The Hidden Benefits of Greek Life

By: Amanda

When I came to campus in the fall of 2017, I knew I wanted to join Greek life. The benefits of joining are endless: service and philanthropic events, social events with other organizations, a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime and a home away from home. Although I gained all of these through joining Phi Sigma Sigma, I found that the professional development opportunities nearly outweigh the social ones.

It is believed that there are currently over 9 million Greek members across the nation (source). On top of this, the first female senator and first female astronaut were Greek. And additionally, 85% of Fortune 500 executives belonged to Greek life. It goes without saying that Greek members are making an impact well past their collegiate years. When considering this impact, there are three main hidden benefits of Greek life: professional network development, resume crafting, and a job interview.

Image: desk top with pot with writing utensils, yellow coffee mug, back of computer monitor
Text: Hidden Benefits of Greek Life: professional network development; resume building; examples for job interviews.

Networking naturally occurs through Greek life in college, as all Greek organizations often have social events. Furthermore, individual chapters typically hold alumni events multiple times each year where active members are able to meet with previous ones. Although these are all great starting points, it is important to go beyond this. Consider checking out the LinkedIn profiles of alumni from your org. This is an incredible asset to find alumni who are working in your industry all over the world. A personalized LinkedIn invitation to connect can go a long way and show a lot about your character. One might consider conducting an informational interview with an alum. Oftentimes, Greek members from the same organization share similar values and traditions. This can be something to go off of when sparking up conversation. A few informational interview questions tailored to Greek life include:

  • How did your collegiate Greek life years help you get to where you are today?
  • What would you recommend I do in my time before graduation to expand my network and prepare my resume?
  • Are there any alumni or any other Greek members who you recommend I reach out to?

Resume building is the next advantage of Greek life. Think about starting an ongoing list of accomplishments you have had through your organization, both individually and as a group. Whether it be philanthropy, volunteer work, leadership, teamwork, or event planning, there are skills being developed every day that go unrecognized. An example for a leadership position on your resume could be as follows:

Public Relations Chair, Phi Sigma Sigma, Duluth, MN, Jan 2018 – Jan 2019

  • Wrote blog posts regarding informational and promotional events
  • Take photographs and post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Managed chapter website on the platform, Weebly, and ensured content was up to date
  • Designed graphics to be posted on social media and in print for events and fundraisers

The final way Greek life can aid in professional expansion is through a job interview. Answers to questions can often be pulled from leadership and learning experiences in Greek life. Here are a few examples of questions that could be applied to Greek experiences:

  • Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team
  • Tell me about a time you have had to use your time management skills
  • Tell me about the type of leader you are

Clearly, the benefits of being a Greek life member, go far beyond service and socials. Professional development can be found in all aspects of Greek life and it is time to start taking advantage of it today!

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Obtaining a Leadership Position as an Introvert
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Georgie Cobbs

Planning for Summer

By: Rachel

It’s getting to that point in the semester where you might be starting to think about what you’ll be doing this summer, if you don’t have plans already. For some who are graduating in May, you’re searching for your first full-time job, while others may be hoping for an internship or co-op to gain experience. Maybe you have plans to study abroad or do some traveling of your own.  

Summer can be a great season of growth, but there can also be great pressure on students to nail down the perfect plan. Some students dream of crossing adventures off their bucket list and seizing the break from school as a chance to take time for their personal life. Others are hoping to develop professionally through some career-related experience or an internship. For some, summer is also a time to get back on track financially and develop new skills or take some classes towards their major.

The first step to nailing down your summer plans is to know yourself and what you want/need to get out of this summer. While I don’t mean to stress you out (right now let’s just make it through the semester!), some plans won’t come together overnight. Putting in a little work now to the extent you are able can really save you a lot of stress down the road. For this post, I’m going to be addressing those who are looking for a job or internship and providing just a few tips I have to help ease the burden of what can be an overwhelming task.

One of the earliest things you need to do is determine your priorities. These will look different for everyone, so consider what type of field you’re aiming for, the amount of hours you’d like to work, and the geographic area you’d like to live in. Also reflect on which factors hold the most importance to you. Maybe you’re considering multiple fields but you are limited to a small geographic area. Or perhaps you are open to how many hours you work and whether or not the experience is paid but you are set on a specific field. Setting these priorities will help limit and guide your search.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start looking; the question is where? There are countless options for discovering job opportunities, but I want to highlight a few you might not have thought of.

The first option I like to recommend is GoldPASS powered by Handshake. This is a vetted job board available to University of Minnesota students. Other general online job boards might not provide the kind of postings you’re looking for if you’re searching for a very specific field or location.  

Image: black sunglasses on beach sand with water in background
Text: Planning for Summer

A few other options to consider:

  • This nonprofit job board provided by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits includes full time, part time, paid and unpaid internship, and volunteer positions across the state.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your network to see if they know of any opportunities. It can be a little nerve-wracking—I know this is something that makes me feel a little hesitant—but after all, this is the point of having a network. Contact past employers, family members, mentors, peers, etc.  You might be surprised by which connection leads to a position. This can be done in person, via email, through LinkedIn, or over other platforms; it’s just essential you communicate appropriately and respectfully. One benefit of finding opportunities through your network is your contact will be able to give you a better idea of company culture, environment, and your fit within the organization than a simple Internet search.
  • If job posting sites aren’t yielding the results you’d hoped for, do some research on your own of companies you think you’d like to work for.  Dig a little deeper and see if there are any career opportunities posted through their website. You will likely find a contact you could reach out to as to whether or not they’d be willing to take you on.  This calls for a letter of inquiry; if you need guidance crafting one, look here.
  • Contact people within your major or department of interest. There might even be an employer relations or internship coordinator within your program who is connected with numerous organizations looking to hire students. Maybe there’s a professor who conducts research in an area you’re particularly interested in. Initiate a conversation, because chances are, this professor has some connections in the industry. Another option might be working for a professor directly, which can open the door to many fruitful contacts in the future.

The biggest tip I’d like to leave you with is keep your mind open. You might follow along these steps: reflecting on your goals, determining your priorities, and conducting your search, and it may seem like all you run into are closed doors. If and when that happens, I encourage you to widen your perspective a bit. While it’s important to know your limits, it can be healthy to take on a position that didn’t seem perfect at first. Sometimes those positions are the ones that help you grow and provide the most guidance for your future career. Wherever you end up, give it your best effort and be open to the lessons that are sure to follow.

Best, Rachel

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Do More with your Summer
Internships; Boost Your Career in College; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with resources & articles

Read Rachel’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Ethan Robertson

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

How to Make the Most of Winter Break as a Senior

By: Heidi

As we’re approaching the end of finals week and the deadlines are slowly but surely wrapping up, the only thing on our minds is heading home and catching up on some much-needed sleep.

While time to relax and taking a step back is important, this month-long break can be used to get a head start on preparing for the job search and get some things done that you usually don’t have time for.  

Snowing street scene; text: How to make the most of winter break as a senior - connect with alumni on LinkedIn, fine-tune your resume, donate or recycle old textbooks, schedule informational interviews, spring clean your professional wardrobe, read a book

Connect with Alumni on LinkedIn
As a university student, you have the ability to connect and join a variety of Alumni groups on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a group with the school you’re apart of such as the “Labovitz School of Business and Economics at UMD” or joining the official UMD Alumni Relations page, it will allow you access to job postings and Alumni. 

Guy in a suit cartoon; Text: it's not stalking...it's expanding my network

Fine-tune your resume
Since you’re further along in your academic career, you’ve likely had projects and more experiences to highlight that are related to your future career. Touch up your resume to show these new experiences off.

Donate or recycle old textbooks
That math book from your freshman year or the philosophy book you only ever skimmed? Donate it with your extra time over the winter break so it can be recycled or donated to someone else.

graphic of box to donate books in

Schedule Informational Interviews
If you have the opportunity to meet someone in person, now is the prime time. Scheduling a phone call works too and can give you more insight than a google search to a company’s culture and opportunities to look out for.

Spring Clean
Out with the old, and in with the new. Donate your old intern wardrobe to someone who may be in need right here on campus. Champ’s Closet at UMD located in the Office of Student Life, Kirby Plaza 245 allows you to drop off clothes right there. Not only will it feel good to help someone else out, but you can free up some closet space to have room to update your wardrobe for your professional career.

Read a Book
Whether it’s professional development or just for fun, it can be nice to shift gears and escape the usual textbook. Reading something new can offer a new perspective or can serve as entertainment. Reading can help you stay fresh during your time off and also help you further develop your interests.

More Ideas for Your Winter Break:
How to Have a Productive Winter Break
Making Progress During Winter Break

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Filip Bunkens

Quick Tips for Writing Your Resume

By: Tony

Now is the time of year when we all start quietly (or not so quietly) start panicking. Projects and papers are becoming due, final exams are on the horizon, and all the stress is starting to pile on. You know there’s something else you’re forgetting, but you’re not exactly sure what it is… Oh yeah, you still need to get a job/internship lined up! Just what you need, even more stress! Hopefully, these tips on improving your resume will make the job hunting process to a little more smoothly.

What is a resume?
A resume is a document stating your qualifications for a certain position.  If your application is a request for employment, then your resume is a crucial part of your support for why you should be employed. You want the resume to be comprehensive, but concise.

Quick tips for writing your resume

Content

  • Bare bones of a resume
    • Name, Contact Information, Objective, Education, Experience
  • Objective
    • Each iteration of your resume should reflect the exact purpose that it is for, whether it be for a job fair or an application. It can be a quick statement of the purpose of the resume (ex. A full-time position at [Organization] as a(n) [position title]).
  • Education
    • Name of school, where is it, degree name, year of graduation, major, minor, and GPA if greater than 3.0/4.0.
    • Once you have entered your junior year of undergrad, you will want to remove your high school information from your resume.
    • Education-related sections you can also include: Relevant Coursework, Honors, Research.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Include experiences that are relevant to the purpose.
      • The less applicable they are to the purpose, the more likely they should be removed or only take a minimal amount of space on the resume.
    • Volunteering experience is just as valuable as paid and academic experience. It matters what you did, not if you got paid for it or not.
    • Categorize your experience based on the purpose (Computer Science Experience, Engineering Experience, Healthcare Experience, etc.).
    • Each position should include 3-5 bullet points detailing what you did in that position.
      • Each bullet point should talk about a single aspect of your position.
      • Each bullet point should demonstrate how you already have the skills and qualities necessary for what you are seeking.
      • Each bullet point should start with an active verb.
  • Additional Sections
    • You do not need to include a statement saying that you have references available upon request.
    • Clubs and activities are nice if they are relevant or you need to fill the page.

Formatting

  • Page Layout
    • 1” margins on the side; 0.5-1” margins on the top and bottom
    • 10-12 point font; name should be about 2 points larger than the rest of the text.
    • Section headings can be bold and all-caps.
    • No lines. They can be confused as page breaks by some scanners and tracking systems. Use lines of white space instead to separate sections.
    • Stay away from templates. Adjusting the formatting can be troublesome in the long run. Plus, if we can spot a template from a mile away, imagine how easy it is for an employer.
    • Sections should flow from most important to least important.
      • The objective is always first, and education almost always follows.
  • Education
    • Schools should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the school you currently attend or have most recently graduated from being first.
    • Name of degree, major, minor, and GPA all in bold.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Name of position, organization/company, location, timespan you were there. 

Still need help?
If you still need clarification on anything related to your resume, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Career & Internship Services is located in the Wedge (SCC 22) and is open 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday. During those hours, there is always at least one Peer Educator, such as myself, who would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tony’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

Advantages of Being a Peer Educator

By: Kirsi

We're hiring! Multicultural Outreach Assistant and Peer Educator. Apply via UMD HR by April 2nd.

Peer Educators, Fall 2017

When I saw the job posting for Peer Educator position I figured it would be a great way to make a few bucks reviewing resumes. What I did not expect was the extra benefits of being a Peer Educator, in addition to the extra Taco Bell money.

Master Job Applications
Sometimes submitting job applications feels like discarding hopes and dreams into a black hole. Depending on the job, hiring managers may never give applicants feedback. Peer Educators complete training that unveils the mystery of job applications, what hiring managers want to, and strategies to display qualifications. Peer Educators complete comprehensive training before being trusted to review fellow student’s resumes and LinkedIn profiles. This training is much like a crash course in hire-ability. Newly recruited Peer Educators must familiarize themselves with the Career Handbook, “perfect” resume reviews, attend diversity training, and learn about resources the office offers such as InterviewStreamCareer Assessments, and GoldPASS. Career Handbook familiarization is especially important because its resume and cover letter examples follow expectations of hiring managers around the region.

Transform Passions into Professions
Helping a fellow Bulldog land an internship makes the training and attention to detail worthwhile! Equipped with experience, interviewing confidence, and a resume that clearly communicates your qualifications you too can transform your passion into a profession. I enjoy demystifying the job application process. Even the most seemingly unattainable career can be reached with the support of Career Counselors, Peer Educators, relevant experience, and grit. Peer Educators are a bridge of communication between the office and students. Peer Educators reach out to students about the office’s services on Facebook and occasionally on Instagram stories.

Student working at job fair

Kirsi working at the UMN Job & Internship Fair, Feb 2018

Make Unlikely Connections
As an Engineering and Computer Science double major I rarely interacted with students outside of Swenson College of Science and Engineering until becoming a Peer Educator. The Peer Educator team is comprised of students from all of UMD’s colleges, by coincidence! I have a newfound respect for majors outside of the STEM realm due to connections I have made with my coworkers. Peer Educators often work in pairs and complete training together. I help edit resumes and review LinkedIn profiles of students of every major. A project I worked on in addition to reviewing resumes includes small web development tasks. I updated the following Career & Internship Services webpages: “Graduate Follow-Up Report“, “Graduate Follow-Up By Major“, and “Graduate Follow-up Report Archive.” During these projects, I learned about careers graduates from each major acquired. During the summer of 2017, I helped with the office “Love Your Major” campaign helping students choose, change or embrace their major.

The Peer Educator position is regularly recruiting for new students every spring (usually after Spring Break). Take a look in the UMD HR system for openings.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services