Taylor’s Lessons Learned at UMD

By: Taylor

Well the time has come for me to graduate. It is so hard to believe that just 3 and half years ago I was entering this space as a freshman. I truly could not be more pleased with my experience at UMD and my heart hurts when I think that it is now concluding. I have learned so much here and have been touched by so many amazing people; I am incredibly thankful.

I think I could write pages giving people recommendations on what to do with their time at UMD, but I will try to keep it brief.

Get involved. I’m serious. There is a club or student organization out there for literally every interest. What a convenient way to meet people and do what you love. You can also find on-campus jobs (the best are in Career & Internship Services) or join an intramural sport.

Try new things. Now’s your time, people! Get out and do something you’ve always wanted to!

Explore. The students who I’ve come into contact with that get off campus and explore the city of Duluth and the Northland feel much more connected to the community. We live in a beautiful place and it’s inspiring. There are so many hiking trails, boutiques, restaurants, etc. only 5-10 minutes from campus. Load up the car and head up to Gooseberry Falls or just spend an afternoon walking along the Lakewalk. That is how many of my fondest memories here were made.

Appreciate your time. Soak it all up. It goes by so fast and before you know it you will be graduating.

This is going to be an ironic statement after all of that, but something I’ve realized lately is that at some point in time you have to stop taking advice from people and do what you want to do. Take charge of your life and mold it into something that makes you happy every single day. This is the most important thing. You are the creator of your destiny and the measurer of your success.

I am so excited for this next chapter in my life but am sad to be ending this one. This experience will forever be a part of me. A true thank you to every person in the Career & Internship Services office for being great mentors and coworkers. You are all fabulous people who I will miss very much.

Yay Bulldogs! I did it!

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Finding the Best Advice

By: Taylor

In a recent blog post, I talked about a channel I follow on LinkedIn. Recently, I have found another page that I highly recommend for a daily dose of inspiration: Best Advice. The page consists of many professionals writing a short column with their most sought after advice. Each writer comes from a different company, a different part of the world, and also has gathered their knowledge from a vast amount of places. Here are some of recent articles posted to the page:

  • Removing Toxic People From Your Life
  • Will a Closed Mind Destroy Your Future?
  • The Most Important Ingredient for Success
  • Where Confidence Comes From
  • Best Advice: You Can’t Be Everything to Everybody

These are just a few of the many articles available. Good advice can take you a long ways and it is always good to get a diverse viewpoint on what can help you be successful. The link for this page is here.

If you are interested in pages like these there are many more out there. LinkedIn has channels for every type of professional and topic issue. Some examples include: Finance and Banking, Leadership & Management, My Startup Story, and The Book That Changed Me. You can never gather enough advice or stop learning and this is a convenient way to get great information!

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Success After Breakfast

By: Taylor

Last school year I wrote about what the most successful people do before breakfast. I had read a book by Laura Vanderkam that spoke thoroughly on the topic and found it to be quite inspiring. There are many keys in making your entire day productive that start bright and early. A quick revisit of my previous blog posts would remind you to exercise, review your schedule, and allot time for personal and professional growth. So what do these successful people do after breakfast?

Before or after breakfast, an important organization method is to create a “to-do” list. Making a clear list of things you need to do throughout the day will make it easy to prioritize the big items and the small ones. Instead of preoccupying your mind with these tasks, seeing them on paper will help you to think clearly.

Upon getting to work on time (due to your time well spent before dawn), there are a variety of things you can do to have a high-functioning day. By creating a morning routine at the office you will have a consistent method of being productive. For some of the most successful, they begin by touching base with their boss or employees. If the people around you at the office aren’t productive, you won’t be either. Making sure your goals are aligned and are all working toward the same initiatives could take you a long way. Other business leaders take time to themselves to catch up on emails and other messages. Setting aside time to do this is important. If you do this throughout the day like in between meetings, may interrupt your workflow and productivity. Also, Remember that if you start your day off right, it will be your most productive time. Use it to tackle big projects or to hold your most important meetings.

A study published in an American Psychological Association Journal, Emotion, stated that early birds feel healthier and happier than night owls. Begin each day at your best!

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Mentors: We Can’t All be Superhuman

By: Taylor

I think that we all have our own mentors in life. Whether it be a family member, a previous teacher, or a coach, there are always people in life that we look up to and seek advice from. As college students we should also have people that inspire us and who we turn to for career-related knowledge. We can’t have a superhuman tendency and think that we can do everything on our own. Mentors can provide us with networking opportunities, a real-world perspective, constructive criticism, and much more.

I have been reading a few articles on mentors and who the best ones to have are. One author, Kim Kaupe, talked about having four mentors so that your connections would be well-rounded. What were the four? Somebody inside the industry that knows you personally, somebody inside the industry that knows you as an acquaintance, somebody outside the industry that knows you personally, and somebody outside the industry that knows you as an acquaintance. I agree with this model and have set these goals for myself. I think it sets you up with a wide variety of coaches that will come from different places in your life.

That being said, where does one find a mentor? Anywhere! A great place to make connections is at local networking events. This a place where you can find people generally interested in the same line of work as you. Furthermore, consider your family/relatives and your family friends. These people have known you personally and hopefully know a lot about your accomplishments. They will also not hold back when giving honest advice!

You could start by attending UMD’s Alumni Networking Night on November 14th, at The Underground in the Duluth Depot. Make sure to RSVP by November 6th. Find all the details here.

There are many places and ways to find mentors and they can be anybody. Start making these connections early so that the relationships will be more personal and meaningful.

Of possible interest:

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Influencers on How They Hire

By: Taylor

Recently I found a series of posts on LinkedIn that gives professionals a chance to describe how they hire. Many of the writers are CEO’s or business owners that are very influential. Although the page is primarily for recruiters or other hiring managers, a student can find a lot of valuable information when reading about what may make or break an interview and also what businesses are looking for.

Some of the titles include:

  • How I Hire: Find Ballplayers, Not Those Who Look Good in Baseball Caps
  • How I Hire: To Be Great at Hiring, Be Unafraid of Firing
  • How I Hire: Recruiting with a Human Voice
  • How I Hire: With Purpose
  • How I Hire: Stop Telling Me and Start Showing Me
  • How I Hire: It’s Not Just What You Answer, It’s How
  • How I Hire: I Don’t Care Where You Went to School
  • How I Hire: Just Be Yourself

If you want to check it out, the channel is called “Influencers on How They Hire.” I particularly liked posts related to traits that employees were looking for; recurring words included passionate, confident, strategic, and adaptable. The posts were also encouraging when referencing the interview. They spoke about how outfits matter less than we think, the details of our stories are irrelevant in ways, but a glow in the eye signaling passion will land you a job. Tap into the brains of some of the most successful so that you can follow in their footsteps!

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Get Noticed

By: Taylor

Through Career & Internship Services I get to see dozens of resumes each week and have an opportunity to critique them. Our office provides pamphlets of advice that we have gathered from employers and the leading professionals. What format is best? What size font? What experiences should I highlight and how? But what if, after making all of the proper adjustments, your resume still isn’t getting through? Many students today are wondering how they aren’t getting even a phone call from an employer when they think they are the perfect candidate and their resume showed that.

Get noticed by employers

Well, the answer to your question may be your method of application, not your resume. Today many companies give you the option of applying online. Needless to say, it is fairly easy (yet time-consuming) to apply this way. In some scenarios, employers are receiving thousands of resumes. They then narrow the resumes down by selecting key words and experiences.

So what is the key to locking down that first interview? Making a connection that isn’t anonymous online is crucial. By networking with professionals on LinkedIn or at job fairs, you increase the chances of your resume getting looked at, ten-fold. This connection is real. This is particularly relevant for those who are interested in a company that doesn’t necessary have any jobs posted. Again, by making that in-person connection, you have made some sort of impression. If it is a good one, your contact may put your resume at the top of the list or even let you in on the open positions that the company isn’t posting online.

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U of M Job Fair Internship Survey

By: Taylor

Earlier in the year, two Peer Educators from the Career Services office decided to talk to employers about their internship programs. Andrew and I made our way down to the U of M Job Fair in February. We were prepared with questions and equipped with iPads to collect the data. At the end of the day we had communicated with 30 different employers and gathered some great information. Each of the interactions were brief so we only had a chance to ask five questions.

HOL Student for blog

So what did we ask? In regards to obtaining the internship, we wanted to know what the top traits employers were looking for in their potential interns. Some of the key words we heard were: communication, passion, and leadership. When piecing together your resume, it is critical to highlight your experiences and expertise in these areas. Employers will be sure to notice and it will help you to stand out from your peers.

We also wanted to collect information about what an internship was like during the employment period. We asked how big of a contribution interns made to the business as well as what types of activities they usually did. Not surprisingly, we had a broad range of answers. Some of the most recurring activities were: paperwork, projects, and “real world” contributions. Before you accept an internship offer, ask your employer what your average day will look like. This will help lessen any shock of activities you weren’t expecting to do.

Summarized above are some of our results. By this summer, the full report will be available online at www.d.umn.edu/careers. We are looking forward to continuing our research in the fall since we have now seen what works well and what doesn’t!  We are generating new questions and will be attending a variety of different career fairs to gather a wide-range of information. Given the opportunity to ask an employer any question about internships, what would you want to know?

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Input: Who Wants to Know More?

By: Taylor

People especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Input

What does the Input strength look like to me? Since taking the StrengthsQuest assessment I have identified a number of things that characterize me as somebody carrying the input strength:

1. I had trouble deciding a major. This happened not because I didn’t know what I wanted to do but rather because I found so many things interesting. I ended up with a double major in two completely different fields. Both of which will allow me to consider a number of different career paths.

2. I am interested in a wide variety of things and am constantly finding random things that I instantly have a desire to learn. There is not necessarily a rhyme or reason but rather just an excitement that forms from finding new things. It seems like each week I have a new interest and am constantly researching to learn more. I think this is demonstrated by my plans for this summer: starting to take piano lessons, obtaining my real estate license, and traveling to places like Arizona to hike and Washington D.C. to visit historic landmarks.

3. I love meeting new people and learning about where they came from as well as what the future holds for them. I appreciate differences as it’s a chance to see things from a fresh perspective.

4. I collect pieces of information from the news and other pieces of literature. I am constantly taking notes in the margin and writing down quotes in hope that I won’t forget what I’ve just absorbed.

Needless to say- I am never bored! These are just a few examples of how the Input strength reflects in my lifestyle. I am always excited and optimistic about things that are in my future. I will always travel, read a variety of things, and even take classes after graduating. It is troublesome thinking that I will never really know it all or enough, but by identifying this strength I’ve identified that I develop by experiences new adventures.

If you think (or know) that Input is one of your strengths, here are some ideas from the StrengthsQuest book for exploring career paths:

  • Collect as much information as you can about the careers that interest you. The more information you gather, the better your decision will be.
  • Environments that give you the freedom to pursue threads of information and that focus on informed decision-making are likely to bring out your best.
  • You probably will enjoy a career in which you are always on the cutting edge of knowledge and you can gather and share valuable pieces of relevant information.
  • Choose jobs that require you to be an expert collector and consumer of research. This type of environment will energize you.

If you want to learn more about the input, then check out the StrengthsQuest website or stop in Career Services to read about this strength and all the others!

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Career Moves You’ll Regret

By: Taylor

Career moves regret

With recent economic conditions, some students are making career moves that they could regret in the future. Although it is important to take advantage of opportunities offered to you, there are many items to consider before formally accepting. In order to find employment that you truly enjoy and will motivate you for a long time,  don’t make these mistakes:

1. Focus on the Money

Of course money is important, but it is not the only thing! Be wary of accepting a job based solely on a salary. You don’t want to end up trapped in a high paying position that makes you miserable. Don’t be blinded by big numbers!

2. Not having the courage to pursue a dream

Many people who leave their professions to pursue a passion only have one regret: not doing it sooner. Make your dreams a reality. Make plans and connect with the right people. You don’t need an office job before starting your own photography business!

3. Culture of an Organization

It is a recruiter’s job to make their company and its employment opportunities appealing. They will definitely highlight the best parts, but you should wonder if they are being honest about the negatives about the job. Social media makes it easy to connect with employees from every business and every industry. Connect with these people to find the most realistic job preview possible. You don’t want to be excited to start a new job and then realize it’s not what you expected.

4. Opportunities for Progression

Likewise, although a job has the possibility of advancement or relocation, what you like now is not necessarily what you will enjoy doing in the future. Although a job opportunity may seem like the perfect career right now, you don’t want to feel stuck. Investigate whether or not the company has opportunities for advancement or relocation. Strike a balance with the present and your long-term goals.

Finding the perfect job is most students’ ultimate goal. Finding that often takes time, patience, and a lot of researching. Take advantage of a variety of career openings so that you can pick what one truly fits you and when thinking strike a balance with the present and implementing your long-term goals.

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7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By: Taylor

I recently read the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. This self-help book has been around for some time and has even been staring at me from my bookshelf for a couple years. This past week I gave it its deserved attention and found myself quite inspired. It took me a while to get through, but with many notes and concentration, I now know what the seven habits are and how to institute them into my life and work.

7 habits

Below you will find the seven habits and a brief description of each:

  1. Be Proactive- Start each day by hitting the ground running. Take initiative and move! Make your ideas happen and always find the light at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind- Identify and clarify your short-term and long-term goals, but don’t let these ideas be binding if life takes you down a different path. When coming into a new company, ask yourself, “What positive changes do I see being made by the end of the month? The year?”
  3. Put First Things First- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! What items on your to-do list will help you attain your goals? Put the most time and effort into these things rather than the mindless tasks. Creating detailed schedules can help you make sure everything gets done with the enriching tasks having the most time.
  4. Think Win-Win- Strive for compromise and mutually beneficial relationships. Good relationships will carry you a lifetime. There is not much to gain from short-term wins or arguments.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood- Taking time to understand and listen to others will take you a long way. You will be knowledgeable and consequently perceived as trustworthy. Furthermore, since you put in time to listen, it will be reciprocated!
  6. Synergize- Energize groups! Accomplish what no person alone could have. Creating teams with a positive work vibe is critical for effectiveness.
  7. Sharpen the Saw- This habit goes beyond the workplace. In order to take care of business, you have to take care of yourself! Find self-fulfilling activities such as yoga, meditation, or hiking. Also important is healthy eating and exercise.

I highly recommend checking out this book if you are interested in this type of reading! I have done some brief research looking for similar reads and found numerous titles that may interest any character. Happy reading!

Of Possible Interest:

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