all laid out before, pick and choose from the list to tailor your experiences to a job description. Yup, that’s right. You don’t necessarily want just one kind of resume for every job you apply for—though you can often repeat when applying to all jobs in the same field. The best way to get hired is to cater your resume and cover letter to the job description given and the skills required. That way, one glance at your piece of paper—because your resume should always be one single piece of paper—will immediately show an employer you could do this job.
When writing your resume, format is important. Use bold headings for different sections, like education, leadership experience, etc. You can group your internship and class work experiences under different headings related to the job, so they can see a wider range of what you’ve been up to—especially since by the end of senior year, most of us can’t fit all of our experiences on one page and have to choose what to include. For each experience, make sure you include the name of the company, where you worked, your job title, and the dates of your internship or class. Keep the format the same throughout the whole resume to make it look more professional and flow better. Under each title of your experience, include at least three bullet points as to what you did. Be honest, beginning each bullet with an action verb, and again try to make your experience as closely related to the job description as possible without making up details. Voila! You have a resume that will stand out to the company and hopefully help land you the job.
In addition to working hard on your resume, you need to put the time in to writing different cover letters for each job. Companies can tell if you’re using the same letter repeatedly and just inserting a different company name. Here’s the trick to these: the company wants to know if you can do the job, if you want the job (aka have passion for it), and if you’ll fit into the work environment. So, you should take this opportunity—again, the cover letter should be just about a page if not less—to try to reference all of these points as best you can.
You should begin your letter by addressing the employer by name if possible, and launch into a short paragraph about how you’re interested in such a position and why. The why aspect is important because it can help show your passion and what it is about this particular company that makes you want to work there. Then enter a new paragraph that is about 10 sentences at most, highlighting three to five experiences on your resume that make you a good candidate. DON’T just re-iterate what your resume already tells them about your study abroad experience, but go into detail about what you learned exactly…which should be related to the job description and what experience they want you to have! Be concise and clear, and stick to the most important details of what you did. Conclude your letter by thanking them for their consideration and giving them details on how to reach you. Include references with their information, and with one final thank you and “hope to hear from you soon,” you’ve just finished one of the most difficult letters to write ever. Phew!

How to Find the Right Job on Campus

Work-study, part time, internships…which job is the right job?  Follow these five guidelines in order to become one step closer to securing the right job for you on campus.

1.      Determine the Type of Job You Want or Need

The first thing I recommend doing when searching for an on-campus job is determining your financial aid package.  Sometimes you have qualified for a work-study job that can be in any department at your university.  Normally there is a deadline early in the fall term that you must be hired by, or you will lose that part of your package.  If you do not qualify for work-study, this means you are ineligible to be hired by a department that is work-study only.  In this case you need to be looking for part-time jobs on campus that are not designated as such.  If you are interested in a fall semester internship, these must usually be applied for the summer prior, so be sure you have those deadlines straight.

2.      Search and Network 

Find out if your school has an online or print database that lists all of the jobs available, and job types at that.  Normally in such an online database you can narrow down your results to only the type of job you are looking for, and enter a keyword that represents what type of work you wish to do.  Also attend job fairs on campus.  Usually there will be a work-study fair early in the fall semester, and sometimes part-time positions will be advertised there as well.

 3.      Narrow It Down 

Do you want to work in a department related to your major?  Have you lifeguarded in the past and wish to work at the rec center?  These are all important things to consider when deciding what jobs to apply for.  Many work-study positions require their students to perform a lot of administrative tasks—other positions give you plenty of time to do your own homework.  Keep that in mind as well.  Do you want to sit at the front desk at the rec center, swiping people in and doing homework simultaneously, or do you want office experience? 

4.  Apply, Apply, Apply

Send out as many applications as you see fit.  Bring your resume to those job fairs, and be prepared to answer any questions that are directed toward you.  Dress appropriately when attending such fairs, or whenever you anticipate you will be interacting with a potential employer.  Go to as many interviews as you are able, get to know the atmosphere surrounding the position, and don’t accept an offer unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want and can handle.

5.      Accept the Job and Stay 

Many people switch on-campus jobs frequently throughout their four years at school, and they have good reason.  I recommend, however, whenever possible, that you stay with your position as long as you can.  This builds up a great reference pool for when you apply for full-time jobs, having known your on-campus employer for multiple years.  I have kept the same work-study job since my freshmen year, and will be continuing with it into my senior semesters.  But at the same time, it is always understandable if you have a valid reason for wanting to leave (poor work environment, something more suited to you is offered the next year, etc.).

Following these five steps is a great way to find the right job for you and keep it for as long as you need.  As always, start early and be prepared to sell yourself to those on-campus employers.  After all, it’s students like you that they’re looking for.  Best of luck!

GPS

I’ve never used a GPS, or even owned one for that matter. In Kansas everything is built around a grid. In Philadelphia I don’t drive, I use the subway or have a friend drive me. I don’t get lost, and I rarely read street signs. There’s nothing like relying on handy dandy landmarks and familiar surroundings.

This summer I moved to Salt Lake City, and somehow my directional skills seemed to vanish.

Street names were different, intersections seeme wice as long, and to top it all off—there are mountains in every direction.

In short, my GPS has saved me. I’m still learning, but without it, the last month would have been torture.

But why does having a talking friend attached to my windshield make my commute more comforting? Why do I feel better knowing that Gabby, my Garmin, is leading the way?

In my mind it all comes down to surprise. Using a GPS takes the guesswork out of driving. When I need to go left, she lets me know. When I go the wrong way, she helps me turn around.

That doesn’t mean you should become complacent or let your GPS do all the work, but it does mean you can relax a little and not stress about where you’re going.

Any GPS, or any set of directions makes traveling easier and more direct. I for one hate highways. They scare me. Gabby knows me well. She gives me an alternate route. She also knows my favorite spots and memorizes where I like to go. Now that’s true love.

I’ll admit that it’s almost sad that I don’t know what people did before GPS technology. I know there was mapquest once upon a time. What was there before that? A compass? Did people really rely on good faith and sense of direction to get around? I wish those people could teach me a thing or two.

I’m not saying we should depend on a GPS- they aren’t fool proof, and of course it would be better to know naturally how to get around. But it’s not always that easy.

When I get lost, Gabby helps me get back on track. I just have to remember that she can’t do it all—I still need to be alert and focused. She is just my helper along the way!

Antsy Intern

You hate your summer job.

Now what?

Here I am in Salt Lake City—beautiful place. But, I’m lonely, I’m bored, and I live in an apartment with no furniture and work is slow.

Not exactly the glamorous resume bullet and experience builder that I was hoping for.

I’m under utilized, under challenged and searching high and low for ways to spice things up.

Are you feeling the same? I feel like it’s more common than us interns think but there is a way to fix it, so listen up!

You can’t suffer in silence. You need to communicate how you’re feeling and let your boss know. July is the perfect time—a halfway mark for some. Think of it as a mid progress report.

You owe it to your place of work to tell them what works and what doesn’t work in terms of intern responsibilities.

If you voice your concerns, or even suggest new ideas or projects you may be in an entirely different boat—one that you could end up loving to sail on. And plus, you have a whole month to experience new jobs and tasks—but only if you say something now.

If that doesn’t work and you’re still bored, or worse, sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs, you can still take action.

Stretch your own limits and reach for what you know you’re capable of. If you have any creative leeway at all—try something new, or take a task and put your spin on it to show that you can be innovative and improve existing methods. However, if you feel under utilized you need to make sure you show your strengths, don’t tell them. No office, or job wants to hear you talk about how great you are—just put it into action.

And if all else fails, and you’re job isn’t likely to turn around anytime soon, look for the silver lining. For one, it’s only for the summer. You’ll head back to school soon and your job just will be one of your many experiences that helps build character—or at the very least can be used as a good story. Or maybe you love your co-workers and your summer intern disaster helped you land a new friend, or fling. Maybe your lunch break made everything worth it—I have a friend whose works caters lunch every day—yum!

There will always be things we love about our jobs, and then the things we could definitely live without. Make sure to voice your concerns early and never suffer in silence—and if you decide to, at least look for the good stuff intertwined throughout it all, it can’t be all bad.

New City, New Sites: Salt Lake Travels

When I moved to Salt Lake City for the summer I set big expectations for myself. I was going to be outdoorsy, hike, and climb mountains.

I’ve been here for a month.

I’ve barely seen the salt lake (Does from the plane count?!). I haven’t climbed any mountains. I have hiked or even seen any trails.

I’m clearly lagging behind.

Utah is beautiful—home to parks, mountains and wildlife. A photographers dream! Yet here I am, working full time and missing the “sites”.

Or am I?

I came here for an internship. I should definitely take advantage of the scenery. I have to. But just because I haven’t camped in the mountains doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced some of the best things about being here.

I’ve created a routine.

I go to work. I head to the gym. I shop for groceries. I drive around singing and dancing to Call Me Maybe while looking at the mountains.

Sounds like fun to me.

I will definitely do things more “Utah”. But I think it’s cool that I fit in. I feel like a local—I could really live here. I’m not site seeing or trying to fit everything in all at once.

I’m relaxed. I’m enjoying the scenery, even if it’s from a distance. (It’s hard to miss the landscape—just look out a window!)

Internships are semi-permanent. The work isn’t always fascinating but then again, there’s more to life than your 9 to 5. I’m learning that now by being here.

I know I’ll get around to everything else, but for now, I love the little things—Like making dinner (not from a dining hall), and going to dollar movies, and experiencing the heat, minus sticky humidity!

I have a month left here, I’ll be curious to see what takes priority—the sites, or the lifestyle.

Only time will tell!

Stand Out from the Crowd: Keys to a Successful Job Search

When it comes time to find a summer internship, or a full-time job when you’re fresh out of college, it takes a lot to stand out from the pool of applicants who have the exact same goals as you.  So make yourself unique, and try these five steps in order to significantly increase your chances of getting hired:

1.      Update your Resume

Make sure your resume includes all relevant information that pertains to where you are applying.  Sometimes you might need to make multiple versions in order to suit various applications.  Instead of labeling your previous employment “Work Experience,” try calling it “Professional Experience,” especially if it is in your field (perhaps from a previous internship, a work study position, etc.).  If you have worked in retail or food service, sometimes it’s better to leave that out to save space, unless the skills you gained are relevant to the position you are seeking.  Remember, try to keep your resume down to one or two pages; the employers are looking at many at a time, and if you have more information on yours than necessary, it could be too overwhelming for them to really focus on.

2.      Create a Personal Website

 This is a great option, especially if you have a portfolio.  Rather than turning in just a resume and cover letter that lists your achievements, provide a link to your website where the employer can view your actual work.  That way, if they are truly interested, they can better familiarize themselves with what you do.  This will also increase your chances of being contacted, based on the professional presentation you have given them to work with.

 3.      Show Demonstrated Interest

 Don’t be so persistent to the brink of becoming an annoyance, but if you have a genuine interest in a specific company, try to meet up with recruiting representatives at job fairs or campus visits.  That way, you’re able to get your name on the table and show that you would really like to work there.  Give them a reason to think you would be a great addition to the company.

4.      Follow-Up

Whether it’s after a job fair conversation or a formal interview, you should always follow up (an email is best) and thank the person/people you spoke with.  For example, let them know you enjoyed talking with them and learning about the company, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon.  After that, however, you need to leave it up to them for a while.  It is unprofessional to inquire about a position if you are still within the decision period that they specified.

5.      Stay Interested

Even if you don’t end up getting hired for that specific position, you can inform the company that you would be open to having them keep your resume on file (especially if you are very set on working with that company).  This is not a guarantee, but having already interacted with them at this level can push you ahead of other applicants for newer positions.

In these five ways you can put yourself out there, showcase your abilities in a unique way, and make those companies remember you.  As always, nothing is guaranteed in today’s job market, but repeating these steps as many times as it takes can certainly project you further.  Good luck!

 

The Eight to Five Adjustment

Summers used to be filled with sidewalk chalk and lemonade stands.

I miss them both.

But, when you’re in college summers change.

Sure they are still supposed to be fun—we all deserve a break after a grueling semester. But, nine times out of ten you won’t find a college student lounging around all summer eating bonbons. Summer means work—a job, an internship, maybe even more school.

Gone are the days when you can eat snow cones by the pool.

We have to get up early, look presentable and head into work. And the hardest part, some of us don’t get to wait until 9:00am. Those days are gone too.

In life, the early bird gets the worm. The same goes for work.

These days, offices open earlier and close later. For us, that means getting to work sooner, and potentially staying later. Are you ready for that commitment, can you handle the extra hour?

When I started my internship three weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I could. The idea of being somewhere at 8:00AM seemed daunting. That’s early.

If I wanted to look decent I needed to wake up early enough to get ready, but I also needed time to eat, and drive to work. It seemed like my sleeping time was getting slashed. Plus, there was something about the sound of 8-to-5 that didn’t have the same ring to it as 9-to-5.  Every day is going to seem like an eternity.

I discovered that there is a trick to making it through the day. It’s all about your mindset.

You have to mentally prepare yourself for your week and schedule a little variety into your days.

Here are my top tips to adjusting to a regular workday:

1) Get Enough Sleep. You already have to wake up early, don’t make it worse by staying up late. No one in the office wants a groggy Gary on the loose!

2) Have snacks, or little things to nibble on at your desk. If you lose focus, or start to feel sluggish a little pick me up is the perfect way to get back on track.

3) Drink plenty of water. It leaves you feeling refreshed.

4) Break up your day into different tasks. Doing the same thing all day can get boring, not to mention make it easy to lose focus. Schedule blocks of time for certain tasks then move on to other assignments. If you don’t finish everything, you can always come back later.

5) Have a positive attitude. This goes back to mindset. Sure, sometimes you would rather be laying out at the pool, but make the most of you summer situation. When you are happy at work, and happy to those around you, time will move faster and your time in the office will be more enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

Creative Meals to Take to Work

While working at your summer job it can be hard to know what to eat on your lunch break. Sometimes depending on the shift, breaks can be as short as fifteen minutes! Fifteen minutes is hardly enough time to leave and find food. If you’re like me, you don’t want to pack a quick pouch of pop tarts or even chips because you’re worried about nutrition. I’ve discovered how to turn break time into a quick nutritional pick me up, here’s how to.

The first step is to bring a bottle of water from home. There is no use in spending your hard earned cash in a vending machine for a sugary pop or energy drink.  Bringing a bottle of water isn’t only free; it’ll keep you hydrated and healthy on the job. Next, pack fresh foods that you cannot find in a package! This might take you waking up five minutes earlier in order to prepare your food, but you will be saving time and money when your break arrives. I always get up early and prepare my break food while I’m in the kitchen for breakfast.

A great thing to make fresh and quick is a sandwich. Make sure you keep bread, condiments, and fresh veggies in your fridge! My sandwiches usually consist of wheat bread, turkey, cheese, fresh lettuce, onion, pickles, and occasionally a little bit of  mustard. If you aren’t into sandwiches try creating a salad to go! Find some tub-o-ware, and begin the process! I usually combine lettuce and spinage in mine. Include your favorite dressing on the side to avoid soggy salad later. Add shredded cheeses, onion, tomato, peppers, and whatever else you enjoy! This is a great a fast option for a healthy main course.

When it comes to side dishes there are many options. Throw in your favorite yogurt and a spoon; include a side of fresh strawberries or grapes as well because they are easy to pack. You might also like to throw in an apple or banana for fruit; they are also very easy to pack quickly. If you feel the need for more sustenance, try adding one of your favorite granola bars as well. Try avoiding potato chips, but it you want a healthy substitute, use pretzels, animal crackers, or a couple graham crackers. Each of these substitutes provides a delicious flavor and still has the crunch effect. All of them are also extremely low in fat.

In conclusion, there are many ways to save money and eat right quickly while on the job. All it takes is a little preparation to enjoy a meal straight from your kitchen. You’ll love the feeling of eating healthy and you’ll be surprised at your energy levels throughout the day because of your good nutrition choices. Give it a try and feel the difference!