Be the Awesome Intern

You have an internship? Fantastic! We’ve put together a handy list of tips so you can be an AWESOME intern.

How to be the awesome intern; wood desk top

  • Set goals with your supervisor about what will be accomplished throughout & by the end of the internship.
  • Keep track of what you do each day at your internship. This will help when meeting w/your supervisor & updating your resume at the end.
  • Find ways to go above and beyond what is expected of you. If you finish a task ahead of schedule, ask where else you can assist.
  • Be punctual. If you start at 8am, be at your desk/station ready to work at that time versus walking in the door.
  • If you don’t know (and you’ve tried multiple ways to the solve the issue yourself), ask. Asking questions is a good thing.
  • Do you commute to your internship? Maximize your time by reading the news, listening to podcasts, or keeping up with the trends in your field.

Tori with Bacon sign at Hormel

Peer Educator Tori at her internship with Hormel Foods

  • From one of our fave recruiters: “We look at it [the internship] as a long interview. Kill it, learn/grow and you might have a job before it ends.”
  • Meet with people from throughout the organization. Learn about what they do and advice they may have for you.
  • Attend events the company has designed for the interns. Be a joiner!
  • Ask for constructive criticism/feedback. It’ll help you be a better intern and professional.
  • Take your internship seriously and be eager to learn.
  • Learn your organization’s company culture (mission, values, org structure, clients, attire, etc).
  • If you have fellow interns, connect with them. You’re all going through the internship experience together.
  • Don’t like your internship? Figure out if it’s the work, the people, or the company rather than an overall negative experience.
  • Managing your time as an intern is different than when you’re a student. Find what works best for you.
  • How to be the best summer intern in your office. Via: The Prepary

Kirsi doing Astronaut user testing at NASA co-op

Peer Educator Kirsi at her co-op with NASA Johnson Space Center

  • Check in with yourself halfway through the internship and reflect on how it has been going so far. Tweak as needed.
  • Talk to people in a variety of departments and work functions to see the bigger picture of your organization.
  • How to handle a competitive work environment.
  • Check in with your supervisor on a regular basis to see how your internship is going. Ask questions. Get feedback.
  • Interested in having your Internship transition to Full-time? Explore company benefits: retirement, insurance, continuing education, etc.
  • Environment is huge. Take notes about your internship and what works (or doesn’t) for you: nature of the work, people, and work setting to help with your next search. 
  • What have you been learning about your industry during your internship? How will you bring that back to your classes?
  • Details matter. Proofread everything, because you don’t want to be remembered as the person with the typo problem.
  • Research how your company invests in its people. Training, help with furthering education, personal growth, benefits, and more.
  • Be thinking about who at your internship you want to ask to be references for you. Ask before your last day.

Of Possible Interest: 

  • Internships – all of our blog posts about the topic
  • Internships – our Pinterest board filled with articles and resources

Photo Sources: Unsplash; Tori; Kirsi

Intern Like a Dog

By: Kirsi

Without context, I asked my little sister what I should write about. She said “dogs.”

Here are five internship lessons dogs can teach us:

Sled Dog team

1) Good dogs can lead and follow.

Your internship will require you to be a leader and a follower.

As a follower, you will be expected to be a sponge that absorbs new information. You will ask questions and reflect on your experience. Being a good listener will help you understand your assignments, the company culture, and team goals.

As a leader, you may be expected to lead a group of people or simply be self-motivated. The best interns ask for themselves “what can I do next?”, “how can I do better?”, and “how can I do more?”

White dog eating a treat

2) Good dogs are trainable.

Your internship will require you absorb training and apply it immediately.

Your first week at the internship might be overwhelming. There will be a lot of new information to take in and master.

black dog in harness being walked

3) Good dogs are reliable.

Your internship will require you to be timely.

Getting to work on time, completing projects by the deadline, and attending necessary meetings characterize you as reliable.

Be punctual, present, and productive.

brown & white dog close up of face

4) Good dogs cheer people up.

Keeping a positive attitude brightens the work environment.

A smile, thank you, or a kind gesture can make a staff, boss, or coworker’s day.

Positivity can communicate your appreciation for your opportunity.

brown dog running in woods

5) Good dogs are full of energy.

Internships take a lot of social, mental, and physical energy. To stay sharp during your internship requires plentiful sleep, nourishment, and hydration. Don’t sacrifice energy at work for late nights on the town, gaming, or Netflixing.

Hoping you have a doggone good internship!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo sources: Priscilla Du Preez, Annie Spratt, Matt Odell, Leo Rivas

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

5 Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair

By: Kimberly

In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!

#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.

#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.

5 tips for job fair preparation

#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.

#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.

#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.

Of Possible Interest: 

  • Job Fairs – all of our blog posts on the topic
  • Dress for Success – all of our blog posts on the topic
  • Dress for Success – Women, Men – our Pinterest boards filled with examples

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson

First Time at a Career Fair: A Guide for First-Generation Students

By: Tony

A couple weeks ago, I attended the UMN Job and Internship Fair for the first time. To be completely honest, I was overwhelmed and terrified. I had been to other career fairs in the past, but the sheer size of this particular fair caught me off-guard. Unfortunately, the preparation I did beforehand was not enough to make me completely ready. Being a first-generation college student (neither of my parents have received a degree from a four-year university), I do not have many of the resources my peers do, and I have not always been aware of the resources available to me. If you’re also a first-generation student, you may be in the same boat as I was, and even if you aren’t a first-generation student, career fairs are likely still intimidating. After self-reflection and re-acquainting myself with the resources offered by Career and Internship Services, I have come up with a quick guide that will prepare you for what to expect at a career fair and inform you how to put yourself in the best position possible.

Do Your Homework
Most career fairs will at least give a list of the employers that will be tabling at the career fair on their website. If you’re lucky, the organizers will also be able to provide a brief overview of what each employer is looking for in terms of majors, career field, and type of position, whether it be an internship, part-time, or full-time. Regardless, you should look through the list of employers and select a few that look interesting to you. Once you have your list, familiarize yourself with each employer. What do they produce or what services do they provide? How big are they? What recent developments have they made? Their website will be your best friend, as you can gather a lot of information on them just by browsing what they have on their site. The purpose of this is to both get an idea of what working for them may be like, as well as building up knowledge that you can impress them with later. I would also recommend formulating a question or two about each company or organization to ask the employers.

Spruce Up Your Resume
Your resume is key. Not all employers may be able to take your resume due to their human resources policies, but they are multifunctional. I’ve used my resume and seen others use theirs to inform employers about themselves and their accomplishments. I have also seen employers use resumes to explain how the attendee would fit into their company or organization, given their knowledge, experience, and interests. One time, an employer even took my resume and said that he would look at it later and send me applications for job openings in his organization that I may be interested in.

Each version of your resume should be specifically tailored to the reason why you are making it, and job fairs are no different. In the typical job fair resume, the focus will be broader than it would be for a job or internship application resume. In this case, your objective will only be as specific as the industries or fields that you wish to work within. The rest of your resume will then demonstrate why you’re qualified to work in that industry or field.

Success at the career fair, a first-generation student's guide

Work On Your Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a quick 30-second to one-minute pitch of you. You want the employer to get a good idea of who you are as a person and potential employee. You should talk about your:

  • Name
  • Grade level
  • Major/minor
  • Strengths
  • Relevant interests

I recommend practicing your elevator speech in front of a mirror or a partner. It will likely be part of the employer’s first impression of you, and you want to make sure it’s as smooth and natural as possible

Dress Appropriately
Today’s the day. Today might be your first time interacting with your future employer after you earn your degree, no pressure. But the question on your mind is, what should I wear? Although the specific dress code and work culture will vary from employer to employer, the safe bet is to dress business professional. What does that mean exactly? Here’s a resource with some good basic information. 

Travel in a Wolf Pack
Job fairs can be intimidating when going alone, so try to go with a group to ease the tension. Of course, you should generally interact with employers one-on-one, but the shared experience of a group can reduce stress and anxiety. Personally, I like when my girlfriend comes with me for moral support. She’s always great at it, and I highly recommend having the moral support of your own if you can.

The Approach
Here it is. Everything has come down to this. Now it’s time to put together all the pieces of the puzzle and knock it out of the park. When engaging with the employer, make sure to make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Introduce yourself with your elevator speech and express interest in learning more. After the employer has given more information, pose the question(s) you have prepared. Throughout the conversation, make sure to make eye-contact, be aware of your body language, and give non-verbal cues like nodding and smiling to show that you’re paying attention and interested in what they are saying. If they are accepting resumes, give one to them, and take business cards if they have them available. Also, make sure to take note of the names of the representatives there as that is information you can mention later in a cover letter. As you depart, say nice it was to meet them and give another firm handshake. There you go, you’re done! That wasn’t too bad, right? Now go do it some more.

On-site Research
What if you see an employer that you are interested in, but are unprepared to talk with them? Fear not, you can still do some quick research on your phone so you don’t have to talk to them with little to say. Usually, there will be a student lounge where you can do this research (and relax) away from the employers.

Networking, Networking, Networking
A major component of career fairs outside of talking to employers is to talk with your peers. Networking sounds complicated, but all it entails is getting to know others and talking about your interests and goals. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The bigger your network, the better your chances are a getting more resources and professional opportunities.

Hopefully, this advice will help you become better prepared for job fairs other career development events. I wish you the best of luck, and never hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tony’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | RawPixel

Apply Adaptability to Your Career

By: Kirsi

Adaptability is a trait employers seek in their candidates. How have you been able to successfully adjust your habits and expectations to unfamiliar situations? Could your adaptability propel you through uncontrollable forces like illness, rejection, or a natural disaster?

Apply adaptability to your career. Ocean waves from overhead.

The only thing standing between me and my Spring 2017 Co-Op tour in Houston, Texas was the record-smashing Hurricane Harvey. Bravely (or foolishly?) I traveled down I-35 into the storm, arrived in Houston the evening Harvey hit, and bunkered down with a week of supplies. Unscathed, unlike many, a week later the flood water subsided and I started my Co-Op. Suddenly my Co-Op became less about me, my projects, and refining technical skills. My Co-Op became more about the affected employees, returning to normality, and refining my empathy toward others. In the coming weeks I adjusted my deadlines if my team members had to navigate flood insurance logistics, I volunteered at a donation center to get employees’ families the essentials, and reprioritized what tasks really needed to be done.

Hurricane Harvey from NASA International Space Station

Hurricane Harvey from Space

I hope you will never have to adapt to such an extremely destructive situation. One of my greatest weaknesses is adapting to change that is neither initiated by me nor part of a job’s nature.

If I am met with the challenge of adaptability again these are some big-picture questions I would reflect on…

What actually matters?
Taking a massive step back in life when a large change has occurred is necessary to get the whole picture and also is an opportunity recalibrate your life’s trajectory. Asking yourself “What actually matters?” leads to smaller questions and simpler answers. Here are examples of college-focused decisions…

Smaller (but not by much) Questions:

  • Why am I going to college?
  • Is what I am investing my time into going to lead to financial stability and a fulfilling future?
  • Am I happy?
  • Are there other options I am not aware of for my future?
  • Am I making the best decisions and how can I become more skeptical of my decisions?

Simpler Answers

  • I’m going to college because engineering positions require an ABET accredited engineering degree.
  • I’m going to college because it’s the only place I can learn about my field and it’s worth the hundreds of thousands of hours / and tens of thousands of dollars.
  • My current career trajectory is leading me to a fulfilling field that innovates in ways that shape the present and future of humanity.
  • My current major, while challenging, makes me happy because the climb is rewarding.
  • There are always options I am unaware of and I must keep an open mind and open doors.
  • I am making the best decisions based on my current perspective, skepticism can be achieved by welcoming critique and new experiences.

empty store shelves

Empty shelves that used to be filled with water.

What do I need?
This question arises when starting a career experience, moving, or changing a major. The “I” in this question is literal. What do I need, personally, to adapt?

  • If you have moved this may be as simple as familiarizing yourself with your surroundings. Where is the closest grocery store, hospital, gas station, or Target? Where can I hang out on the weekends, work out, shop, or meet new people?
  • If you are changing a major this could include: Who are my new advisors? Who can I partner up with to tackle homework? When are office hours? Who is in my new “support network”?
  • If you are starting a new career, adapting requires communication with your peers and managers about what you (reasonably) need. “I would like to meet once every week to talk about my progress,” “I would like a mentor to refine my professional skills,” and “I would like to know routines your company has so I can adjust to them.”

What resources are needed to get the job done?
Once you have a big picture and you have taken care of your personal needs you can focus on thriving in a new environment. If your goal is to have a successful internship you may need…

  • A new knowledge base populated with skills in coding, communication, math, thermodynamics, management, or simply knowing when you need to ask for help.
  • A support group of experienced mentors you can run ideas by and foolproof your solutions.
  • Classes or workshops to get you up to speed with other employees.
  • Enough time to make a couple of drafts and mistakes.
  • Proper materials, protective equipment, training, and authority.

Adapting is becoming constructively uncomfortable to improve yourself and advance a greater objective. To avoid adapting is sheltering yourself from beautiful possibilities. Wipe the sweat from your brow, control the knot in your gut, and get out there.

Of Possible Interest:

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash|Carlos Dominguez, NASA, & Kirsi

What Employers Want You to Know at the Job Fair

By: McKenzie

Editor’s Note: McKenzie recently attended a C&IS student employee training featuring a panel of employers who regularly recruit UMD students. Here is what she learned.

Navigating job fair season can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Even seasoned pros get the jitters about all the career-related possibilities a job fair has in store. However, what if there was a way to ease the nerves? Turns out you are in luck because there is, in fact, a way to take on this task.

What employers want you to know at the job fair

Do Your Research
Employers unanimously agree knowing a thing or two about the company is completely awesome. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. When recruiters know you have an interest in the company, the conversation becomes more worthwhile and you can get better insight because of the questions you ask.

Ask Questions
If you have done your research then this one is a no-brainer. Trust me, recruiters have been giving the same spiel about their company all day so changing it up a little bit can go a long way. Not only does it help you learn more detailed information about the company, it also allows employers to gauge opportunities which may best fit you.

Recruiters Can’t Always Take Your Resume
This is a big one! I have heard it from recruiters myself. They may not be able to take your resume and this can be really confusing for students. Some recruiters can work with your resume to help you find matching jobs within the company, but even if they take your resume it does not guarantee you a position. Most companies have an online system they use for applications now so it is important to make sure you communicate with recruiters to learn the best ways to apply for opportunities in their company.

Fill Out the Entire Application
Although you may not apply for jobs online at the job fair, it is still important to remember to fill out their application completely. Many applicants do not fill out an online application to its full extent or put information such as, “see resume” and this is a really great way to end up at the bottom of the list of applicants. Be sure to fully answer questions on applications, even if it is the millionth job you have applied for today. Companies will not ask questions if they are not interested in the answer.

Dress For the Job You Want
It’s the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” and it still tends to ring true. If you are attending the job fair to work in a business where you are expected to dress business casual daily then it would be in your best interest to dress for the job. It never hurts to set a good first impression.

Job hunting can feel scary, but it’s not. If you come to the job fair prepared with a plan then you are in for some smooth sailing. Whether it is your first time at fair or your last time, it is better to be there than not. You have already shown your interest by being present so get on it and get out there.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read McKenzie’s other posts