Multiple Internship Advantage

By: Kirsi

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Astronaut user testing in ISS Mock-Ups, by Kirsi.

Besides the obvious increased likelihood full-time employment and extra spending money, there are several advantages for interning more than once.

Where Do I Like To Work?
If you have determined you like the organization you have interned with before, you can participate in additional internships there and hone in on what division you enjoy working with the most. There could be many departments your education qualifies you to work with. For example, at my Rockwell Automation internship, my technical education qualified me to work with the robotic, firmware testing, or software development. You may find you enjoy the work you do at each of those departments equally but find the department’s work values, team synergy, and personal development opportunities are very different. It was a lesson learned about who you work with in your first internship at a department may be different people by the time of your second internship at the same department. Team dynamics can change. (I still had a good experience, fortunately.) It is important to base your opinion about an experience on short and long-term characteristics of the workplace. At my four (going on five) NASA internshipCo-Op experiences, the departments I have worked with have been so different and would lead to different career trajectories. For example, I have worked in groups that work with human factors engineering, propulsion engineering, International Space Station (ISS) network support, and ISS stowage operations. Jumping around different departments gives you the opportunity to identify the trajectories full-time employees took to get where they are, especially if you find a higher level position you admire. Even if you don’t end up working at this organization full-time there are likely a similar hierarchy of departments at other organizations within your discipline.

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View of aurora and stars from ISS, by NASA.

How Much Can I Contribute?
If you intern more than once you can skip the mechanics of new intern orientation, getting used to the workplace and dive right into your project. As a returning intern, your mentors may trust you with a more complex project or let you continue on a project you already started. In Fall 2015, I developed astronaut training for a device that was sent to the ISS. Astronauts used this training and learned how to use the device during their mission. This semester, Spring 2017, I am working with a sister department developing a new app for the device which could make stowage operations easier for the astronauts. My previous knowledge working with the device and familiarity working with the team gives me an advantage to complete meaningful work. Even if you return to the same organization, but work with a different department, you are already familiar with the organization’s goals and mission statement.

Multiple Internship

Source: Unsplash | Tim Gouw

What is this Organization’s Culture?
Likely you were preoccupied with your getting your project done at your first internship opportunity to absorb the organization’s work culture. Larger organizations often have pockets of personal development groups. Repeating internships at an organization can give you a feel of annual events the organization hosts to boost moral, re-familiarize employees with the organization’s mission, or just have fun. At NASA Johnson there is an imperative Health and Safety Day that employees prep months for, contribute to by volunteering and enjoy. The Health and Safety day provides free flu shots, hosts a blood pressure station, shares changes in space center safety improvements, and encourages personal health improvement. Additionally, NASA hosts pre-screenings of space movies, organizes STEM volunteer opportunities and award ceremonies following successfully competed ISS missions. If you participate in multiple internships at varying organizations you can get a flavor for each company’s culture.

Consider starting your internship/ Co-Op hunt before your junior and senior year of college so you can participate in more than one!

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Internship Search: Writing an Internship Resume

By: Lexi

You’ve found an internship to apply to, now you need to polish up your resume and most likely, a cover letter. Writing resumes for internships are hard because you probably do not have a lot of experience, otherwise, you would not be applying for an internship position. But you still have to find a way to make yourself stand out from the other applicants who also do not have a lot of experience. Hopefully, these tips will help you land that internship you’re hoping for!

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Make your academics section a focus.
This is not saying experience is not important, but since you do not have as much experience make your academics section stick out. Include courses you’ve taken or big projects you’ve worked on. Only put coursework you think the employer will find relevant, though.

Experience included can be paid or unpaid.
Think about the significance and relevance of each opportunity you have partaken in. If you put your part-time job working in the food industry on your resume because that is the work experience you have, go for it, but really think about the skills you gained from the job. Use action verbs to describe your experience. For example, you could say: Maintained and balanced friendly customer service in a fast pace environment. This shows that you have the ability to work in a time efficient manner while preserving good service. Jobs, where you were paid, are important experiences to include, but so are unpaid experiences like volunteering and/or leadership positions. Do not forget to include those too, they will help you stand out! Highlighting your on-campus student organization involvement and leadership can also add to your internship resume.

Read the internship description first.
Read what the employers would expect from an intern and first of all, make sure you have the ability or willingness to learn what they would expect from you. The other reason you should read this before writing your resume is because it can give you an idea of the skill set they are looking for and then you can try to tie in those skills to your resume if you have them. This is another good tip for standing out because you will already have what they are looking for and then they might not have to spend as much time training you in.

Good luck on your internship search and hopefully these tips on how to write an internship resume will help you land the one you want! Remember, Career and Internship Services is more than happy to help look it over and give you further tips! Come to our resume drop-ins on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2-4pm in SCC 22.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Brandi ReddUnsplash | Brandi Redd

How to Have a Productive Winter Break

By: Lexi

You are finally done with your Fall semester and finals, hooray! It’s now time to relax, but do not forget to stay on top of things and use your time to stay productive. Spring semester will be here before you know it and you do not want to be behind!

Use time for reflection on the semester & set goals for the upcoming semester
Take a little bit of time to think about the semester you just finished. Think about what you did and didn’t do well. Use that information to make some goals and identify priorities for yourself for the next semester.

Build and expand professional networks
Reach out to people or companies you have been wanting to contact, but haven’t yet. Expand your horizons, you never know how it could develop your professional profile. This could be done online through email, LinkedIn, a phone call, or you could even ask if they would like to get coffee. Remember to thank them and ask if they have any suggestions of who else you could reach out to.

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Conduct informational interviews or job shadow
Informational interviews and job shadows are a great way to see if the profession you are thinking about is the right one for you. Most students do not have time to conduct these during the semester, so now that you are not in classes, take advantage of this time. This could also help you with career advice or confirm important classes that you should plan on taking.

Work more and save up
Rack up the hours at your job, if it’s possible! Winter break is a great time to save up to keep you on budget for the spring semester.

Apply for scholarships and internships for the summer
Many scholarships and internships are posted during this time, so start looking! It is better to start searching for these opportunities earlier rather than later, your chances will most likely be greater. If you need help with this, you can visit Career and Internship Services (we are open during winter break, except Dec 23rd-Jan 2nd).

Get volunteer hours in
Whether you need volunteer hours or you just want to give back to your community, the holiday season is one of the best times to do this! Use your free time to put some smiles on the faces of your fellow city residents.

Create a portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and/or revamp your resume
Now that you finished another semester, you probably have new projects, jobs, skills, and experiences you can add to your portfolio, LinkedIn, and resume. Take the time to update all of these so they are ready for when you start searching for a job or internship, then you will not have to frantically put all of these together at the last minute.

Hopefully, you will take advantage of this time when school is not crazy and do at least one of these suggestions. But do not forget to relax and enjoy your time off during the holidays, drink some hot chocolate, eat some cookies, and enjoy the twinkle lights with your family or friends. Happy Holidays!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo source: Unsplash|Aaron Wilson

Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 2

By: Lexi

Since my former internship was not what I was expecting (check out part 1), it made me question myself and frankly, it made me freaked out about my future. Once I realized this, I decided to start focusing even more on the work that my supervisors performed. Their position was a career that I could potentially be doing in the future, so I watched and learned from them. But I quickly found out that being at the bottom of the totem pole was not the only reason I did not enjoy my internship. I recognized that the whole job in this area of work (the local government) is not a profession that I would like to do for the rest of my life.

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Now I really started to stress out. What was I going to do with my life now? Do I have to completely change my major? Am I going to be in college forever? Should I take more exploration classes? Should I take a semester off? Who should I talk to and where should I go from here? I did not want to be going to school, spending a lot of money and time on a career path that I would not enjoy. All of these questions and more were running through my head, all the time.

From there, I started with two people for advice, my mother and Career and Internship Services (two of the best places for career advice, in my opinion). Career and Internship Services suggested that I talk to professors in my areas of study and also conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas that I am thinking about. This was the biggest advice I took into consideration. I started with my professors, they helped me stay calm about my studies and reassured me that I was not wasting my time. I then moved on to seeking out professionals in areas I was interested in. I even went to the job fair, just to ask employers if I could conduct informational interviews or job shadow with their employees. From following these steps and being open to new opportunities and change, I got a job out of it! I actually get to be in the field that I am strongly considering, to work along with professionals who could potentially be me one day.

From talking to all of these professors and professionals, it helped me change my attitude around from wanting to give up, to having hope that I was not wasting my time. From here on out, I am going to keep exploring these different careers and next semester I will take the last liberal education requirements that I need to. I did this so I am not taking all of my specific major classes, in case I do end up changing it. In the end, I did bounce back from my bad internship experience that made me question my major, it helped me learn so much and grow as a professional. I am still not completely sure what I will do in the future, but I will get there and if you are going through the same thing, you will too!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo by: Unsplash | Amanda Sandlin

Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 1

By: Lexi

This past summer I was lucky enough to land an internship in my field of Urban and Regional Studies, receive credits to graduate, and an extra bonus, I got paid too! I was so excited to be in a professional setting to see what my career would be like after graduation, but it turned out to not be what I was anticipating or hoping for. Although I did take away a lot of new knowledge and skills, it is also making me question myself…Is this really the right field of study for me? Now what do I do?

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The reason my summer internship was not everything I was hoping for was because I did not enjoy the work I was doing; it’s hard to maintain motivation when you feel like the work you’re doing is simply busy work. I also felt as if I had a lot of free time because they were not giving me enough busy work, imagine that! This pushed me a little out of my comfort zone because I was constantly asking all of the supervisors for work or if they needed help with anything. Sure, I ended up just copying or stapling pamphlets a lot of the time, but it was better than staring at a computer screen driving myself to have a crazy headache. This also showed my superiors that I was a proactive worker, well I would like to think it did at least. As an intern, you have to realize that you are at the bottom of the totem pole, yet it stinks being at the bottom because the work can be boring. But remember, you have to start at the bottom to work your way to the top.

The other part that was difficult about the work was that I was given a lot of actual work, but I was not given direction. Of course it is nice to have room to be creative and add your own touch, but it is also scary because you really do not know if it is what your supervisor is looking for, and if it is not, they will not hesitate to keep sending it back to you until it is. Specifically, for my internship, one of the main reasons that the work I performed was not the most enjoyable was that I was not with the company long enough to see the end result. For example, the majority of the work I did was with new plans to improve cities. These plans would take at least a year to implement, but I only had my internship for four months. This was not rewarding because I never got to see my work actually being carried out or fulfilled.

So if you ever have an internship, co-op, or even a job that you do not enjoy, just stick it out. This is not your job for the rest of your life, and I know that you will take at the least one valuable skill away from your experience. Turn your attitude into a positive one and try to make the most out of it. What helped me get through my internship was to realize that the overall lessons I will take away will actually help me succeed in the working world. I now know how to better communicate with coworkers, manage difficult personalities, deal with stress, prioritize my workload, and work in a team environment. Now the big question for myself was what am I going to do with my career life now since I did not find what I thought I wanted to do pleasurable? If you want to know how I went forward with this big question, stay tuned for part 2.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo by: Unsplash | Amanda Sandlin

3 Things I Learned While Interning at Hormel Foods

By: Tori

“Nothing can substitute experience; Mainly because experience is invaluable, it is what you make it.” – Anonymous

This past summer I worked as a corporate communications intern with Hormel Foods. Based in Austin, MN, also known as Spamtown, USA, aka my hometown. Hormel Foods has been a part of my life since I was brought into existence. This Fortune 500 company is known as one of the most trusted and highly respected companies in the food and meat product industry.

After working for Hormel Foods, I can now say that I have: created and published content for a Fortune 500 company’s website, constructed daily news briefings for over 600 employees, dressed as Spammy for the Spam Museum grand opening, designed and implemented a unique and proactive career pamphlet for the company’s national recruiting team, and engaged in cross-functional efforts to execute Hormel’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

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While these specific tasks allowed me to expand upon my skills and stretched me as an employee, there are three major takeaways I would like to share from my summer internship:

#1. You need to be “in the know.”
Communications is an art. As a communication department you are the first place people go; whether it be other departments, the press, Hormel executives, etc. How will you respond to product recalls, press releases, natural disasters? How will you get your message across? It is vital YOU understand the company you are working for and what is going on in the industry overall. It is important YOU have the knowledge necessary to craft emails, corporate intranet content, and daily news briefings that reflect what your company stands for.

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#2. People are Power. And so is your Culture.

Inspired people. Inspired food. Inspired intern.

After spending 10 weeks with Hormel Foods, I understand why they continue to be so successful; their culture. They are an innovative, promote from within, company who genuinely cares about their people and consumers. When you think about a corporate environment you envision: suits, ties, blazers, coffee, computers, and serious conversation. But after working at Hormel Foods I envision: professional, friendly, open, respectful, caring, coffee, coffee, and more coffee (I don’t think I’ve had so much coffee before). The connections you gain from collaborating with employees and creating a culture that builds others up, here in the United States and across the world, are truly amazing.

Below is a video on the culture of Hormel Foods.

#3.  Take advantage of what they offer.
Although I am a Human Resource Management major, I gained a great deal of insight by interning in communications. Often students don’t take advantage of the opportunities offered because they are too scared to ask or feel they will be a burden. Asking for more opportunities, serious projects, and a diverse workload will help you stand out as an intern. A few ways I took advantage of Hormel Foods and what they have to offer was by: shadowing Consumer Engagement, visiting Studio H, going on a plant tour, meeting with managers for coffee, creating plant video scripts, attending department meetings, and sharing a cubicle wall with recruiters.

These are simple, yet immensely valuable opportunities that are so often overlooked. By taking advantage of all Hormel Foods had to offer, I learned just how passionate I am about helping other people reach their goals. This was a direct result from sitting near recruiters and hearing them give interviews over the phone all summer.

I was able to network, build relationships, stretch my knowledge, and visualize my future with this company by taking these steps and spending my summer celebrating among them.

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Not a Typical Internship

By: Kirsi

The word “Internship” may invoke an image of a flustered undergrad fetching coffee and copying documents with the goal to endure an unpaid summer stint. In reality internships and other career building opportunities come in all shapes and sizes – and are often paid. Continue reading for enlightenment about alternative career building opportunities.

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Full Year Internships
In my previous post I compared internships and Co-Ops describing an internship as a single semester opportunity. However, there are, in fact, year-long renewable internships out there! For example, some private companies contracted by NASA Johnson work all year long. These year-round interns work full time in the summer, and part time during school. Some full year interns have the same benefits as Co-ops, but with an opportunity work part time during school. On the government side, year long opportunities are currently being offered by NASA for 2017. October is not to early to apply for full year position at your desired company or organization.

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Built by UMD Senior in Electrical Engineering.

UROP
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a unique way to get a taste of academia, conduct research in a team and  work on projects related to your major. Often these opportunities are funded so you will have money for materials and a paycheck. University of Minnesota Duluth has a collection of unique UROP opportunities and world class research projects. One effort in particular that stands out is Dr. Desineni Subbaram Naidu and his research team’s robotic prosthetic arm. Undergraduates, master students, and PhD candidates have all worked on the prosthetic arm team, there is even a TEDx Minneapolis talk about the research. Each semester there is a window open when students can propose an idea for a UROP for funding or join an existing UROP group.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Nick Karvounis

Job Shadowing
If you are not yet prepared for an internship or not certain about your major, job shadowing can be a good tool for building confidence in you career choices. Asking a desired organization about job shadowing is a low risk way to quickly find out if you are interested in a discipline of work. Before confirming I wanted to study computer science I job shadowed at Park Nicollet for a day to see how information technology applied to the healthcare realm. I thought the challenges of personal information security, big data, and merging of databases was interesting and kept my major. When approaching an organization about job shadowing they may suggest you take a tour of the company building instead which may expose you to jobs of many disciplines. While job shadowing and touring are not paid they may open doors to paid career opportunities.

Do not fret if you do not fit the summer internship mold, there are plenty of alternative career building opportunities that fit with your lifestyle and life goals.

Of Possible Interest

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