Applying For and Having an Internship

By: Paying

In my past blog posts, I’ve written about how I personally have been moving through the career planning process. First I assessed myself and then I went on to explore my options, which was almost a whole year ago! So much has happened since then and now. In this post, I’ll be talking about how I’ve actually been working on the next two steps of the process: developing my skills and marketing myself.

Text: Applying for and having an internship.
Image: white desk with a small potted plant, cell phone, notebook, and pen.

Unlike some other majors, an internship is not required for an English degree. Although it may be optional, I personally believe that many careers related to CLA put a big emphasis on experiences and skills which could be gained through internships.

Being a part of the College of Liberal Arts as an English major has helped me become more independent when it comes to internships and my career path–mainly because it’s difficult to find resources when you’re the only one in your social group that is going towards the editing field. Instead of asking around for internships, I started to look up multiple opportunities on my own that related to not just my career goal as an editor, but also to my interests. And what better place to start than GoldPASS?

Since I kept my profile up-to-date, some jobs were already recommended for me which is what I scrolled through to find anything that interested me. One of them was the Hmong Outreach Intern for The Arc Minnesota, a non-profit organization that promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although it wasn’t directly related to editing, I felt that it was something I could see myself going towards as a career path since I have been interested in working with the Hmong community and at one point had considered majoring in Special Education.

Many, if not all, internships require a resume and a cover letter along with the application. Both provide you with a chance to market yourself in different ways. On my resume I listed off my skills and some of the most relatable duties I’ve done. While in my cover letter, I was able to explain more of why I want the position and how I could benefit the company rather than repeating my skills. I soon received an interview offer where I further explained both in more detail. Always make sure to relate your skills and experiences back to the company’s duties and mission.

I eventually got offered the position and got to experience what a career in and out of the office would be like. I’ve always imagined that an internship would provide me that breakthrough into the full-time work force and answer all the questions I had because I’ve always heard of how amazing internships were. Although my supervisor helped cater the internship to assist me in my editing career, I felt closed off from the organization itself. 

Charts in Hmong and English
Project sample from Paying’s internship that she shared during her Instagram takeover during the summer.

There were so many working parts that created one well-working organization, however my roles did not coincide with theirs. Instead, I only interacted with other interns in my room or my supervisor for the whole internship. I never really had an answer for when others asked what I learned from the internship because I didn’t know what to say. However reflecting back on it, I realized how beneficial it actually was.

I was able to figure out for myself which types of work environments I enjoyed and didn’t. I also gained skills working with supervisors and what I can do to better the experience and help benefit everyone in the best possible way. I realized that not every experience and/or opportunity will be exactly as you hope, but that doesn’t mean you should just get it done and over with. Gain those skills you need, make those connections, and use everything to your advantage. 

Now that I have another experience under my belt, as well as more ways to market myself, I am slowly beginning manage my career plan. Remember, just because you have reached another obstacle or are going down a detour, don’t give up! This opportunity could be the eye opener you need to better plan your career and future.

Of Possible Interest:
Planning Your Career
• Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 1; Part 2
Career Planning – all our blog posts on the topic
• Confessions of a Former English Major Part 1; Part 2

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Dose Media; @umdcareers Instagram

Questions You Can Ask After an Interview That are Actually Good

By: Kirsi

The hardest part of an interview may be the dreaded, “Do you have any questions?” Interviewees may use this question to learn logistical information like; “when can I expect to hear from you?” Beyond logistical questions an interviewee can use questions to determine if an organization is a good fit. Turn the tables, the organization can now be interviewed about their qualifications.

student talking with recruiter at job fair
Kirsi chatting with an employer at the E-Fest Job & Internship Fair.

Questions To Ask About The Supervisor
What is your supervisor style?
Are you hands off? Their answer could allude to their check in/ monitoring frequency.
Do you like to stay involved with projects? Watch for warning signs of micromanagement.
What got you interested in the organization/ position?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
What do you find valuable in your work here?

Questions To Ask About Your Position
What are the duties day to day for this position?
What are some projects employees completed in this position?
What is the workload of this position?
Why is there an opening in this position? What is the turnover? This may help identify red flags about unrealistic expectations by the employer.
What does it take to be successful at this position?
Why is this position important for your company? Could help you determine if you help advance company goals or if it is simply busy work.

Questions About The Workplace
What is the environment/ work culture like at xyz organization?
Is overtime expected/ the norm for employees?
How is life balance/ work+life balance achieved here?
Does this organization feel more like a government, private industry, academic, or startup setting?  
Do employees feel tied to the organization’s missions and feel fulfilled by their contributions?  
Is the work pace slow enough/ fast enough?  

Of Possible Interest:
Interviewing – all our blog posts on the topic
Interview Like a Pro – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

The Power in Connections

By: Amanda

During the job and internship search it is common for students to feel apprehensive when tapping into their network of connections. Oftentimes, students do not even take time to step back and evaluate who is all in their network they should reach out to. Today I will cover a few ways I have taken advantage of my network and hopefully inspire you with a few ways to use yours.

Image: sunset time with light trails over boxes
Text: The power of connections

LINKEDIN – THE ALUMNI FEATURE

When I am looking for potential networks or connections, I start with LinkedIn. A solid starting point is to search your university in the search bar. More often than not, alumni are willing to answer messages with questions about their current role and company. After pulling up the University of Minnesota Duluth page, I was able to select filters based on my interests. For example, one filter I selected was alumni who live in the Chicago area and are working in Marketing and Sales based fields. From this point, I was able to narrow my search down to 92 alumni. LinkedIn offers six filters (where they live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, skills they have, and how you’re connected) that can help the search be narrowed quickly and easily. 

Screenshot of LinkedIn Alumni Feature

Once I have found an alum who I want to reach out to about their position/company, I send an invitation to connect with a personalized message that includes the following:

Hi Sam,

I noticed that you are a UMD alumni working at Johnson & Johnson. I am currently a junior at UMD majoring in Sales and Marketing. I am interested in applying for their Sales internship opportunities for this summer. I am wondering if you have any recommendations for applying to the company? Additionally, if you could provide any insight on what it is like working for J & J and the company culture overall, that would be greatly appreciated!

Respectfully, Amanda

Remember, when connecting with anyone on LinkedIn, always send a personalized message! This shows that you are willing to go above and beyond to take initiative and build a relationship. You never know when your connection will be useful. 

STUDENT GROUPS

Take a look at the student groups you are apart of. Chances are, there are either current individuals or alumni who can point you in the right direction. From Greek Life and clubs of interest, to clubs based on a major, there are many connections to be had in each. Try reaching out to members who have been in your org for a long period of time, they will have ideas on who to reach out to. 

In conclusion, in order to set yourself apart when searching for jobs and internships, it is crucial to look at your current connections, as well as branch out to network with others to get the most out of your search. Take some time this Fall to really tap into your network and make the most of your opportunities! 

Of Possible Interest:
Networking – all our blog posts on the topic
Key to Networking – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Federico Beccari

Phone Interviews: My First Impression

By: Paying

I have recently been applying for summer internships for the Twin Cities while I’m in Duluth and was contacted for an interview. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make a trip down for the times that were listed so they offered me a phone interview which I have NEVER done before. For this blog post, I will be sharing my first impression getting interviewed over the phone and some advice for those of you who may want help preparing for it!

Before the Phone Interview
Our office actually has a blog post of how to prepare for a phone interview so go check it out for more in depth advice! For me, I was told the interview would be about 30 minutes to an hour long so I decided to book a study room in the Library so I wouldn’t be interrupted. Make sure to find a private and quiet spot before your interview begins and double check that your phone is fully charged!

Besides that, I also did research beforehand and looked up information through our Pinterest board for simple tips and tricks of how to handle a phone interview compared to an in-person interview. If not being able to see your interviewer is an issue, don’t be afraid to request for a video call!

Image: black and silver table rotary phone
Text: Phone interview tips

During the Phone Interview
One thing I did not expect for my phone interview was for there to be multiple interviewers on speaker! The room echoed a bit and one of the voices was further away from the phone which caused it to not be as clear. It’s okay to ask for clarification on questions!

Since everything is done through the phone, be sure to pronounce your words clearly! Talk in a bold voice as if they were right in front of you. A good tip for this is to stand up and keep a smile on your face so you don’t sound slouched or mumbled.

Usually when I am told something or is asked a long question, I nod and say “Mhm” to show that I am being attentive and that I understand. However, it is quite different in a phone interview and threw both me and the interviewers off multiple times. Since I was on speaker, it sounded as if I was interrupting to ask a question so I had to adjust and not say anything until they were done speaking. Expect to adapt to the situation!

After the Phone Interview
As for any other interview, send a thank you email! Thank them for their time and address any other questions, comments, or concerns you or the interviewers may have had. After that, be prepared to be patient and wait for them to finish interviewing the others.

Now that you know what to expect for a phone interview, be prepared and be confident! Good luck!

Of Possible Interest:
Interviewing – all our blog posts on the topic
Interview Like a Pro – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Pawel Czerwinski

Tips on Marketing Yourself From a Marketing Student

By: Amanda

Marketing is for everyone. Yes, you read that right. It does not matter whether you are a civil engineering student, or in the early childhood education program, it is important to recognize what you bring to the table when applying for jobs and internships. So often the idea of “selling/marketing yourself” comes with a negative, inauthentic connotation. I’m here today to bust that myth.

WHAT DOES MARKETING YOURSELF MEAN?
Marketing yourself is the idea of identifying your niche. As a college student, it is vital to identify why employers should want you over another applicant. Marketing yourself means identifying your interests. For example, if you are interested in the outdoors, perhaps this could lead to sustainability. It also means looking at what skills you have and which you can improve upon. You might consider making a list of skills and how you can apply them to the workplace. Some example skills would include: public speaking, time management, organization, or teamwork.

CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND
Creating a personal brand means understanding your strengths, values and most importantly, what you uniquely bring to the table that other candidates may not have. For example, if you are a political science major with interests in sustainability and values of inclusiveness and empathy, you can find ways to build these into your brand. The Career and Internship Services Office offers three different assessments that can help in finding your strengths and personality, as well as interests. Once you have the content for your personal brand, put it to life in your LinkedIn profile, Resume, Cover Letter, social media platforms and your life as a whole. If you live out your values and what makes you unique, it will shine through in your job search process.

Image: color confetti on ground
Text: Tips on marketing yourself from a marketing student

MARKETING YOURSELF ON YOUR RESUME
When crafting a resume it is important to realize your paid work experience is not the only relevant experience to highlight. Club positions and volunteer work can show ample amounts about who you are as a person. Consider putting your most relevant information, regardless of if it is paid work experience, at the top of your resume. Here is an example of a volunteer position resume section:

Tour Guide, Office of Admissions, UMD, Duluth, MN, Aug 2018 – Jan 2019

  • Promoted the benefits of campus to parents and students
  • Attended diversity training and display awareness during interactions with prospective students
  • Developed public speaking skills by speaking in front of groups ranging from 6 to 20 guests

This resume section, although unpaid, shows a passion for public speaking and an interest in promoting diversity.

MARKETING YOURSELF ON A COVER LETTER
Crafting a cover letter is also a prime opportunity to market yourself.  Take this opportunity to go above and beyond and showcase your personality. Try to find out the name of the person at the company that the letter should be addressed to. Describe your potential value to the employer. Do this in such a way that focuses on what sets you apart from other applicants. Maybe you were President of a college club that relates directly to the type of work you would be doing, or maybe growing up you always had a passion for the company you are applying at. These seemingly small concepts can help you go from an average job candidate to securing an interview.

MARKETING YOURSELF ON LINKEDIN
The first step to marketing yourself on LinkedIn is to make sure that your profile is fully completed. That means the summary, education, experience, profile photo, and all other areas are polished. After this is complete, go on to engage. Share and like posts that are a good representation of yourself. Always post online like the CEO of your company is going to see the post.

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

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Chris Barbalis

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

After the Job Fair

By: Kirsi

You survived the job fair. Collected some business cards, mastered your elevator speech, and acquired some logo plastered swag. What now? Moving forward seems kind of ambiguous unless you locked down a career opportunity or interview that day. Here are some actions you can take following the fair to lock down an offer and solidify your network:

Text: What to do after the job fair

Apply
Job fairs are a great place to learn about positions companies desire to fill and positions you can apply for online. Apply promptly online while your resume is still near the top of recruiters stack and your name is fresh in their minds. It is acceptable to mention the interaction with the recruiter in a cover letter or if the application asks if you have talked to anyone.

Follow Up
Write a follow-up letter to recruiters you talked to at the fair. Here are some examples of phrases that could be used in the letter: “Thanks for talking to me the other day about your work at XYZ,” “Writing to let you know I applied online for XYZ position. Look forward to hearing from you!,” “Thank you for sharing details about your internship program. It sounds rewarding and fun. Hope to be a part of your team soon.” It is appropriate to send these in an email.

Get Connected
Recruiters typically have active profiles on social media either representing themselves or the company. Make sure your social media account is professional and appropriate and connect with them. LinkedIn is an obvious platform to connect with recruiters on. Past Peer Educator David has an excellent example of an effective LinkedIn profile. If your profile, presence, and posts are professional you could connect on more casual platforms like Twitter. @kfacciol, a Mission Control flight controller, has a great professional Twitter account.

General advice to follow when following up with job fairs is “ask and you shall receive.” Those who make the effort to reach out and stay connected will be rewarded.

Of Possible Interest:
Job Fairs; Internships; Job Search – all the blog posts we’ve written on these topics
What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Brandi Redd