Be the Awesome Intern

You have an internship? Fantastic! We’ve put together a handy list of tips so you can be an AWESOME intern.

How to be the awesome intern; wood desk top

  • Set goals with your supervisor about what will be accomplished throughout & by the end of the internship.
  • Keep track of what you do each day at your internship. This will help when meeting w/your supervisor & updating your resume at the end.
  • Find ways to go above and beyond what is expected of you. If you finish a task ahead of schedule, ask where else you can assist.
  • Be punctual. If you start at 8am, be at your desk/station ready to work at that time versus walking in the door.
  • If you don’t know (and you’ve tried multiple ways to the solve the issue yourself), ask. Asking questions is a good thing.
  • Do you commute to your internship? Maximize your time by reading the news, listening to podcasts, or keeping up with the trends in your field.

Tori with Bacon sign at Hormel

Peer Educator Tori at her internship with Hormel Foods

  • From one of our fave recruiters: “We look at it [the internship] as a long interview. Kill it, learn/grow and you might have a job before it ends.”
  • Meet with people from throughout the organization. Learn about what they do and advice they may have for you.
  • Attend events the company has designed for the interns. Be a joiner!
  • Ask for constructive criticism/feedback. It’ll help you be a better intern and professional.
  • Take your internship seriously and be eager to learn.
  • Learn your organization’s company culture (mission, values, org structure, clients, attire, etc).
  • If you have fellow interns, connect with them. You’re all going through the internship experience together.
  • Don’t like your internship? Figure out if it’s the work, the people, or the company rather than an overall negative experience.
  • Managing your time as an intern is different than when you’re a student. Find what works best for you.
  • How to be the best summer intern in your office. Via: The Prepary

Kirsi doing Astronaut user testing at NASA co-op

Peer Educator Kirsi at her co-op with NASA Johnson Space Center

  • Check in with yourself halfway through the internship and reflect on how it has been going so far. Tweak as needed.
  • Talk to people in a variety of departments and work functions to see the bigger picture of your organization.
  • How to handle a competitive work environment.
  • Check in with your supervisor on a regular basis to see how your internship is going. Ask questions. Get feedback.
  • Interested in having your Internship transition to Full-time? Explore company benefits: retirement, insurance, continuing education, etc.
  • Environment is huge. Take notes about your internship and what works (or doesn’t) for you: nature of the work, people, and work setting to help with your next search. 
  • What have you been learning about your industry during your internship? How will you bring that back to your classes?
  • Details matter. Proofread everything, because you don’t want to be remembered as the person with the typo problem.
  • Research how your company invests in its people. Training, help with furthering education, personal growth, benefits, and more.
  • Be thinking about who at your internship you want to ask to be references for you. Ask before your last day.

Of Possible Interest: 

  • Internships – all of our blog posts about the topic
  • Internships – our Pinterest board filled with articles and resources

Photo Sources: Unsplash; Tori; Kirsi

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: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

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

STEM Major Preps for UMN Job Fair

By: Kirsi

Student talking with employer at job fair

I missed UMD’s E-Fest, UMD’s STEM Fair, and UMN’s College of Science and Engineering Fair. I still want a summer internship. WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

Despite lacking “STEM” in the name, UMN’s Job and Internship Fair is an excellent place to land a technical summer internship.

UMN Job & Internship Fair with Minnesota Map

 1) Excused Absence
I know, Monday, the worst day the Fair could happen. I panicked too with a sinking feeling that I would need to request excused absences from my professors. Here is an example email…

“Hello,
I would like to attend the U of MN Job & Internship Fair in the Twin Cities on Monday, February 26th. This would require missing our mandatory attendance lecture and quiz. Would attendance of this Job Fair qualify for an excused absence? I can either take the quiz before this day or the next during your office hours.
Other students in your classes may be busing down to the Cities too as it is the last major job fair before the summer.
Thanks”

2) Register
Since we all earn UMN diplomas, in the end, all UMN system students are invited to attend the fair. Luckily for us UMD students, there is a free bus that can transport us to the fair (and back if desired). To reserve a place on the bus sign up at Solon Campus Center 22 with a $10 deposit (which gets refunded the day of the fair).

If you pre-register for the fair on GoldPASS you get a free professional photo and a free box lunch!

3) Find Employers
With logistics locked down, time to focus the job fair day game plan. First I found the list of employers who will be recruiting. Use filters to sort what positions are open. Readjust filters if no results are found. Not all employees include which majors/ industries they are looking for.

After reviewing the list of employers, there were obvious tech companies that stood out such as Honeywell and Ziegler CAT. However, there are companies that don’t look high-tech on the outside that are in major need of “STEM-pertise” such as Target Corporation and Hormel Foods. Once you have chosen your top employers get acquainted with them by; looking on their website, connecting with them on LinkedIn, and Google sort for related news stories.

There is a mobile guide for the UMN Job Fair your can download to plan your day.

  1. Download the U of MN App for Apple or Android (it’s free!).
  2. Once downloaded, Search for “job”.
  3. Select “University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair 2018” and explore!

List of companies recruiting for computers and tech

4) Your Job Fair Equipment
Build a resume. Print plenty of copies. Check for simple spelling and grammar errors.
Pick out an outfit. De-wrinkle your clothes. Smell hygienic.
Practice elevator speech. Seriously. Practice what you’re going to say.
Practice interview questions. Practice technical and coding interviews.

5) Stay Up To Date!
Follow University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair on…
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Hint…leading up to the Fair you can find Industry graphics, like the Computers & Tech one above, being released each day on the Fair’s social media accounts.

Good luck!

Of Possible Interest:

Read Kirsi’s other posts

My Internship Story

By: Heidi

After recently finding out and accepting my first internship offer, I thought I would share my story of the whole process. It all starts with how I found out about the company. When I heard about Andersen Corporation for the first time, it was when they came to my organizational behavior management class to talk about the company and internship opportunities for the next summer. I knew with it being junior year, it was time to get down to business with internships. I listened to what the speakers had to say about their experience and enjoyment of the company, and by the end of class, I decided I would go to the table in LSBE (our business school) and talk more with the recruiters about setting up an interview.

"Since I went in with this 'nothing to lose' mentality, I told myself I was going to be the most honest version of myself in this interview, allowing myself the opportunity to make a genuine connection."

I approached the table and spoke with one of the recruiters. I introduced myself with my name and saying I was a student who was in the class they just spoke in. Looking at the interview sign up sheet it was a little intimidating knowing I had a long day ahead of me next. Although I am not much of a morning person, I signed up for the first interview at 8 am the next day.

I went home that night knowing I was going to need to update my resume, scrape up a new cover letter specific to this interview, and do more research on the company. By the time I finished my resume and cover letter it was a little too late in the night to email it to the interviewer in my opinion, so naturally, I printed off three copies of each just in case. I did my research on the company from their website on the variety of information offered, taking notes so I could really get the information in my head. The following morning I woke up early getting dressed in an outfit I had previously laid out the night before to prevent last-minute scrambling, packed a lunch, along with extra clothes for the night because I knew I was going to be on campus until about 8 pm due to sorority recruitment we had going on that week.

Internship Interview Tips

I went into my interview with the mindset that I had “nothing to lose” with this being my first internship interview ever, and also at the beginning of my junior year. Since I went in with this “nothing to lose” mentality, I told myself I was going to be the most honest version of myself in this interview, allowing myself the opportunity to make a genuine connection. At the end of the interview, I asked questions that were important to me such as how she felt being represented as a female in her company as well as her experience being an intern and moving up in the company into a full-time role. The next day I followed up the interview with a personalized email touching on things we talked about in the interview as well as thanking her for her time.

I believe the most important thing when it comes to interviewing is to be your most genuine and authentic self. It allows you to really make a connection with an employer to see if you would both be a good fit for each other. Professionally speaking when it comes to the interview process, my advice would be to always do your research on the company, give it a chance, and set yourself up for success.  

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Usplash | Vincent Versluis & Takemaru Hirai

Informational Interviewing Got Me an Internship

By: McKenzie

About a year ago I came across a subject that I had never heard of before. It’s called Informational Interviewing. When I first encountered discussion around this topic I was rightly skeptical. I thought to myself, “Who would want to talk to me (a stranger) about themselves,” and funny enough the answer is: a lot of people. And so I began my journey. I’ve always been a pretty curious person. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know about people and the lives they lead. Turns out Informational interviewing is PERFECT for me.

Benefits of informational interviewing

Here’s why you should try it too:

You learn for FREE
Getting out there and talking to people is a free, interactive way to gain knowledge. You can gain insights into how people pursue their careers, in what ways they gained experience, and suggestions for how you can be a marketable candidate for a similar position.

It’s practice
You may not think it at first, but informational interviewing will help you practice for interviews in the future. For starters, you learn what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. You realize that the person interviewing might just be as nervous as you and it can be helpful to empathize with the fact that we’re all human. Secondly, informational interviews have a tendency to open a space for you to talk about yourself as well which can bring about other opportunities.

Connections are made
The interview often turns into a conversation between two professionals which can have its perks. You develop a more professional connection with the person. For example, when I conducted an informational interview the interviewee had seen my LinkedIn profile since that’s how I reached out to her. At the end of the interview, she began to ask me questions about my aspirations and career plans. After communicating my goals with her she knew of an internship position that was within my interests and suggested that I apply.

Finding a possible mentor
The biggest thing that I have gained from informational interviewing was not the internship I obtained following the interview. Although the internship was one of the best experiences I could have asked for, it was still a temporary experience. My supervisor and informational interviewee became my mentor and she continues to guide me in my professional pursuits. This is something that has continued to benefit me even though the internship has ended.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Carolina Bonito

Turning Your Internship Into a Job

By: Whitney

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about my experience as the C&IS Intern. After loving my internship, I was reluctant to leave, so I’m back in a new role at the front desk! If you are going into an internship or want to turn your internship into a job, I’ve highlighted a few tips below to help you capitalize on this opportunity. Forbes and The Wishington Post (Washington Intern Student Housing) have also offered up some tips so that you can turn your internship into a job as well.

Transitioning your internship into a job truly starts with your internship. Ever heard sayings like “an internship is really just a drawn-out interview”? The heart of the matter is that how you behave as an intern is an indication to your supervisor and co-workers what it may be like to work with you as official staff. The process of being an intern doesn’t need to be as nerve-wracking as an interview, however.

TIPS

  1. Your internship IS your job. This means doing things like showing up on time consistently, dressing the part, and saying goodbye to personal social media while at work. Being new in any job has its moments of discomfort, but chances are you have been building these foundational skills for professionalism for years before this.
  2. Get to know all of your colleagues and fellow interns. This is code for networking. This part is scariest for me. In my first real job, my workplace would occasionally hold picnics for the daycare staff, students, and their families to attend. I was never required to go, but wish that I would have. Going would have given me an opportunity to build stronger relationships with the parents and staff, instead of simply knowing them on a more superficial level. Working together means seeing those people every day for a number of months, or years, so working becomes its own community (a professional one). Doing so will make you a part of the office and is also helpful in getting a job post-internship.
  3. One of the things The Wishington Post recommended, is to have a professional mentor within the workplace. Someone you feel comfortable with that can help you transition between student intern to employee. In my internship, that person was mainly my site supervisor. She was a great person to ask questions of and helped me to make sure I was learning about the field as well as the specific areas I was interested in.
  4. Ask questions and take initiative. Sometimes people don’t ask questions for fear of looking incompetent, but good question asking shows that you are interested and willing to learn. Asking about opportunities is something that can help you in and outside of your internship. Instead of waiting for work to be handed to you ask to be involved, without overexerting yourself. Forbes suggests you familiarize yourself with other departments as well. This may be helpful if, like me, your job ends up being a slightly different role than your internship. Asking about additional opportunities after my internship is how I found out about the front desk.

If you have an internship, congratulations! Know that the company chose you as much as you chose to work for the company. You are there to learn and also have many valuable skills to bring to the table! Your work as an intern is important.

And because I am such a fan of motivational quotes here is one to inspire you:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”—Nelson Mandela

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Whitney’s other posts

Finally Getting the Internship

By: Cassie

If you have read my last few posts, you’ll remember how I’ve been really struggling to get an internship. Well, I thought you should know I did the impossible! I finally lined up an internship for this upcoming fall and let me tell you it feels SO good. I am definitely not trying to rub it in anyone’s face, I am just here to tell you the hard work did pay off. Here are a few tips that I can give you about finally clinching that internship.

Don’t get discouraged!
Yes, it is a long process. Yes, you’re going to be frustrated. Yes, you are going to get emails and phone calls explaining why you didn’t get the position. BUT, you have to use these things to make you stronger. You have to adjust your thinking to really see the positives of the situation. If you don’t get a position you really wanted, use that as motivation for the future and apply for the next year. If you don’t have enough experience, make sure you really start putting yourself out there. You can do it, just don’t let it get you down if you don’t get it on your first try.

NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING
You probably get this pounded into your head by all of your professors, counselors, parents, and peers. Well, you know what, THEY ARE RIGHT. LISTEN TO THEM. I was able to get my internship by going to my professor’s office hours. He got to know me and then remembered he knew someone who has been working in the field I would like to go into. A couple emails later and I was in their office for an interview. NEVER turn down the ability to get your name out there and ALWAYS put your best foot forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
It is a tough process and getting help can really give you a new perspective on the situation. By talking through the process with one of our counselors, one of your peers, or a professor you have a good relationship with can be really beneficial. Sometimes you just need to be reminded of how awesome you really are!

Make sure to say thank you!
Going back to my last point, definitely use those around you as a support system – but never forget to say thank you! Say thank you to all the people who help you along the way to show how much you truly appreciate what they did! Also, make sure to say thank you to the companies and people you reach out to, even if they say no, to show that you are grateful for their time and effort! A little thank you email, call, or letter goes a long way!

Hopefully, these tips help! I am always here to talk you through the process and so is everyone here at Career and Internship Services! We want you to succeed and we know you can! So go get those internships Bulldogs! We believe in you!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Cassie’s other posts