So You Don’t Have An Internship This Summer?

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The academic year is winding down, summer is approaching and panic sets in.  You don’t have a summer internship yet.  Perhaps you’ve been spending endless hours applying for positions since the fall semester but nothing has worked out.  Or maybe you just started applying for positions last week and the majority of them have been filled.

Stress mounts as self-doubt runs through your mind. “Time is running out.  Without an internship I’ll never land my dream job.”

Wrong. Don’t panic! While you may no longer be able to land your dream internship for now, there are many valuable and productive ways to spend your time this summer.  Here is a game plan to make sure you make this summer count!

1. Network

Whether you’re tapping into your own established network or asking your parents what friends of theirs you can contact, networking is a powerful method to help advance your career. Not sure where to start? Consider reconnecting with former teachers, mentors or even alumni from your high school. See whom they know and who they can introduce you to.  Get out there and attend networking events this summer. It all starts with a conversation, so step out of your comfort zone and create connections with those around you.

2. Volunteer

Whether you’re volunteering at a local food pantry or with a national non-profit organization, there are plenty of ways you can volunteer and prepare yourself for your future career.  Many volunteer positions will give you a proper title that will look just as great as an internship on your resume, and you can list your job duties just as you would for an internship. Nonprofits are always looking for volunteers. Try finding an organization your passions align with and contact them to see how you can help.  Serving as a volunteer could lead you to an internship or even a full time position. 

3. Continue the search

Don’t stop applying.  Consider taking an unpaid internship to gain the experience, if needed.  Use this free time to find the perfect internship for next semester.  Get yourself hired before anyone else even begins working on their resumes. Keep an eye on job openings.  Contact companies and reach out to them before they even get a chance to say they are hiring.  You will be ready for next semester before anyone has a chance to even think about it.  It’s never too late, so don’t lose your drive.

Untitled.png24. Gaining skills from unrelated jobs

Within your summer job ask if you can help out with something that relates to your field of work.  Make sure your unrelated job ties into the overall narrative you’re telling about your skills and experiences.  You can highlight components of your summer job and relate it back to your career goals on your resume.  Some transferrable skills include: working with difficult people, managing time or stress, working with money, and the list goes on and on. Don’t dismiss the experiences that are coming your way.  Even though it is not your ideal internship, you can still learn new things every day at an unrelated job.

Not sure where to begin your search? Click on the different colleges below to for a list of internship coordinators here at UW-Whitewater:

Your resources are closer than you think.

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  1. Revamp your online presence

Take the summer to update your LinkedIn profile, clean up social media accounts, and revamp your resume.  Think about what you have accomplished in the past year; new skills, course, projects or certificates.  By taking the time to update your resume you can focus on the details and specifics to make it as clean as possible while reflecting your personal achievements.  Not only will these updates save you time down the road, but also you will begin to recognize what areas you may need to start focusing on for the future.

  1. Continue your education

Take summer courses.  Use this summer to build up your GPA.  You can lighten up your load for the fall by taking summer classes.  Pick up classes that will help you with something in the long run.  Teach yourself Photoshop or how to code.  Learning new skills that relate to your career field can give you an edge when applying for internships.  Click on the different colleges below to see whom to contact to help you find internships here at Whitewater.

You may not have the perfect internship in place, but you can still gain skills and experience for your resume. Take a moment to sit down and make your game plan to attack the fall semester. Remember, don’t panic!

What I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year

Dear Freshmen,

As I begin my junior year, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much I’ve learned since I was a confused freshman wandering aimlessly around campus. After two years of college, it’s safe to say that I’ve adapted more to the ever-busy college lifestyle since my freshman year. We put a lot of thought into what we wish someone would have told us during our first semester of college, and here’s the advice we have to offer to you all.

1. Don’t be so quick to judge

Be open-minded. Join a club you never thought you would have joined. Talk to new people. There are a lot of great opportunities out there for you to submerge yourself in new things. It’s a great way to not only meet new people, but to really get involved with the campus community.

2. (Romantic) Relationships aren’t everything

Don’t get me wrong, you may find that the love of your life lives across the hall, but remember that college is also a time to grow as an individual. Keep this in the back of your mind and try to continuously learn both for and about yourself.

3. Check out the Involvement Fair

There are clubs for EVERYTHING. Go to a meeting, and get the feel of what an organization is about. It’s a great way to start building your resume and again, you’ll meet a ton of new people along the way! This year’s Involvement Fair will be on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 from 11-2 in Wyman Mall (UC to Goodhue). If you feel like you may need some guidance on what to get involved in, be sure to make an appointment with a Student Involvement Office intern! They are here to help you get connected to everything the UWW has to offer. For more information, check out the following link. (http://bit.ly/1M8a7Nw)

4. Accept your parent’s help

Independence that first year of college is amazing, but sometimes you WILL need to ask for help from your parents, and that’s okay.

5. Get enough sleep!

You should not be pulling all-nighters every night. It WILL catch up to you and it’ll affect your health, grades, and wellbeing. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

6. Work hard play hard

Working hard your first semester is vital. You don’t want to get into bad study habits your first semester a kill your GPA. Go to the library, but at the same time, make sure you’re not forgetting to have some fun, too.

7. Attend SI sessions

If you’re having trouble with a class, go to the SI session! SI (Supplemental Instruction) sessions are there for students who may be struggling with course content or just want the extra review of material. These can be very helpful and can save you a lot of stress if you feel like you may not have done the best on one of your exams.

8. Attend Advising meetings

THIS IS IMPORTANT. You don’t want to be taking classes you don’t need. Your advisors are here to help make sure you stay on track, so don’t skip your advising meetings! If you’re unsure of what career path you may want to go down or want to learn more about a specific industry, you can also set up a meeting with a Career Advisor as well. Check out this link for more information on Career Advising Services. (http://bit.ly/1UE5Yjv)

9. Call home

Your family misses you; don’t forget about them when you’re at school. Make sure to give them a call every once in awhile!

10. Diversify classes

Being in five business classes can be both stressful and boring. Switch up your classes to make sure you stay interested in what you’re learning.

11. Student Discounts

Your student ID gets you SO many discounts! Take advantage of that and save your money, you broke college students.

12. Never stop applying for scholarships and grants

Your parents probably made you apply for a ton of different grants and scholarships. Don’t stop once you get to college. Keep looking for them and save yourself some money on tuition. It’s an expensive four (hopefully) years.

13. Read the syllabus

I know hearing each professor go over their syllabus is boring as can be, but there is a lot of very useful information in them. Make sure you read it all and know the expectations for that class right off the bat. Knowing important dates for each of your class will help you plan ahead and avoid any potential conflicts.

Good luck to all of you freshmen on your first semester of college! Remember to always make the most out of your time here, it goes by all too quickly.

 

Surviving Finals Week: Stress Management Tips

With finals season approaching, it is not surprising that stress levels are rising. For a lot of us this is the most stressful time of year. From final exams to group projects and presentations, it seems like the work will never end.

I did some research to see what we can do to help reduce our stress levels and finish out this semester strong. Here are a few tips that I found:

1. Sleep. I know that sleeping when it seems like you have endless amounts of work to do seems like a bad idea. However, getting a good amount of sleep every night can actually help you feel less stressed during the day.

If you are someone who works better at night, schedule time for a nap during the day. Your body needs to rest. Getting sleep can help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the schoolwork that you need to accomplish.

2. Make some time for fun. If you are spending all of your time in the library studying all day every day, you are eventually going to get burnt out. If you schedule a few hours in your week to just hang out with your roommates or watch some Netflix, you will start to feel less stressed.

While it may seem like a good idea to stay in and study all the time, your brain needs a break too. With the weather getting nicer, find a friend to just sit outside and talk with. This way your brain is getting a break from all of the educational stuff and you’re getting a chance to relax.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you have that assignment that you just can’t figure out. Whether it’s coming up for a topic for your big paper, or just getting some pre-presentation jitters out. Your professors are there to help you. They have office hours for a reason. Go in and talk to them, chances are they’d be more than happy to work through your problem with you so that understand what you are doing.

Ask your friends for help. If you haven’t been there already, you probably will in your time here. Friends are there to help you practice your presentation and tell you that you are saying “um” too much. Plus, chances are they’re going to ask you to return the favor someday.

4. Remember to eat. From experience I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than spending all night studying and then remembering you didn’t eat. Is it worth it to eat right before bed, or do you just wait until the morning? The decision is never easy. Even if you are just snacking while you are reading your textbooks, or creating a presentation. That is better than nothing.

Your body needs food to function. If you forget to eat, then you will lose any momentum you had in studying and you will have to spend refueling yourself. Also make sure that you don’t just go on a diet of Toppers and McDonalds. Treat yourself to some nice fruits and veggies everyday so that you are making sure you stay healthy.

5. Manage your time. If you are like most college students, you will have more than one project to work on or more than one exam to study for. Make sure that you are spacing out your time wisely. If you know that one of your exams is going to be really difficult and you are going to need to put a lot of time into studying for it, start early. This way, instead of spending hours at a time studying for just that one exam, you can break it up over a few days and study other things along with it.

Doing this will help you not only not get bored with the topic you are studying for, but will give your brain a chance to retain the information. The breaks that you give yourself can be used to nap, sleep, or have some fun. This way both you and your brain are getting the breaks that you deserve.

While finals are a stressful time of year, it is not impossible to keep your stress levels down. These are also not the only ways that you can help calm your stress. Everyone handles stress differently, so figure out what works best for you and do that.

5 Career Lessons from Mean Girls

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the iconic movie, Mean Girls. In addition to having the most quotable script of all time, Mean Girls also offers a lot of career takeaways! This list is “so fetch” so you better keep reading.

1. Don’t get an ego

Cady’s ultimate downfall is that she starts thinking she is all that and a bag of Regina’s low cal chips. She gets caught up on getting to the top of the social pyramid, which ultimately causes her to flunk calculus, lose her BFFs, and get grounded.

Whether you’re on the job hunt, interviewing, or just starting out your career, don’t let your ego get to your head. Humility is key; no one likes a conceited employee who thinks they’re better than everyone else.

2. Nothing good comes from cliques

Cady’s school is full of cliques: the plastics, the JV jocks, desperate wannabes, burnouts, etc., and it’s the presence of these cliques that turns everyone against each other in the end.

When you’re at your job, avoid joining the office clique. It’s important to create an inclusive, not exclusive, work environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. If you work your way into an office clique, people may be afraid to approach you and you can miss out on some awesome opportunities.

3. Accept help

Cady, Janis, and Damian all work together to take down Regina George, and it works! *Spoiler alert* Regina ends up getting hit by a bus, loses her position as queen bee, and becomes an athlete instead. There’s no way Cady, Janis, or Damian could have stripped Regina from her power without one another.

Similarly, there’s no way you’ll get an interview, job, or promoted without people’s help. Whether it’s using your connections, or asking a friend to proofread your resume, put your pride aside and accept their help.

4. Brains are an asset

Cady is introduced as a super smart calculus wizard, but she dumbs herself down to get a guy *ew.* By playing dumb, Cady eventually loses her crush’s affection, and fails her calc test. It isn’t until she accepts her math abilities, and joins the mathletes that she realizes all of mistakes she’s made that year.

Realize and capitalize on your strengths. Never dumb yourself down to spare your supervisor’s or coworker’s feelings, instead take the opportunity to teach them what you know!

5. Take responsibility for your actions

At the end of the movie, Cady takes responsibility for writing the Burn Book (a book that has a bunch of mean things about all the girls in her class). Even though Cady only wrote one page of the lengthy book, she still took the blame for all of it.

We will all make mistakes at work, but it’s important that you make sure to take responsibility for them. Admitting you did something something wrong on your own (rather than your supervisor finding out) shows really good character and will help you in the long run.

How I Landed My Dream Job

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Hello friends! As the days until graduation dwindle, I can’t help but look forward to the next phase in my life. I’m fortunate enough to have landed my dream job post-grad *YAY.* I don’t mean to brag, I really don’t, but it took a ton of work to get to this point, and I really want to help all of you reach your dreams. Here are 4 quick bits of advice to help you earn your dream job. 

1. Know your dream

This might seem like common sense, but you can’t really achieve a dream if you don’t know what it is. Look at the possibilities of your future career and aim high! Nothing is impossible. I don’t care what school you went to, what your degree was in, or what your grades were like – you can pretty much do whatever your little heart desires (so cheesy, but I’m being 100% serious). So put on your favorite PJ’s and get to dreaming.

2. Plan

Good things come to those who wait, not those who wait around. Once you have your dream in mind make sure you develop a plan that will get you there. You can’t just expect your dream job to fall into your lap without any effort.

Ask yourself: Who do I need to contact? What are the stepping stones? How do I even get started?

3. Network like nobody’s business

“It’s all about who you know.” People aren’t just saying this to hear themselves talk, it’s the truth. Before my first internship I knew NO ONE. However, after I interned with my first agency, I met a lot of people that had their own connections to other people in the industry. I ended up with a pretty good connection with someone at almost every major advertising agency in Chicago through my co-workers. Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody, so take advantage of those connections.

Side-note: don’t just network with industry people, network with your peers. They have connections too!

4. Embrace failure

The likelihood of you getting your dream job on your first try is slim. I was turned down the first time I applied to mine, but I said thank you and kept in contact. A “no” doesn’t always translate to “never,” sometimes they just don’t have room for you at that time. Take this time to gain more experience that will make you an even better candidate and try, try again.

 

Tick Tok: 3 Loose Ends that Need Tying

 

Tik tok, on the clock
But graduation countdown don’t stop
Tonight, I‘mma apply
For the job of a lifetime 

Tik tok, on the clock
But second semester won’t stop
Tonight, I’mma scrape by
Til I reach the finish line

Yes, that was my very own career parody of KE$HA’s “Tik Tok,” please hold your applause. While I hope you found it funny, upcoming graduation is no laughing matter. In just a few short weeks, all of you grads will be walking across that glorious stage and receiving those hard-earned diplomas. But don’t get a severe case of senioritis just yet, because there are A LOT of things you need to get done before that big day (and I’m not talking coursework). Here are the top 3.

1. Job Search

Please, please, please don’t wait until the day after graduation to start looking for your first job. The time is now –  actually it was a month ago, but better late than later. Many people think that they don’t need to look for a job until they are actually available to work, but this is not the case. The hiring process is a long one and it takes a lot of time to find a job, get an interview, negotiate, and get hired.

2. Networking

Now is the time to reach out to your contacts. Let them know you are graduating in a month, and that you’re looking for a job. Connecting with them now is good because they can give you leads on jobs that may not be publically posted. People remember what it was like to be a wide-eyed college grad, and they want to help you! So don’t let your pride get in the way and let them.

3. Letters of Recommendation

A lot of job applications ask for a list of people they can contact for recommendations in addition to actual letters. This is the time to ask your professors and supervisors for those ever-coveted letters. By asking 6 weeks before graduation you give them plenty of time to put a lot of effort into it. You’re also half way through the semester, so they should be pretty familiar with your work ethic, strengths, and capabilities.

 

Best of luck to you wide-eyed hopefuls!

 

kickSTARt Your Interview

 

Two short weeks ago I was in the heart of the Windy City for the Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day. It was an all day affair complete with breakfast, lunch, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. I learned a lot through my anxiety-ridden experience, and want to share my new-found knowledge with all of you!

The lunch portion of the event was particularly helpful because we (the very nervous interviewees) had our very own, real life HR Recruiter at our table. Luckily, she was very nice and let us ask as many questions as our hearts desired, and I asked “what advice do you have for how we should approach the company booths during the networking time?” Her answer was simple, informative, and easy to implement – simply be a S.T.A.R.

Whether it’s a quick talk at a booth, a phone interview, or an onsite interview, the S.T.A.R. method is the best way to answer any question a recruiter poses. In order to implement this answering method you have to use real life examples. For example, if the interviewer asks you about a moment you are most proud of this is how you would answer using the S.T.A.R. method:

Situation:

Anytime you give an answer you need to give the recruiter/hiring manager some context of what was happening. What you may think is obvious might not be to them, so make sure you include information about the basics of the situation.

Example: The moment I’m most proud of is when I won my internship competition last summer when I was a digital media planning intern at MediaCom. The competition consisted of five teams with four people on each, and lasted throughout the 10-week internship.

Task:

This is where you describe what you were asked to do, or what the challenge of the situation was.

Example: For the internship competition each team was asked to create a comprehensive media plan for BP Fuel Rewards Program, which culminated in a group presentation in front of agency leaders.

Action:

This is the most important component of the S.T.A.R. method. The action piece of the method is where you describe what you actually did in the scenario.

Example: My group did substantial secondary research to fully understand the situation at hand. We then worked together to create an insightful media plan based on our research. Our presentation was well rehearsed, and adequately reflected the work we put into it.

Result:

This is the conclusion of the S.T.A.R. method. Now you need to tell them the “so what.” What happened as a result of your actions? The result section is where you prove to the recruiter that you made the right “action.”

Example: As a result of our hard work and detail-oriented plan, my team won the intern competition. Our prize was the opportunity to present to MindShare’s North American CEO.

 

The S.T.A.R. method is a great way to handle any interview question; it keeps your answers clear, concise, and organized. It also helps you from rambling on and on.

Have you ever used the STAR method?

Ring Ring, Your Dream Job is Calling

Our generation is almost a stranger to the art of talking on the phone. If I hear my phone ring I automatically think there’s been some major catastrophe. While we’ve moved away from social communication via telephone calls, professional communication still heavily relies on good ol’ fashioned phone calls. Specifically, recruiters like to use phone interviews instead of making their candidates come in, so it’s important to master the art of phone talk. Here are 5 ways you can be a rockstar on the phone.

1. Smile

I know they can’t see you but recruiters can tell if you’re smiling by the sound of your voice. Make sure you sound pleasant, because you are being judged solely on the the audio you provide.

2. Create a cheat sheet

While phone interviews aren’t ideal because you can’t respond to the body language of the interviewer, they do offer a few perks. Because the recruiter can’t see you, they also can’t see your very handy cheat sheet! Have your resume in front of you as well as information about the company, skills you want to touch on, and questions you have that you might otherwise forget.

3. Take notes (listen)

One of the hardest parts of talking on the phone is staying focused! It’s so easy to let your mind wander and completely zone out. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS. Take notes while the recruiter is giving you specific details about the position, this way you stay focused and have specific details you can refer back to when you ask questions at the end of the interview.

4. Location, location, location

Make sure you get good reception wherever you decide to take your interview phone call. Cell phones don’t provide the connection security landlines once did. For this reason, you need to make sure you find a quiet place with good reception before your interview.

5. Thank You/Follow Up

Even though phone interviews may not seem like a big deal, they are! Make sure you take the appropriate follow-up steps and send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview (an e-mail is sufficient for telephone interviews). Your thank you note should not only thank the recruiter for their time, but also highlight reasons why you would be a perfect addition to their team. This is also a good time to sneak in anything about yourself you didn’t get to talk about during the interview.

 

*ring**ring* Better pick up, you never know when you’re dream job will call you.

Put the “Work” in Networking

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“It’s all about who you know.” As much as you might not want to believe it, there is nothing truer than that statement. For this reason, it’s crucial to network in order to ensure your future career’s livelihood. Having a connection can make the difference between landing your dream job and staying unemployed (sad but true). In order for your connections to work, you have to be actively reaching out to them. It’s time to put the work in networking.

Step 1: Create a network

Even if you haven’t started your professional career you still have a network. Your network can include friends, family, classmates, and professors. Anyone you have a connection with is a part of your network, so make sure you maintain good relationships with everyone around you. Creating a network is not a task you can complete; it’s an enduring process that will continue throughout your professional life.

Step 2: Reach out to YOUR contact(s)

Just because you know person X, Y, and Z at a company doesn’t mean they’re going to be looking for a job for you; that’s on your shoulders. If you’re starting your job search make sure to send out a quick e-mail to your contacts asking them for advice on whom to contact at the company. They’ll likely have their own network at the company and will help you get your foot in the door. Make sure you always attach a current resume to these e-mails so they have something to pass along to HR or whoever their inside contact is.

Step 3: Reach out to THEIR contact(s)

After you reach out to your contact, they are likely to give you additional contacts at the company to reach out to for more information. When you are contacting this person make sure your e-mail is strictly professional. When you send them an e-mail make sure you (a) mention who your mutual contact is and how you know them, (b) attach a current resume, and (c) treat the e-mail like a cover letter and format accordingly.

From there it’s a waiting game. Hopefully this contact will pass your resume to the person who is in charge of hiring. Remember to be appreciative and professional, these people are doing you a favor and it’s important they know how thankful you are.

 Happy networking!

To-Do List: Winter Break Edition

happy holidays!

Hip, hip, hooray! Finals are done, you’re headed home for a month-long break, and you have nothing to do but binge watch Netflix… Wrong.

This is the perfect time to be productive in your job search. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have plenty of time to rest, relax, and eat a lot of delicious food, but it’s important to take the time you have off from school to be proactive in your job/internship search. Here are a few tasks you should accomplish over your winter break.

1. Revamp your resume

Winter break is a great time to update your resume. Did you join a club, get promoted, or hold a new leadership position over fall semester? Don’t forget to add these accomplishments to your resume. This is also the perfect time to update your address, GPA, major, minor, and any scholarship awards that may have changed over the last four months.

2. Start the job hunt

This is the time when companies start posting summer internship applications. Make sure you are actively looking for job opportunities while on break. If you find any, take the time and apply for the positions you find. Capitalize on your free time now while you aren’t busy with papers, projects, and readings for your classes.

3. Network

You know all those awesome holiday parties you’re going to?! Use them to your advantage and network with your friends and family. Connect with people and let them know that you are looking for possible career opportunities in the ___ industry. You never know if a friend or family member has a possible contact that can help you land your dream job. Remember: it’s all about who you know.

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Brawner