What I Have Learned as a Peer Educator This Year

By: Logan

Over this past year I have learned a lot from my job working as a Peer Educator in Career and Internship Services. The amount of new information I have learned is immense and covers more than just resumes. I have learned so much about cover letters, job interviews, and career topics in general.  Even after I completed my first semester of training, I continued to learn new things and develop my career skills. This job has taught me more than I ever expected and I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to have this experience.

When I first started working as a Peer Educator I knew little to nothing about career skills, resumes, cover letters, and things of that nature. When I first began my training it was all a big shock to me. I had no idea that resumes had such specific rules. I struggled with the rules such as: You must bold this, but you can’t bold that, etc. But I tried very hard to learn all of the rules that must be applied to resumes. After a while I began to get the hang of it. More and more I would improve and I would successfully correct a resume. The more I did it, the better I became at it. I was very happy with my progress, but I had not had the chance to try it with a real student.

Learned as Peer

Eventually the time came. I was equipped with all of the tools and information that I needed to correct a student’s resume for them. I was very nervous for my first interaction. Once I became more comfortable with the position, I developed a sort of script that I would follow when I would help students. But when I tried my first time I did not have a predetermined script, and the interaction with the student was not as smooth as it was with the more experienced Peer Educators. Overall, I was satisfied with my first resume review because when I was done the student told me that I was very helpful and that they appreciated the help. That was when I realized how rewarding the job actually is. It is an amazing feeling to have another college student (sometimes much older than you) thank you and tell you how helpful you were. I have even had students that I had helped in the past come back to the office and tell me about a job or internship that they acquired because of the resume and cover letter help. For me, that is the most rewarding part of the job.

As time went on I found myself getting more and more comfortable interacting with students. I began to get to know the student and ask them questions about themselves so I can find out more about who they are, and then I can use that information to make their resume as good as it can be. I learned tips of how to deal with difficult customers (and yes, there are difficult customers in this line of work!) and I feel like those tips can help me in other areas of life as well. To this day I continue to develop my career skills by reading new blogs on career advice, and by listening and talking to our amazing career counselors we have in our office. All of our counselors are highly trained and have always given me great advice. If you are unsure of what you would like to do, I recommend setting up an appointment with one of the counselors. They have helped countless students with all of their career questions and concerns.

Overall I have learned a lot from my job as a peer educator. I have learned many important career skills and customer service skills I will carry with me throughout my professional career. I recommend everyone to go to Career and Internship Services and take advantage of the great services that are offered there. Get your resume reviewed, set up your LinkedIn account, have a meeting with a career counselor, all of these things will be very helpful to you in the future.

Looking forward to working in the office next year. Hope you all have a great summer!

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash/Jeff Sheldon

Choose Your Own Adventure

By: Willow

If you follow my blog posts, (Hi Mom!) you have probably noticed that I talk a lot about being unsure of what you want to do, and changing your major, and changing your mind, and things of that nature. I have recently found out that there is a program here at UMD for students who like too  many things to pick just one.  To wrap up this year of blogging I’m going to share my experience with the Interdisciplinary Studies major, or as I like to call it, the choose your own adventure major.

I had a meeting last week to change my major to IS and it was very interesting and helpful. Interdisciplinary Studies is a major though the College of Liberal Arts and I’ll earn a B.A. degree. You can find the details for the major here.

Inter Dis Major

The IS major is a combination of at least three different fields of study, they can all be from the same college, or from different ones, it’s up to you. You have to have at least 48 credits that come from your major classes but other than that it’s pretty open. You are however, not allowed to start the major after you have completed 70 credits, this is to be sure you will still be able to graduate in time.

To begin the IS major you have to submit a proposal of all the classes you want to take to the head of the department, they then approve the classes or give you pointers on what to add or take off. After you’re all approved you have created your own major, follow the plan, pass your classes, and graduate.

As in all majors, you must complete Advanced Writing. With IS you also have to take one methods course, and a senior project. The senior project is anywhere from 1 to 10 credits and is very open as far as medium. Many people do a paper, but there are some who portfolios, presentations, or multimedia productions. The project is to show what you have learned and how your studies go together.

I wish I knew more about the IS degree when I started college, I think it’s an amazing program that more students should take advantage of.

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo source: Unsplash/Ali Inay

Whitney’s Farewell Advice

By: Whitney

Hello everyone! This is my final blog post for this amazing office! Unlike many others who are writing farewell posts, I am not quite to graduation yet. I still have one more eventful year of student teaching in front of me, and I am sure that 1st grade will keep me busy! Duluth has treated me well over the past four years and while I am very excited to continue my journey in other places, I am also a little sad. I am especially sad when I begin to think of leaving my family here at Career & Internship Services.

I came to this office as a nervous freshman interviewing for a job that I never thought I would get, and I am leaving a confident, well-rounded individual. Without this office, I am not totally positive I would have made it through college. I felt really lost when I went to change my major and was on the verge of giving up. Although I still don’t know that I have my future path totally together, I know that it’s going to be okay and that things will turn out just fine. Thanks to the support I found in this office, I got into a study strategies class that I eventually became a teaching assistant for, switched my major, discovered my strengths, and explored new career opportunities.

As far as advice goes, there is so much advice I want to give but so much you need to just experience on your own. Here are a few tips that have helped me get through.

Find a support system. College is hard. There are going to be times where you want to throw in the towel and you wonder if all of this is ever going to be worth it. Finding a support system whether it is a solid group of friends, a significant other, family, or co-workers can make the ride a lot easier, not to mention way more enjoyable! Having someone to share the hard times with makes the workload bearable, but having someone to share the happy times with makes even small accomplishments feel like you can do anything!

Take time for yourself. I know it can be hard to find time for yourself when you have classes, papers, exams, and work, but finding that time is essential. The money will work itself out and somehow everything eventually gets done (even if you aren’t really sure how). Taking time for yourself can help you feel rejuvenated, more productive, and happier. When you are happy you will produce better work. I do not regret not getting a better grade in chemistry or not doing as well on a paper as planned, but I do regret not taking more time to have fun and taking time for myself.

My final piece of advice is start building your resume as soon as possible. It is NEVER too early! Having experience in the end is what will help you get noticed by employers. Even simply joining a club in your field and being involved in that club can help connect you with people in the field and gain experience. Even if you don’t get experience in your field, having experiences that build on transferrable skills can be huge when it comes to finding a job.

As I end this post I can only think to share this quote from Mandy Hale: “You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”

Good luck in all of your future endeavors and farewell!

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How to Get Your Resume Approved on GoldPASS

By: Cameron

For those who aren’t familiar with GoldPASS, it is a career website owned by the University of Minnesota where employers can post job opportunities for U of M students and alumni. When you first use GoldPASS you are required to upload your resume before applying to positions. The University of Minnesota Duluth Career & Internship Services office will review the first resume you upload, if you are UMD student or alum. When your resume is being reviewed it has the potential of being Approved, Approved with Reservations, or Unapproved. The main reason for this approval process is not to dictate what resumes the office wants on the website. Our office cares deeply about providing students with the necessary tools to succeed. For this reason, the approval process is used to provide students with feedback and help increase their chances of being hired, as much as possible.

The following blog post will list the main reasons why a resume is either approved, approved with reservations, or unapproved on GoldPASS. If you are wondering why your resume received a certain rating or if you simply want to make your resume as professional as possible, then the following list will be extremely helpful.

*NOTE: Each resume is unique, and no one factor renders a resume “unapprovable,” but consider the guidelines below when submitting a resume.

APPROVED

  • Heading includes name, address, email, and phone
  • Education is in proper location for career stage
  • Proper length (generally 1 page, exceptions may be made for non-traditional students, teaching candidates, or graduate students)
  • Consistency in dates, dashes, spaces, alignment, bolding, etc.
  • Descriptive statements describing experiences; effective use of action verbs
  • Quality use of space; balance of text and white space
  • Proper formatting and order of information; easy to navigate and important information doesn’t seem hidden
  • Font is easy to read and consistent, not too small/large or decorative
  • Appropriate use of bolding and bullets
  • Format and content are appropriate for objective and/or major

APPROVED WITH RESERVATIONS

Resumes are typically given the rating of “Approved with Reservations” when there are 2-3 “red flags” from the list below, depending on the severity. The rating “Approved with Reservations” will still allow you to use your resume on GoldPASS, but it is highly recommended that some changes be made.

UNAPPROVED

A resume will typically receive a rating of “Unapproved” if there are 3-4 “red flags” from the list below, depending on the severity.

  • Lack of clear format, nothing stands out, difficult to navigate
  • Font style or size makes it difficult to read
  • Difficult to find name or other contact information
  • Lines, colors, or other characters that get in the way of content
  • Paragraphs; essay format
  • Order of headings not appropriate for career stage
  • Order of other information incorrect (i.e. Position Title should be 1st)
  • Lots of high school (>2 yrs out), or other irrelevant information
  • Inconsistencies in dates, dashes, alignment, etc.
  • Lack of descriptive information, “key words”
  • Use of personal pronouns, “duties included” or “responsible for”
  • Use of incorrect wording, abbreviations, etc.
  • ANY misspelling, grammatical errors
  • Overall lack of professionalism

Hopefully this will give you some insight into the thought process that goes into each resume review. Keep working hard on that resume and good luck in the rest of your job search!

Of Possible Interest: 

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My Summer Checklist

By: David

As the beautiful summer awaits us in seven days (eeeekkk!), I am excited to complete my checklist over the next couple of months as I transition into my senior year. Summer is always a time for joy, bliss, sweat, travel, play, hibernation, and of course, FOOD!  Aside from the barbecues, summer jobs, and swimming parties let’s not forget that it is also the only time of the year to be extremely productive (or not). After brainstorming much with my fellow colleagues and counselors, we generated this list. Check it out!

Updating LinkedIn/Resume

During the academic year, I am always TOO busy to update my LinkedIn account and resume. The process requires a lot of time and tedious work because it is heavily detail oriented. With some breathing room, I’ll finally have the time to update and remaster both my LinkedIn and resume. As a college student, I find it crucial to constantly update resumes and LinkedIn after the end of the academic year. It gives you a chance to reflect upon the academic year and add any new experiences, coursework, or activities that may help enhance your resume/LinkedIn. In addition to the basic one page resume, it’s important to craft a master resume as well. A master resume is a resume that contains all of the different experiences, extracurriculars, honors, coursework, and pretty much everything else. It’s convenient to have a master resume because different jobs will require different skills and because of that it requires a lot of resume editing when applying to the job itself. With a master resume in hand already, it is really convenient to switch experiences in and out from the application resume to your master resume. With that being said, the first thing on my list this summer will be to polish up my master resume and LinkedIn profile!

Palm tree

Researching for Grad Schools

Realistically speaking, as a Communication and Psychology double major my chances are higher for a career with a graduate degree. Currently, my end goal is to work in a college institution whether it be staff or faculty.  With this, it’s important I have a good idea where I want to go for grad school once I’m ready. On my down time during the summer, I’ll be looking into schools across the nation to figure out where I potentially would want to go. There are many side factors other than the program itself I’ll be looking into when doing my research. I’ll have to research the city of the college itself, the financial costs of the program, and the population and it’s culture. Overall, I’m the type of person where I need to pave a path for myself for the future and grad school is something that is crucial for my future success which is why it makes it to number two on my list!

Studying for the GRE

As much as I dislike standardized testing,  the GRE is a must for many of the programs I will probably be applying for. I can recall the early Saturday morning for ACT testing in high school, it was brutal! As for the GRE, it will be even longer and more intense! But I just hope my stomach doesn’t make any whale calls again this time around. On a serious note, the GRE will require an immense amount of studying in order to score well. A portion of my summer will be dedicated to studying for this so ever delightful exam. To sum up, as much as I don’t want to study over the summer it will be inevitable for me if I want to do well in the future.

Preparing for APAA

As the president for Asian Pacific American Association next year, I have a ton of planning to do over the course of the summer. I have always had the passion and dedication to help the organization and members flourish as a whole. A good chunk of my summer will be dedicated to planning events and activities, and discussing ideas and issues with my co-board members. I’m extremely excited for what’s in store for the following academic year and honored to serve as the main representative for my fellow peers! Throughout the summer, my goal is to research more about Asian American history so that I can facilitate future educational discussions with my organization. In addition to my role as president, I plan on leading a number of individual workshops throughout the year. As I only have a two years left of my undergraduate career, I feel that it is time for me to pass on my knowledge and wisdom to my fellow peers. All in all, even though preparing for the organization isn’t at the top of my list, I know that I will put the majority of my time and effort into this organization because of my passion and excitement for the following year.

There you have it, my extensive checklist for the summer. As much as I hate staying indoors during the summer, I find it interesting how I will function throughout the summer as I need internet for a chunk of my goals. In addition, I know that I will be very tempted to slack off and relax or get out in the sun and enjoy the weather. It will indeed be a busy summer as I transition into senior year, but I am actually looking forward to it! In the previous summers, I have been the biggest bum, but I have a very good feeling for what’s in store for this summer. As I wrap up my final blog post for the semester, I hope you all gained some sort of insight from this. Good luck on finals, enjoy the weather, and have fun to you all as summer is right around the corner! Safe travels until next time and as always, stay gold my friends!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Advice from the Real World

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & Guest Poster)

We are nearing graduation and I thought it would be fitting to share some life advice with our graduating seniors. We’ve actually done this before. Last year we gave out 10 pieces of advice for the class of 2014. I promise you, that advice still applies to the class of 2015. I wanted to share some real advice, from real people who’ve been out in the “real world” for awhile. Naturally, I turned to Facebook. I put out a call to friends (many of whom I have either went to college or grad school with or worked with) and they delivered some stellar words of wisdom about navigating life after graduation.

Advice from the Real World

  • You won’t work a traditional 40 hours a week at work. Be prepared to come early and stay late.
  • Reading a book never fully prepares you for the real world. There will be things that only experience will train you for. When in those situations, do not be afraid to ask for assistance. If no one is there to assist you, use your best-educated judgment and learn from the experience.
  • Stay in school as long as possible. Learn, travel, experience the world. Don’t join the real world – it’s draining. Ha – maybe that’s not a good one. ;)
  • From every experience, you either learn how you do, or you learn how you don’t. You learn how you do want to complete a task/project, or you learn how you don’t. You learn how you do want to treat people, or how you don’t want to treat them. You learn how you want to be treated, or how you don’t. You learn how much you do value a person in your life, or sadly, sometimes how much you don’t…or how much you do matter to someone or how much you don’t. But there is always a lesson in everything, even if you can’t see it right when it’s happening.
  • Stop thinking that wearing leggings as pants to work is acceptable.
  • Don’t bring fish for lunch to reheat in the break room.
  • Remember that it’s great if you like your coworkers, but that shouldn’t really matter when it comes to working well with them.
  • Everyone seems to be so preoccupied with finding the perfect job, and picking their “perfect” career right out of the gate. That never happens. How many people do you know who are doing the same thing they started doing, 10 or 20 years later? Just find the right job for right now and everything tends to sort itself out one step and at time.
  • Network, network, network. It is not “what” but “who” you know.
  • Be true to yourself and don’t forget to love your life. Also self care, self care, self care!
  • Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to have your “passion” be what you do for work. Yes, it’s nice if you really love what you’re doing for work, but that doesn’t always happen. Find something you’re passionate about and make sure it’s a part of your life somehow, whether in your work or your life outside of work.

Photo source: Unsplash/David Marcu