Planning for Summer

By: Rachel

It’s getting to that point in the semester where you might be starting to think about what you’ll be doing this summer, if you don’t have plans already. For some who are graduating in May, you’re searching for your first full-time job, while others may be hoping for an internship or co-op to gain experience. Maybe you have plans to study abroad or do some traveling of your own.  

Summer can be a great season of growth, but there can also be great pressure on students to nail down the perfect plan. Some students dream of crossing adventures off their bucket list and seizing the break from school as a chance to take time for their personal life. Others are hoping to develop professionally through some career-related experience or an internship. For some, summer is also a time to get back on track financially and develop new skills or take some classes towards their major.

The first step to nailing down your summer plans is to know yourself and what you want/need to get out of this summer. While I don’t mean to stress you out (right now let’s just make it through the semester!), some plans won’t come together overnight. Putting in a little work now to the extent you are able can really save you a lot of stress down the road. For this post, I’m going to be addressing those who are looking for a job or internship and providing just a few tips I have to help ease the burden of what can be an overwhelming task.

One of the earliest things you need to do is determine your priorities. These will look different for everyone, so consider what type of field you’re aiming for, the amount of hours you’d like to work, and the geographic area you’d like to live in. Also reflect on which factors hold the most importance to you. Maybe you’re considering multiple fields but you are limited to a small geographic area. Or perhaps you are open to how many hours you work and whether or not the experience is paid but you are set on a specific field. Setting these priorities will help limit and guide your search.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start looking; the question is where? There are countless options for discovering job opportunities, but I want to highlight a few you might not have thought of.

The first option I like to recommend is GoldPASS powered by Handshake. This is a vetted job board available to University of Minnesota students. Other general online job boards might not provide the kind of postings you’re looking for if you’re searching for a very specific field or location.  

Image: black sunglasses on beach sand with water in background
Text: Planning for Summer

A few other options to consider:

  • This nonprofit job board provided by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits includes full time, part time, paid and unpaid internship, and volunteer positions across the state.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your network to see if they know of any opportunities. It can be a little nerve-wracking—I know this is something that makes me feel a little hesitant—but after all, this is the point of having a network. Contact past employers, family members, mentors, peers, etc.  You might be surprised by which connection leads to a position. This can be done in person, via email, through LinkedIn, or over other platforms; it’s just essential you communicate appropriately and respectfully. One benefit of finding opportunities through your network is your contact will be able to give you a better idea of company culture, environment, and your fit within the organization than a simple Internet search.
  • If job posting sites aren’t yielding the results you’d hoped for, do some research on your own of companies you think you’d like to work for.  Dig a little deeper and see if there are any career opportunities posted through their website. You will likely find a contact you could reach out to as to whether or not they’d be willing to take you on.  This calls for a letter of inquiry; if you need guidance crafting one, look here.
  • Contact people within your major or department of interest. There might even be an employer relations or internship coordinator within your program who is connected with numerous organizations looking to hire students. Maybe there’s a professor who conducts research in an area you’re particularly interested in. Initiate a conversation, because chances are, this professor has some connections in the industry. Another option might be working for a professor directly, which can open the door to many fruitful contacts in the future.

The biggest tip I’d like to leave you with is keep your mind open. You might follow along these steps: reflecting on your goals, determining your priorities, and conducting your search, and it may seem like all you run into are closed doors. If and when that happens, I encourage you to widen your perspective a bit. While it’s important to know your limits, it can be healthy to take on a position that didn’t seem perfect at first. Sometimes those positions are the ones that help you grow and provide the most guidance for your future career. Wherever you end up, give it your best effort and be open to the lessons that are sure to follow.

Best, Rachel

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Do More with your Summer
Internships; Boost Your Career in College; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with resources & articles

Read Rachel’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Ethan Robertson

Applying for Internships as a Sophomore

By: Amanda

Going into my freshman year of college, I held the belief many other college students have: It is a waste of time for sophomores to apply for internships, as juniors and seniors mainly get them all. This idea quickly changed when a family friend reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for a Sales and Marketing internship with CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisconsin. In our initial phone call about the internship, I expressed my concerns to him about me being only a sophomore and he said to me “it’s not always what you know, it is how quick you can learn and the characteristics you bring to the table.” This was a defining moment for me and essentially when my perspective on this topic changed. I encourage all sophomores to eliminate their self-destructive beliefs and start applying for summer internships. After all, the time is now!

Image: graph paper with pencils and markers on the edges.
Text: applying for internships as a sophomore

There are multiple steps to applying for internships as a sophomore and the first is to recognize the value an internship will bring you. Internships can help you to understand what type of business you want to work for when you graduate. Essentially, the worst case scenario is that you decide that the industry is not for you, and you then have a better understanding of yourself. As a sophomore, if a summer internship goes well, you may even be asked to come back a second summer and then if it goes really well, offered full-time employment. A summer internship helps one to gain additional skills and a larger professional network.

Now that the value of an internship as a sophomore has been established, the second aspect of applying for a summer internship is to find companies suitable for you. There are two ways to do this. First, evaluate your close professional network. Make a list of whom you know and potential connections you have to businesses of interest. Reach out to professionals who you know and gather information on the types of internships their company offers. A personalized letter, email, or LinkedIn message can go a long way. After looking at your close professional network, take inventory of companies in both the location and industry you hope to work. Do research on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and GoldPASS powered by Handshake to see if these companies are open to hiring younger students, or if they are selectively hiring older students.

And finally, as you are actually applying to these internships, make sure to assess your skills. A common misconception among students is that they do not have the skills necessary to do an internship. From personal experience, I have found this far from the truth. Throughout high school, I worked as a bank teller. Although this may not specifically relate to marketing, it taught me a handful of lessons about communication in the business world, promoting products, and organization. I would argue that being a waitress is one of the most entrepreneurial jobs one could have. Thomas Friedman, New York Times author, backs this up by stating in his speech Globalization in Higher Education, that good waitresses are in a constant state of entrepreneurship because the best waitress often makes the most in tips. Skills critical for internships such as teamwork, communication, planning, organizing, and problem-solving are all skills that are often obtained in entry-level part-time jobs. All in all, stop selling yourself short on your experiences and make a list of the lessons you learned and the qualities you have, I think you will find out you have a lot more skills than you think.

My initial thoughts have been flipped upside down since I started school at UMD. With some research and self-introspection, I believe any sophomore or even freshman can and should secure a summer internship.

Of Possible Interest:
Internships – all our blog posts on the topic
It’s Never Too Early to Intern
Multiple Internship Advantage

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

Top 10 New Blog Posts for 2018

We published over 50 new blog posts during 2018, and there is so much more good content coming your way during 2019. Here’s a look at the top ten blog posts (based purely on the numbers) published in 2018.

wood desk top with mac laptop, cup of coffee, and notebook. Text: top new blog posts of 2018

Brutal Honesty
Advantages of Being a Peer Educator
Major Exploration: Cultural Entrepreneurship (CUE)
STEM Major Preps for UMN Job Fair
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating
Career Planning Process: Explore Options
How to Make the Most of Winter Break as a Senior
Tori’s Senior Bucket List
Professional Clothes on a Budget
How to Dress for the Job Title You Want

Photo Source: Unsplash | rawpixel

Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 3 Mentally Relocating

By: Kirsi

Keeping busy the first few days relocating is easy while warming up to a new living place, co-workers, and tasks at work. It seems like all the boxes are checked…

I have a place to sleep at night.
I planned a work commute.
I’m assigned interesting challenges at work.
I have met my co-workers, management, and fellow interns.
I attend events outside of work like movie nights and laser tag.

…but it still seems more like surviving instead of thriving. It may even feel robotic. What is missing is mental relocation.

blue and red toy robot; text: internship relocation challenges, mentally relocating

Transitioning Into Work Mode 
One of the toughest hurdles to overcome in order to make the most of your internship is transitioning into thinking like an employee. Thinking like an employee is hard if it’s the first time. Although it is a different mode of thinking from past experiences – such as academics, military, sports team, or for yourself – skills gained from past experiences can help you. Now that you are interning for an organization, the organization, department, and teams’ goals become your goals. Instead of fretting about solely personal performance, the performance of a business, product, service, or team is an additional responsibility. New thought processes that may arise include…

  • What can I learn from other employees working on the same project?
  • I have found a problem but how can I propose a way to fix it?
  • What has not worked in the past?
  • How do I want to develop professionally?
road with mountains surrounding it.

Embracing Temporal Independence
After the workday is finished, it’s time for school work…. wait, there is no school work? When you clock out there is no take home work? What is there to do?! Now that evening hours are cleared out, there are opportunities for how to spend your time. This may seem daunting if your usual summer/ school break friends aren’t around to goof around with and no school assignments to tackle. Filling your time does not necessarily mean filling it with people and socializing. There are many things to do with allocated time…

  • Try a new hobby you have not had time to dig into
  • Pick up a new sport/ esport
  • Explore the new location
  • Hangout with fellow interns 
  • Chill at home
  • Host a board game night
  • Try new restaurants with fellow interns
  • Take a day trip to a city nearby
back of woman walking with umbrella on a rainy street

Managing Existential Dread
After harnessing a new mode of thinking as an intern and finding new things to do with un-allocated time, there may be some intermittent moments of doubt. When you are turning in for the night, the lights are out, the door is locked, and suddenly a new place can feel pretty scary. Trying something new on your own can be intimidating too. It’s not uncommon to lose confidence, question if you like what you are working on, and fear transitioning into life beyond college. Call a family member, friend, or someone you trust and share your worries with them. Additionally, you can contact counselors at the career center for big picture career questions like, “I have learned so much at this internship but I don’t know what to do next”, “I don’t know if I like what I am doing”, “I don’t like my major after having this internship, what do I do now?”. Career counselors’ goals are to help you take actions that will help you feel confident about your future.

Physically, socially, and mentally relocating, whew, didn’t realize there was so much involved in an internship after accepting an offer! Don’t let a new opportunity intimidate you. There is support all around and people who want you to be successful. Good luck!

Of Possible Interest: 
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 1 Physically Relocating
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating
Internships – all our blog posts on the topic
Internships – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Rock’n Roll Monkey, Natalie Rhea Riggs, Patrick Tomasso

Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating

By: Kirsi

Challenges relating to physically relocating for an internship were explored in my last blog post – finding the internship, locking down a place to stay, and navigating a new city. Sounds like a pretty concrete problem right? Exploring these tangible physical aspects addresses the bare necessities of relocating, but what about your social life? Netflix binge-watching, experimenting with Pinterest recipes, and re-re-rereading the Harry Potter series sounds appealing for a bit, but lonely after a while. How will I connect with people in and outside the workplace?

Person gazing up at night sky; text: internship relocation challenges socially relocating

Meeting Co-Workers
Start by getting acquainted with your mentor, boss, and office mates. Office mates are a one-stop shop for getting questions answered. Everything from questions about your project to “how do I connect to the printer?” Some teams may provide a handbook or on-boarding checklist with suggestions of who to meet first. Team leads may encourage to meet team leads from different disciplines. Your team may be big/small, multi-discipline/hyper-focused, or compromised of professionals from many different walks of life. Some teams request interns to give an introductory presentation sharing your major, where you study, and what you want to learn. Get comfortable with reaching out to others and saying hello!

Group of people on motorized cart tour large warehouse building.
by Kirsi, touring NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility

Meeting New Interns
You are likely not the only one relocating for an internship. Depending on your employer’s size, there may be a handful, dozen, or dozens of interns eager to meet new people. A great time to meet fellow interns is during the lunch hour. Most employers have a common dining area where employees buy lunch or eat packed lunch. There may be interns from outside your team and discipline to chat with and form an “intern table.”

Highly developed intern programs leaders coordinate networking events for interns to participate in, such as tours around the work site, group lunches on and off-site, and lectures from experienced professionals. Depending on how organized the interns themselves are, interns may schedule events outside of what program leaders coordinate. I have personally participated in things like laser tag, weekend trips to nearby cities, video conferencing with interns from the employer’s other locations, and fancy dinners. A week without three meals out was rare! Some intern groups are so organized that student made committees and bylaws are handed down from intern class to intern class.

Person sitting at desk watching 3 computer monitors
by Kirsi, video conferencing with interns from other locations

Professional Networking
Many employers offer professional development opportunities such as workshops, “brown bags,” volunteer/outreach groups, and meet and greet events with management. A brown bag is a more informal presentation when a topic is talked about over lunch. Sometimes during brown bags, a talk is given by a co-worker, someone from industry, or a video lecture is watched.

group of students with laptops listening to a presentation
by Kirsi, hosting a “How to LinkedIn” workshop

Co-workers are likely working on things related to what you are interested in pursuing professionally. Interview managers, group leads, and new hires around the organization. Ask about why they chose that company, why they are interested in their work, and what are they most proud of working on. Don’t be afraid to ask management about their work or to shadow them for a day.

If you would like more advice on relocating for an internship schedule an appointment with one of our career counselors.

Be bold, be friendly, and meet new people!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Greg Rakozy & Kirsi

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

Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 1 Physically Relocating

By: Kirsi

So you want an internship. What does an internship look like to you?

Decent paychecks over the summer, gaining more experience in your major, or adding a new line to your resume?

Imagine your internship more tangibly.

In what city is this internship? What does your day to day work involve? Who will you be working with? What is the company culture? What does your day look like after the close of business?

In my upcoming blog posts, I am going to talk about solutions to the challenge of relocating for an internship. I will explore three kinds of relocating: physically, mentally, and socially.

Paper map, computer, camera - Internship Relocation Challenges Physically Relocating

Part 1: Physically Relocating
A major barrier students face is realizing you can intern with anyone you want anywhere in the world you want. (If you negotiated with Elon Musk to have a suborbital internship I guess you could do that, too.) You are not limited by interning in the city you attend college in or town your family lives in.

caucasian male holding video camera on shoulder

Enjoy using Instagram and love what they are all about? Apply for their 12-week Business, Marketing, or Tech Student internship program for the summer in Menlo Park, California.

Think nutella is super tasty and think food science is interesting? Apply for a summer Supply Chain internship with Ferrero in their US office or abroad.

In awe of watching how Sunday Night football‘s camera crew captures the tide turning touchdown from every angle? Apply for an eight-nine week NFL Films or Media internship.

The point is, whatever you are passionate about, there is an internship out there for you. Transform your passion into a profession.

You are an adult, now go out and do what you want!

disney castle

Where You Sleep
So you have locked down your dream internship. If your opportunity is in your home or college town, then housing may already be sorted out. However, if your internship is in lands unfamiliar, then you may have some legwork ahead of you.

Many employers offer travel and housing stipends. You may negotiate this amount while deciding who you are going to intern with. If there is simply no housing pay to offer, such as if the position was a US Government Civil Servant Pathways Internship, the employer will likely have suggestions on where to live. Due to liability rules, the employer may not be legally allowed to “recommend” housing, but they may have a suggestion list. Connecting with past interns on LinkedIn may lead to advice on safe and affordable places to live. For an internship with Rockwell Automation, they offered me a housing stipend and had a relationship with an apartment complex to offer shorter rent agreements for summer interns.

Some employers view housing as part of the experience and a way to connect with fellow interns. There may be a specific housing complex employers provide where all the interns stay. Disney Internship & Programs place their Walt Disney World Florida students in various housing communities. Disney interns have blogged about their housing experiences and have even shared Instagram-worthy spots around Disney Housing.

hand holding a smart phone

Navigating A New Place
Once you have a place to crash and your job site arranged, a logical task is to plan your morning commute. How early do I have to wake up? Do I take the highways, city roads, or toll roads? Is there public transportation or can I carpool? When I planned my commute for an internship in Houston I hopped on Google Maps, jumped into Street View and “drove to work” by clicking my way down streets.

Other landmarks to look for when familiarizing yourself with your new neighborhood include:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Hospital/ Urgent Care
  • Gas Stations
  • Police Station
  • Favorite Fast Food Spots

By being a U of MN system student you have access to a resource called GoinGlobal. You can look up details and characteristics about your new city in the states or abroad. Log onto GoldPASS powered by Handshake >> click on Career Center >> click on Resources >> select GoinGlobal

Good luck with your relocation! Embrace the change and enjoy the new adventure!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash Raw Pixel | Jakob Owens | Gui Avelar | Praveesh Palakeel