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

The Ins and Outs of LinkedIn as a Student

By: Heidi

As a business student who is in the stage of actively job seeking, using LinkedIn seems like an everyday occurrence for me at this point. After having conversations with friends and colleagues about how I use the website as a student, I wanted to share some of my personal favorite tips I have acquired over the years.

When to connect with people
There are several occasions when it would be beneficial to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Different examples consist of after a Job Fair, after meeting at a Tabling Event, post Informational Interview, as well as connecting with your Professors. When you do connect with someone who either has a professional career or is a Professor of yours, I challenge you to send a personalized note when connecting with them, which can only be done when sending an invitation on your computer.

Image: looking down on white wood desk with iphone, mac laptop keyboard, and cup of coffee
Text: The ins and outs of LinkedIn as a student.

What type of message to send
When sending a message on LinkedIn, the type of message you send depends on if you’re currently connected or if its a new connection you’re adding. If you’re sending a message to someone you want to connect with, it’s important to note that you’re limited on the number of characters you can send. Typically, when I send out a message to recruiters after a job fair or someone to conduct an informational interview the message starts out like this:

Message after a Job Fair:

Hi Candace,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. I loved getting to learn more about the position and how you have the capability of working on your own projects and meet with clients of fortune 500 companies. Thank you so much for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Thanks, Heidi

And because of the character limit it typically gets cut down to something like this:

Hi Jordan,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. Thank you for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch!

Thanks, Heidi

Message to a Recruiter for a position you’re interested in:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’m interested in relocating to Nashville once I graduate in May and I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group. I was hoping I could learn more from you or point me in the right direction of who I could talk with for an internal position.

Best, Heidi

After Revision:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior at UMD. I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group in Nashville. I was hoping I could learn more from you or if you could point me in the right direction of whom to speak with about an internal position.

Best, Heidi

Perks of LinkedIn Premium
Having a Premium account isn’t essentially necessary to have if you’re not actively seeking employment. I personally chose to save my free month of premium until second semester of my Senior year when I knew I was ready to get serious about applying to jobs. Different perks I have learned about after having my Premium account are:

Having access to insights for a job you’re looking to apply to. As long as there are 10 applicants, you can see how your skills compare against other candidates, the seniority level of different applicants, as well as different companies and schools they’ve hired from.

If there is a recruiter attached to the job you’re applying to, after hitting the bottom to “apply” through LinkedIn, your profile gets shared with that recruiter which is a great way to get a set of eyes on your profile fast!

To follow that, when you apply to a position through LinkedIn, you get notified when you application was viewed and when it was last seen. This can be a helpful tool when deciding if you need to reach out to recruiters if you’re concerned about not hearing back.

Use Your Connection’s Connections
Before you think you’d be creepy for doing this, remember the purpose of LinkedIn is to network! You can go to a Professor’s page or previous colleague and view their connections. It’s helpful too to narrow it down if you’re looking for a job at a certain company or a city you’re interested in relocating to. There is a LinkedIn feature where you can request that your connection introduces you or you can reach out over email and explain your situation.  

Of Possible Interest:
Social Media & Digital Identity – all our blog posts on the topic
The Student Job Hunting Handbook series on LinkedIn
Social Media & Digital Identity – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Alexander Mils

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

Library Resources That Will ROCK Your Career Search

By: Heidi

So you’ve begun the job search process. First, congratulations on making it this far! It’s exciting being able to think of all the possibilities of where you could end up next, but can be daunting for some not knowing where to start or what to even be thinking about in the job search process. I recently spent some time at the Library learning about resources available to us as a UMD students and I’m here to share what I found.

Reference USA
Ever feel like a company’s About Me page just isn’t enough? Reference USA can be a great tool for learning more about an industry by searching specific companies you’re interested in. This site will give you the scoop of demographics of a business, their current management, and business size history by sales volume as well as employees. This can be useful information for you to understand if a specific company is experiencing growth and can be a way for you to frame your interview questions.

Image: wall of books shelves filled with books
Text: Library resources that will ROCkKyour career search

Occupational Outlook Handbook
This resource is a great starting point for understanding what type of salary you can expect in the industry you’ll be going into. You can select different occupational groups and from there select the specific occupation you’re pursuing. After that, information is broken down into what that job does, the typical work environment, pay, job outlook, and similar occupations. What I think is the coolest part of this site is the “important qualities” information which can be found underneath the “how to become one” tab. For example, I’m looking at an Advertising Sales Agent role which highlights having communication skills, initiative, organization, and self-confidence, all of which I would strategically highlight how I have these skills if I were to go into an interview for this position.

Learning Express Library
Is passing an entry exam for an occupation/job or the GRE on your mind? This site is going to be your go to spot for all resources for preparing for all different tests you can imagine and actual practice exams. Different tests range from nursing, real estate, social work, EMT services, and law enforcement. Along with assessments, the Learning Express Library also offers different ways for you to build your skills with writing, speaking, and grammar which are all crucial when it comes to building your resume and communicating your skills and accomplishments in a job interview.

Interview Books
Congratulations on being at this step in the process! It’s exciting to finally being able to get your face in front of a company and highlight all of your hard work and what you’ve been doing as a student. If you’re new to this or just looking to brush up your skills, the library has TONS of books to help set you up for success to stand out in the process. Follow this link to browse different titles for all your interview needs.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a resource librarian to answer any of your questions or further assist you in finding resources for the direction you’re going!

Of Possible Interest:
Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
UMD Specific Resources – all our blog posts on the topic
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Stanislav Kondratiev

The Basics of Salary Negotiation

By: Heidi

When it comes to accepting your first job, your first salary can often set the pay you earn for the rest of your life. After attending the Start Smart workshop hosted by the American Association of University Women, I learned a lot about your first salary and strategies about how to negotiate that salary. I wanted to share some of the tips I learned for other students and especially women, who often avoid negotiating a salary all around.

The Gender Pay Gap and Why It Matters
In the year 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent. It’s important to note, this gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. The gender gap tells us that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in high-wage ones. Women’s work such as health, education, and public administration, is devalued because women do it. And because women are often caregivers, they face lower pay and promotion opportunities because they are assumed to be distracted and unreliable.

Know Your Value
When it comes to asking for a salary you deserve, it is important to have an understanding of what skills you bring to the table, and how to communicate that. Think back on past accomplishments, contributions, skills, and relevant work experiences. Reflect on what positive results from these accomplishments, what role you played. Consider keeping a journal of all your accomplishments throughout the year, no matter how big or small. Use the template below to help articulate your value:

As a result of my effort to do ____________________________ (identify your action) I have achieved _______________________________ (result), which provided the following specific benefits to the company: ____________________ (fill in quantitative result or other positive outcome).

Image: US $1 bill on white background. 
Text: The basics of salary negotiation.

Know Your Strategy And Benefits
It is important to have objective research when it comes to preparing for your negotiation. Follow these six steps when it comes to benchmarking your salary and benefits: Research and identify a comparable job title, find the salary range and establish your target salary, identify your target salary range, create a realistic budget, determine your resistance or “walk-away” point, and determine the value of your benefits.

When it comes to matching a job to a salary, start with Salary.com and identify a job description that matches the job you are researching. Identify a target salary range looking at the 25th to 75th percentile, at, below, or above the median. Use the target salary as the bottom of the range and do not stretch more than 20 percent. You can calculate the take-home pay for the target salary at PaycheckCity.com

As for determining a resistance point, this is the lowest salary you are willing to accept and still reach an agreement. This is a useful tool to prevent you from accepting a salary you might later regret. Offers below your resistance point may signal you to walk away from a job offer.

Creating a budget is also essential in preparing for your negotiation strategy. Your budget doesn’t need to be scary, and is something that can be broken down quite simply. The 50/20/30 rule can help you proportionately break down and create a healthy budget. It is meant to be flexible based on your particular situation and needs. Breaking it down looks like this: 50 percent or less will be made up of essential expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and utilities. 20 percent or more will go towards your financial goals and obligations such as savings and debt. The ending 30 percent is meant to be for flexible spending and personal choices such as shopping, personal care, hobbies, and entertainment.

Know Your Strategy
Negotiating your salary will differ depending on whether you are looking for a new job or preparing to ask for a raise or promotion. When it comes to a new job, deflection strategies are key to avoid discussing or negotiating your salary until AFTER you have received a job offer. Here are a few different ideas you can use in an interview can look like:

  • “I’d rather talk about that after I’ve received a job offer.”
  • “I’d like to learn more about the role before I set my salary expectations. As we move forward in the interview process, I would hope and expect that my salary would line up with market rates for similar positions in this area.”
  • “What is the salary range for this position or similar positions with this workload in the organization?”

If you receive an offer below your resistance point, then you should attempt to negotiate upwards. Having your notes to reference, you can counteroffer in several ways:

  • “Do you think you have any flexibility on the salary number?”
  • “Thank you for the offer. Based on my research with comparable roles in this area, I was thinking of something in the range of (your target salary range.)”
  • “Based on my prior experience and familiarity with this role, I believe that an additional $_____ would be fair.”

Practice, Practice Practice
Your negotiation skills will not improve without practice. With each time you practice, you can not only improve your ability to be objective, persuasive, and strategic, but confident in your capabilities of negotiating your worth!

Using your notes from your research, sit down with a roommate or a friend and go through a role-play scenario. The more you practice, the more feedback they can provide you with to improve your verbal and body language.

Though this is a lot of information, it’s important to be informed when negotiating your first salary as it sets the benchmark for the rest of your career when it comes to raises and bonuses. Take this information and use it to set yourself up for success so you don’t end up leaving any extra money on the table.

*Tips taken from the AAUW Start Smart Workbook

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | NeONBRAND

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