What is Career & Internship Services Tabling?

By: Willow

One of the things I get to do a lot with my job at Career & Internship Services is help out when we table at events. We table at tons of different events: major/minor fairs, prospective student events, things of that nature. When I am tabling, I talk to people about all the great things we do at Career & Internship Services. 

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So what are those things?

We have a very extensive Graduate Follow-up Report and it is a great resource, especially for students in their first couple years of school. Looking at the Graduate Follow-up Report you can see how many people in each major have a job related to their major, studied abroad, had an internship, and so much more. You can see the average income of a major, and even get a full list of jobs people have gotten within a year of graduating UMD. Our Graduate Follow-up Report is a really wonderful way to explore different majors and what you can do with them.

At Career & Internship Services, we also do a lot to personally help students pick a major.When I say personally, I mean one on one, with a real person. We have several very qualified counselors who will talk with you and work through any questions and problems helping you to find the major that is best for you.

A common question we get while tabling is “what kind of internships do you have?” None. We don’t have internships. What we do have are ways to help you get the tools to get any internship you want. We also host job and internship fairs to help you find those opportunities. Essentially, we don’t give you the fish, we teach you to fish. We’re very philosophical like that.

We also talk about the top reasons freshmen visit our office, especially at prospective student events. When tabling, we also generally have at least one student, who works in the office, present. The students can talk about their experiences in their majors and the time they’ve been at UMD. We also get a lot of questions about why we have a Pillsbury Doughboy on our table. The simple answer, we got it from an employer and think it’s fun. In reality, it’s a great conversational piece.

A big problem I see at UMD is the misconception that Career & Internship Services is only for seniors, or students that are looking for an internship at that moment. That is just not true. The earlier you start the better off you will be. Stop in anytime.

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Keeping Up Your Motivation

By: Willow

It’s that time of year again, Halloween. Personally I love Halloween, but a big downside to this time of year is the crazy-ness of school. As much as I all like to think I’m a perfect student that never needs help this time of year, I always find myself getting overwhelmed and spreading myself too thin. So, I wrote this to help you remember how to keep your head up this time of year.

Now I know you already know these things, but it’s always nice to have a reminder before you become buried in tears and stress.

Ask for help. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Usually, professors are good people who want to you do well, if you tell them you’re overwhelmed – and not just looking for an easy way out, they almost always will work with you to find a solution.

Do your reading. I know it is so easy to skip it, usually no one will notice and you’ll survive, but when you don’t read for class you end up spending 4 days before your exam trying to figure out what you missed. And it’s horrible, so try to stay on top of it before you crumble under it.

Don’t work more than you can handle. It’s ok to ask for less work during a super crazy week at school. If you know you’re going to have 2 papers due and 3 exams in the same week, there is no shame in asking your boss for less hours. I know it can be hard when you have to pay rent and eat, but try to remember your main goal right now is to get an education.

It’s ok to say no. Did someone ask you to cover their shift at work? Or watch a scary movie on a weeknight? I know you want to say yes, but sometimes it’s far better in the long run to say no.

Go see a doctor if you need one. If you go to UMD, you have health care professionals available to you right on campus, it’s awesome. And you’re paying for them in your tuition so you might as well use them. Don’t forget about counseling, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Life is hard. Don’t make it worse than it has to be. Happy Halloween Bulldogs.

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From Peasant to Prefect: How to Make your Professional Life as Good as a Fairy Tale

By: Willow

Editor’s note: We’re trying something a little different for today’s blog post. Enjoy!

There once was a peasant who lived far away
She hated her job, she did not want to stay
So she asked her mother, “What do I do?”
Mother said, “Apply to jobs fast or you’ll turn into a shrew.”
“Apply to jobs?” Cried the peasant, I don’t know where to start.
“Don’t worry there is a queen up the mountain who has it down to an art.”

So she went up the mountain, it was a quite a big hike.
She arrived at the castle, it was such a great sight.
She knocked on the door, feeling nervous and shy.
A young man opened it shouting, “You are here, but why?”
“I must speak to the queen, I’m in great job hunting trouble”
“Well then I shall get the queen to help you on the double!”

The queen ran down the stairs, “Who needs my assistance?”
“This young girl,” said the man, “Do you think she can do the distance?”
“I believe in her greatly,” the queen replied, “Let’s get started.”
“I’m ready to work,” said the peasant, “I am nervous though, I might have just farted.”
“… Let’s ignore that, we have work to do.”
“I’m ready to start, and I ain’t no fool.”

“Well first thing is your resume, let’s take a look at that.
Oh! You have many skills and can wear many hats.
Cater your resume to the job that you seek,
Don’t be too flashy, but don’t make it bleak.
You need a cover letter for each application,
Something to make them interested without hesitation.”

“I guess I understand that,” the peasant replied.
“Stick with me,” the queen said, “I’ll be your guide.
Let’s start with GoldPASS, it is quite the site.
I’ll make you a profile, and you’ll see the light.”
The peasant found four jobs she was ready to apply.
But there was so much to do, she let out a sigh.

“Now don’t you worry, we’re halfway there.
I’ll tell you the rest, sit down in that chair.
Each job needs a resume, references, and cover letter,
I’m sure we can show them you’re quite the go-getter.
Think of four people who know you so well,
They should have many good things they are not afraid to tell.”

“Now that you have applied let’s talk interviews
They are quite exciting that I promise you.
Dress as nice as you can, you want to look well,
For your own value you are going to sell.”
“I think I understand, I’m getting this now,
I’m off to get a job, now I know just how!”

So the peasant went off to take on the world,
Her wildest dreams soon unfurled.
She became so many things through her long happy life
From teacher to dancer and even midwife.
So the moral of the story, as you can see,
Get help from the queen and fulfilled you will be.
*Author’s note, in this story the queen is a metaphor for the Career & Internship Services Office, stop in at SCC 22 and see us for your life to become a fairy tail!*

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Make It Work

By: Willow

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As a human, we all have to do things we don’t want to do, things that we aren’t good at, and things that we just darn tootin’ hate. Unfortunately, those things you hate are almost always unavoidable. This blog post is about how to make those horrible things a little less horrible and more doable.

My idea for this blog post started when my roommate and I took at look at our apartment and realized it was pretty gross. Neither of us are neat freaks, we’re both busy, and not home that much. With the two of us not making cleaning a priority, our apartment had quickly become a box of shame. Realizing this was a problem, we decided to make a plan to make something we both hated, cleaning, work for us. We decided to make a chart where we would earn stickers for cleaning, for instance doing the dishes equals one sticker. Once we get so many stickers, we’ll have a roomie pizza party. Now I know a lot of people would look at this system and think we are ridiculous for having to have a sticker chart for two grown women to clean. This may be true, but this is what works for us. And that’s ok.

I think a common mistake people (including myself) make is thinking there is only one right way to do something. That is false! There are a million right ways to do something. If you need to lock yourself if your room and not talk to anyone until you finish your midterm paper, that’s ok. If you need to go into every office hour in order to pass a class, that’s ok.

College is hard, and it is impossible to everything on your own. Get help from people around you, make goals, find ways to reach those goals and do your best. There is no shame in sticker charts.

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The Benefits of Not Getting Paid (Or Getting Paid Very Little)

By: Willow

I understand the title of this blog post sounds ridiculous. Let me promise you, I am a poor college student who will do almost anything for a buck just like everyone else, but I also have had two unpaid internships and worked three summers at a camp with minimal pay, and I want to share how these jobs can be even better than a paycheck.

They are a great place to start. If your resume leave a little bit to be desired, unpaid internships can be wonderful launch pad.

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Often with internships employers are looking for people with potential to grow, not people who are already at the top. They want someone who is ready to learn and might be able to move up into higher positions in the future. As far as camps go, if you have an interest in hanging out in the outdoors with a bunch of kids all day, and you can be positive and hardworking, you can probably find a good place to work.

You learn a ton. Both with internships and camps one of the best things is how much you learn. Unpaid interns are often looked at as “student workers” who are trying to learn to get better at their future career path. Because of this, higher ups at your workplace are more likely to have things for you just so you can learn. For instance at my government internship my boss is organizing days for us to go to different government departments so I can meet other people in the field and see how various government offices in Duluth run. At camp there is so much learning that happens, since camp is a learning experience for kids there are always little tidbits of fun info you can pick up from your fellow staff and even campers.

Dress codes are probably looser.

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Now this one isn’t necessarily true across the board but for camps it definitely is. Although at camp you are expected to always dress appropriately, what you wear is pretty open. I know I’ve spent many a summer’s day in overalls, purple windpants, wolf tee shirts, or sometimes, just a swimsuit. Obviously I can’t go to my internship in my swimsuit with my overalls on top (yes I’ve done that at camp) but I am not expected to buy a very high class fancy wardrobe for my semester-long internship. Yes, I dress up to work, but I don’t need to invest in 13 Hillary Clinton-style pants suits.

Hours are more flexible.

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Interns are usually not expected to have their lives revolve around their job. When I did an unpaid internship on a campaign, I was still able to go to two different summer camps and a family reunion without a problem. I also had a back injury and was able to recover without having to worry about rushing back into doorknocking before I could handle it. In my current internship I have a hour requirement in order to get class credit, but as long as I get my hours I am pretty much able to craft my schedule any way I would like. For camps, it can be harder to take a day off here or there but if planned well enough ahead, I have always found I have been able to come to a schedule compromise.

None of the things I wrote about are a guarantee, there are some internships and low paying starting jobs that require you to buy a uniform and and very strict with scheduling. These are, however, common factors of “starter” opportunities like unpaid internships and low paying jobs. I wrote this not to say every unpaid internship is amazing and you should always work for free, but to remind you to not rule out an opportunity simply based on a dollar sign (or lack there of).

Of Possible Interest: 

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A College Student’s Guide to Interviews: Part 2

By: Willow

In my last blog post I talked about two starter steps to get ready for interviews. In this blog post I want to give a few tips on what to do in the actual interview, ways to really shine, and get the job you’re perfect for.

In an interview, employers are looking for a lot of things. Some focus just on skills you have, some focus on personality and if you will fit with their team, and some focus on a number of other little things that add up to an employee. It is important to know what your strengths are, a good place to start is by taking the StrengthsQuest assessment at Career & Internship Services. StrengthsQuest gives you your top five strengths and breaks them down into different categories, after you get your results you can have a meeting with a career counselor in the office to help you figure out how you can apply those strengths in your life. The cool thing about StrengthsQuest is that a lot of businesses are using these for team building and employee development so if you already know your strengths you’re a step ahead.

You have far more than five strengths though, and StrengthsQuest isn’t going to be able to tell you that you can come up with really creative campaign slogans, and that certainly is a skill to be proud of. Make a list of everything you bring to the table, big and small. Read over the list and think of specific times you used those skills you could talk about in your interview. Remember that interviews are a time for you to talk about yourself. I know it’s not easy, a lot of people have troubling talking about their strengths, but there is a difference between being cocky and being confident. It can be a difficult line to walk but practicing can really help, just like in my last blog post, I HIGHLY recommend doing a practice interview with the career office.

Remember, you have skills, you are awesome, and everyone wants to hire you, just don’t be a jerk about it. If you apply for jobs you are passionate about, you want to be good at, and you want to work hard at, you’re already halfway there. Do what you love folks, and the rest will fall in line.

Of Possible Interest:

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The Big “I” Word

By: Willow

If there is one thing that all employers love it’s initiative. Initiative is ability to assess a situation and decide what needs to be done independently from the direction of others. That does not mean that you do things despite what other people say, it means that you do productive things without explicitly being told to do so.

Why is this so important you may ask? The more you do without being asked to the better it makes you look, and the easier it makes everyone else’s lives. A lot of things you do will go unnoticed, if you see the toilet paper is low in the office bathroom and you refill it, chances are no one will come up and thank you, but people will be a lot happier.

Initiative

There are far bigger things you can do without being asked too. Once you know more about the company and you figure out routines, then you should have a good idea what needs to be done. If you work at a food establishment you know that the tables need to be wiped down after someone uses them. You don’t have to be told to do that. In any job setting there are tons of things that happen regularly that employees just don’t do until they’re asked. Be better, don’t be lazy. So what do you do if you’re not sure that’s what your boss wants? Simple, just ask, “Hey Janet, do you want me to type up that report?” if they say yes, go do it, if they say no, lucky you.

This blog post is a short one because I think this topic is simple. Do your job, do it well, and do it without being asked. That’s how you become a great employee.

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Photo Source: Unsplash|Negative Space