Making It (This Far)

By: Taylor

My freshman year is coming to an end and it’s unbelievable. When I was younger my older family members would tell me to cherish the time I had while I was young (not that I’m old now) because it was going to fly by. Like the sassy seventh grader I was I’d reply, “If it’s going to go so fast, why am I still in seventh grade?” Now, I’m writing a blog post for my college job and after this am going back to my dorm to take a nap (it’s five in the evening currently).

Coming to UMD was and has been one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever made on my own. I am the fourth of six children but am the first to have moved out and away from home for college. The decision wasn’t easy, telling my parents wasn’t easy, and having all this pressure on me wasn’t easy either. I want to create this new path my two younger siblings could walk on too, and going to a big university rather than community college first and do well, nonetheless survive, is just that. College can be a rollercoaster with its highs and lows, and all I can truly give you are some pieces of advice for your first-year or for the rest of your years in college to come.

Image: Looking down on a glass jar of colored pencils on a white background.
Text: Tips for Freshman Year

Have a core friend group
I’ve met various people who wished they came to UMD knowing some people and others who were ecstatic to get a chance at a new beginning (not knowing anyone). Despite one’s preferences, making new friends or having old ones, it’s important to have close friends who you can lean on, confide in, and to establish Duluth as a new home with. I found it was heartwarming to have friends by my side I could trust and spend most of my time with.

Don’t be afraid to socialize
Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extravert, ultimately everyone else in college is hoping to make new and more friends. My first semester I closed myself off to being as open as my extravert-self could truly be and lost a lot of great opportunities to network. Realizing my faults, I’m now a Tour Guide at UMD and will be a T.A. for UMD Seminar next fall. It’s a good feeling to walk down a hall and wave to someone you know. Kirby Program Board is always hosting events on campus from movies in Bohannon 90 to the Grocery Grab Bingo, get out and be open to meeting new people!

This is your dream too
One of the things I often find myself and many other first-generation college students battling with is this idea that they’re only at college to succeed and make their parents proud. While that could be a reason to push yourself further, it’s important to remind yourself that achieving a higher education is also for yourself. We are all currently working towards a future we are going to live ourselves.

The tips listed are just a few I found helped me make the best of my first-year at UMD. While my advice has been based on my own experience and everyone’s first-year is different, I do hope you take into consideration the tips I’ve given.

Of Possible Interest:
• Navigating Through College as a First-Generation Student: Part 1 & Part 2
The Benefits of On-Campus Jobs
Getting Involved and Why

Read Taylor’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Debby Hudson

Find Your Fit

By: Kirsi

If you ask a career counselor how to pick the right major, internship, or career path you will likely be directed to assessments. These are quizzes that help you determine your strengths, values, and interests. Career & Internship Services offers online reading about how to seek your fit. But what does it look like once you have found your fit?

Image: Birds sitting on powerlines, one bird flying around
Text: Find your fit

Looks Like
Signs that you have found your fit include that you…

  • lose track of time being absorbed in a project for the class in your major or task at work.
  • experience positive or productive dreams about working on that project or related to your classes or work.
  • follow news and social media about the field you study or work in.
  • feel engaged in your classes or work.
  • imagine yourself in possible roles in your future career.

Doesn’t Look Like
Signs that you have not found your fit include that you…

  • are challenged with starting homework or tasks in your field.
  • dread going to work or classes.
  • wouldn’t consider working on a project or participate in an activity in your field during your free time.
  • find tasks you complete for class or work to be unfulfilling. 
  • avoid thinking about the field you study or work in.

Misconceptions  

  • Finding your fit doesn’t mean you love everything about your classes, work, and field all the time.
  • The potential of the fulfillment your field offers may not be apparent until taking higher level courses, after settling into work, or following further research.
  • Changing your trajectory does not make you a failure! It highlights flexibility and honesty with yourself.

If you ever need help finding your fit, stop by 22 Solon Campus Center and schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

Good Luck! 

Of Possible Interest:
Choosing a Major, Career Planning – all our blog posts on these topics
Boost Your Career in College, Turn Your Major into a Career – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Danielle MacInnes

Meet Sophia

Sophia headshot

Name: Sophia
Major: Psychology
Minor: Early Childhood Studies
Year in school: Sophomore
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: September 2018
Favorite place in Duluth: Lil’ Angie’s and Park Point
Favorite hobby: I love to do crafting and watch Grey’s Anatomy

Best career advice I’ve received: Find a career that makes you feel accomplished and happy.

Piece of career advice you have for other students: There is no shame in wanting to change your major or even your entire career path when you get older. Being miserable in a field that you have to be in constantly can be detrimental to you. Find something that makes you happy and stick with it.

The Basics of Salary Negotiation

By: Heidi

When it comes to accepting your first job, your first salary can often set the pay you earn for the rest of your life. After attending the Start Smart workshop hosted by the American Association of University Women, I learned a lot about your first salary and strategies about how to negotiate that salary. I wanted to share some of the tips I learned for other students and especially women, who often avoid negotiating a salary all around.

The Gender Pay Gap and Why It Matters
In the year 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent. It’s important to note, this gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. The gender gap tells us that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in high-wage ones. Women’s work such as health, education, and public administration, is devalued because women do it. And because women are often caregivers, they face lower pay and promotion opportunities because they are assumed to be distracted and unreliable.

Know Your Value
When it comes to asking for a salary you deserve, it is important to have an understanding of what skills you bring to the table, and how to communicate that. Think back on past accomplishments, contributions, skills, and relevant work experiences. Reflect on what positive results from these accomplishments, what role you played. Consider keeping a journal of all your accomplishments throughout the year, no matter how big or small. Use the template below to help articulate your value:

As a result of my effort to do ____________________________ (identify your action) I have achieved _______________________________ (result), which provided the following specific benefits to the company: ____________________ (fill in quantitative result or other positive outcome).

Image: US $1 bill on white background. 
Text: The basics of salary negotiation.

Know Your Strategy And Benefits
It is important to have objective research when it comes to preparing for your negotiation. Follow these six steps when it comes to benchmarking your salary and benefits: Research and identify a comparable job title, find the salary range and establish your target salary, identify your target salary range, create a realistic budget, determine your resistance or “walk-away” point, and determine the value of your benefits.

When it comes to matching a job to a salary, start with Salary.com and identify a job description that matches the job you are researching. Identify a target salary range looking at the 25th to 75th percentile, at, below, or above the median. Use the target salary as the bottom of the range and do not stretch more than 20 percent. You can calculate the take-home pay for the target salary at PaycheckCity.com

As for determining a resistance point, this is the lowest salary you are willing to accept and still reach an agreement. This is a useful tool to prevent you from accepting a salary you might later regret. Offers below your resistance point may signal you to walk away from a job offer.

Creating a budget is also essential in preparing for your negotiation strategy. Your budget doesn’t need to be scary, and is something that can be broken down quite simply. The 50/20/30 rule can help you proportionately break down and create a healthy budget. It is meant to be flexible based on your particular situation and needs. Breaking it down looks like this: 50 percent or less will be made up of essential expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and utilities. 20 percent or more will go towards your financial goals and obligations such as savings and debt. The ending 30 percent is meant to be for flexible spending and personal choices such as shopping, personal care, hobbies, and entertainment.

Know Your Strategy
Negotiating your salary will differ depending on whether you are looking for a new job or preparing to ask for a raise or promotion. When it comes to a new job, deflection strategies are key to avoid discussing or negotiating your salary until AFTER you have received a job offer. Here are a few different ideas you can use in an interview can look like:

  • “I’d rather talk about that after I’ve received a job offer.”
  • “I’d like to learn more about the role before I set my salary expectations. As we move forward in the interview process, I would hope and expect that my salary would line up with market rates for similar positions in this area.”
  • “What is the salary range for this position or similar positions with this workload in the organization?”

If you receive an offer below your resistance point, then you should attempt to negotiate upwards. Having your notes to reference, you can counteroffer in several ways:

  • “Do you think you have any flexibility on the salary number?”
  • “Thank you for the offer. Based on my research with comparable roles in this area, I was thinking of something in the range of (your target salary range.)”
  • “Based on my prior experience and familiarity with this role, I believe that an additional $_____ would be fair.”

Practice, Practice Practice
Your negotiation skills will not improve without practice. With each time you practice, you can not only improve your ability to be objective, persuasive, and strategic, but confident in your capabilities of negotiating your worth!

Using your notes from your research, sit down with a roommate or a friend and go through a role-play scenario. The more you practice, the more feedback they can provide you with to improve your verbal and body language.

Though this is a lot of information, it’s important to be informed when negotiating your first salary as it sets the benchmark for the rest of your career when it comes to raises and bonuses. Take this information and use it to set yourself up for success so you don’t end up leaving any extra money on the table.

*Tips taken from the AAUW Start Smart Workbook

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | NeONBRAND

FAQs: Resumes

By: Paying

As a peer educator, we ask many questions to help students brainstorm ideas and descriptions to add onto their resumes but we also get a lot of questions asked too. Here are a few of the most common questions along with some tips & tricks:

What’s an objective statement?
An objective statement helps the employer quickly understand what the resume is for. It’s a short statement that can be very simple. Here’s an example: “An internship in the Chemical Engineering field.” It gets to the point and clearly explains what you are looking for from them. The content on your resume should relate back to your objective.

Do I keep my high school information on there? What if it shows some of my involvement and skills?
If you are a Junior or older, high school information should be removed (unless highly relevant to the position). Try to focus on what you have done while in college as it is more recent and more relevant. If you have space then feel free to add the information you want from high school, but if you’re going over one page, it’s okay to take it out.

What can I add onto my resume?
Any type of experiences you would want to showcase: work, volunteer, travel, organizations, etc. Many believe your resume should only be work and volunteering but that is not the case at all. Yes, it is important to have those two experiences but to show what you do outside of ‘work’ allows employers to have a better understanding of you outside the workplace. If you’ve studied abroad it shows how you are willing to go and study another culture which portrays your communication skills with a different group of people in a new setting. You can add almost anything on your resume as long as you feel that it’s relevant and will help you stand out.

How do I fit everything on one page without deleting anything?
First, check the formatting: Is it single spaced? Can you make the font size smaller? Have you changed the margin sizes?

Next, check the content: Can you merge descriptions together? Are there repeating descriptions for multiple experiences? Do you have something that isn’t too relevant and would not harm your resume if it was taken off?

One thing we recommend is to have a master resume where you keep EVERYTHING. Every experience, every line you would want to write about an experience, and so on. You can pull your content from your master resume onto a “polished” resume that is actually used for a job fair or applying for positions.

How will I get a job in the ________ field if I haven’t had any experience related to it yet?
My #1 tip for this is to use the verbiage the field would use. What does that mean exactly? Well, here’s an example for someone looking for a full-time position in the medical field to help you better visualize it:

Original Version:
Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN
March 2018 – Present
• Cleaned floors and tables
• Trained to be safe and help others
• Prepped ingredients for chef

Updated Version:
Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN
March 2018 – Present
• Provided a clean, safe environment to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers by sanitizing equipment and checking food temperatures
• Practiced first-aid and emergency skills in case of an accident
• Learned food safety regulations in order to safely prepare ingredients

As you can see, the descriptions are the same but in the updated version it includes words that could be applied to the medical field even if the position does not relate as well.

Why can’t we have line breaks going across the page?
Many, not all, employers are using scanners to help sort and organize resumes electronically. If there is a line break it could be read as a page break, causing your resume to be separated. To be safe, we recommend not to have lines even if they may look nice. White space also acts as a “line” separating sections.

How do I separate my experiences and know what and what not to keep?
This is ultimately up to you! By having an objective section, you are able to have a “Related Experience” section as well as an “Additional Experience” section in case it may not relate but would show your skills. I’d recommend adding as much as you can and if you run out of space, slowly start removing the less relevant information.

There are still many questions that can’t be answered all in one blog post so if you still have remaining questions, stop by our office (SCC 22) anytime from 8 – 4:30PM, Mondays – Fridays. Our Career Handbook also has helpful directions, examples, and advice on how to write a resume. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I go more in-depth with the tips & tricks I mentioned here!

Of Possible Interest:
Resume & Cover Letter – all our blog posts on the topic
Internships; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Lukas Blazek

Meet Kendra

Kendra Headshot


Name: Kendra
Major: Psychology
Minor: Early Childhood Studies
Year in school: Freshman
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: Fall 2018

Favorite place in Duluth: This is an extremely tough question to answer because I have not been to all of the places in Duluth that are on my bucket list. I have been to many different places, but have so many more places to go see and explore. Currently, my favorite place in Duluth is the top of Enger Tower. Anyone who has been will agree that the view is absolutely breathtaking. It is a pretty basic choice, but I figure you can’t go wrong with a view like that. My friends and I have made many trips up to the tower and I take all of my visitors there so they can experience it, too.

Favorite hobby:
When I have free time, which is rare, I enjoy doing anything with my friends or just relaxing and watching TV or YouTube. I love watching vlogs on YouTube and my absolute favorite vlogger is Abby Asselin. I have also recently started binge watching One Tree Hill again, but it consumes me so I have to be careful to only watch an episode or two at a time. I have seen the entire series twice, but it is amazing how much I forgot about the show.

Best career advice I’ve received:
I have always been one to get super worried and nervous about making decisions. Because of this, my mom has always advised me not to be too anxious about choosing a career path. She tells me that whatever I am supposed to do will come to me, so stressing about it really is not worth it. Being a freshman, this advice is great for me because I am just in the beginning stages of my career journey.

Piece of career advice you have for other students:
Talk to important people in your life about your plans for the future. Although your path is ultimately up to you, hearing another’s opinion about what strengths and qualities they see in you and how those would fit into a certain field can be extremely helpful. Your families, close friends, teachers, or even employers might see something in you that you do not see in yourself, which might open the door for a whole range of different possibilities.

Applying for Internships as a Sophomore

By: Amanda

Going into my freshman year of college, I held the belief many other college students have: It is a waste of time for sophomores to apply for internships, as juniors and seniors mainly get them all. This idea quickly changed when a family friend reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for a Sales and Marketing internship with CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisconsin. In our initial phone call about the internship, I expressed my concerns to him about me being only a sophomore and he said to me “it’s not always what you know, it is how quick you can learn and the characteristics you bring to the table.” This was a defining moment for me and essentially when my perspective on this topic changed. I encourage all sophomores to eliminate their self-destructive beliefs and start applying for summer internships. After all, the time is now!

Image: graph paper with pencils and markers on the edges.
Text: applying for internships as a sophomore

There are multiple steps to applying for internships as a sophomore and the first is to recognize the value an internship will bring you. Internships can help you to understand what type of business you want to work for when you graduate. Essentially, the worst case scenario is that you decide that the industry is not for you, and you then have a better understanding of yourself. As a sophomore, if a summer internship goes well, you may even be asked to come back a second summer and then if it goes really well, offered full-time employment. A summer internship helps one to gain additional skills and a larger professional network.

Now that the value of an internship as a sophomore has been established, the second aspect of applying for a summer internship is to find companies suitable for you. There are two ways to do this. First, evaluate your close professional network. Make a list of whom you know and potential connections you have to businesses of interest. Reach out to professionals who you know and gather information on the types of internships their company offers. A personalized letter, email, or LinkedIn message can go a long way. After looking at your close professional network, take inventory of companies in both the location and industry you hope to work. Do research on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and GoldPASS powered by Handshake to see if these companies are open to hiring younger students, or if they are selectively hiring older students.

And finally, as you are actually applying to these internships, make sure to assess your skills. A common misconception among students is that they do not have the skills necessary to do an internship. From personal experience, I have found this far from the truth. Throughout high school, I worked as a bank teller. Although this may not specifically relate to marketing, it taught me a handful of lessons about communication in the business world, promoting products, and organization. I would argue that being a waitress is one of the most entrepreneurial jobs one could have. Thomas Friedman, New York Times author, backs this up by stating in his speech Globalization in Higher Education, that good waitresses are in a constant state of entrepreneurship because the best waitress often makes the most in tips. Skills critical for internships such as teamwork, communication, planning, organizing, and problem-solving are all skills that are often obtained in entry-level part-time jobs. All in all, stop selling yourself short on your experiences and make a list of the lessons you learned and the qualities you have, I think you will find out you have a lot more skills than you think.

My initial thoughts have been flipped upside down since I started school at UMD. With some research and self-introspection, I believe any sophomore or even freshman can and should secure a summer internship.

Of Possible Interest:
Internships – all our blog posts on the topic
It’s Never Too Early to Intern
Multiple Internship Advantage

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema