Senior Year as Coffee Drinks

By: Heidi

Senior year is full of change when it comes to thinking about the future and where you hope to end up. The job search process can be full of ups and downs, while still finishing up classes, making time for friends, and all the fun events that can take place. And what are these late nights and early mornings fueled by? Your favorite cup of coffee full of its own unique blends and flavors. Here are my thoughts on what it feels like to be a graduating senior and all of the emotions that come alongside it.

What the job search process really feels like: Red Eye
When you order this coffee, you’re confident in the blend you ordered after a little research you did on the coffee shop’s website. Unfortunately, they were out of the coffee you wanted to order and once you placed your order, the barista poured you the wrong kind. Not what you were expecting, but you respect the process of what it takes in order for a good cup of joe.

Notes of: Excitement, Fear, Disappointment, Relief

Image: looking down on 3 coffee cups on wood table surface
Text: Senior year as coffee drinks

Senior slide: Americano
The deadlines have surpassed you, yet for some reason your work seems to still be incomplete. You know exactly what you need to do to get the job done, but the action just isn’t quite there. This cup of java is exactly what you need to get the job done and finish strong my fellow seniors.

Notes of: Procrastination, Regret, Early Mornings, Late Nights

Crossing things off your bucket list: Cold Brew
Those road trips you’ve always wanted to do but left until senior year or a last spring break trip with your friends aren’t going to happen if you’re not fueled properly. Those early mornings and late night adventures could use a little kick, so why not treat yourself in the process.

Notes of: Excitement, Indulgence, Spontaneity

All of the Goodbyes: Flavored Latte
Whether it’s wrapping up clubs you’ve been involved in for the past four years, saying goodbye to your younger friends who will still be around for a few more years, or to the friends who you will be soon parting ways with. A comforting latte with your favorite flavor shot is exactly what is needed for this situation, and ideally shared with a friend.

Notes of: Bittersweet, Nostalgia, Gratitude

Next Chapter: Macchiato
You’re on the horizon of change whether it’s a big move, grad school, a gap year, or a challenging career. Rather than going into it with fear, the best we can do is embrace this new chapter with a positive attitude ready to take on whatever comes your way. You’ve conquered these past four years, who says you’re not ready for what’s next? Let this next chapter be fueled by your passion and confidence knowing you have important contributions to give to the world. This cup of coffee is whatever you choose to make it be.

Notes of: Pride, Bliss, Elation

Of Possible Interest:
Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
On the Job – all our blog posts on the topic to help you thrive in the phase of life.

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

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

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

How to Make the Most of Winter Break as a Senior

By: Heidi

As we’re approaching the end of finals week and the deadlines are slowly but surely wrapping up, the only thing on our minds is heading home and catching up on some much-needed sleep.

While time to relax and taking a step back is important, this month-long break can be used to get a head start on preparing for the job search and get some things done that you usually don’t have time for.  

Snowing street scene; text: How to make the most of winter break as a senior - connect with alumni on LinkedIn, fine-tune your resume, donate or recycle old textbooks, schedule informational interviews, spring clean your professional wardrobe, read a book

Connect with Alumni on LinkedIn
As a university student, you have the ability to connect and join a variety of Alumni groups on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a group with the school you’re apart of such as the “Labovitz School of Business and Economics at UMD” or joining the official UMD Alumni Relations page, it will allow you access to job postings and Alumni. 

Guy in a suit cartoon; Text: it's not stalking...it's expanding my network

Fine-tune your resume
Since you’re further along in your academic career, you’ve likely had projects and more experiences to highlight that are related to your future career. Touch up your resume to show these new experiences off.

Donate or recycle old textbooks
That math book from your freshman year or the philosophy book you only ever skimmed? Donate it with your extra time over the winter break so it can be recycled or donated to someone else.

graphic of box to donate books in

Schedule Informational Interviews
If you have the opportunity to meet someone in person, now is the prime time. Scheduling a phone call works too and can give you more insight than a google search to a company’s culture and opportunities to look out for.

Spring Clean
Out with the old, and in with the new. Donate your old intern wardrobe to someone who may be in need right here on campus. Champ’s Closet at UMD located in the Office of Student Life, Kirby Plaza 245 allows you to drop off clothes right there. Not only will it feel good to help someone else out, but you can free up some closet space to have room to update your wardrobe for your professional career.

Read a Book
Whether it’s professional development or just for fun, it can be nice to shift gears and escape the usual textbook. Reading something new can offer a new perspective or can serve as entertainment. Reading can help you stay fresh during your time off and also help you further develop your interests.

More Ideas for Your Winter Break:
How to Have a Productive Winter Break
Making Progress During Winter Break

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Filip Bunkens

Midterm Madness Mental Health Tips

By: Heidi

Editor’s note: in our office we see mental health as a critical component of your overall career path. While these tips are directed toward college students, they’d be helpful for people who are no longer in college. 

I think as students we can all agree we’re at the point in the semester where projects are piling up, the assignments are never-ending, and trying to finish your to-do list feels like being on a hamster wheel. I’m all about trying to see the best in a situation so I found some great mental health tips that therapists give their patients in times of stress.

Now more than ever as a student is it important to work hard towards school but also take the time for yourself and your mental health. Here are some tips to take on to get through these next few weeks.

Small orange flowers with sky in the background; Text: Tips for managing mental health

Try writing your thoughts down
Take 5 minutes or so a day to write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas. This can help you process emotions you encounter throughout the day and destress from it all.

When you’re super stressed and overwhelmed, see if there’s any way to put a positive spin on it
With so many deadlines as a student, think about how the stress of it is actually helping push you to get it done.

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones
If you’re feeling like you can’t finish everything on your plate, recognize your hard work and all that you’ve accomplished that day. For times when you’re feeling you’ll never be able to make it happen, remind yourself with a positive thought that you always finish what you start.

Have a self-care arsenal
Everyone has certain things or coping mechanisms that give them a boost when they’re feeling crappy whether it’s taking a bath, watching a YouTube clip, or putting on your favorite pair of sweatpants. These may be small tips, but it will give yourself something to look forward to after a long day.

Ask yourself “and then what?” when you’re stuck on an anxious thought
Push your thought process forward by forcing yourself to think ahead. For example, if you keep worrying about receiving a bad grade on an exam, ask yourself what are you going to do to prevent it or what will you do to boost your grade after the exam.

Even though the end of the semester can be a stressful time for us all, keep in mind that all of your work will get done, focus on one thing at a time, and take a little bit of time each day for yourself.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Masaaki Komori

Tips & Tricks for a Successful Internship

By: Heidi

This past summer I had the opportunity to work as a marketing intern with Andersen Windows. This was my first time having an internship so overall it was an exciting experience to have my first taste of the ‘real world.’ When reflecting on my experience, I thought there would be valuable things to share for students who may be looking for an internship or are about to start one. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you with your internship!

Tips and tricks for a successful internship

Take advantage of downtime and network
In between projects, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. I thought how ridiculous I not make use of this time and meet people outside of my team while I was working at a great company. I began scheduling informational interviews with people working in a field I was interested in who could then connect me with people they thought would be beneficial. I also met with people who had careers I hadn’t necessarily considered because I believe you can learn something from everyone you meet. Don’t limit yourself to just meeting people in your bubble of interest. Lastly, meet with people young in their career and people experienced in the field. I found I could relate to those young in their field, but could learn a lot for example from meeting with the VP of my team who had made a lot of movements in his career.

Advice from the CEO
One of the coolest parts of my experience at my summer internship is that we got to sit down in the executive suite and talk to the CEO of the company. Of course, he had many insightful things to share as I’m sure anyone with that level of experience would. When talking about how he got onto the path of becoming CEO, he said in life you will be presented with two choices. One will be the smart choice, and one will be the right choice. You can follow either, smart may be choosing a safe job with good benefits, or the right choice such as following your dreams and taking a chance on a non-traditional path or career opportunity.

Connect with other interns
Each week all of the interns at the location I was working at would meet for lunch. This was a good way for us all to get to know each other and catch up on what each of us was working on. We were all doing something totally different which also gave us more insight on all of the functions of the company. Another way to meet interns was by going to networking events that were put on by Andersen’s Young Professionals Network. This was initially created by a group of interns who wanted to stay connected which gave us the opportunity to meet people across the Corporation who were young in their career.

Make good relationships with people on your team
One thing that was an adjustment for me is that everyone on my team was much older than I was. It was intimidating at first, but they were all welcoming and excited to have an intern join their team. A unique thing this team has been doing for years is a dice game where everyone rolls and the person with the lowest score buys coffee for everyone on Friday morning. Having something fun like this in the office made things playful and was a way to bond each week. Luckily I had good luck with the dice and never had to buy coffee as the stereotypical intern role throughout the whole summer.

Do what you think you can’t
At the beginning of the summer, my manager told me I was going to create a sales dashboard and a certain program I would be using to do so. I had no experience with the program and was even more confused with the amount of data that was going to be brought together. Long story short, yes I finished the report but with my limited knowledge on business intelligence I had to not only ask for help but locate the right people to help me. It was rewarding having it all come together but just know that people are often willing to help as long as you ask.

Although these tips are directed at an Internship experience, I believe reflection is important and can be done at any point in your life and career.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Jeff Sheldon