Turning Your Internship Into a Job

By: Whitney

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about my experience as the C&IS Intern. After loving my internship, I was reluctant to leave, so I’m back in a new role at the front desk! If you are going into an internship or want to turn your internship into a job, I’ve highlighted a few tips below to help you capitalize on this opportunity. Forbes and The Wishington Post (Washington Intern Student Housing) have also offered up some tips so that you can turn your internship into a job as well.

Transitioning your internship into a job truly starts with your internship. Ever heard sayings like “an internship is really just a drawn-out interview”? The heart of the matter is that how you behave as an intern is an indication to your supervisor and co-workers what it may be like to work with you as official staff. The process of being an intern doesn’t need to be as nerve-wracking as an interview, however.

TIPS

  1. Your internship IS your job. This means doing things like showing up on time consistently, dressing the part, and saying goodbye to personal social media while at work. Being new in any job has its moments of discomfort, but chances are you have been building these foundational skills for professionalism for years before this.
  2. Get to know all of your colleagues and fellow interns. This is code for networking. This part is scariest for me. In my first real job, my workplace would occasionally hold picnics for the daycare staff, students, and their families to attend. I was never required to go, but wish that I would have. Going would have given me an opportunity to build stronger relationships with the parents and staff, instead of simply knowing them on a more superficial level. Working together means seeing those people every day for a number of months, or years, so working becomes its own community (a professional one). Doing so will make you a part of the office and is also helpful in getting a job post-internship.
  3. One of the things The Wishington Post recommended, is to have a professional mentor within the workplace. Someone you feel comfortable with that can help you transition between student intern to employee. In my internship, that person was mainly my site supervisor. She was a great person to ask questions of and helped me to make sure I was learning about the field as well as the specific areas I was interested in.
  4. Ask questions and take initiative. Sometimes people don’t ask questions for fear of looking incompetent, but good question asking shows that you are interested and willing to learn. Asking about opportunities is something that can help you in and outside of your internship. Instead of waiting for work to be handed to you ask to be involved, without overexerting yourself. Forbes suggests you familiarize yourself with other departments as well. This may be helpful if, like me, your job ends up being a slightly different role than your internship. Asking about additional opportunities after my internship is how I found out about the front desk.

If you have an internship, congratulations! Know that the company chose you as much as you chose to work for the company. You are there to learn and also have many valuable skills to bring to the table! Your work as an intern is important.

And because I am such a fan of motivational quotes here is one to inspire you:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”—Nelson Mandela

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If You’re Afraid of Networking then You’re Doing it WRONG

By: McKenzie

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is shady.
ANSWER: FALSE

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is scary.
ANSWER: FALSE

It came as a shock to me when I learned that many people I know perceive networking as a scary or shady activity. As I watched my colleagues engage with peers, professors, and community members I began to wonder, “Why do people associate such negativity with networking?”. Is the issue rooted in our fear of being rejected or possibly the media’s portrayal of the way to the top being a competitive game of knocking down others? I cannot say for certain where this fear comes from, however, I can say this: You are almost ALWAYS networking.

Networking. It's kind of a big deal.

I want you to think of your average day. Imagine yourself at your job or if you’re a student picture yourself at school. Consider all of the tasks you will complete, but more importantly, think about all the people who you have come into contact with today. Networking is not scary because we do it all the time. When the average person thinks about networking they often draw up images of stiff “networking” events where everyone stands locked to the wall staring anxiously at each other like middle schoolers at a dance. You came. You did nothing. You left. And you probably didn’t get much out of it. But the reality is that we are constantly networking. Unless you work from home and don’t contact anyone beyond sending your work in or you live a life of complete isolation, you are always creating contacts.

The hardest part of networking is taking the initiative to really get to know someone. Often times, our networks are full of people who have what we want or know someone who does. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions to the right people. I found a contact at Google because I happened to mention to my mom that I was interested in learning more about the company. She informed me that I already knew a family friend whose son works there and guided me to where I could find their contact information. It was then in my hands to take hold of the opportunity to reach out to them.

Getting rejected might be the scariest part about networking. I wasn’t sure that our family friend would agree to leverage her relationship with her son to get us in contact. When I messaged her I could only hope she would. And she did. The piece to always remember is that the worst thing someone will say is, “no.” and in the grand scheme of things that is really not so bad. It just means getting right back up and trying again. I have asked many people in my life to get me in touch with one of their contacts and I have only been told no once. It wasn’t scary at all. It’s a good trait to be curious about people’s lives and how they lead them. We can learn a lot from each other that way. If you aren’t sure where to start then try asking them for an informational interview because it’s pretty easy for people to talk about themselves and they anticipate that you want to learn more about them. I believe in you so get up, get out there, and start networking!

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Finally Getting the Internship

By: Cassie

If you have read my last few posts, you’ll remember how I’ve been really struggling to get an internship. Well, I thought you should know I did the impossible! I finally lined up an internship for this upcoming fall and let me tell you it feels SO good. I am definitely not trying to rub it in anyone’s face, I am just here to tell you the hard work did pay off. Here are a few tips that I can give you about finally clinching that internship.

Don’t get discouraged!
Yes, it is a long process. Yes, you’re going to be frustrated. Yes, you are going to get emails and phone calls explaining why you didn’t get the position. BUT, you have to use these things to make you stronger. You have to adjust your thinking to really see the positives of the situation. If you don’t get a position you really wanted, use that as motivation for the future and apply for the next year. If you don’t have enough experience, make sure you really start putting yourself out there. You can do it, just don’t let it get you down if you don’t get it on your first try.

NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING
You probably get this pounded into your head by all of your professors, counselors, parents, and peers. Well, you know what, THEY ARE RIGHT. LISTEN TO THEM. I was able to get my internship by going to my professor’s office hours. He got to know me and then remembered he knew someone who has been working in the field I would like to go into. A couple emails later and I was in their office for an interview. NEVER turn down the ability to get your name out there and ALWAYS put your best foot forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
It is a tough process and getting help can really give you a new perspective on the situation. By talking through the process with one of our counselors, one of your peers, or a professor you have a good relationship with can be really beneficial. Sometimes you just need to be reminded of how awesome you really are!

Make sure to say thank you!
Going back to my last point, definitely use those around you as a support system – but never forget to say thank you! Say thank you to all the people who help you along the way to show how much you truly appreciate what they did! Also, make sure to say thank you to the companies and people you reach out to, even if they say no, to show that you are grateful for their time and effort! A little thank you email, call, or letter goes a long way!

Hopefully, these tips help! I am always here to talk you through the process and so is everyone here at Career and Internship Services! We want you to succeed and we know you can! So go get those internships Bulldogs! We believe in you!

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Career Counseling Internship

By: Whitney

As the semester is winding down, so is my internship, sadly. Luckily, I will be back next year filling another role in the office. Here is a glimpse into my journey as a C&IS intern.

WHY I CHOSE TO INTERN
There are many reasons I chose to do an internship for credit this semester. Number one, I wanted to gain experience in a psychology related field to assess if I really wanted to go into this field. Number two, with all the other demands of being a college student, I knew if I didn’t have a class to help me set deadlines and keep on track in the process of actually getting the internship I probably wouldn’t prioritize it. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be interning in Career Counseling, I started my degree wanting to go into human services with children and families. Going through college, however, I started to get to know myself more, take on challenges, and grow. One of these opportunities was my role as a peer mentor for transfer students. After being involved with that program I realized that I was open to working with a broader range of people than only children and that I really enjoyed working with college students. I followed my interests, discovered this internship through the psychology department, and the rest is history.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT
What I’ll miss most about it (at least while I’m gone over the summer) is the people. I spent about nine hours a week with the employees of the C&IS office and I loved getting to know them! The professional relationships you build with co-workers is important for way more than just networking. They are what makes up the work environment and office culture. Every workplace is unique. With C&IS office I think I hit the jackpot. The office is very open and welcoming, I would describe it as being a “professional family.” I looked forward to coming to work because I enjoyed the work I was doing and the people I was doing the work with. If I had one without the other it would have been incomplete. In the 40-hour-work-week world, office culture becomes even more important.

CHALLENGES AND ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MYSELF
The first few days in a new job are always a little nerve-wracking, soon enough though I got to know people in the office and settled into my role. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like. Looking back on my experiences I would tell myself to jump into my role sooner even if I was a little unsure. I would also tell myself to ask about shadowing career counseling appointments and set them up earlier on in the internship.

Keep respectful communication between you and your supervisors, let them know what you are hoping to learn through the experience and collaborate on how to make it happen. Advocating for yourself is important, employees are busy and sometimes you need to ask if you could join in on something rather than waiting for someone to suggest it for you. And remember, you are there to learn. It’s fine to ask questions if you have them, just don’t hound people with questions.

Sometimes things are a little outside your comfort zone. Prime example: me writing for the C&IS blog. It can be tough to put your work out there for people to read, because who knows how it will be received. I also have never written for a blog before, much less one tied to an official organization. My advice would be to jump on those opportunities anyway because they could lead to something amazing.

CAREER COUNSELING
Another main reason I wanted to intern with C&IS was to see if career counseling and/or higher ed were fields I could see myself going into in the future. What is the profession like? What is it all about? I learned there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on in a career counseling office, from setting up and attending job fairs, to classes and presentations, to making sure C&IS is providing their clients with the help that they are seeking. I also learned that there is so much to know as a career counselor and it is not possible to know it all. Which just means that if an answer is unknown they put on their sleuthing hats and help the client find the needed info.

Another thing to mention, we are not alone if we ever feel anxious about our career journey or what decisions to make. We are all in the same boat with that, and while career counselors can’t tell you what exactly to do with “the rest of your life,” they can certainly help you clarify what is important to you at this point in your life and assist you in assessing your options.

CONCLUSION
Internships can be a fantastic way to gain an understanding of what you want to do in your future career and even not so great experiences can teach you this as well. I really enjoyed my internship and I discovered that career counseling is something I could see myself doing in the future. It pushed me a little out of my comfort zone at times, helped me grow in confidence in my ability to navigate being a part of the professional working world and allowed me to meet some wonderful people and make some fond memories!

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First Time Experience at the Job Fair

By: Kimberly

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Time is ticking and every time the hand on my watch moved it seemed more surreal that in just a few minutes I would be at the job fair. In my right hand, I had a folder with twenty resumes I prepared to distribute to as many recruiters as possible and in my left hand, I held tightly onto hope. Hope for a variety of reasons; hopefully, I am successful today, hopefully, I land an internship, hopefully, I am different from the hundreds of other students and hope because I need it.

As I entered the building and quickly got myself signed-in, I made my name badge and wore it trying to contain the cold chills running through my hands. I had thousands of thoughts running through my mind such as, “What if I’m not as good as anyone else here?”, “What if I forget my elevator speech?”, “Don’t make a fool out of yourself!”, and it continued. Despite these thoughts, I managed to remind myself that like any other obstacles I had faced in life, I will conquer.

Immediately you could hear tons of voices from conversations between students and recruiters or students socializing among themselves. I quickly took a second to negotiate a deal with myself; I promised to stop stalling time after a quick tour of the entire job fair. During this tour, most of the of the recruiters I walked past were waving to students and welcoming them with a “hello,” and some even tried to engage in a conversation with you to attract you towards their booth. Students were offering their resumes and portraying emotions of excitement, eagerness, and confidence. Towards the end of my tour, I realized many of these recruiters weren’t so scary after all and it was time to take initiative. I also recalled a great tip I received to help burn off my nerves, speak with an organization that I wasn’t interested in yet, I wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed if I failed miserably.

Overall, after several conversations, I learned that many recruiters were eager to speak with students and were most likely going to be alumni from yours or another familiar university/college. They were immensely interested in hearing about what I was currently involved in, where my passion was, and the reasons why I pursue what I do. In addition to recruiters sharing with me about their position and what they do for the organization, they were sharing great pieces of advice. For example, when to look out for internships within my area, who I could reach out to specifically, and what they had in store for students with my major.

Kimberly & Crew UMJF 17
Kimberly (2nd from left) and fellow UMD students at the University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair.

After meeting with every organization on my list I ended my day at the fair by heading to the student lounge area for a brief evaluation of everything I accomplished. I reflected on each of the conversations I had while actively jotting down notes. Although it was hard to believe, I was quite surprised at how fast the day went by and at the number of recruiters I spoke with. It was a great feeling knowing I made some awesome connections with a few recruiters. I couldn’t wait to add them on LinkedIn or send them a follow-up email, sometime on Monday.

Now, let me remind you that I attended workshops to develop a good elevator speech/pitch, spent days working on improving my resume by getting it reviewed by others, and researched the organizations’ backgrounds prior to the job fair day. All this effort I put in prior to the fair prepared me with the skills and knowledge to engage in these conversations. If I had not spent that amount of effort and time into preparing I know my first-time experience at the fair would have been disappointing. I strongly recommend to anyone who is attending a job fair whether it’s your first time or not – you need to put in effort preparing yourself before going. Like the saying, “You only get out what you put in.”, although cliché it is very true. The second piece of advice I would offer is, speak with passion. Besides telling them what is already on your resume, give them something that showcases the “why” behind everything on your resume. Lastly, enjoy your time at the fair, it is a great way to also network with other students.

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Landing a Job or Internship

By: Logan

At some point in your college career you will be searching for either an internship or job. This process is far from easy and is a lengthy, exhausting process. Whether you are graduating soon or looking to gain some experience in your field, the job search is fast-paced, competitive, and very exciting. In this blog post I will be explaining the steps I took to decide which job I wanted to accept upon graduation, and I hope this post can help someone out who is in a similar position.

I have been lucky enough to receive multiple job offers during my job search, but these did not just fall into my lap. I was proactively searching and applying for jobs far more than any of my friends, and I believe this gave me an advantage. I started early (early February for a May graduation) before many people had even begun their search. This is one point I touched on with my last blog post, try to apply early before your dream position is filled! There were many other steps I took to get my name out there. I went to the job fair, I applied to positions on multiple databases, and reached out to relatives and friends who may have known of available positions. This is how I found the companies I was interested in and got my name out to employers.

One thing I learned recently was how beneficial Spring Break can be in the job search. Yes, I understand most people would rather be laying on a beach or going on a road trip, but if you are like me and are not able to indulge in these experiences you should make the most out of your time on break. After networking with employers online and through the job fair, I scheduled in-person interviews during Spring Break when I knew I had no class and would be closer to these companies. Over my Spring Break I attended 4 in-person interviews, one phone interview, and one Skype interview. Seems like a bit of overkill, I know. Not everyone needs this many, but I was proactive, curious, and wanted to see what was out there. Also, I had nothing better to do. Setting up these interviews early is crucial in the job search because you show your initiative and drive by reaching out to companies long before graduation.

This is where the fun began. I ended up receiving four offers for jobs, and I had mixed emotions about this. Yes, it felt good to know my skills were wanted in the workplace, but how would I ever decide which one to take? This is where reaching out to all the resources you have available will benefit you. I made my decision by looking at each job from every angle. I thought about the environment of the workplace, do I feel like I would fit in? What is the typical age of others in my position? Next, I put compensation and benefits into consideration. I could understand the salary and commission pieces, but I didn’t know a lot about benefits and insurance, so I reached out to my mom and had her read it over and tell me what she thought. Since many of us students have never had a full-time job, we may know little about how good the benefits are, so it is a good idea to reach out to someone who has been through it before. I also put geographic location into consideration. Where can I see myself living? What is the cost of living in each of these areas? Do I have any family or friends in this area? And of course, you have to consider the type of work. Where do I have experience? What kind of work do I enjoy? Can I see myself moving up in this company? There are definitely many things to consider, and this made my choice very difficult.

I think the question that made me think the most and ultimately helped me come to my decision was, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This made me think about how long I could see myself staying with a company, and if I could see myself doing this for a while, and it was something I hadn’t thought about very much. To come to my decision, I reached out to my parents, brother, friends, and spoke with a counselor at UMD Career and Internship Services, and altogether I got a variety of viewpoints and opinions. All of these viewpoints, combined with me thinking through each of the questions I stated above, helped me come to my decision. Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what you like, so you have to make the decision. It is also important to keep in mind most people do not find their dream job straight out of college. If you realize this is not the job for you, you can always begin the job search again.

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The Internal Battle of Internships

By: Cassie

The huge thing right now is internships. Everyone is trying to get one to get experience in their field and to be able to have access to a company. Many people (including myself) have to have an internship in order to graduate. This added pressure of NEEDING to get one, on top of the pressure of seeing your friends and classmates try and get them, can be very daunting. Well, I am here to tell you today that these feelings are TOTALLY REASONABLE and you’re not the only one feeling this way.

You may be thinking that you are the only one struggling to get an internship and it seems like everyone around you is snapping up positions. Well trust me, you aren’t the only one. I have applied for around 10 internships for this summer. That’s right, 10. I have put so much time, effort, and hope into applying for them and it felt like I was going nowhere. This really bothered me for the last month. I have plenty of work experience, I am involved in clubs, and I like to think that I can write a cover letter. It was a super discouraging experience. I really didn’t know what I was doing wrong and I really didn’t know what to do. But I talked to my mom, and my friends, and the people at Career & Internship Services and I finally turned the situation into a positive one.

I decided that it’s okay that I haven’t gotten an internship for the summer. It is SO competitive to get an internship and now is not the time for me. I have still been reaching out to companies, but I have been doing so in applying for actual jobs that can still help me in my major. If I get rejected from these jobs, I have been putting aside the contact so I can contact them closer to my graduation. I will be able to find something for the summer whether it be a part-time job, a full-time job, or even just volunteering, I know I will be able to find something that will get me involved in my career path. I also know that getting involved, even if it wasn’t the way I originally wanted to, will open so many doors for me to get an internship for next year. So, my final thoughts are that, yes, getting an internship is tough, but you just have to look at the positives and persevere. Get help if you need it and remember you are awesome and can do this!!!!

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