Finish Strong

By: Kendra

Editor’s Note: even if you’re not a current college student, these tips can still be applied to major projects or deadlines you have in your work.

Here’s some crazy news: we only have two weeks of class before finals week. As we all know the end of the semester is always a busy, stressful, and overwhelming time. This semester is a bit different as we are all learning remotely, so I wanted to provide you with some tips that can help make it more manageable. 

Start Early 
Starting several weeks in advance, begin looking at what you have for finals in each of your classes. Because everything is due within one week, it can often be overwhelming. By starting early, you are able to get a head start on your papers, projects, and studying, so it doesn’t feel so stressful during actual finals week. I also like to work ahead as much as I can several weeks before finals so I don’t have to worry about other assignments when it is time to start studying for finals exams and writing final papers. 

Image: desktop with open paper planner, coffee cup, and dish of paperclips
Text: Finish strong

Know Your Expectations
Every class and every professor is different. Take some time to read through your syllabi for each class to know the expectations your professor has in place for your final. If you are having a final exam, you should know if it is cumulative or not. If it isn’t, know which chapters the exam will be focusing on so you know what to prepare for. It is also helpful to know what type of exams you will be taking — multiple choice, short answer, etc. — as this will also guide your studying. For projects and papers, it is important that you understand the expectations that your professor has. This will help you avoid losing points for not meeting the finals’ requirements. Also, by doing all of this in advance, you will be able to contact your professor if you have any questions. 

Know Your Deadlines
Be sure that you know the dates and times of each of your exams, as well as due dates for projects and papers. Write these down in a planner or add them to your Google Calendar to be sure you don’t forget. There is nothing worse than missing a deadline! 

Break Up Big Tasks  
An additional tip I have is to break up projects or papers into smaller tasks. Here’s an example: If you have a large research paper due at the end of the semester, set yourself a due date for the outline, then split up your writing by sections/topics and give yourself due dates for each of them. Then, add these dates to your planner or Google Calendar to keep track of them. This will help you stay on top of your projects and not have it all come crashing down on you the day before it is due.

Take Breaks
During this time in the semester, it is important to avoid becoming burnt out. To do this, remember to take breaks. Whether you are studying for exams, writing a paper, or working on a project, giving yourself some time to be active, get a snack, or just let your brain rest is crucial. Try to work for an hour and then take 15-20 minutes to let yourself relax. I have gotten really good at remembering to take breaks and it definitely helps me be more productive! 

Prepare for Technical Difficulties
Because we are all learning remotely this semester, I am sure we’ve each experienced some technical difficulties. Be sure you know what to do in these different scenarios and prepare for them. If you have to use a new system or browser to take an exam, practice using it before the actual exam to avoid issues. Know how to contact your professor, too, so that you will be able to quickly get a hold of him or her if something were to go wrong. 

The end of the semester is always bittersweet because it’s exciting to have a break, but then you remember that you have to make it through finals week first. I hope that these tips help you feel as little stress as possible the next few weeks. Good luck on your finals!

Of Possible Interest:
Productivity & Wellness; On the Job – all our blog posts on these topics
Now That You’re on the Job – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Northfolk

Use Your Time Wisely

By: Kendra

Typically, us college students are extremely busy with classes, working, being involved, and schoolwork that it seems like we don’t have any spare time. In adjusting to our new ‘normal’, I have found myself having free time that I just don’t know how to fill. I am sure many others are feeling this way, too, so I decided to come up with a few tasks you can do to productively spend your free time. 

Complete your profile in GoldPASS powered by Handshake.
If you are unfamiliar, GoldPASS is the University of Minnesota system’s online platform for connecting students and employers. Students are able to search for jobs and internships, connect with employers and other students, as well as learn more about recruiting events going on across the system in GoldPASS. Having your profile updated and complete is important because it allows employers to find and reach out to you. See “The Three Must-Haves on Your Handshake Profile” to learn more about completing your profile. Additionally, I have written a two-part guide to using GoldPASS powered by Handshake (Part 1 & Part 2). Our Employer Relations team would be more than happy to help you with any GoldPASS related questions and can be reached via email at hirebulldogs@d.umn.edu

image: notebooks laid out on white background
Text: Use your time wisely. Complete profile on GoldPASS powered by Handshake. Research companies. Practice interview skills. Update resume.

Use this time to get ahead on researching companies.
This will help guide you in your future searches for an internship and/or a job after graduation. There are a few different resources that can help you research companies: 

  • GoldPASS powered by Handshake: Once your profile is complete, use GoldPASS powered by Handshake to see companies that have recruited at UMD in the past. In GoldPASS, you are able to see employers who have attended career fairs in the past by including past fairs in an event search. You can also search for jobs and internships on this platform. If you see a position that interests you, look further into that company to learn more about it. 
  • Internship Data: Many students at UMD participate in internships each year. We have compiled data from the past two years that shows where students of certain majors interned. Here is the 2017-2018 academic year internship data, and here is the data for the 2018-2019 academic year. Research these companies to learn more about the work that they do to see if it seems interesting to you. 
  • Graduate Follow-Up Report: The Graduate Follow-Up Report is an annual document our office creates to show where our students end up after graduation. It includes information on where students were employed after graduation, where students continued their education, and more. This information is so valuable! 
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to create a professional network, search for positions, and showcase yourself. By first creating your profile and completing it, you will be able to connect with professionals to begin networking. You will be able to connect with other students at UMD, as well as alumni, to see where they are currently employed. 
  • Google: While the remainder of the resources I listed were ways to see where other UMD students landed positions, don’t feel limited to only those companies. Conducting a Google search can be quite overwhelming, which is why I think it is best to start out by using some of the resources I listed previously. Take what you have learned from that research to Google to find even more companies that might interest you. 

For example, say I, an accounting major, am researching the companies where previous accounting majors have interned. I am learning more about those organizations and find that the ones that most interest me are all public accounting firms. I take this knowledge to Google to find more public accounting firms, as well as to learn more about them in general. This method of learning more about companies and their industries can be applied to any major, too, not just accounting. 

You can take your research to the next level, too. If you find a company you are really excited about, find a contact and reach out to them! Scheduling an informational interview, or just a time to chat with a representative of a company can be extremely beneficial in learning about the company, as well as opportunities within it. If you are looking for advice on how to contact companies, what to say, etc., our Career Handbook has some excellent information. Additionally, our career counselors would be more than happy to help. You can get in touch with them by emailing carserv@d.umn.edu or calling 218-726-7985 to schedule an appointment.

Practice your interview skills.
As a student at UMD, you have access to InterviewStream, which is a wonderful resource that allows you to do this. InterviewStream is a website that allows you to conduct practice interviews, record them, and watch them later. You are able to customize your interview by selecting questions that relate to the type of interview you want to practice. You can also record your practice interviews to watch later, which will help your future performance in interviews. This is an excellent way for you to practice interviewing without anything being on the line, so I highly recommend taking advantage of it. 

Update your resume.
Using our Career Handbook, you can refine your resume or create one if you haven’t already. In our handbook, you will find a guide for creating resumes, example resumes, and more that will help you create your document. Once you’ve updated your resume, upload it to GoldPASS so that employers can view it. If you would like to have your resume reviewed, just following the submission instructions on our website

I hope this inspires you and gives you a few ideas of how to fill your time. As always, the staff in Career & Internship Services is always available to answer any questions you might have, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Of Possible Interest:
Internships; Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
Ace the Job Search; Turn Your Major Into a Career – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Plush Design Studio

Tips for Attending Your First Job Fair – After the Fair

By: Kendra

Here’s part 3 of my tips for attending your first job fair (if you haven’t yet, check out Prepare & At the Fair). Just before spring break, I attended the Spring Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair, my very first fair I attended where I spoke to employers for my own personal reasons (instead of just working at it).

I want to preface by saying that I did not attend the fair with the goal of scoring a job or internship. Rather, I was looking to learn more about accounting internships and firms in the area. My goal was to learn, which I definitely achieved!

Image: young woman in suit jacket talking to people
Text: Tips for attending your first job fair - after the fair

Here are my tips for what to do after you’ve the job fair.

Connect with employers.
This is something that I did not know before attending the fair. Employers I spoke with asked me to connect with them on LinkedIn, so of course I did. This is another way for employers to contact you later if they wish to. You can also connect with employers you spoke with by emailing them. Almost everyone I spoke with gave me their business card, so I used that to email them. Because I wasn’t seeking a position, I just thanked the recruiters for speaking with me and gave them my contact information for the future. 

Collect your thoughts.
Job fairs can be overwhelming! Talking to recruiters all day and learning so much about several different companies is a lot, so I spent some time reflecting after the fair. I had notes from talking with each employer and I later elaborated on my notes. I wrote what I learned, what I liked/disliked about each company I spoke with, and any specific information they gave me such as how to apply for their internships, etc. I have these papers saved so that I can reference them in the future when I actually need an internship. 

As a student who attended a fair strictly to learn more, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to start going to job fairs before you are actively seeking a position. By going earlier, you familiarize yourself with the atmosphere and with talking to employers. You also get super valuable information by just putting yourself out there and speaking with people. 

I know that job fair season has come to an end for the year, but I still hope this gives you some advice that you can use to prepare for fairs in the future. A lot of preparation and thought goes into attending a job fair, so hopefully this helps you feel a little bit less overwhelmed when job fair season comes back around. As always, Career & Internship Services is more than happy to answer any further questions that you might have!

Of Possible Interest:
Job Fairs – all our posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

Tips for Attending Your First Job Fair – At the Fair

By: Kendra

Thanks for coming back! Check out my tips for preparing to attend your first job fair. Here’s a quick recap about my situation. Just before spring break, I attended the Spring Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair, which was hosted at UWS. As you might know, my job in Career & Internship Services is employer relations, so I do a great deal of behind the scenes work for our job fairs. So, yes, I have been to job fairs before, but I was always working at them — never actually speaking to employers for my own personal reasons. Just a few weeks ago was my first experience doing this, so I figured I would share what I learned!

I want to preface by saying that I did not attend the fair with the goal of scoring a job or internship. Rather, I was looking to learn more about accounting internships and firms in the area. My goal was to learn, which I definitely achieved!

Image: young woman in suit jacket talking to people
Text: Tips for attending your first job fair - at the fair

Here are my tips for when you’re at the fair.

Get a map.
Checking out the map of the fair should be one of the first things you do after you’ve gotten to the fair and checked in. Take a walk through the fair space to get a feel for it. Then, find somewhere to sit and locate the employers you want to speak with on the map. I did this at the fair I attended and it helped me feel less overwhelmed and lost in the space. 

Review your notes.
Before speaking to an employer, review your notes on that specific company. This will refresh your memory of what it is they do, as well as the questions you have for them. 

Be confident!
When approaching employers, just be yourself and be confident. If there is one thing I have learned by working in employer relations, it’s that recruiters are people just like you and I. They have been in our shoes before, so they know how nerve-wracking it can be to attend a job fair. They are there to help, so don’t be afraid! Remember to give the recruiter you’re speaking with a good handshake and make eye contact with them throughout the conversation. Be engaged and be yourself and you’ll do great! 

Offer your resume to employers.
You brought them for a reason, might as well hand them out! Giving an employer your resume helps them remember you and gives them the availability to contact you if they wish to. This interaction completely depends on the employer. Some will ask for your resume, but you’ll need to offer it to other employers. I found that resumes came up in conversation with many of the employers I spoke with, so that was when I offered mine. With that being said, some employers do not accept resumes at fairs. Don’t be offended by this — it’s not you, it’s just what their company does.

Check out the next part of this series – After the Fair

Of Possible Interest:
Job Fairs – all our posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

Tips for Attending Your First Job Fair – Prepare

By: Kendra

Just before spring break, I attended the Spring Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair, which was hosted at UWS. As you might know, my job in Career & Internship Services is employer relations, so I do a great deal of behind the scenes work for our job fairs. So, yes, I have been to job fairs before, but I was always working at them — never actually speaking to employers for my own personal reasons. Just a few weeks ago was my first experience doing this, so I figured I would share what I learned!

I want to preface by saying that I did not attend the fair with the goal of scoring a job or internship. Rather, I was looking to learn more about accounting internships and firms in the area. My goal was to learn, which I definitely achieved!

Image: Young woman in suit jacket talking people
Text: Tips for attending your first job fair - prepare

Here are my tips to help you PREPARE for attending your first job fair.

Identify your purpose.
Going to a job and internship fair to learn more and connect with people is different than going to secure a position for the summer or following year. Before you go to the fair, you should know what your purpose in attending is, as that will help you best prepare for it. 

Research the fair to get a feel for the types of employers that will be in attendance.
Oftentimes, fairs are designed to attract certain students. For example, at UMD, we host E-Fest and STEM that are centered around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students. Head of the Lakes (both fall and spring) are much more general — there is something for everyone!

Research specific employers you want to talk to.
Know a few things about each employer you might speak with, such as their industry, their location, and the general nature of their work. You do not need to know everything — that is what questions are for! I made a Google document with my notes compiled about the companies I was interested in speaking with. I had bullet points with very basic information about each company and then I also included a question or two I wanted to ask each specific employer. It doesn’t have to be super detailed. 

Know what you are going to say when approaching employers.
Some people call this an elevator speech, but I find that term rather intimidating. Just think of it as an introduction of yourself. You want to show the employer who you are in a really short amount of time, so it is important to prepare for this. In my case, I was just looking to learn more about companies and their internship programs for accounting majors, so my introduction went something like this: 

“Hi! My name is Kendra and I am a sophomore at UMD. I recently changed my major to accounting and am looking to learn more about potential accounting internships for the future. I noticed _(company)_ has _(title of the program)__ internship, could you tell me a little bit more about that?” 

It is important to practice what you are going to say when approaching employers, but it is also critical that you not sound scripted. Try not to put so much pressure on this — just be yourself! 

Update your resume.
You will want to bring copies of your resume to the fair to give to employers even if you are not actively seeking a position, so updating it is a great idea. I had one of the Peer Educators in our office help me update mine to best suit the type of employers I would be speaking with at the fair. 

Dress professionally!
This does not mean you need to be uncomfortable or go on a shopping spree. Try to find something that you feel confident and comfortable in, as this will help you feel your best on the day of the fair. If you are in need of professional attire, check out Champ’s Closet at 245 Kirby Plaza. 

Come prepared!
Be sure you have everything you need when you are heading to a job fair. I recommend getting a padfolio to use at the fair. This will hold your resumes, a pen, and your notes about the companies, as well as serve as a place for you to write notes about the companies you speak with. I would also be sure to bring your UCard, as they are typically needed for registration.

Check out the next parts of this series: At the Fair & After the Fair

Of Possible Interest:
Job Fairs – all our blog posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

Learning Outside the Classroom

By: Kendra

We are all in college for an obvious reason — to learn. We attend lectures, labs, and study sessions each day in order to do so. While being a student is like a full-time job itself, many of us have other activities that consume our time; examples include sports, clubs, work, hobbies, etc. While attending classes and learning material is important, the opportunities for learning that present themselves in these other activities are of great importance, too. Today I am going to share my experience in learning outside the classroom.

First, I’ll give a little bit of background information. I came to UMD as an Integrated Elementary and Special Education major. I had spent 2 summers working with children with disabilities, so becoming a special education teacher was what I thought I wanted to do. I was also working on getting a job at school. As a freshman, I was granted work study so I needed to find an on-campus job … and here I am working in Career & Internship Services. I was initially hired to work at the front desk in our office, which I did all of last year and enjoyed a lot!

Image: desks in classroom
Text: Learning outside the classroom

I was working and learning all there is to know about our career office and its resources. Meanwhile, in my classes, I was not enjoying the learning I was doing. I found myself feeling bored and uninterested in my schoolwork, so I knew I needed to make a change. What I didn’t know, though, was what change to make. I had a job that allowed me to work with great people, as well as interact with and help students each day — two things I really enjoyed and knew I wanted in a future job. With the help of our career counselors, I decided to switch my major to psychology and added a minor in early childhood studies. I felt great about this decision because I knew I would be able to do things I enjoy — work with and help people. 

This past fall semester, I made the transition to working as the employer relations student assistant in Career & Internship Services. Within this role, the work I do has changed pretty dramatically. I still work with great people and have the ability to help them, but I interact with students much less. Now, most of my interaction is with my colleagues and supervisors. I help plan/execute our job fairs and other recruiting events, analyze data, assist employers, manage GoldPASS powered by Handshake, and more. In this role, I have to pay attention to detail, be very organized, and spend a great deal of time on a computer — all things I have come to enjoy. 

female student talking to recruiter
Kendra working at a job fair

In having this new role at work, I again started to question what I wanted to do post-grad. I didn’t specifically know what I wanted to do with my psychology degree when I initially changed. In working in employer relations, though, I grew to enjoy a more business-oriented role, so I wanted to somehow implement that in what I was doing academically. To do so, I decided to add a minor in management. I was thinking this addition would give me the tools I needed to find a job after graduation, which was both people-oriented and business-oriented. 

That leads me to this semester. Since I just added the management minor, I had to enroll in an LSBE-heavy course load in order to be able to take the upper division classes for my minor. I was super nervous about this; I entered an academic realm I had never really explored before — taking classes such as accounting, economics, and information technology. Much to my surprise, I began to LOVE the classes I am in — especially accounting. I began to learn more about accounting when my professor would share his previous experiences working in the field, which caught my interest. I found myself thinking psychology still was not the right fit.

And that brings us to today. I am now an accounting major. I enjoy the business-oriented aspects of my job so much, I knew I wanted to alter what I was doing academically. What I did not know was how much I would enjoy business classes. I am the type of person who finds it extremely difficult to be engaged in a class when I am uninterested, but this semester I have found myself being more engaged and interested in classes than I ever have before. This is still a very new switch for me, but I feel great about it and am incredibly excited. 

I have learned a great deal in my different roles within Career & Internship Services and have gained many skills — both hard and soft. I can confidently say that if it weren’t for being offered the employer relations role, I would have never dreamt of dabbling into the business world, which would have never led me to accounting. Throughout all of this major-switching, minor-adding madness I have experienced the past few semesters, I have learned a lot. My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid of trying new things. Like me, you might try something completely out of your comfort zone and find out that you really like it. Our time spent in college is about learning, of course, but sometimes the learning we do when we are not in class can be more valuable. For me, this is true in that the learning I have done outside the classroom has completely changed the learning I do in the classroom!

Of Possible Interest:
Learning Outside the Classroom posts
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Ruben Rodriguez; UMD C&IS

Beginner’s Guide to Using GoldPASS Powered by Handshake, Part 2

By: Kendra

In my last blog post, I wrote all about GoldPASS, what it is, and how to get started using it. In this post, I am going to focus on how to search for opportunities using the platform. GoldPASS houses thousands and thousands of job, internship, and volunteer opportunity postings. These postings are specifically seeking students and recent graduates, which makes GoldPASS a perfect platform for us current Bulldogs and those who have graduated within the past five years.

Image: looking down on keyboard, notebook, and full coffee cup
Text: Beginner's Guide to GoldPASS powered by Handshake

To find postings that are specific to what you are seeking, follow these steps: 

Make sure your profile is completed as much as possible. 
By having your profile complete, the system is able to show you opportunities strictly based on the information you entered such as major, interests, skills, and preferred industries. Completing your profile as much as possible will better ensure that you are seeing opportunities that are of some interest to you, even if they are not exactly what you are looking for.

Set filters specific to what you are looking for. 
By clicking on “Jobs” in the top navigation menu, you will be brought to a screen that looks like this (Below). This is where you can apply filters to your search. I always like to start by physically clicking on different filters, rather than typing a title in because it is hard to know what a company might name their opportunity. 

Job search filter menu on GoldPASS

It is then a good idea to filter based on which preference is most important to you. For example, I have recently been perusing GoldPASS in search of an internship or job for this coming summer. Since I have housing and have to pay for it over the summer anyway, I would like to stay in Duluth, so I always search by location first. As you can see in the image, you are able to filter by location, time commitment, or industry with just a single click. Then, by clicking on ‘Filters”, you are able to refine your search even more. 

Save your searches.
When you are finished choosing filters and feel you have a group of opportunities that are interesting to you, it is important to save your search. This can be done by clicking the blue, “Save your search” link on the top left of the opportunity search page, as shown below. By doing this, you will get an email whenever an opportunity that matches your search criteria is posted. This can be edited at any time in your notification settings.   

Job posting screenshot from GoldPASS

Save jobs you are interested in.
Anytime you come across a job that interests you, saving it is a good idea. This can be done by clicking on the star that is located to the right of each opportunity title (you can see this in the picture above). When you have opportunities saved, you are able to click “My Favorite Jobs” on the top of the job search page and this will bring you to a list of all of the jobs you have favorited. This is helpful because it keeps all of your potential positions in one place. 

Apply for positions. 
When you are ready to start applying for positions, the application process depends entirely on the company and the opportunity. Some require that you apply through GoldPASS and also apply through the company’s actual site. This is easy, though, as all you need to apply on GoldPASS is a resume and then it directs you to the external application. Other opportunities only require that a resume be submitted through GoldPASS, which is super easy. If you come across a position that you want to apply for, click “Apply Now” and follow the posting-specific instructions to submit your application. 

Searching and applying for jobs and internships can be an overwhelming task. With these steps and tips, I hope you find yourself feeling confident in your ability to find opportunities that interest you on GoldPASS. As always, do not hesitate to stop by Solon Campus Center 22 with any questions that you might have. In my next and final post on GoldPASS, I will be explaining all of the other things that we can do on GoldPASS, so stay tuned for that. 

Best, Kendra

Of Possible Interest
GoldPASS powered by Handshake
Internships; Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
Ace the Job Search; Internships – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Lukas Blazek