Intern Like a Dog

By: Kirsi

Without context, I asked my little sister what I should write about. She said “dogs.”

Here are five internship lessons dogs can teach us:

Sled Dog team

1) Good dogs can lead and follow.

Your internship will require you to be a leader and a follower.

As a follower, you will be expected to be a sponge that absorbs new information. You will ask questions and reflect on your experience. Being a good listener will help you understand your assignments, the company culture, and team goals.

As a leader, you may be expected to lead a group of people or simply be self-motivated. The best interns ask for themselves “what can I do next?”, “how can I do better?”, and “how can I do more?”

White dog eating a treat

2) Good dogs are trainable.

Your internship will require you absorb training and apply it immediately.

Your first week at the internship might be overwhelming. There will be a lot of new information to take in and master.

black dog in harness being walked

3) Good dogs are reliable.

Your internship will require you to be timely.

Getting to work on time, completing projects by the deadline, and attending necessary meetings characterize you as reliable.

Be punctual, present, and productive.

brown & white dog close up of face

4) Good dogs cheer people up.

Keeping a positive attitude brightens the work environment.

A smile, thank you, or a kind gesture can make a staff, boss, or coworker’s day.

Positivity can communicate your appreciation for your opportunity.

brown dog running in woods

5) Good dogs are full of energy.

Internships take a lot of social, mental, and physical energy. To stay sharp during your internship requires plentiful sleep, nourishment, and hydration. Don’t sacrifice energy at work for late nights on the town, gaming, or Netflixing.

Hoping you have a doggone good internship!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo sources: Priscilla Du Preez, Annie Spratt, Matt Odell, Leo Rivas

Quick Tips for Writing Your Resume

By: Tony

Now is the time of year when we all start quietly (or not so quietly) start panicking. Projects and papers are becoming due, final exams are on the horizon, and all the stress is starting to pile on. You know there’s something else you’re forgetting, but you’re not exactly sure what it is… Oh yeah, you still need to get a job/internship lined up! Just what you need, even more stress! Hopefully, these tips on improving your resume will make the job hunting process to a little more smoothly.

What is a resume?
A resume is a document stating your qualifications for a certain position.  If your application is a request for employment, then your resume is a crucial part of your support for why you should be employed. You want the resume to be comprehensive, but concise.

Quick tips for writing your resume

Content

  • Bare bones of a resume
    • Name, Contact Information, Objective, Education, Experience
  • Objective
    • Each iteration of your resume should reflect the exact purpose that it is for, whether it be for a job fair or an application. It can be a quick statement of the purpose of the resume (ex. A full-time position at [Organization] as a(n) [position title]).
  • Education
    • Name of school, where is it, degree name, year of graduation, major, minor, and GPA if greater than 3.0/4.0.
    • Once you have entered your junior year of undergrad, you will want to remove your high school information from your resume.
    • Education-related sections you can also include: Relevant Coursework, Honors, Research.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Include experiences that are relevant to the purpose.
      • The less applicable they are to the purpose, the more likely they should be removed or only take a minimal amount of space on the resume.
    • Volunteering experience is just as valuable as paid and academic experience. It matters what you did, not if you got paid for it or not.
    • Categorize your experience based on the purpose (Computer Science Experience, Engineering Experience, Healthcare Experience, etc.).
    • Each position should include 3-5 bullet points detailing what you did in that position.
      • Each bullet point should talk about a single aspect of your position.
      • Each bullet point should demonstrate how you already have the skills and qualities necessary for what you are seeking.
      • Each bullet point should start with an active verb.
  • Additional Sections
    • You do not need to include a statement saying that you have references available upon request.
    • Clubs and activities are nice if they are relevant or you need to fill the page.

Formatting

  • Page Layout
    • 1” margins on the side; 0.5-1” margins on the top and bottom
    • 10-12 point font; name should be about 2 points larger than the rest of the text.
    • Section headings can be bold and all-caps.
    • No lines. They can be confused as page breaks by some scanners and tracking systems. Use lines of white space instead to separate sections.
    • Stay away from templates. Adjusting the formatting can be troublesome in the long run. Plus, if we can spot a template from a mile away, imagine how easy it is for an employer.
    • Sections should flow from most important to least important.
      • The objective is always first, and education almost always follows.
  • Education
    • Schools should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the school you currently attend or have most recently graduated from being first.
    • Name of degree, major, minor, and GPA all in bold.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Name of position, organization/company, location, timespan you were there. 

Still need help?
If you still need clarification on anything related to your resume, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Career & Internship Services is located in the Wedge (SCC 22) and is open 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday. During those hours, there is always at least one Peer Educator, such as myself, who would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

5 Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair

By: Kimberly

In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!

#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.

#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.

5 tips for job fair preparation

#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.

#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.

#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.

Of Possible Interest: 

  • Job Fairs – all of our blog posts on the topic
  • Dress for Success – all of our blog posts on the topic
  • Dress for Success – Women, Men – our Pinterest boards filled with examples

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson

What Employers Want You to Know at the Job Fair

By: McKenzie

Editor’s Note: McKenzie recently attended a C&IS student employee training featuring a panel of employers who regularly recruit UMD students. Here is what she learned.

Navigating job fair season can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Even seasoned pros get the jitters about all the career-related possibilities a job fair has in store. However, what if there was a way to ease the nerves? Turns out you are in luck because there is, in fact, a way to take on this task.

What employers want you to know at the job fair

Do Your Research
Employers unanimously agree knowing a thing or two about the company is completely awesome. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. When recruiters know you have an interest in the company, the conversation becomes more worthwhile and you can get better insight because of the questions you ask.

Ask Questions
If you have done your research then this one is a no-brainer. Trust me, recruiters have been giving the same spiel about their company all day so changing it up a little bit can go a long way. Not only does it help you learn more detailed information about the company, it also allows employers to gauge opportunities which may best fit you.

Recruiters Can’t Always Take Your Resume
This is a big one! I have heard it from recruiters myself. They may not be able to take your resume and this can be really confusing for students. Some recruiters can work with your resume to help you find matching jobs within the company, but even if they take your resume it does not guarantee you a position. Most companies have an online system they use for applications now so it is important to make sure you communicate with recruiters to learn the best ways to apply for opportunities in their company.

Fill Out the Entire Application
Although you may not apply for jobs online at the job fair, it is still important to remember to fill out their application completely. Many applicants do not fill out an online application to its full extent or put information such as, “see resume” and this is a really great way to end up at the bottom of the list of applicants. Be sure to fully answer questions on applications, even if it is the millionth job you have applied for today. Companies will not ask questions if they are not interested in the answer.

Dress For the Job You Want
It’s the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” and it still tends to ring true. If you are attending the job fair to work in a business where you are expected to dress business casual daily then it would be in your best interest to dress for the job. It never hurts to set a good first impression.

Job hunting can feel scary, but it’s not. If you come to the job fair prepared with a plan then you are in for some smooth sailing. Whether it is your first time at fair or your last time, it is better to be there than not. You have already shown your interest by being present so get on it and get out there.

Of Possible Interest: 

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First Time Experience at the Job Fair

By: Kimberly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Possible Interest: 

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What’s a Co-Op & How Do I Get One?

By: Kirsi

Co-Op: Short for Cooperative Opportunity. An internship is a one semester arrangement to work with an organization. A Co-Op is a multi-semester arrangement to work at an organization often leading to full-time employment upon successful completion. Both opportunities allow students to complete meaningful work, learn more skills related to their major and help push the organization forward.

Venn Diagram of internship and co-op

Diagram of the similarities and differences of an internship and Co-Op.

What Is A Co-Op?

No matter if you get an internship or a Co-Op you will know that you are doing meaningful work that pushes the organization’s efforts forward while expanding your knowledge in your major. The biggest way a Co-Op, differs from an internship is the agreement you make with the organization to work several semesters and the huge commitment the organization is making for you. Co-Ops are available for a number of majors.

I Co-Op with NASA’s Johnson Space Center so I am a little biased when it comes to this Co-Op topic. At NASA Johnson, they expect students to complete three work tours which, at the minimum, include one long semester and two summers before your last year of college. You can stack on as many work tours as you and your organization are comfortable with – causing your four-year graduation plan to be extended. A Co-Op is typically an organization’s pipeline for hiring early career candidates. Your Co-Op experience is like a multi-semester interview where the organization gets to know you and you get to know the organization. Since you are expected to have more than one work tour your projects may be related, leading to a long-term project. Often, Co-Ops are treated like full-timers with health, life, travel, sick leave, annual leave and retirement benefits… well, your hourly pay will be lower than full-timers because you haven’t graduated yet.

screenshot of how a co-op looks on a transcript

Screen shot of a Co-Op experience on a UMD transcript.

I’m going to expand more on the “extending graduation” aspect because that sounds kinda spooky to us folks who are avoiding debt and eager to get out of school. Your engineering department (or whatever department) likely offers a credit for Co-Ops if you work during a fall or spring semester. This holds your place here at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), you can maintain full-time student status (12 credits) thus maintaining financial aid and letting you check that box on the FAFSA. It shows up on your transcript as one credit, like the image above, but shows up at 12 credits for all the Financial Aid Staff. Other colleges may handle your absence due to the Co-Op differently than UMD. Personally, I make money at NASA and spend it on UMD the next semester which prevents me from gaining debt. I flip flop between semesters at UMD and NASA. For example, I was in Texas Fall 2015, at UMD in Spring 2016, in Texas this Summer 2016, and now at UMD.

Kirsi at her co-op at NASA Johnson Space Center

Working on a fluid system for a Co-Op project at NASA Johnson.

How Do I Get One?

So a Co-Op gig sounds pretty sweet huh? Well, excellent ways to score a Co-Op include attending UMD-hosted job and internship fairs and other career fairs hosted by the University of Minnesota. Before the fair do your research on GoldPASS so you know who is going to be there and who to ask about Co-Op opportunities. Some companies only hire upperclassmen Co-Ops but I have seen exceptions in the past for folks with outstanding experience in high school or early college, so I think it is still worth asking and sharing your resume. When you talk with an employer offering Co-Ops at a job fair it would be wise to ask:

  • How does your Co-Op program differ from your internship program?
  • What is the typical journey of a Co-Op?
  • What projects to Co-Ops work on?
  • How can I apply for your Co-Op program, any tips?”

If you want to pursue a company not attending a U of MN system fair do research on LinkedIn, GoldPASS or that perspective company’s website. On the LinkedIn networking site if you simply search “Co-Op,” up will pop pages and pages of Co-Ops! Government Co-Ops have a very specific method of applying on USA Jobs and if you need help with that I have written previous blog posts specifically on that topic. If you want to pursue a company not attending a U of MN system fair and you want to connect with them in person tech conferences and hackathons. Your department may even fund you if you ask nicely.

Get out and get yourself a Co-Op!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo & graphic by Kirsi.

It’s Never Too Early to Intern

By: Kirsi

freshman_college_internship

Well… according to child labor laws the absolute minimum age of an employee is 14 however I’m talking late high school/early college here. It is true, you can have a meaningful relevant internship before completing your major’s core classes! While it may seem intimidating to get a taste of industry I’m here to spill some early career secrets.

Intern Early

Photo source: Unsplash | NASA

Need a Job for Experience – Need Experience for a Job Paradox

Demonstrating you have experience without a previous internship is a common early career hurdle. However, employers often hire interns knowing they don’t have ample experience and train them on the job. Before completing my core classes in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering I participated in an internship at Rockwell Automation. Rockwell Automation creates computer controllers used in factories, water treatment plants, and even roller coasters at amusement parks. Knowing that I was not familiar with their controllers they signed me up for training my first week where I learned how to code a basic assembly line program. After completing the training I was entrusted to test the controllers for anomalies. The summer before my freshman year of college I interned at NASA’s Glenn Research center designing a circuit board for a deep space habitat. Contrary to common belief I had never designed a circuit board before! My mentor shared training videos with me and I learned how to draw circuits using computer software. Basically it is more important to have passion related to the work, and patience to learn something new.

Rockwell_Controller_Training

Controller we programmed during training, motion sensor and buttons.

In a depressingly titled BBC article, “This is the reason new graduates can’t get hired”, Anthony Carnevale, director from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, shared his thoughts. Carnevale explained, “Employers say students may have textbook knowledge but don’t have the ability to take that knowledge to think critically, innovate, solve complex problems and work well in a team.” Fortunately UMD offers opportunities for students to grow in book smarts and applied smarts. In addition to your studies join a club that challenges you to use the skills gained in your major. Students in ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) club attend hackathonsKirby Program Board gives students opportunity to develop leadership skills and organize campus wide events, and a number of sororities and fraternities conduct community outreach and volunteer. Outlets external to UMD where you can gain experience include job shadowing a local career person you look up to, attending a conference related to your major, or volunteering at a hospital, nursing home or site related to your major. You will see a trend that employers hire students for internships if they expand their experience into extra-curriculars.

What are Employers Actually Looking For?

Instead of reading minds of perspective employers, Forbes interviewed them in “What Employers Are Looking For When Hiring Recent College Grads”. Microsoft representative Anthony Rotoli shared that they look for candidates that are “willing to take risks”, “offer a fresh perspective ” and are “self-motivated and excited about technology”. Stacey Klein head of human resources at J. Walter Thompson explained they want students who are “innovative problem solvers” and “have awareness to other people and cultures”.

microsoft_intern

Microsoft interns (Photo by Microsoft)

This past fall I attended a tech conference called Grace Hopper, a celebration of women in computing. Despite the focus on women I learned career advice applicable to anyone at any level of their career. During a luncheon I spoke with Steven Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm and asked him what are characteristics that got him to the position of CEO. Mollenkopf shared that communication is key. Speak confidently, convince others of your idea and be a good public speaker. While you are not applying to be a CEO of a company, insight on what it takes to be a CEO is still applicable for applying to an internship and will certainly give you an upper hand.

Update your experience descriptions on your resume to highlight skills in communication, problem solving, and other skills employers look for. Fuse these into your experience descriptions rather than listing them as skills alone.

qualcomm_advice

Steven Mollenkopf talking with us about what it takes to be a CEO (photo by NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology))

Highlighting Your Eligibility 

Even with extra-curriculars, volunteering, and class projects added to your resume, you may still think it does not fully communicate your eligibility. Sending a cover letter allows you to craft your passion for the internship position into a narrative form. Tell a story about why you are interested in the internship, what have you done to grow in that profession already, and what you can offer them. Employees don’t often request a cover letter but when they receive a well written cover letter that is what can tip the scale from “consider” to “hire”. Our Career Handbook explains how to write a strong cover letter specific to a internship position. Make an appointment with a career counselor to look over your cover letter before you submit it to your potential employer.

No previous internship? Haven’t finished your core classes? No problem! Equipped with extra-curriculars and a stellar cover letter you are on the path to internship victory!

Of Possible Interest: 

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