Role With It

By: Cassie

Whether we like it or not, almost all of us will have to work for the rest of our lives. You may be dreading this or you may be excited to see what your future has in store, but it’s all about your point of view. If you go into a job and are willing to better yourself, you are going to have a lot better time than if you go into your job every day dreading it. Whether you are in an entry-level position or you are just starting your adult job, one of the best things you can do to enjoy your workplace is to GET INVOLVED.

Now you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy. Why would you want to take on more responsibility? Well, I’m here to tell you that at work, you get out what you put in. By this I mean the more you get involved, the more results and rewards you get out of it. I mean, who doesn’t like getting told that they’re doing a good job, right?!

It’s pretty easy to take on new roles at your workplace. You can find out what else is going on in your office besides what you’re currently doing. Some examples of this would be getting involved in the social media, taking on leadership roles, adopting projects, and maybe even taking an extra position to get some extra hours. A lot of these things don’t require a lot of extra work and the added bonus is that by taking on additional roles you also are building onto your resume. By being multifaceted in your workplace you learn a lot about your place of work and you have a better sense of belonging.

If you still are skeptical about what I’m telling you, I will tell you my own personal story. I started out as an alumni caller at C&IS in February 2015. I then went on to pursue a front desk position in September 2015. I currently still hold both of these positions. I like to table for events to promote the many benefits our office offers and I also write for this blog. These have all been huge learning opportunities for me and there have been so many benefits! Some of the benefits I have experienced are getting closer to my coworkers, learning more about the office, and being able to be creative and come up with new ideas. Yes, it is a lot of work, but now I am really starting to get so much more out of coming to work. I am actually having fun!

So now that you know all the benefits of taking on additional roles, I want to tell you ways you can find out about these extra jobs. Ask your boss about what they need help with around the office, I’m sure they will be thrilled to take something off of their plate. Look into the social media and see if there is anything you can do to promote or enhance it. Look around your place of work to see if there are any new or creative ideas that you have that may help out the work place. The list is endless and these are just a few examples!

So get out there and start to help your work place and yourself!

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The Dark Side of Leadership

By: Katie

There are many positive things about being in a leadership role, and it’s something I would encourage anyone to do. While being a leader is a great experience, there are also negative things a person has to deal with as a leader. This side of leadership – the dark side – is one we don’t often discuss. However, I think it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into when you sign on to be a leader. Therefore, here are a few things I have noticed about the dark side of leadership.

Dark Side of Leadership

Other people telling you how to lead.

One of the most frustrating parts of being a leader (in my opinion) is when others disagree with how you lead or try to tell you to do something differently. There are many different ways to lead and different kinds of leaders, and none is more correct than another. Still, there will be those who will tell you you’re doing it wrong or who give you unsolicited advice. It’s best to ignore them and trust your abilities and instincts.

When something goes wrong, it’s your fault.

Whenever something doesn’t go quite as planned – and there is always something – the fault is yours. Or at least that’s how others view it. This is particularly the case when you are the primary leader in a situation. The frustration, confusion, and anger of everyone you’re working with will be directed at you, whether or not it’s deserved. But hey, at least your capacity for patience will improve!

Dealing with the little details.

You don’t realize how much planning and organization goes into events until you’ve been in the position to plan them. There are so many minor tasks to complete for everything, and while none of them are too difficult or time-consuming, they definitely add up. Keeping track of all the little things is a necessary evil as a leader. For this, lists are your friend.

Busy. SO. BUSY.

Being in a leadership role takes a ton of work, and often no one really realizes just how much you do. It will take up large amounts of time and energy, and the work will continue to pile up even when you’re already feeling swamped with that and everything else going on in your life. Here is when it’s helpful to learn the difficult ability of saying no or delegating tasks to others.

When you don’t have the answers.

One of the worst parts for me is when others turn to me for answers I don’t have. As a leader, sometimes you’ll really just have no idea what you’re doing. When that happens, you don’t have the luxury of stepping back and letting others handle it. No – you’re the one in charge, and you need to find a way to lead others even when you feel lost. In my experience, it’s best to act confident even when you may feel like running away and crying in a corner.

Being a leader isn’t always wonderful, and there are times when it certainly won’t be fun. However, the stress, frustration, and confusion are all far outweighed by the benefits of leadership experience.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Craig Garner

Trust Me, There’s a Club for That

By: Cassie

What is the one thing that you remember most about touring colleges? Was it the size of the dorms? Was it the food served in the dining hall? Was it that the school had the program that you really wanted to be accepted to? Well for me it was all summed up into just two simple words, GET INVOLVED. Every college I went to and every tour guide I talked to talked about the advantages of involving yourself in clubs and activities on campus. By the end of my college hunt I felt like I knew every club at every school and I felt like I was the fountain of “get involved” knowledge, so to speak. Well, when I finally got here I didn’t use my so-called “knowledge” like I should have.

There's a club

During my freshman year I told myself that I would put myself out there and get involved in everything I could. I went to the activities fairs and thought I knew what all my options were based on the information from the tours. Then when the time came to sign up for all these clubs, I just simply didn’t join. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the reason that I wouldn’t push myself to get involved, but I think it was mostly that I made a lot of excuses for myself. Some of these included wanting to do well on my homework, being scared to meet new people, and overall just feeling dorky for joining something I had no previous friends in. The funny thing is, most of the time I just sat and did routine Netflix marathons and didn’t acknowledge my homework during that time. I also didn’t branch out and make new friends, I stuck with my high school friends and really I was kind of miserable. I wasn’t getting all the things that I thought I would be getting out of my freshman year. I saw everyone else with new friends and having the time of their lives, so this year I decided to make a change.

I am currently in my sophomore year, and this year I have involved myself in more ways that I can count. I have really immersed myself in the business school and the clubs that it offers because I think it is so important to get involved in clubs that relate to your major. I am currently in Women in Business, DECA, and the Student Healthcare Management Association. They have all taught me the value of putting yourself out there and getting yourself involved with people in the business field. This doesn’t just apply to business majors either; I cannot emphasize enough how important networking is for EVERY MAJOR. It is also great to get involved with clubs in your major or collegiate unit because you can get together and talk about your fears, struggles, and your future because they are all in the same boat as you and talking is one of the most beneficial things you can do! I also was recently accepted to a study abroad program through the business school and I am so excited to see all of the new opportunities it brings me.

I know I am just highlighting the clubs in the business school, but I promise you that your collegiate unit has a club too. In fact, they most likely have one for your major! If you don’t want to get involved with clubs in your major, there are SO many other clubs and activities that are out there for you to get involved in, you just have to be willing to find what you like! Don’t be like freshman year me and take your opportunities for granted! Though I never thought I would emphasize it this much, there is so much to be gained from GETTING INVOLVED.

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Photo source: Unsplash|Jeff Sheldon

As Summer Comes to an End

Summer is just about over. In fact, the freshman class moved onto campus yesterday. Here at Career & Internship Services, we want you to be as prepared as possible when it comes to tackling the next school year.

Start To-do list

Here are a few things to think about and/or do:

Update your resume. Add your internship, study abroad, or summer job. Strengthen your descriptions for the positions you already had listed on your resume. Need help finding room on your already packed resume? Resume drop-ins will start the week of August 31st. Formal resume drop-in sessions happen every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon (2-4pm in SCC 22) while classes are in session. A little known secret is that you can stop by anytime we’re open (M-F, 8-4:30pm) to have a trained Peer Educator take a look at your resume.

Plan out your “extra stuff” for the upcoming year. Work on building your resume. Get involved in a student organization. If you’re already a student org or two, up your level of involvement (help plan events, run for an exec board position, etc.). Find an internship, research opportunity, or volunteer position. These all look great on a resume and help you in figuring out what life after graduation might look like.

If you’re graduating in May, start laying the groundwork now. Figure out what you want your next step to be. You don’t have to have your whole life figured out. Just work towards the next step. We can help you put together a job search plan or apply to grad school. Take a look at our “By Major” reports to see what recent UMD grads with your major have done 6-12 months after graduation. Other resources to help you: events schedule; Pinterest boards with articles; grad school exploration; GoldPASS (the job & internship board for all U of MN students); Twitter (@umdcareers) for office happenings, events, opportunities, and more; LinkedIn group to connect with peers, UMD staff & faculty, alumni, and employers; and our website.

Ultimately, we want you to have a great school year. Embrace your future with confidence.

Photo: Unsplash | Blake Richard Verdoorn

Your Activities Section and You

By: Logan

One of the most underrated sections of the resume is the Activities section. This section is simply for stating activities you were involved in, or clubs and organizations you were part of. Many people believe this section is not necessary on the resume because it might not include any activities that are “relevant” to the person’s objective. In this post I will explain to you how an activities section can spice up your resume, what it means to employers, and different ways to format it.

As I said before, many people believe that the activities section is unnecessary. This is understandable. What does being on an intramural hockey team have to do with being a computer science major? But this does not mean you should leave out all of your the extracurricular activities and organizations. If you are struggling to fill up your resume, an activities section would be perfect for you. You can include everything from a fraternity you were involved in, to being in the coloring club – you can include them all!

Even employers like seeing an activities section. Multiple employers have told us they are more likely to hire someone who was active in organizations and involved with the school or surrounding community. Having activities and student organizations on your resume shows that outside of class you were staying active. This is especially true for students in athletics. Athletes have to donate so much of their time to their sport, even in the off season. After going to class all day athletes are required to go to practice, weight train, go to team meetings, and more. Being a student athlete takes up so much time and effort, so students who are involved in athletics should try to showcase this as much as possible. This shows where the student spent their time when they were not in class.

There are multiple ways to write your activities section, it just depends on the activities you have and how detailed you want to be in your explanation. If you are involved in many different organizations and groups, the easiest thing to do would be to simply list them. First, write the name of your position (even if it’s “member”) in bold. Then write the name of the organization you were involved in, followed by the month and year of when you started and the month and year of when you were finished (if you are still currently involved with the group, write “present”). Remember to put the activities in reverse chronological order, the newest organizations will be at the top.

Microsoft Word - Document1

If you have fewer activities you may want to go more into depth about these experiences. You would start off by listing it the same way as we did before (position, organization name, dates), and you would use bullet points to explain the activity and what you did in the organization. This is useful for activities where you are a position holder or executive member. Using this method you can describe all of the skills you used while in this organization.

Microsoft Word - Document1

The Activities section can be a very useful and informative section. it shows employers what you did in your free time and how involved you were in your school and the community. So try and be as active as you can in your school and join as many clubs and organizations as you can. UMD has hundreds, and there are clubs for almost everything. It is a great resume builder and a great place to meet people and grow your network.

Once you graduate, the activities section on your resume will most likely morph to “Professional Organizations” and/or “Community Involvement.” The idea of getting involved in different activities extends throughout your career development. As a new professional, you’ll benefit from getting involved in professional organizations locally and at the state and national levels.

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The Importance of Doing More: Before, During, and After College

By: Michael

Editor’s Note: We’re welcoming Michael back for a guest post! Check out all of his previous work on the blog from when he was a student.

As a recent graduate, I’ve spent some time thinking about what else I want to be involved in either apart from or in conjunction with my career. Since beginning high school I’ve always been what some would consider an ‘over-achiever,’ but I like to take the negative spin off of myself and reduce it to just ‘achiever’ (see StrengthsQuest). Achiever has always been to me the most fitting aspect of my personality as well as what I consider a valuable trait that employers strongly consider when looking for new employees. I’ve mentioned before how important these ‘extra-curricular’ activities are and how they look good on a resume, but there’s more to it that I want to address for you today.

Now think to yourself, what are the benefits of being involved in more than just school and work? Being an active participant in volunteer work, community programs, sports, and student organizations are all beneficial activities anyone can find an interest in if they find the right group or cause. Below are my top reasons for becoming more involved:

You develop applied skills in a way you just can’t get sitting at a desk

From my experience, being involved in political organizations and leadership roles both early on in high school and during college helped me develop communication and public speaking skills better than I ever could have developed from the one public speaking class I was required to take my freshman year of college. I used to be the kind of person who was deeply terrified of speaking in front of a crowd. My junior year of college I wound up giving policy recommendation and testimony to a congressional audience in Washington D.C. during an internship that required a combination of public speaking and research skills that I primarily got from being involved in extra-curricular activities such as MPIRG (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group) and SLC (Student Legislative Coalition).

Doing More

You have unique opportunities to network and connect with others in your field of interest

During my last year at UMD, I became (and am still presently) involved with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce College Connect program. This program matched me to a mentor in my field or area of interest who I meet with on a regular basis and attend the college connect events which involve activities such as volunteer work, networking, and professional skill development. I would strongly recommend to anyone approaching their graduation to consider joining this organization or something similar. The program and my mentor have given me some of the most direct and applicable advice and tips for post-graduation than anywhere else. This is a program that transcended my completion of my student career at UMD and has also sparked my interest in becoming a member of the Chamber in the near future to be more involved in my community.

The work is fulfilling and can (and often does) involve helping others

One of the things that first attracted me to certain extra-curricular activities was the opportunity to volunteer and do charitable work that helps others. Before graduating high school I was awarded a medal for volunteering 130 hours of my time to volunteer work my senior year of high school. I continued through college working in programs that raised money to help the homeless and raise awareness for other social issues such as LGBT rights and issues relating to foster youth and adopted youth. The most fulfilling part is getting to meet the people you help and hearing their stories. I learned during my time in D.C. how strong people can be and how meaningful it is to be a part of the bigger picture.

You can better develop and understand your own interests

I discovered I wanted to be an accountant because of my busy-minded nature, knack for number crunching, and interest in the business/economic side of life in general. I came to this conclusion based on an amalgamation of experiences all developed through extra-curricular activities that I have been a part of for years. I’ve mentioned before the importance of knowing yourself when presenting yourself during an interview and here, in this blog post, are the best tips I can give on how to get there.

Still not convinced? It’s not surprising. Most people grow up to where you’re at today being told countless times the importance of school and good grades, but sometimes people forget to talk about doing more than just that. Maybe it’s because when it comes to work, many people don’t like to think of doing ‘more,’ but it is that precise reason why doing more is such an indication of ambition and drive that employers rank it one of their top reasons for offering an interview to a candidate. Doing more is an intriguing quality that anyone has the capability of achieving. Think about how easy that interview will go when you have all that experience added to your background to talk about! This strategy has helped me and countless others I know and have worked with at some point in time. With that in mind, also know that doing more doesn’t have to end in college. Transitioning into your career or into post-graduation provides so much more opportunity at a much broader level so why not start now while you can still get your feet wet?

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Greek Life at UMD

By: Logan

At most college campuses Greek Life is a big topic. Every movie about college displays Greek Life in one way or another, for better or for worse. These organizations are as old as the University itself and the traditions continue to strive. In this post you will learn how Greek Life organizations help improve the campus and surrounding community, and how joining a Fraternity or Sorority can help you and your college experience.

First, let me give some background on fraternities and sororities as a whole. Greek Life systems have been around since the 1800’s at many universities around the world. The basic concept of a Fraternity or Sorority is a unified body of students dedicated to service and making long lasting relationships. Many people get the impression that Greek organizations are strictly devoted to partying and nothing else. This persona is usually displayed in college movies such an Animal House and The Neighbors. It is disappointing that people have this expectation for Greek Life because there are many benefits and experiences that can be had by joining one of these organizations.

UMD’s Greek Life consists of five fraternities and four sororities. The Fraternities list as follows: Phi Kappa Tau (which I am currently a member of), Tau Kappa Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, Alpha Delta, and Alpha Nu Omega. The sororities are Phi Sigma Sigma, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Beta Lambda Psi, and Kappa Beta Gamma. I have been involved with UMD Greek Life since Fall of my freshman year and I have had many great experiences from it. Greek Life has 3 main areas of focus: Social, Service, and Philanthropy. This means that our organizations are involved in Social aspects, such as meeting and getting to know other Fraternities or Sororities; Service, which involves our volunteering and work hours; and Philanthropy, which is the raising and donating of money to charitable organizations.

The media only tends to show the social aspect of Greek Life, but they never talk about our service and philanthropy events. Most organizations have their members complete a certain number of service hours per semester to show that they are doing volunteer work in the college or community. Another stereotype of Greek Life members is that they are not as involved in their studies and academics. This is very untrue. Almost all of the organizations require everyone to have a certain GPA to join, and if their grades fall too low they will be put on probation or even kicked out of the group. This holds members to a higher standard and requires them to concentrate on school before concentrating on other Greek Life events. Fraternities and Sororities are also a great way to get involved in leadership positions. Each Greek Organization has multiple positions that the members can run for, almost like Student Government. So any member can gain great Leadership skills by running for and being a leadership position holder. Fraternities and Sororities are also great for networking. Since many Greek Organizations on campus are very old, some members still live in the area and can help by donating money or just from networking. Larger organizations have multiple chapters across the country which is also very beneficial for networking. To help with this, the organizations plan big leadership events that all chapters can attend. There members can learn valuable leadership and networking skills that can benefit them in the future.

As you can see, there are many benefits to joining a Greek Organization. It can be helpful for building your resume, or just making your college experience more enjoyable. I strongly recommend any student that is interested in leadership, service, and brotherhood (or sisterhood), to come meet the Fraternities or Sororities and learn more about them. You can also learn more about the organizations by looking under Student Organizations in Campus Life on the UMD home page.

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