Internship Search: Writing an Internship Resume

By: Lexi

You’ve found an internship to apply to, now you need to polish up your resume and most likely, a cover letter. Writing resumes for internships are hard because you probably do not have a lot of experience, otherwise, you would not be applying for an internship position. But you still have to find a way to make yourself stand out from the other applicants who also do not have a lot of experience. Hopefully, these tips will help you land that internship you’re hoping for!

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Make your academics section a focus.
This is not saying experience is not important, but since you do not have as much experience make your academics section stick out. Include courses you’ve taken or big projects you’ve worked on. Only put coursework you think the employer will find relevant, though.

Experience included can be paid or unpaid.
Think about the significance and relevance of each opportunity you have partaken in. If you put your part-time job working in the food industry on your resume because that is the work experience you have, go for it, but really think about the skills you gained from the job. Use action verbs to describe your experience. For example, you could say: Maintained and balanced friendly customer service in a fast pace environment. This shows that you have the ability to work in a time efficient manner while preserving good service. Jobs, where you were paid, are important experiences to include, but so are unpaid experiences like volunteering and/or leadership positions. Do not forget to include those too, they will help you stand out! Highlighting your on-campus student organization involvement and leadership can also add to your internship resume.

Read the internship description first.
Read what the employers would expect from an intern and first of all, make sure you have the ability or willingness to learn what they would expect from you. The other reason you should read this before writing your resume is because it can give you an idea of the skill set they are looking for and then you can try to tie in those skills to your resume if you have them. This is another good tip for standing out because you will already have what they are looking for and then they might not have to spend as much time training you in.

Good luck on your internship search and hopefully these tips on how to write an internship resume will help you land the one you want! Remember, Career and Internship Services is more than happy to help look it over and give you further tips! Come to our resume drop-ins on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2-4pm in SCC 22.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Brandi ReddUnsplash | Brandi Redd

Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 2

By: Lexi

Since my former internship was not what I was expecting (check out part 1), it made me question myself and frankly, it made me freaked out about my future. Once I realized this, I decided to start focusing even more on the work that my supervisors performed. Their position was a career that I could potentially be doing in the future, so I watched and learned from them. But I quickly found out that being at the bottom of the totem pole was not the only reason I did not enjoy my internship. I recognized that the whole job in this area of work (the local government) is not a profession that I would like to do for the rest of my life.

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Now I really started to stress out. What was I going to do with my life now? Do I have to completely change my major? Am I going to be in college forever? Should I take more exploration classes? Should I take a semester off? Who should I talk to and where should I go from here? I did not want to be going to school, spending a lot of money and time on a career path that I would not enjoy. All of these questions and more were running through my head, all the time.

From there, I started with two people for advice, my mother and Career and Internship Services (two of the best places for career advice, in my opinion). Career and Internship Services suggested that I talk to professors in my areas of study and also conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas that I am thinking about. This was the biggest advice I took into consideration. I started with my professors, they helped me stay calm about my studies and reassured me that I was not wasting my time. I then moved on to seeking out professionals in areas I was interested in. I even went to the job fair, just to ask employers if I could conduct informational interviews or job shadow with their employees. From following these steps and being open to new opportunities and change, I got a job out of it! I actually get to be in the field that I am strongly considering, to work along with professionals who could potentially be me one day.

From talking to all of these professors and professionals, it helped me change my attitude around from wanting to give up, to having hope that I was not wasting my time. From here on out, I am going to keep exploring these different careers and next semester I will take the last liberal education requirements that I need to. I did this so I am not taking all of my specific major classes, in case I do end up changing it. In the end, I did bounce back from my bad internship experience that made me question my major, it helped me learn so much and grow as a professional. I am still not completely sure what I will do in the future, but I will get there and if you are going through the same thing, you will too!

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Photo by: Unsplash | Amanda Sandlin

Know How to Use the Tools in the Toolbox

By: Tori

We’ve all been told the tips and tricks for interviews from peers, teachers, and family members. You understand the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses, reading over those dreaded situational-based questions, practicing your smile and wave, and making sure you brush your teeth and shower beforehand.

If you’re like me, you still get confused on how to use these tips to help you prepare for an interview. It’s as if you have all the tools in the toolbox, but no idea what any of them are for.

The last time I prepared for an interview it was like studying for a test. Not just your nice, easy 10 point vocabulary quiz. No, it was like those 40% of your grade midterm exams. Do I regret the effort and time I put into this? Absolutely not. It was completely worth it. I firmly believe it is how I landed my internship at Hormel Foods– I got an A on the exam.

I decided to use the tips, or tools, I had heard numerous times before and actually take the initiative to practice them. I think more often than not this is where many people fail when it comes to interviews. You have to practice for them. It’s like writing a speech for class. You don’t practice it once before you speak in front of 30 people; you practice it a bajillion times, still hoping you won’t embarrass yourself when you go up and do the real thing.

One of the most successful ways I prepare for interviews is by making an Experience-Task-Growth Chart. I make three columns and write the role, what I did, and how I grew down on a piece of paper. This allows me to visualize my skills and abilities without having to think too hard. It also makes practicing those dreaded situational-based questions much easier because I can literally see my role, what I did, and how I grew or accomplished a goal, right on the piece of paper in front of me.

Here is an example of my Experience-Task-Growth Chart:

Experience: My role Task: What did I did Growth: How I grew
Sassy Strawberry Cashier Counted Tills

 

Assisted Customers

Cleaned the Shop

Managed stock

Held accountable for money and store upkeep

Was a positive influence on the business with my enthusiastic personality and attention to the customers

Problem solved based on customer situation, for example coupons failing
Did what I felt was best; was able to make quick decisions
Followed procedures and safety regulations

Austin Country Club Lifeguard Regulated pool

and safety of patrons

Developed relationships with members

 

Undivided attention and full alertness to patrons and members

Confidence in my ability and certification in CPR and First Aid

Remained personable toward members

 

Class Title Teaching Assistant Held one-on-one meetings

Met with professor weekly

Spoke in front of the class weekly

Graded assignments

Adapted to different personalities in order to fulfill criteria

Developed relationships with students and helped them transition into a new environment- I did this by relating to their experiences

Responsible for fair and valued work

Sacrificed my own time to be there for students in a difficult transition

Cru Summer Mission Participant Spent 4 weeks with college students all over the US in Crested Butte, CO.

Experiential learning; hiking, biking, backpacking, whitewater rafting

Grew in relationships with others, community, and leadership

Understood diversity; lived with 10 other girls who were previously strangers

Learned how to be vulnerable in new situations

Cru Leadership Team Member Attended weekly meetings to plan and prepare our large group meeting for 70+ students

Met one-on-one with freshman members

Marketed the organization and conferences

Utilized time management and collaboration skills

Creative; learn to think outside of the box

Problem solving- students were not as involved and their was a change in our organization. I had to use my creative and critical thinking to develop ways for students to be more engaged and apply a different approach

 

Another thing that helps me while I am being interviewed is bringing a copy of my resume. Usually I just set it to the side, but if I need to answer a question and can’t think of a great example I reference my resume. While many people may think this is distracting, it actually shows you are prepared and provides you with more opportunities to relate your experiences in unique ways.

Now that you know how to use a few of those tips, or tools in your toolbox, you’ll be better prepared for your next interview.

Good luck, and remember to be authentic!

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Control Your Interview

By: Kirsi

Nauseation of when your home team squanders a playoff game is equivalent to the sick to your stomach feeling of bombing an interview. As a freshman electrical engineer, I failed a technical interview for a computer aided design company. They challenged me to write a recursive programming method, describe how the inside of a motor works, and explain the forces and stress points on a stop light pole in ten minutes. Unsalvageable as your interview may seem, there is hope to take control of your interview! An interview gone wrong can be saved by expanding on questions you are asked, transforming negative responses into positive ones, and amending a closing statement.

control-interview

Expand on Questions
Although human resources has the almighty power to hire and fire, they can not read your mind. When you answer interview questions keep in mind that your interviewers did not share your experience with you. Illustrate your experience with goals, problem solving, results and quantities. Instead of saying “I practiced leadership when I was a manager at Taco Bell” say; “My leadership skills were put to use when I was a manager at Taco Bell leading a team of 10 individuals per shift. I vetted five perspective workers per month, learned each position, and ensured each employee completed their training.” Do not be afraid to expand on your experience. You are not bragging! You are clarifying and explaining your experiences. Sometimes interviewers are specifically instructed NOT to ask the interviewee to elaborate. The interviewer wants to see how you communicate your qualifications.

Thinking on Your Feet
Interviewers will purposefully throw curve-ball questions that catch you off guard. Not just to watch you squirm –  to see how handle the unexpected. When asked “What is your greatest weakness?” Do not leave your answer at “I have problems waking up in the morning.” Explain your improvements and focus on the positives. “I am working on getting to my 8:00am class by setting earlier alarms, keeping a regular sleeping schedule and cooking a great breakfast. I have been improving and getting to school early to get a good seat.” Typical curve-ball questions include…

  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is the hardest decision you have ever made?
  • What was your greatest failure?
  • Why should I hire you?

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Powerful Closing Statement
At the end of your interview, especially if you feel the interview did not go well, end with a closing statement summarizing qualifications. Typically an interview will conclude with “Do you have any questions?” You can then appropriately add, “I don’t have any questions at this moment. However, I would like to end with why I am the most qualified candidate for this position…(key narratives that make you most qualified).” I have actually used this strategy in interviews gone wrong and have gotten job offers as a result. Again, interviewers may be specifically instructed NOT to ask more questions than the handful supplied so each candidate gets the same chance. Interviewers may not ask questions that naturally invoke the best answer from you. You can still take control of the interview by amending a powerful closing statement that best shares your strengths.

Other Preparation Tools
Some interviews will focus solely on “soft skills” –  how you interact with coworkers. Interview Stream is a good resource for interviewing practice. You can listen to your answers, count your “umms,” and check for idiosyncrasies. Depending on how technical your major is you may be asked to perform a technical interview as I described in the introduction. Ask recruiters, professors, acquaintances who work for that organization, tech club members, LinkedIn/ online communities, and friends about what you could expect from that organization’s technical interview. There are plethora of free technical interview practice sites.

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Photo Source: Unsplash

Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 1

By: Lexi

This past summer I was lucky enough to land an internship in my field of Urban and Regional Studies, receive credits to graduate, and an extra bonus, I got paid too! I was so excited to be in a professional setting to see what my career would be like after graduation, but it turned out to not be what I was anticipating or hoping for. Although I did take away a lot of new knowledge and skills, it is also making me question myself…Is this really the right field of study for me? Now what do I do?

dont-like-internship

The reason my summer internship was not everything I was hoping for was because I did not enjoy the work I was doing; it’s hard to maintain motivation when you feel like the work you’re doing is simply busy work. I also felt as if I had a lot of free time because they were not giving me enough busy work, imagine that! This pushed me a little out of my comfort zone because I was constantly asking all of the supervisors for work or if they needed help with anything. Sure, I ended up just copying or stapling pamphlets a lot of the time, but it was better than staring at a computer screen driving myself to have a crazy headache. This also showed my superiors that I was a proactive worker, well I would like to think it did at least. As an intern, you have to realize that you are at the bottom of the totem pole, yet it stinks being at the bottom because the work can be boring. But remember, you have to start at the bottom to work your way to the top.

The other part that was difficult about the work was that I was given a lot of actual work, but I was not given direction. Of course it is nice to have room to be creative and add your own touch, but it is also scary because you really do not know if it is what your supervisor is looking for, and if it is not, they will not hesitate to keep sending it back to you until it is. Specifically, for my internship, one of the main reasons that the work I performed was not the most enjoyable was that I was not with the company long enough to see the end result. For example, the majority of the work I did was with new plans to improve cities. These plans would take at least a year to implement, but I only had my internship for four months. This was not rewarding because I never got to see my work actually being carried out or fulfilled.

So if you ever have an internship, co-op, or even a job that you do not enjoy, just stick it out. This is not your job for the rest of your life, and I know that you will take at the least one valuable skill away from your experience. Turn your attitude into a positive one and try to make the most out of it. What helped me get through my internship was to realize that the overall lessons I will take away will actually help me succeed in the working world. I now know how to better communicate with coworkers, manage difficult personalities, deal with stress, prioritize my workload, and work in a team environment. Now the big question for myself was what am I going to do with my career life now since I did not find what I thought I wanted to do pleasurable? If you want to know how I went forward with this big question, stay tuned for part 2.

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Photo by: Unsplash | Amanda Sandlin

3 Things I Learned While Interning at Hormel Foods

By: Tori

“Nothing can substitute experience; Mainly because experience is invaluable, it is what you make it.” – Anonymous

This past summer I worked as a corporate communications intern with Hormel Foods. Based in Austin, MN, also known as Spamtown, USA, aka my hometown. Hormel Foods has been a part of my life since I was brought into existence. This Fortune 500 company is known as one of the most trusted and highly respected companies in the food and meat product industry.

After working for Hormel Foods, I can now say that I have: created and published content for a Fortune 500 company’s website, constructed daily news briefings for over 600 employees, dressed as Spammy for the Spam Museum grand opening, designed and implemented a unique and proactive career pamphlet for the company’s national recruiting team, and engaged in cross-functional efforts to execute Hormel’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

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While these specific tasks allowed me to expand upon my skills and stretched me as an employee, there are three major takeaways I would like to share from my summer internship:

#1. You need to be “in the know.”
Communications is an art. As a communication department you are the first place people go; whether it be other departments, the press, Hormel executives, etc. How will you respond to product recalls, press releases, natural disasters? How will you get your message across? It is vital YOU understand the company you are working for and what is going on in the industry overall. It is important YOU have the knowledge necessary to craft emails, corporate intranet content, and daily news briefings that reflect what your company stands for.

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#2. People are Power. And so is your Culture.

Inspired people. Inspired food. Inspired intern.

After spending 10 weeks with Hormel Foods, I understand why they continue to be so successful; their culture. They are an innovative, promote from within, company who genuinely cares about their people and consumers. When you think about a corporate environment you envision: suits, ties, blazers, coffee, computers, and serious conversation. But after working at Hormel Foods I envision: professional, friendly, open, respectful, caring, coffee, coffee, and more coffee (I don’t think I’ve had so much coffee before). The connections you gain from collaborating with employees and creating a culture that builds others up, here in the United States and across the world, are truly amazing.

Below is a video on the culture of Hormel Foods.

#3.  Take advantage of what they offer.
Although I am a Human Resource Management major, I gained a great deal of insight by interning in communications. Often students don’t take advantage of the opportunities offered because they are too scared to ask or feel they will be a burden. Asking for more opportunities, serious projects, and a diverse workload will help you stand out as an intern. A few ways I took advantage of Hormel Foods and what they have to offer was by: shadowing Consumer Engagement, visiting Studio H, going on a plant tour, meeting with managers for coffee, creating plant video scripts, attending department meetings, and sharing a cubicle wall with recruiters.

These are simple, yet immensely valuable opportunities that are so often overlooked. By taking advantage of all Hormel Foods had to offer, I learned just how passionate I am about helping other people reach their goals. This was a direct result from sitting near recruiters and hearing them give interviews over the phone all summer.

I was able to network, build relationships, stretch my knowledge, and visualize my future with this company by taking these steps and spending my summer celebrating among them.

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Not a Typical Internship

By: Kirsi

The word “Internship” may invoke an image of a flustered undergrad fetching coffee and copying documents with the goal to endure an unpaid summer stint. In reality internships and other career building opportunities come in all shapes and sizes – and are often paid. Continue reading for enlightenment about alternative career building opportunities.

career-building-opportunities-decision-tree

Full Year Internships
In my previous post I compared internships and Co-Ops describing an internship as a single semester opportunity. However, there are, in fact, year-long renewable internships out there! For example, some private companies contracted by NASA Johnson work all year long. These year-round interns work full time in the summer, and part time during school. Some full year interns have the same benefits as Co-ops, but with an opportunity work part time during school. On the government side, year long opportunities are currently being offered by NASA for 2017. October is not to early to apply for full year position at your desired company or organization.

robotics_arm

Built by UMD Senior in Electrical Engineering.

UROP
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a unique way to get a taste of academia, conduct research in a team and  work on projects related to your major. Often these opportunities are funded so you will have money for materials and a paycheck. University of Minnesota Duluth has a collection of unique UROP opportunities and world class research projects. One effort in particular that stands out is Dr. Desineni Subbaram Naidu and his research team’s robotic prosthetic arm. Undergraduates, master students, and PhD candidates have all worked on the prosthetic arm team, there is even a TEDx Minneapolis talk about the research. Each semester there is a window open when students can propose an idea for a UROP for funding or join an existing UROP group.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Nick Karvounis

Job Shadowing
If you are not yet prepared for an internship or not certain about your major, job shadowing can be a good tool for building confidence in you career choices. Asking a desired organization about job shadowing is a low risk way to quickly find out if you are interested in a discipline of work. Before confirming I wanted to study computer science I job shadowed at Park Nicollet for a day to see how information technology applied to the healthcare realm. I thought the challenges of personal information security, big data, and merging of databases was interesting and kept my major. When approaching an organization about job shadowing they may suggest you take a tour of the company building instead which may expose you to jobs of many disciplines. While job shadowing and touring are not paid they may open doors to paid career opportunities.

Do not fret if you do not fit the summer internship mold, there are plenty of alternative career building opportunities that fit with your lifestyle and life goals.

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