Large Scale Internship Programs: What it Looks Like and the Pros of Going Through the Program

By: Amanda

So maybe you’ve decided that you want to pursue an internship for the upcoming semester or summer. Congrats! Now that you have made this decision, it is time to think about what type of internship you would like to have. Internship programs come in many different shapes and forms. For some internships you may be the only intern at a company, for others, you might find yourself a part of a larger group. Either way, there are benefits to both. Today I will talk specifically about the benefits of a large scale program.

For the duration of summer 2019, I had the opportunity to experience a large scale internship program. My program consisted of 70 interns working for 10 weeks in total. Although I was in the sales department, the company had interns ranging from finance and claims to digital media. Since I am from a town that is outside of the company’s radius, I also had subsidized housing included in my offer package. Typically, larger programs like the one I experienced are offered through big corporations, although there are some smaller companies that have them as well. 

Image: markers lined up on shelves
Text: Large scale internship programs

NETWORKING & MENTORSHIP
Throughout the course of my internship, we were provided with five afternoons where executives from the c-suite level would speak to our intern class with a networking hour to follow. I enjoyed this because this gave me an opportunity to speak with senior leadership that I would not normally have the chance to interact with. These seasoned employees took an afternoon out of their day to share their experiences, tips, and wisdom. 

It was also highly encouraged for us to set up “Meet and Greets” with employees throughout the company, both in our division, and also in other areas. Essentially, this consisted of grabbing coffee for 30 minutes with an employee and asking them how they got to their position, what their day-to-day roles consist of, and what advice they may have. With a company as large as the one I was working at, this was an ideal way for me to network cross-functionally.

At the beginning of the summer I was paired with a mentor. My mentor was outside of the sales department. We sat down multiple times throughout the summer to touch base on my progress, goals, and any other miscellaneous questions I had. 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Throughout my three months I was able to attend two conferences and join two Employee Resource Groups. Employee Resource Groups act as ways for employees to dive into specific interests they might have. I joined the Young Professionals Society and Sustainability Group aka the “Green Team”. Through the Green Team, I attended a quarterly breakfast in which I was able to talk with professionals from across the community looking to implement sustainable practices into their company. 

CASE COMPETITION 
Many large scale internship opportunities have a case competition. This consists of interns being split up into teams of 6 to solve an assigned issue the company is facing. Our issue this past summer was: “how to reach more consumers digitally”. We worked on this case over the course of the summer and presented for 10 minutes with a panel to follow. This competition helped me to meet interns from across the company who I would not normally interact with. 

INTERN EVENTS 
Over the summer, we were provided with nearly weekly intern events. During our time we attended multiple semi pro soccer and baseball events at which free food was provided. Additionally, we went to mini golf and had a few game nights. There were multiple times that the company would cater dinner into the apartment building where the interns were living. Again, these types of events acted as both intern bonding and networking.

Overall, if you are at all thinking about going through a traditional, large scale internship program, I would highly suggest applying. Through this type of experience, you will be able to learn about the many functions of the company, meet lots of people and set yourself up for future success.  

Of Possible Interest:
Internships; Networking – all our blog posts on the topics
Internships; Key to Networking – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Faris Mohammed

Beginner’s Guide to Using GoldPASS Powered by Handshake, Part 1

By: Kendra

What is GoldPASS powered by Handshake?
GoldPASS, Handshake, or GoldPASS powered by Handshake are some of the different names you might have heard before. Regardless of the name you might have heard, the system is the same. GoldPASS is an online platform that connects students and alumni from any of the five University of Minnesota campuses with jobs, internships, and employers. One can find full- or part-time positions, summer jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities by using GoldPASS. The reason behind the different names is because many different universities and colleges across the United States use the system, which is Handshake, for employers to post opportunities. GoldPASS is just the name that the University of Minnesota chose to distinguish our Handshake platform from others. 

Why use GoldPASS?
Based on my previous explanation, you might be thinking that GoldPASS sounds very similar to LinkedIn … so why use it? The best part about GoldPASS is that employers who post their opportunities in the system are specifically seeking University of Minnesota graduates, as GoldPASS is only for University of Minnesota graduates and alumni. If this weren’t true, they would not bother with GoldPASS and they would just post on LinkedIn or similar sites. This is not to say that you shouldn’t use LinkedIn, because that is a great resource, too. GoldPASS, however, is just for us, which I think is pretty cool. Also, GoldPASS is a smaller platform than LinkedIn or other job posting sites, which means less people will be vying for the same opportunities. 

image: desktop with notebook, computer keyboard, and coffee cup
text: beginner's guide to GoldPASS powered by Handshake

What can GoldPASS do for me? 
Upon completing your profile on GoldPASS, the possibilities are endless. One can see job postings that are curated just for them, events that might be coming up on any of the five campuses, and more. One of my favorite aspects about GoldPASS is users have the option to have their profile private or public. A personal example: When I was in the process of completing my profile, I had it private so employers and other students would not be able to see it until I was finished. This was nice because it allowed me to perfect everything before others were able to see any of it. Then, when I was ready, I made my profile public. This allowed different companies to seek students based on their available jobs and reach out to them. In fact, I have had companies reaching out to me about their positions because my education and skills aligned with what they were looking for. So, while GoldPASS is for students to connect with and find employers that interest them, it is also useful for employers to find future employees.

Where should I start? 
The first thing one should do when starting to use GoldPASS is login and start completing their profile. To login, click on this link: https://app.joinhandshake.com/login. Upon logging in for the first time, users will be prompted to complete their profile as shown below:

Sign in screen for GoldPASS

To have a complete profile, one will need to enter their education information (ie. which campus they are attending, their majors/minors, and expected graduation date), their interests, work and volunteer experience, skills, and more. I think of my profile as a super in-depth resume, because it holds the same purpose as a resume does: to give a viewer a snapshot of what I have done to make myself applicable for the opportunities I am interested in. This process can take some time, especially when done thoroughly and with detail. The great part about this is that users have the option to make their profiles private, which I recommend doing until your profile is complete, or as complete as possible. Here is a snapshot of my GoldPASS profile:

Kendra profile on GoldPASS

As you can see, my profile is only 85% complete, which is entirely okay. I do not have certain areas of my profile added simply because I do not have information to add to them, which, again, is okay. Fill your profile with the information you do have. As you move along in life, you will gain more and more experiences, skills, and information you can add to your profile. Another item that can be added to your profile is your resume. When a resume is uploaded, it must be approved before you can begin applying for opportunities. We want resumes to be approved just so we can make sure they are great before employers get to see them. If you are in need of a resume review, stop by Solon Campus Center 22 and a peer educator would love to help you out. After uploading a resume, you are all set to start searching for and applying for opportunities, which I will dive into in my next post. 

Stay tuned for a second part to this GoldPASS powered by Handshake Guide, where I will go into more detail about how to use the system. If you need any assistance with your GoldPASS account, please don’t hesitate to stop by our office at Solon Campus Center 22 and we would be happy to help. 

Best, Kendra

Of Possible Interest:
GoldPASS powered by Handshake
Internships; Job Search – all our blog posts on the topics
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Lukas Blazek

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