How to Optimize Your Career This Winter Break

There’s no better way to end the worst week of the year, finals week, than with a long break filled with no schoolwork. Unless your school offers a winter session and you’re taking courses, winter break is like no other. The combination of Christmas cookies, chilly winter days spent under the covers and a lack of homework provides the ultimate time to rejuvenate before busting your behind during spring semester. So yes, take advantage of being able to lay around and watch Netflix inconsequentially. However, these few weeks of nothingness can be your secret to success if you use them right. With the extra free time, work on things that you normally wouldn’t have time to during the semester. Here’s a few suggestions of what you could work on over break:

Learn New Programs

winter break - learn programs

It’s officially the age of technology. With that comes an array of programs and applications that allow us to leverage our creative and intellectual ideas to new levels. Unfortunately, you can’t learn most of these programs overnight but winter break provides the free time to do so. Also, having a well working knowledge of certain programs can boost your resume. Learning programs like Photoshop and InDesign, for example, would be very helpful if you want to pursue a career in publishing or design. Moreso, the ability to maneuver these programs gives you more latitude to pursue more things in life. Luckily, since the programs are often pricey, most programs offer trial periods on their sites. 

Work on Your Resume

winter break - resume

Resumes are one of those things that always have room for improvement. In school, it’s easy to neglect your resume given how busy we always are. Winter break provides the necessary time sit down and cut and paste away at one of the most important tools for developing your career. Feeling lost? Email your adviser or, if your school provides one, a career counselor for any advice or tips. It’s their job to help students with these sorts of problems.

Find an Internship

winter break - find internships

It’s rather hard to create a resume if you don’t have much to put on it. Internships are a good place to start. Use winter break as a time to sort through internships that might suit you. Regardless of your career interest, there is likely an internship that would show you the ropes. An internship is not only a resume booster, but a tool that allows you to explore an option before diving right in. Some popular internship finding sites include Indeed, LinkedIn, and Additionally, some schools offer help with finding and landing an internship. Just email your adviser.

Start a Blog

winter break - start blog

Blogs are underestimated. If used properly, a blog can provide the foreground for self expression. Regardless of your passions or interests, blogging allows you to display your skills on an accessible platform. It can also give companies and employers an idea of who you are well before any interviews. Additionally, starting a personal blog is also a fun and informal way to boost your creative abilities. Whether you’re into plant biology, space exploration poetry, or contemporary art- your blog is waiting to be created and many would love to read it.

I hope these ideas to get ahead in your future career over winter break help you out! What internships are you interested in? What kind of blog would you love to start? Leave us a comment below!

How To Prepare for Fall Semester in College

With summer in full swing, it’s difficult to think about returning to school and spending hours in lecture halls. However, there are a few things we can do to take advantage of the summer months in order to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the upcoming fall semester.

1. Apply for Scholarships

6-13 cap-diploma-moneyMost college students are far too busy worrying about their vacation plans to bother with scholarship applications. This lower competition makes it a bit easier to win scholarships that are offered during the summer months.

2. Find a Job

6-13 bigstock-Waitress-Serving-Food-To-Senio-47117440Use your spare time in the summer to save money from working. Extra earnings can be used for books or to pay on interest on your student loans. Every little bit counts!

3. Intern

6-13 photodune-202599-smart-business-man-with-a-laptop-and-colleagues-at-the-back-mThere are many internship programs offered during the summer. It’s easier to focus on your internship when you don’t also have to commit time to your regular classes.  One simple way to get started is by visiting sites like this one.

4. Register for Classes

6-12 stack of books2The last thing you want to deal with is trying to register for a class for the fall semester only to find it has already been filled. Especially since sometimes certain classes are only offered one semester a year. Avoid all of the inconvenience by registering as early as possible.

How do you stay ahead of the game for upcoming semesters? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Summer Plans for College Students

Summertime image source

With finals approaching, this means one thing… summer is around the corner! As a college student you have to get out there and do something with yourself. So, my recommendation is to consider these top 5 summer plans for college students

1. Intern

Unfortunately you’re not in high school anymore so interning is a must.  It is very important to secure a great internship for the summer because this allows you to make connections, get experience and most importantly help your future. You never know where a summer internship may lead… it could possibly give you a career with the company one day. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Intern image source

2. Study Abroad

College is the best time to travel! Summer is even better because you’re not missing out on anything from the school year so it’s the best of both worlds. Take a look at this eCampus blog: Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad, you can see a few of the many benefits of studying abroad. My recommendation would be to take a fun class you wouldn’t normally take at your university, maybe even one that is specific to the country you are in. This will definitely enhance the experience of your trip.

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3. Get a Job

Of course the fall back to not interning or studying abroad is getting a summer job. Although, this might not be the most fun or interesting thing to do in the summer but at least you’ll be making some extra money for the school year right?

Summer Job images source

4. Take Summer Classes

This might be the most boring option to take for the summer but it’s also something to seriously consider doing. If you did poorly in a class this semester or even dropped it, taking an online or in-class summer session class could help you get closer to earning your degree. Also if you just changed your major and are behind in credits this is a great time to catch up instead of taking 21 hours next semester.

Summer Classesimage source

5. Soak Up the Sun

The last option for your summer plan could be to take it easy and relax. Maybe go to the park with your dog, hang out with friends or just lay out by the pool to get that golden tan you’ve missed all year. There’s nothing wrong with this option because sometimes after a long year of classes, taking a break is the best thing to do.

Relaximage source

What are your summer plans? Let us know in the comments below!

Finding Your Perfect College

When my high school career was coming to a close, the most difficult decision that I had to face was the decision of what college to attend. Only a very small portion of students really know where they want to go and what they want to do with their lives. For the rest of us, however, our desires are a little vaguer, which made the college decision process more difficult. Here’s a list of factors that I put into place in deciding where I would go to college.


Class Size: This all depends on what kind of student-teacher experience you want. One of the perks of being in a small college is that you get more time to talk to your professor and learn more about their field of study. You also get more chances to find help for any classes you might be struggling in. On the contrary, one advantage of a big class is that more grade curves will likely be given and you have the chance to miss class and learn straight from the textbook (not that I’d recommend this).

Available Fields: Obviously, your college of choice needs to have whatever major(s) and minor(s) you are potentially interested in. Unless you know exactly what you want to do, it’s usually a good idea to look for colleges with plenty of options.  It is not uncommon for undergraduate students to change their major one or more times during their college experience.

Community Involvement: Many colleges have opportunities that will allow you to work with businesses and organization in the community to give students a better perspective of their fields of study.  This is also a good opportunity to begin making connections for your career. This is a very important aspect of college decisions, so make sure your school has good alumni relations and internship availabilities!

Campus Life: One thing that I want to stress is that you should definitely visit each college that you apply to. You could be living there for four entire years or longer.  You do not want to get there on day one only to realize that the school is essentially a prison. How your campus looks and feels to you is very important! In addition, learn about your school’s reputation on campus. Whether it has a party reputation, or a community service one, make sure you pick a college that will fit your personality while allowing you to grow and experience new things.

There are many more things to consider while looking at colleges, but unfortunately, I can only list these few. Something you need to remember is that while this decision IS very important, it is not the end of the world. If indeed, you do get to your college to start your freshman year and you absolutely hate it, don’t forget that you can always transfer! But give yourself time to become fully acclimated to the university, and you might find yourself falling in love with it in time! Good luck!

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!


How to Make Nice With Fellow Interns

You’re ready for an incredible summer. But you’re far from home and all of your friends as you intern somewhere new for the next few months. You know your boss likes you and the work will go well,  but you’re unsure about your fellow interns. Will you have anything in common? Will you have anything to talk about? What if they’re not nice? What if they just don’t like you? Though there’s lots of ways to get off on the wrong foot or create office enemies, more often than not interns manage to get along. There are lots of ways to at least be friendly with your colleagues and keep the tension down in the office—and you may just make a new best friend.

If you’re like Rachel Berry, you’re the top of the office. At school, you dominate your classes. At home, you’re the favorite child. At work, you breeze through your work and make your boss especially happy. You don’t care who stands in the way, you’ll rise to the top. But nobody likes a know-it-all-better-than-you type! If you fit into this personality type, you need to tone it down at work. Obviously, you’re allowed to succeed and work really hard to please your boss and potentially see a promotion in your future. Creating competition and tension in the office though by trying to one up your fellow interns—especially if you’re all working on the same project or within the same position—is no good. Not only with these other interns likely begin to resent you, but any future interns starting late will also hear about this annoying office superstar. Tone down your competitive edge a bit, help out your interns, and you’ll be just fine.

If you’re super shy, there are some easy ways to create a bond among those in your office. A simple smile can help bridge an awkward situation and bring about conversation. If you feel kind of socially awkward and don’t want or know how to make conversation, simply introduce yourself; the other person will then tell you a bit about themselves and perhaps further the conversation with some questions. Don’t be afraid to sit in silence either. Many people feel the need to blab into the quiet, but this isn’t always necessary. Unless you feel awkward, you can simply work away and perhaps start a new conversation during a lunch break or at an appropriate moment. Try to find some common ground or topics that are easy to talk about, like movies or even your internship itself. As time goes on, you’ll all feel more comfortable and talkative around each other, and conversations will flow.

Hanging out with fellow interns when you’re not in the same room or department as them can be difficult at first. If they don’t put in the effort to talk to you—or possibly don’t even know you exist in the office—you have to take the first step to put yourself out there more. Take a walk to the break room and don’t be afraid to say hello and introduce yourself to whoever’s in there. Listen for office meet-up opportunities after hours and join in. Even making a connection with the head of another department can help introduce you to your fellow interns and make friends. Plus, the more professional connections, the better for your future. By putting yourself out there, you’ll be doing a lot more than just building friendships.

Overall, remember interning isn’t meant to be a big social event. At the end of the day, your work comes first and worrying about office friendships shouldn’t be at the top of your list. You also shouldn’t be pushing your fellow interns to the side in your constant battle to be number 1, or claim responsibility for a group effort. Even if you are the only intern in your department, keep in mind there are other ways to meet people—around your neighborhood, during a night out, hanging out in public spaces. Besides, you’ll be with this company all summer, so don’t feel awkward if you’re not clicking right away. There’s plenty of time to bond with people in and outside of your work space. But even if you end the summer without any new besties for life, at least you’ll walk away with more experience to put on your resume. And there’s always your friends and family back home to turn to when you’re lonely!

Just be yourself, work hard and have fun. It is summer after all!


What is TEFL?

Ever wonder what it’s like on the other side of the classroom?  More and more students have been getting certified to teach English after their undergrad degrees as a way to work and travel to break up their schooling or to take a break before they enter the work force. Depending on where your destination is, a person could make enough to start paying off student loans, although most of the time, a teacher will just break even especially when just starting out.

There are many different certifications out there to choose from.  There is a traditional TEFL meaning teaching English as a foreign language.  This is when a person goes to another country to teach English.  Similarly, TESOL stands for teach English to speakers of other languages.  There is also the ESL, which is where a person teaches English as a second language, more generally done in the United States to help others here strengthen their English proficiency.  Generally, most schools require a 120-hour certification.  Remember, sometimes once a program is purchased, you may have a certain amount of time for it to be completed.  Many programs give you three months to complete a 120-hour program.

Some companies also offer specialist modules, which are certificates that accompany a TEFL certification.  Some of these modules include teaching with limited resources, teaching one-on-one, teaching to large classes, teaching to young learners, and teaching business English. These can set you apart and help you get ahead of the competition.

Where do you find these companies? is a great way to find various travel companies.  There seems to be endless companies where a person can get a legitimate certification, although thorough research should be done on a company before throwing your time and money into a program.  Learning about the company through the website is the first step.  Next, talk to alumni or people who have used the program.  If the company has no way for you to contact people who have gone through the certification program, that will tell you this company may not be the best.  A final step to ensure the legitimacy of a company is to contact them directly to see how you are treated and how long it takes for them to contact you back.

Once you have been certified, the next big decision is to decide on where to go.  Asia is known to be the place to go to make and save the most money.  Currently, there are high demands throughout Asia as well as some areas of Eastern Europe.  Keep in mind; you do not need to know the language of the area you are going to.  It is actually better for students to be engulfed in a completely English-speaking classroom.  For your benefit, learning a bit of the language before departing would be a good idea as you may not need the language in the classroom, but it is essential for everyday life being out and about in the society getting groceries, ordering food and drinks, reading street signs, etc.  Be aware of the safety hazards also before going.  I would recommend getting the Smart Travel App created by the US Department of State that provides information about the safety of each country.  Keeping updated on a country’s current events is

Teaching contracts range from public to private to governmental schools.  Some include housing.  Others include flight reimbursement.  Some are for as little as two months or a summer session.  Others are up to a year.  Some companies give more support when looking for teaching jobs than others.  This is a pivotal factor in choosing a company and choosing a destination.  Be sure to research a destination on your own rather than blindly following a company’s suggestions.

While your friends are living at home, you could be teaching English is a foreign land working, gaining independence, and learning a whole new culture.  Not to mention, doing things off the beaten track are looked well upon American companies!

Are Unpaid Internships Ethical?

It’s an employer’s market out there but is there any excuse for employers getting free labor from interns?

Interns have great ideas.

Sure, they might not be able to pull a project together by themselves and they’ll make gaffes in meetings that will make Joe Biden look like a suave speaker, but they’re eager and they’re fresh.  Employers are definitely doing interns a favor by showing them the ropes, but employees who have been plugging away at the same job for a while can definitely benefit from an intern with new ideas.

Interns will do anything you want.

Remember when you were little and your parents made you do dumb stuff for them?  I remember my dad would ask me to get the remote for him because he was too lazy to get up.  My sister and I were also the resident dishwashers, dusters, footmen, butlers, and when we got older, lawnmowers.  Like kids, interns are like personal slaves, in a good way.  They take the load off the more experienced employees so that the big dogs can get important stuff done.  Increased productivity?  That’s worth a few bucks an hour.

Interns are poor.

A lot of kids in college these days are living life on credit with a hope that it will pay off one day.  Asking anyone else to work for free would be ludicrous, not to mention illegal.  Employers are allowed to do it under very specific criteria, criteria that aren’t widely known to the students who work for them.  Here’s the low-down on unpaid internship restrictions.  They must be:

• A “work experience;”

• A training activity;

• On-the-job training; or

• A “work experience” or training activity coupled with supportive services.

Most of us think “work experience” and think that covers just about all internships, but the specifications are much narrower than that.  In fact, the employer must provide a structured training program for the program to qualify for “unpaid” status.  If you’re getting coffee and filing (and not much else), be aware that your hiring company may be violating labor regulations.  As if that wasn’t scary enough (interns aren’t exactly in a place to complain) those entry-level job positions you’ll be looking for post graduation are being worked by unpaid interns.

One-quarter to one-half of all internships are unpaid.  Ironically (or perhaps expectedly), many of those interns are working for the United States government, who are exempt from the above guidelines.  To me, that seems patently unfair.  Do you agree or disagree?  Sound off in the comments!


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Resumes Gone Wild: Is There Such a Thing As Sending Out Too Many Resumes?

Resumritis: a crippling disease that hits many job seekers, especially in the college realm. Symptoms usually include sending out an abundance of the same generic resume with the hopes that someone, somewhere will offer you at least an interview. The only cure for this disease is simply taking the time to tailor each resume to each specific job.

Johnny sent over 100 job applications out and didn’t receive any offers!

He’s probably suffering from resumritis…

That’s right, people.  Resumritis affects a lot of people, but especially college students who are looking for a job right after they graduate. Is it real? Well, the concept is, but a quick search on WebMD won’t yield any results!

You see, people are taught this concept that sending out the same resume to every place you apply will eventually get you a job. But, is that really what you want – just a job? What about your dream job or that job that comes close to it? Don’t you think tailoring your resume to the interests and requirements the employer is looking for would gain you better results? did a survey some years ago that concluded that nearly 59 percent of all survey takers said that they send out 30 or more resumes in search of an entry-level job.

“Even in a down market, employment experts maintain that a tailored resume is the best approach,” said Adeola Ogunwole, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for “Instead of sending out as many resumes as possible, applicants may enjoy greater success if they focus on understanding the companies to which they are applying and modifying resumes to fit the exact qualifications needed for specific positions.”

In some cases, sending a gazillion resumes works out. But not only is that a poor habit, but it’s also a hapless way of thinking. Most people are unhappy at their current jobs because they took whatever fish was pulling on their bait in order to earn a little extra cash. Although some people don’t have a choice; if you’re given the opportunity to patiently apply for your dream job, then take it.

Some helpful tips:

  1. Read each job posting CAREFULLY. There’s nothing worse than someone sending you a resume or a cover letter that doesn’t answer any of the questions the employer was looking for. Not only is it wasting their time, but quite frankly it’s wasting your time as well. You want to use your time wisely, and reading the job description carefully will alleviate any confusion. Plus, you want to make sure their requirements fit what you’re looking for and willing to accept if offered the position.
  2. Tailor your experience to each job. If you have interned for six different companies that taught you six different skills, try to list the jobs that would best fit the employer’s faux pas. Even more, list the skills that each job taught you that match the position’s requirements. Can you list all of your past experiences? Sure! But if a marketing job is seeing a Social Media worker, chances are you might not want to include your work as you brother’s baby sitter.
  3. Resume length. Now this varies for each position. Students interested in working in any form of education typically list all of their experience…which can add up to two or more pages. Some companies, however, only want a one-page resume. For instance: typically I will send a two-page resume to internships I’m applying for. However, when I applied to grad school I spent two hours – yes, two hours – scaling my resume down to one page. Although it was time consuming, in the end I was happy that I took my time to produce a quality resume.
  4. Have fun! We forget to have fun sometimes, and I’m sure you’re wondering how you can have fun developing a resume. Easy: ask your friends to proofread your resume over dinner; teach your siblings how to write a resume through them watching you write yours; or, ask your parents if you can look over theirs if they have one. Trying to make the most out of any situation will help you in the end!


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