My Recipe for Making Decisions

By: Amanda

During our young adult lives, there are many decisions to be made. It starts with selecting a college, then major, possibly an internship, job/grad school for after graduation, and whether or not to relocate. The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. Yes, this is a sea of opportunity, but it can also be overwhelming. 

Throughout my lifetime I have been notorious for being indecisive. Even a simple decision, such as what to have for dinner is something I toggle with. The larger decisions have historically been even more difficult for me. I believe I dragged my mom with me to 12 different colleges before finally flipping a coin and choosing UMD (yes, it was the best decision ever!). During my time, I have narrowed down a recipe as to how I make decisions. No, it’s not perfect, but here is what I have learned.

Image: Top of multicolored brick building with clouds in the sky
Text: Recipe for making decisions from an indecisive college student

STEP 1: ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE AT
This is the starting point of the process when it is realized that a decision needs to be made. First, start out by taking inventory of the current situation. Where are you at in life and where do you hope to go? Make a pros and cons list. Draft out ideas. Let the creativity and brainstorming flow!

STEP 2: SEEK HELP FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Talk to a few trusted individuals who know you and the situation well. Explain the situation and listen to their advice. They may have an outside perspective. Oftentimes, close friends and family may be able to point out something you may not be able to see. Additionally, they may prompt you with questions that will help to open up to other ideas.

STEP 3: SEEK NEUTRAL HELP
Depending on the nature of your situation, it may also be appropriate to schedule an appointment with us, at UMD Career & Internship Services. I have done this countless times when navigating planning my career path. I am sure I will do it countless more times as I approach graduation and the numerous decisions that come with this stage of life. 

UMD also has free counseling sessions (for students) through Health Services. They often will work with students on decision-making issues. Check it out if you feel it is appropriate for you. 

Image: nature trail in woods with letterboard on ground.
Text on letterboard: The path to your goals might have some curves.

STEP 4: TRUST YOURSELF
This being said, it is important to trust your gut. At the end of the day, it is your life and your decision to make! Know that the weight of whatever decision is being faced, big or small, is something that can be handled. Take other input like a grain of salt. Take advice and tips that fit YOU, disregard the rest. 

STEP 5: USE RESOURCES
Once I diagnosed this reoccurring struggle in my life, I looked into some resources. Books, podcasts, YouTube videos – you name it, I probably have checked it out. Here are a few of my favorite resources:

At the end of the day – it is crucial to own what is decided. The best advice I have ever gotten is simply to “just make a decision, don’t turn back, and make the most of it along the way”. I think you will find that it is not about the decision made, instead, it is about making the most of whatever you decide to do and not looking back. 

Of Possible Interest:
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener, But You Should Check Anyway
Don’t Overthink It preview on the What Should I Read Next? podcast
Productivity & Wellness – all our blog posts on the topic

Read Amanda’s other posts

Mentors: Be One; Have One

By: Amanda

One of the most impactful lessons I have learned throughout my college experience so far is the importance of mentorship—both being a mentor and finding one. Finding a mentor, whether it is in a formal or informal setting, is something that can help one learn and push their limits. I have had a variety of formal and informal mentors in my lifetime. When it comes to making big life decisions, it’s vital to have a trusted person to turn to who understands your life goals and visions. 

Image: notebooks and rose gold binder clips on white desktop
Text: Mentors: How to have one and be one

FINDING YOUR MENTOR

Join Student Groups
Mentors can come in many shapes and forms. If you are in a club or student group on campus, perhaps there is an older, more experienced individual who you can learn from. In my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, I have two alumni I refer to often for professional and personal advice. Ask to grab coffee with someone who you look up to in your organization. You never know where it will lead!

Use Your Collegiate Unit
Another way to find a mentor is through your collegiate unit. Find someone further along than yourself. Use them and their life as guidance. Learn from their highlights and downfalls; ask sensible questions. Additionally, some collegiate units have formal mentorship programs that kick off every fall. Check out the UMD Mentor Program.

Within Professional Work
Finally, mentors can be found through your professional work. During my summer internship experience, I was paired with a mentor who had similar goals and values as me. We sat down bi-monthly to discuss the program, my goals, and any questions I had. Within your next professional job, seek out a mentor who will help you navigate work experiences.

BEING A MENTOR: PAYING IT FORWARD
Although I haven’t been a formal mentor yet, I have found many instances where I am taken a “mentor-like” role. For example, while working at Career and Internship Services, I have found myself helping younger students who work in our office. I was in their shoes just two years ago and love to help them sift through work, life, or school. Additionally, in my sorority, I’m often helping younger women who are in the business school and trying to maneuver through internships, their majors, or what classes to sign up for. 

Through experiences like these, I have discovered the importance of paying it forward and intentionally aiding others as much as possible. I have had profound mentors over the past few years who have significantly changed the course of my life. Being able to give back in some way, even if minuscule, is something I cherish. 

I challenge you to not only find someone to help you with your career goals but also find someone who you can help. When you do this, you will find ultimate fulfillment. 

Of Possible Interest:
Networking; On the Job – all our blog posts on these topics
Key to Networking; Now that You’re on the Job – our Pinterest boards filled with resources & articles

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | STIL

Inside Recruiter Advice from Techtronic Industries (TTi)

By: Amanda

Recently, we had Techtronic Industries (TTi) visit Career and Internship Services. I sat down with Hailey Franklin to learn more about the company, as well as what they look for in interviews and at job fairs. Hailey graduated from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at UMD in the spring of 2019 with a major in Management Information Systems and a minor in Communication. She also has a variety of marketing experiences. Since graduation, Hailey has been working for TTi as a Territory Manager and a Field Sales Rep. 

Image: wood desk top with gray lamp
Text: Insider tips from a recruiter

ABOUT THE COMPANY 
At this point, you might be wondering who TTi is and what they do. TTi is an electronic tool distributor company. They primarily distribute through Home Depot, owning brands such as Milwaukee Electric Tool, Hoover, and Dirt Devil. TTi recently partnered with Walmart to launch a new brand. TTi plans to hire 700 December and May graduates, as well as 150 interns. Hailey shared that any area of study can apply for roles with the company. A few main areas include sales, management, marketing, product management, and supply chain.

ELEVATOR PITCH
Hailey’s top piece of advice when it comes to an elevator pitch is to keep it simple. “Make sure it goes full circle,” she advised. Essentially, she is looking for three things in your elevator pitch: What can you bring to the company, what you are looking for, and any questions you may have for the recruiter. An easy tip she had was to read the company bio over in Handshake. 

Woman and man standing together in front of a table.
Hailey and her fellow TTi recruiter at the recent Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair at UW-Superior.

RESUMES 
Hailey shared that some of the best resumes she sees are ones with quantitative bullet points in the experience section. Additionally, make sure to deep dive into your experiences and illustrate skills from each you will bring to the position you are applying for. All in all, this is what Hailey had to say “Everything on your resume should help you stand out and highlight your wins. Be able to talk in-depth about every line on your resume in an interview and you will be fine!”

INTERVIEW TIPS
“Confidence is key, if you do not have confidence, any interviewer is going to see it.” Hailey shared when asked her top interview tip. She went on to expand upon this further, stating “Have high energy. High energy and positive energy individuals will almost always get a second-round interview.” Make sure to focus on what you are doing well right now to get yourself to the next position. Highlight your areas of opportunity. Hailey advises interviewees use the STAR method when answering questions. 

S – Situation: Explain the experience and your role in it. 
T – Task: What specifically were you trying to accomplish? 
A – Action: What did you do and why? What key skills or competencies were used? 
R – Result: Explain the impact of your actions, use quantitative results if possible. 

She added that at TTi they use STAR-LA. Here is what the additional letters stand for. 

L – Learned: Explain what you learned from the experience.
A – Apply: Describe how you will apply these results and learning in the future.

We learned a lot sitting down and talking with Hailey. We hope you did as well! Take this opportunity to learn from a recruiter’s perspective. 

Of Possible Interest:
Internships; Interviewing; Job Search – all our blog posts on these topics
Interview Like a Pro; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo sources: Unsplash|Andrej Lisakov; UMD Career & Internship Services

What I Have Learned From a Year of Talking with Recruiters

By: Amanda

As some of you may know, I work for Career & Internship Services as the Communication Student Assistant. For the past year, I have attended over 8 job and internship fairs. Throughout these fairs I have connected with over 50 recruiters, asking them the burning questions that fair-goers are thinking, but are not able to ask. Today I will compile the top tips I have learned. 

Young woman standing on a platform.
Amanda working at the STEM Job & Internship Fair.

Ask employers about themselves. Numerous recruiters have shared that some of the best questions students ask are variations of “Can you tell me about your story and career path?” 

Make it an “elevator conversation,” rather than“elevator pitch.”  Avoid a long, drawn-out introduction. Instead, keep it conversational and light the entire time. Make sure to include your name, major, and year. Then go into what interests you most about the company and ask a question. There’s no need to ramble any further than this. 

Understand the roles the company is hiring for. One of the best things you can do before the fair is to research the positions your desired company is hiring for. Ask them if they have any tips for the application process. Ask specific questions about the role. Display a forward-thinking mindset and ask where career paths from the role can lead.

Start with the Handshake description. Oftentimes, GoldPASS powered by Handshake has a description of the company. This is a good starting place for doing research.

Go beyond the company website. Check out the company’s social media pages. Look for volunteer work or philanthropy they are doing. This is one way to show recruiters you are willing to go above and beyond!

back of young woman's head and she's holding a phone. you see on the screen what she's taking a picture of.
Amanda working at the UMN Job & Internship Fair.

Make your graduation year prominent on your resume. This will help the recruiter be able to easily see what opportunities they have available that best fit your needs. 

Simplicity is key. Refine your experience section. Try not to use a fancy template, as this will distract from your content. Recruiters want to be able to easily see your information. 

If the company is interviewing the day of or day after, talk to them early. Many recruiters at the fair have told us that they fill their interview slots within the first half of the fair. If you know a company is interviewing on-campus the day of or day after, go chat with them right away.

Look up company leaders. Look online to learn about senior leadership within the company. Try to see how they got to their current role in the company. 

Follow up. Take a business card when you are at the fair and make sure to follow up afterward. Send a quick note on LinkedIn or an email. Include a few details on your conversation, as well as any questions you might have for them. Thank them for their time at the fair. Maybe, if you are interested in learning more about their role, try to set up a time for an informational interview.

All and all, one of the most important keys to attending a fair is to be yourself. As cliche as it is, when you let your personality shine through, you are able to have a genuine conversation with an employer. I hope these 10 tips can help you navigate your next fair!

Of Possible Interest:
How to Navigate Job Fair “Dead Ends”
What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair
Job Fairs – all our blog posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo sources: UMD Career & Internship Services

Insider Tips from a Recruiter

By: Amanda

Last week we sat down with Amanda Goodman, Director of Talent Strategy at Northwestern Mutual in Duluth, and she cued us in on a few insider tips. Amanda graduated from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at UMD in 2016 with a major in Organizational Management. Her experience in the field includes recruiting anywhere from seasoned adults to fresh graduates. Most recently, she began her role with Northwestern Mutual and has prominent on the UMD campus ever since. 

Just a few years ago, she was in the same shoes as us students: navigating fairs and trying to figure out what exactly she wanted to do after graduation. She broke down her advice into three main areas: interviews, resumes, and job fairs. 

Image: Amanda Headshot
Amanda Goodman, Northwestern Mutual

INTERVIEWS

  • Dress up for your interview. This is your opportunity to make a good first impression. Plan your outfit the night before your interview so you are not scrambling. Make sure there are not any stains or wrinkles on your clothing.
  • Your interaction with the front desk receptionist matters. Arrive at your interview early. Once you arrive, be kind to the front desk receptionist. Oftentimes, the managers or people conducting the interview will ask the front desk receptionist what their impression of the candidate was. This simple interaction could make or break your interview, so be sure to be tactful and kind, no matter how nervous you feel.
  • Do your homework on the organization. Amanda said, for lack of a better phrase, “you need to creep on the company”. She went on to explain that “nowadays, looking at their job description is not enough”. Many companies post on their website who their senior leadership is. Take a look at that. Find out about events they hold, what their philanthropy looks like, and dig into their social media. Come into the interview showing that you fully understand the company, what they stand for, and what their vision is. In addition, prepare a few questions based on your findings. This will show that you care and help you to stand out from other candidates. 
  • Review your resume content. Amanda pointed out that some candidates will fill their resume to make them look more qualified than they actually are. This is something to never do. Be able to speak in-depth about every experience, bullet point, and position on your resume. Any experience on your resume is fair game for a recruiter to ask about, even if it happened several years ago. 
  • Do homework on yourself. Additionally, do some thinking about yourself before you go into the interview. Companies are more interested in who you are as a person than ever before. They want a taste of your personality. Be able to speak to what you like to do for fun. 
  • Be able to articulate what you want out of a company. One of Amanda’s favorite questions to ask is, “Put titles and industries aside if you could create the perfect internship, what does the culture look like?”. Think about aspects such as:
    • Future leadership opportunities
    • Philanthropy events
    • Whether you will work independently or on a team 
    • Is there paid time off to volunteer
    • Professional development opportunities 
  • Say thank you. As basic as this may sound, a simple thank you email or card can go a long way. Amanda mentioned that students who send a thoughtful thank you are almost always at the top of her list. 
Image: wooden desk with gray lamp
Text: Insider tips from a recruiter

JOB FAIRS

  • The Elevator Pitch. Before you attend the fair, prep yourself. Do not think of the elevator pitch as a speech or presentation. Try to be conversational about it. Know the main ideas you want to get across and go from there. 
  • Formulate a few questions to ask them as well. Do research and ask about things you have found on the website to help yourself stand out. All and all Amanda wants you to know that “At the end of the day we are all people and we were all in your shoes before. The more you can be yourself and be authentic, the better you will feel. You are talking about you, make it fun!”

RESUMES

  • Simple Format. Amanda shared that most companies use an Applicant Tracking System for resumes. When you submit your resume online, the system tries to correct it so it is easier to read for the recruiter. Amanda suggested that you minimize the number of lines you have on your page, specifically columns. She said that oftentimes these resumes will come through the system so messy looking that they are barely able to read them. 
  • Simple coloring. Try to stick to black and white. Occasionally it is okay to have one key color to use for headings. Many colors are typically distracting to the employer.
  • In-depth bullet points. She pointed out the more detail that you can give with a bullet point, the better. Give an accurate description of what you were doing for a role. Add numbers to the description. This means so much more than a vague statement. 
  • Integrate skills. Whether you are making a specific skillset section, or you are integrating skills in your bullet points, it is important to include them in some shape or form. Take a look at the job description and pull skills from it you have. Look at all of your past experiences and find ways to align those skills with the position you’re applying for. 
  • Have your resume reviewed. Ask multiple sources to review your resume so changes are made from a holistic perspective. Start with a Career Counselor at Career & Internship Services to build a foundation. Then, ask a professor or advisor. From there, go to an industry professional in the area you aspire to work in. The more eyes you get on your resume, the better. 

Sitting down with Amanda Goodman was a great reminder for us that from job and internship fairs, to on a resume, to in the actual interview process, it is important to thoroughly prepare and evaluates your skillset. Amanda is more than willing to talk with students in the future about their career path, as well as Northwestern Mutual. Her email is amanda.goodman@nm.com. She encourages students to reach out with any questions. 

Of Possible Interest:
Interviewing; Job Fairs, Resumes – all our blog posts on the topics
Ace the Job Search; Interview Like a Pro; Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo sources: Unsplash | Andrej Lisakov; Amanda Goodman

Connecting Experiences for the Interview

By: Amanda

A common concern I hear from students when they visit the career office is that they do not have enough experience for the role they want to apply for. This is a valid concern. Maybe you are a freshman who has not yet had the opportunity to join student groups or gain work experience. In this case, you should make a plan to assess what skills you want to develop and from there get involved. Most of the time, inexperience is not the issue – the inability to frame experience in the context of an application and interview is. In this post, I will break down simple action steps to showcase your best self to potential employers in an interview setting. 

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW 
Before you go to an interview it is important to do a thorough run-through of the experiences and skills you have. Here is a break down of the steps you can take to analyze these skills.

  • List out past experiences. Make a list of all of the past job, volunteer, and student organization experiences you have had and what you have done in those roles. Include all the tasks and skills learned.
  • Even think about entry-level roles. There are many transferable skills (communication, leadership, teamwork, etc.) that can be applied to the position you’re applying for. 
  • Connect experiences to the desired role. Once you have a list compiled, print out the job posting for the role that you are interviewing for. Go through and connect your experiences and skills to specific lines on the job description. 
  • Practice speaking out loud. Find a space where you are alone. Take time to actually practice how you will speak about your experiences. Practice is the key to sounding confident in your interview!
  • Go over common interview questions. Many interview questions start with the phrase, “tell me about a time when…”. Find a few questions like this online and be able to answer them while pulling in your experiences and qualifications. 
Image: wood desk top with green plant, blue typewriter, and brown notebook.
Text: connecting experiences for the interview

DURING THE INTERVIEW
During the interview, put everything you have practiced to good use. If you put in time and effort to synthesize your experiences, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever questions come your way. 

  • Be familiar with your resume. I have walked into numerous interviews where they have marked my resume up with tons of questions beforehand. Be able to speak about every point on your resume. In addition, be able to add more detail and tell the stories behind the points on your resume. You want to paint a picture in the interviewer’s head of what you were actually doing. 
  • Feel confident and know you are qualified. Given you prepared as we discussed in the previous section, you should feel confident about the experience you bring to the table. Sit tall and confident. Speak in a confident manner. Smile while you speak. These simple actions can go a long way. Amy Cuddy gave a great TED Talk about the importance of body language and we highly recommend it.
  • Talk about a variety of experiences. Be aware of the tendency to continue to elaborate on the same experience. Try to show diversity with the experiences you talk about, rather than highlighting the same couple experiences the entire time. This can showcase how you use different skills in a variety of environments.
  • Experiences not on resume. Resumes are often limited to one page. There might be class projects, volunteer work, or even job experiences that are not featured. It is okay to pull these into an interview. This gives the interviewer a full picture of your experience beyond your resume. 

AFTER THE INTERVIEW 
After the interview, it is important to send a follow-up email or note. Here is are a few tips for tying in your skills.

  • Highlight something you did not get a chance to discuss. If you leave the interview and realize you did not mention something in your interview that would be important for their decision, add one or two lines in your thank you. 
  • The “3 things” rule. One of my personal strategies is to have one sentence where I say something along the lines of, “If you remember anything about me, I hope you can remember these three points: (insert points here).” It is human psychology that people are more likely to remember things in groups of threes, so this really does the trick. 
  • Keep it short and concise. All and all, you want to keep your thank you short. Say enough to get your point across, but do not let yourself ramble.

Before, during and after and interview are all critical times to tie in previous experiences. By thoroughly preparing, and then being able to execute and follow up, you can be sure to do well in your next application process.

Of Possible Interest:
• You can schedule a mock interview with a career counselor in SCC 22.
Interviewing – all our blog posts on the topic
Interview Like a Pro – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources
Learning Outside the Classroom posts

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Annie Spratt

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