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!

Searching for Jobs

Looking for jobs is sometimes the most difficult part of the job process. Where do you start? What sites are the best? Are there different websites I should use depending on my major? These are all questions that come to mind when starting my search for a job.

There are hundreds of different websites out there that post jobs. How do you know which one is going to give you the best results and help you find the job in the quickest, simplest way?

Here at UW-Whitewater, we have a great resource to help us find jobs. HawkJobs is a great website for current students and alumni to find jobs and internships. You can filter through positions by inputting your major, desired job location, and what type of job you’re looking for. From there it tells you exactly how you apply for that job.

Hawkjobs is a great resource to help you start your search for a job. However, HawkJobs only has postings from the employers who know about HawkJobs. This sometimes leaves out a few popular areas of study.

If you are a person who is interested in a career in advertising, communications, graphic design, marketing, public relations, social media, or web design, BigShoesNetwork.com is a great place to search for jobs. There are two different regions that Big Shoes Network offers postings in, the Midwest and the South.

Once you choose which region you would like to work in, you go to the find a job tab. This page allows you to choose what region you would like to work in and the type of position that you are interested in. Once you see a position that catches your eye, you can simply click on it and it tells you exactly how to apply.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a job with the government, USAjobs.gov is the place that you want to go. Here you can search for all different types of positions with the government. You can narrow your search down by the location you want to be in, the type of position you would like to have, and even the government agency that you would like to work for.

If your dream job is working for your favorite sports team, then you should go to teamworkonline.com. On this website you can search for jobs by the team that you would like to work for. They have all different types of positions, from ticket sales to marketing. You can even narrow your search down to entry-level positions.


Finally, if you are someone who is in the social services field, socialservice.com is a great website for you. This website offers a variety of positions in the social services field from child care workers to case managers. You can narrow your search by what type of degree is required and by location.


When choosing which site is going to be best for you, make sure that you consider what field you want to go in. While you may still be unsure, it always helps to narrow down your options even a little bit.

Keep in mind that this job search process is one that is going to take a lot of time. There are a lot of open positions out there and you want to make sure that you are applying for the ones that you want.

Remember that employers don’t always post all of their jobs online. It is still very important to build up a network of contacts that you can talk to about possible job openings. Networking in person is just as important as networking online.

HawkJobs, Big Shoes Network, USAjobs, teamworkonline, and socialservices.com are all great sites for you to start your job search. They are easy to use and each one provides something unique in your search for a job.

Tips For Making the Most of a Career Fair

With the career fair coming up soon, here are some tips for you:

Before the Career Fair

11. Research the companies that you want to speak with. Before you go to the career fair, you should do some basic research on what the company does. This way you can spend your time telling the company representative about yourself, rather than asking them questions about what their company does.

When choosing which companies to speak with, be open minded; just because you have never heard of a company doesn’t mean that they don’t have something great to offer. Make sure that you prioritize the companies that you want to speak with, you don’t want to run out of time.

22. Prepare questions to ask employers. After you have researched which companies you want to talk to, come up with some questions that you have for them. These could be specific to positions that they have open, or more general questions about what it is like to work there. You should also come up with some general questions for companies that catch your eye at the fair that you had not already researched.

At the Career Fair

3. Attend the Career Fair alone. However, don’t push yourself. If this is your first career fair, you don’t want to discourage yourself by being uncomfortable. If you have never been to a career fair, instead of walking in and talking to someone right away, walk around the room for a little and get a feel of the environment. Once you are comfortable, start talking to an employer.

4. Treat it like an in-person interview. Proper business attire is crucial, no bold colored blazers! Make sure that you are acting professional the entire time you are in the room. The employers are always watching and if you just had a great conversation with them but then went and goofed off across the room, they may notice that and count it against you.

35. Remember that the employers are people too. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. The days at the career fair are just as long, if not longer for them. They are here to find candidates from our school, so make their trip, and your trip, worthwhile.

6. Be honest. This includes any experience you have had. Employers can sense when you’re being superficial. However, don’t be embarrassed by what experience you have. Everyone needs to start somewhere and even if you only have a little experience, you could still be a great candidate.

7. Know what makes you unique. You are unique and you have something great to offer an employer. Use this to your advantage. Employers want to know why you would be the best fit for the positions at their company. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself, this is the perfect setting for it.

8. Know what you are looking for. This could be a full-time position for after graduation, a summer internship, a part-time position, or an internship that starts right away. You should also know what you want to get out of the opportunity and center questions around that (i.e. networking, professional experience, professional or personal growth).

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9. Keep track of who you talk to and what you talk about. Write this information down to follow up after. Make sure you have specific notes of what you talked about, i.e. the recruiter and I talked about how we both had pet goldfish when we were kids. It doesn’t have to be something career related, but you want the employer to remember who you are.

 After the Career Fair

10. Follow up. Make sure that you follow up with the employers you talk to. This could include an email, or a formal thank you letter. Just make sure that when you are following up, you reference something that you talked about when talking with the employer, this could help them remember you.

Follow up with all employers, even ones that you may not be interested in. Just because you don’t want to work for their company now, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be a great resource or connection in the future.

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Taking the Risk

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In high school, if you had asked me to point out Whitewater, Wisconsin on a map, I would have had no idea where to look. I was just a girl from the North suburbs of Chicago looking for a great place to go to college. I would have never guessed that I would end up in the small town of Whitewater at this University.

Making this decision was not easy. I knew that Whitewater had a great business school, there were not too many students, and it wasn’t too far from home. However, being from the North suburbs of Chicago, there were not a lot of people who came here for school. I would most likely be the only person from my high school coming here, a scary thought to any freshman.

With that in mind, I decided to take the risk and attend this University. My random roommate ended up being from another North suburb that was just around 15 minutes from mine. We were both in the same boat. We knew that if we wanted to get the most out of our college experience we would have to get involved.

This brought us to sorority information nights. We went through recruitment and joined Delta Zeta. As a new freshman, I would have never thought that joining that organization would bring me to where I am today. My sorority sisters never failed to encourage me to take risks, like the one I had taken when I chose to attend Whitewater.

My junior year, I was elected as a co-recruitment chair for the Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Through this role I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Fraternal Values and Leadership conference in Indianapolis last winter. This conference gave me great insight into what it means to be a leader and how being Greek can help that.

Shortly after returning from the conference I decided to take another risk and apply to be on the Homecoming Steering Committee, something I quickly realized was nothing like I thought it was going to be. As the first semester of my senior year was coming to a close, I quickly realized that all these leadership positions that I had held were ending. I knew that I wanted to spend my last semester on campus giving back to something that had given me so many opportunities and helped me grow from the scared, lonely freshman I was to the confident senior that I am now. So I took my final risk and accepted this position as a Social Media Intern.

I am excited to spend my last semester here representing Career and Leadership by writing for this blog and posting from our various social media pages. I will be providing a student perspective on the scary process of searching for, applying to, interviewing for, and accepting jobs and internships.

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!