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: 

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

Advantages of Being a Peer Educator

By: Kirsi

We're hiring! Multicultural Outreach Assistant and Peer Educator. Apply via UMD HR by April 2nd.

Peer Educators, Fall 2017

When I saw the job posting for Peer Educator position I figured it would be a great way to make a few bucks reviewing resumes. What I did not expect was the extra benefits of being a Peer Educator, in addition to the extra Taco Bell money.

Master Job Applications
Sometimes submitting job applications feels like discarding hopes and dreams into a black hole. Depending on the job, hiring managers may never give applicants feedback. Peer Educators complete training that unveils the mystery of job applications, what hiring managers want to, and strategies to display qualifications. Peer Educators complete comprehensive training before being trusted to review fellow student’s resumes and LinkedIn profiles. This training is much like a crash course in hire-ability. Newly recruited Peer Educators must familiarize themselves with the Career Handbook, “perfect” resume reviews, attend diversity training, and learn about resources the office offers such as InterviewStreamCareer Assessments, and GoldPASS. Career Handbook familiarization is especially important because its resume and cover letter examples follow expectations of hiring managers around the region.

Transform Passions into Professions
Helping a fellow Bulldog land an internship makes the training and attention to detail worthwhile! Equipped with experience, interviewing confidence, and a resume that clearly communicates your qualifications you too can transform your passion into a profession. I enjoy demystifying the job application process. Even the most seemingly unattainable career can be reached with the support of Career Counselors, Peer Educators, relevant experience, and grit. Peer Educators are a bridge of communication between the office and students. Peer Educators reach out to students about the office’s services on Facebook and occasionally on Instagram stories.

Student working at job fair

Kirsi working at the UMN Job & Internship Fair, Feb 2018

Make Unlikely Connections
As an Engineering and Computer Science double major I rarely interacted with students outside of Swenson College of Science and Engineering until becoming a Peer Educator. The Peer Educator team is comprised of students from all of UMD’s colleges, by coincidence! I have a newfound respect for majors outside of the STEM realm due to connections I have made with my coworkers. Peer Educators often work in pairs and complete training together. I help edit resumes and review LinkedIn profiles of students of every major. A project I worked on in addition to reviewing resumes includes small web development tasks. I updated the following Career & Internship Services webpages: “Graduate Follow-Up Report“, “Graduate Follow-Up By Major“, and “Graduate Follow-up Report Archive.” During these projects, I learned about careers graduates from each major acquired. During the summer of 2017, I helped with the office “Love Your Major” campaign helping students choose, change or embrace their major.

The Peer Educator position is regularly recruiting for new students every spring (usually after Spring Break). Take a look in the UMD HR system for openings.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

Apply Adaptability to Your Career

By: Kirsi

Adaptability is a trait employers seek in their candidates. How have you been able to successfully adjust your habits and expectations to unfamiliar situations? Could your adaptability propel you through uncontrollable forces like illness, rejection, or a natural disaster?

Apply adaptability to your career. Ocean waves from overhead.

The only thing standing between me and my Spring 2017 Co-Op tour in Houston, Texas was the record-smashing Hurricane Harvey. Bravely (or foolishly?) I traveled down I-35 into the storm, arrived in Houston the evening Harvey hit, and bunkered down with a week of supplies. Unscathed, unlike many, a week later the flood water subsided and I started my Co-Op. Suddenly my Co-Op became less about me, my projects, and refining technical skills. My Co-Op became more about the affected employees, returning to normality, and refining my empathy toward others. In the coming weeks I adjusted my deadlines if my team members had to navigate flood insurance logistics, I volunteered at a donation center to get employees’ families the essentials, and reprioritized what tasks really needed to be done.

Hurricane Harvey from NASA International Space Station

Hurricane Harvey from Space

I hope you will never have to adapt to such an extremely destructive situation. One of my greatest weaknesses is adapting to change that is neither initiated by me nor part of a job’s nature.

If I am met with the challenge of adaptability again these are some big-picture questions I would reflect on…

What actually matters?
Taking a massive step back in life when a large change has occurred is necessary to get the whole picture and also is an opportunity recalibrate your life’s trajectory. Asking yourself “What actually matters?” leads to smaller questions and simpler answers. Here are examples of college-focused decisions…

Smaller (but not by much) Questions:

  • Why am I going to college?
  • Is what I am investing my time into going to lead to financial stability and a fulfilling future?
  • Am I happy?
  • Are there other options I am not aware of for my future?
  • Am I making the best decisions and how can I become more skeptical of my decisions?

Simpler Answers

  • I’m going to college because engineering positions require an ABET accredited engineering degree.
  • I’m going to college because it’s the only place I can learn about my field and it’s worth the hundreds of thousands of hours / and tens of thousands of dollars.
  • My current career trajectory is leading me to a fulfilling field that innovates in ways that shape the present and future of humanity.
  • My current major, while challenging, makes me happy because the climb is rewarding.
  • There are always options I am unaware of and I must keep an open mind and open doors.
  • I am making the best decisions based on my current perspective, skepticism can be achieved by welcoming critique and new experiences.

empty store shelves

Empty shelves that used to be filled with water.

What do I need?
This question arises when starting a career experience, moving, or changing a major. The “I” in this question is literal. What do I need, personally, to adapt?

  • If you have moved this may be as simple as familiarizing yourself with your surroundings. Where is the closest grocery store, hospital, gas station, or Target? Where can I hang out on the weekends, work out, shop, or meet new people?
  • If you are changing a major this could include: Who are my new advisors? Who can I partner up with to tackle homework? When are office hours? Who is in my new “support network”?
  • If you are starting a new career, adapting requires communication with your peers and managers about what you (reasonably) need. “I would like to meet once every week to talk about my progress,” “I would like a mentor to refine my professional skills,” and “I would like to know routines your company has so I can adjust to them.”

What resources are needed to get the job done?
Once you have a big picture and you have taken care of your personal needs you can focus on thriving in a new environment. If your goal is to have a successful internship you may need…

  • A new knowledge base populated with skills in coding, communication, math, thermodynamics, management, or simply knowing when you need to ask for help.
  • A support group of experienced mentors you can run ideas by and foolproof your solutions.
  • Classes or workshops to get you up to speed with other employees.
  • Enough time to make a couple of drafts and mistakes.
  • Proper materials, protective equipment, training, and authority.

Adapting is becoming constructively uncomfortable to improve yourself and advance a greater objective. To avoid adapting is sheltering yourself from beautiful possibilities. Wipe the sweat from your brow, control the knot in your gut, and get out there.

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo Sources: Unsplash|Carlos Dominguez, NASA, & Kirsi

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:

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Career Advice from Tabletop Gaming

By: Kirsi

Honestly, each one of these tabletop games warrants their own “career advice from” post. Here are some career advice highlights from the tabletop genre. Caution, possible whiplash causing transitions ahead …

Stranger Things - Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons on Stranger Things

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D): Sometimes life is a dice roll.

Don’t get too attached to your D&D character, they may be annihilated within hours into the game depending on your dungeon master. I spent hours on my first character sheet coming up with a great back story and carefully assigning ability values. Despite time and effort, my character was mortally wounded and I had to quickly roll a new character for the remainder of the quest. Likewise in the real world, ample time and effort may be invested into planning a particular career path which ultimately might become unfeasible. Factors out of your control like the job market, loss of interest, or simply life can set you back semesters or even years of career development. Re-roll your career path and stay flexible. Use that same in-game imagination to find a career that best fits your abilities. You might even find a chat with a Career Counselor more fruitful than probing an NPC for information with failed persuasion rolls.

Big Bang Theory - Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan on Big Bang Theory

Settlers of Catan: Take advantage of your resources.

In my opinion, Catan is a close second to Mario Kart for games that wound friendships: “Oh you want this wheat?…TOO BAD”. If you are familiar with your opponents you know what their 10 point win case strategy is; building roads, constructing houses or collecting development cards. This also means you know which resources you can starve your opponents from. In an ideal and moral world, your career building resources are not being stolen from you. However, you might as well discard your cash if you do not take advantage of UMD’s on-campus resources! Part of your tuition funds resources like those provided at Career Internship ServicesChoose a major, hunt for an internship, prep for a career fair, explore graduate schools and look for a full-time job. Our career resources may not be not as straight forward as wheat, lumber, brick, ore, and sheep.

Pro Poker Player Annie Duke

Pro Poker Player Annie Duke

Poker: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em”

Personally, I do not play poker but after taking Introduction to Probability and Statistics I respect the mathematical and emotional intelligence required to become a pro-player. My favorite poker anecdote is when professional poker player Annie Duke won the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. Duke struggled during the World Series playing behind all day and in one case taking far too much time to make a decision on live television. I equate applying for internships, receiving offers and declining offers to playing poker with a little more control. Throughout college, I have navigated a spectrum of internship challenges. Sometimes there is a lack of internship offers. Sometimes there are too many offers – which enables the ability to negotiate an hourly pay and benefits increase. Sometimes there is a need to respectfully decline offers. Throughout this journey I have asked for the guidance of career counselors, They can read drafts of emails, brainstorm respectful rejection letters, and help keep doors open for future opportunities.

Magic the Gathering

Magic The Gathering

Magic The Gathering: Timing is everything.

A novice painter can not churn out a Van Gogh even with the most expensive paints. Similarly, a novice Magic player can not win against an experienced player with the same deck that won Magic Pro Tour. Activating triggered abilities, understanding the stack, and playing cards at the perfect game phase sets apart an intermediate and an expert player. Think about navigating a job fair or networking the same way you judge using an instant spell. Use your mana wisely…

  • Avoid engaging in conversation with the CEO of your favorite company when your mouth is full of hors d’oeuvres.
  • Do not visit your top pick company at the job fair first, settle into the environment and gain confidence.
  • Wait until the recruiter’s table is less crowded to chat and present your resume.

Career and Internship Services hosts workshops during the school year about how to be successful at a job fair. Job fairs begin as early as September!

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k: Change with the rule changes.

40k got a huge overhaul with new 8th edition rules replacing the 2014 7th edition. Unlike previous rule updates, the game was redesigned to make it easier for new players (myself included) while letting current players use miniatures from the 90s. Most 40k community members are keeping fluid during rule changes in hopes the playerbase will grow. Flexibility is a highly valuable trait of any employee, leader or entrepreneur. Staying flexible can also mean you keep career opportunities open when attending UMD. Consider applying for a work study positionland an internship, or conduct an informational interview with a professional in an industry you are interested in. Sometimes a one track mind on what your future should look like can eliminate perfectly good career options with equal or greater success. Keep your options and dice on the table.

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Photos by (in order of appearance)…
Stranger Things, Netflix; The Big Bang TheoryCBS; Annie Duke, from her official Facebook page; boogie2988, YouTuber; Kirsi, Warhammer at a local shop

Game of Thrones Characters Choose Careers

By: Kirsi (a major Game of Thrones fan)

If a Game of Thrones character walked into Career and Internship Services… What kinds of questions would they ask? Would they come in with a plan of action? Or be completely bamboozled?

Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister
Despite confidence he could land an internship by sweet talking recruiters without even practicing an elevator speech, Tyrion decided to make use of all available resources and seek professional career advice. Tyrion strutted into SCC 22 with a battle plan – draft of a resume, draft of a cover letter and a couple of positions he wanted to apply for. Among the desired positions included a Pathways Internship with the Department of Defense, a summer internship with the NSA (National Security Agency) and a semester long opportunity at the White House. Tyrion picked a Peer Educator’s brain, finding ways to reword his accomplishments and best communicate his qualifications.

Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen
Slamming her hands on our welcome desk Daenerys demanded an internship. Surprised that the … enthusiasm… was coming from a student and not a parent, a Peer Educator explained that students have to pick out desired opportunities and the office helps with the application process. Daenerys understood that landing an internship would set her on the path to victory to rule the Seven Kingdoms, whatever that means, but did not know what industry she would fit best in. A Peer Educator set her up with career assessments; StrengthsQuest, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the Strong Interest Inventory. After discussing results with a Career Counselor, Daenerys found her top strength is “Activator”, she identifies as an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving) through the MBTI, and she would be good at circuit speaking and political campaign interning.

John Snow Game of Thrones

John Snow
John is the comeback kid of our office. He has been rejected from career opportunities after online applications, interviews, and cold calling but does not lose hope. John Snow first came into the SCC 22 knowing nothing except that he wanted to work in cooler climates, like Antarctica or Alaska. After scheduling an appointment and meeting with a career counselor, John found a great research opportunity studying ice cores with the United States Antarctica Program, job openings for students in Alaska, and plans to talk to UMD’s Study Abroad Office about a semester in Europe.

Cersei Lannister Game of Thrones

Cersei Lannister
Sitting on a throne of academic awards, A+ essays and a senior design project Cersei asks “Now what?”. She, unfortunately, waited until her senior year to visit Career and Internship Services. Although it is ideal to stop in SCC 22 as early as freshman year it is not too late for Cersei to take complete control of her future! Fortunately during her years at UMD Cersei was involved in student organizations such as Greek life, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology Club, Political Science Association, Socratic Society and rugby to enhance her resume. A Peer Educator showed Cersei how to use GoldPASS, a portal of job postings especially catered for University of Minnesota schools students. After her resume was approved Cersei found dozens of jobs she was qualified for.

Samwell Tarly Game of Thrones

Samwell Tarly
Shy yet armed with tons of knowledge Sam sought interviewing help in preparation for the Fall E-Fest Job and Internship Fair. Sam wants to intern at an engineering firm next summer, familiarize himself with popular interview questions and curb his social awkwardness. A Peer Educator shared helpful interview tips with Sam and showed him how to use InterviewStream, an online interview practice tool. Sam quickly became conscious about the number of “um”s he uses.

Photos by HBO, Paul Schiraldi and Sloan Helen from “Game of Thrones”

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Multiple Internship Advantage

By: Kirsi

Astronaut_User_Test

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.

Aurora_ Stars_From_Space_Station_Window

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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