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!

Post-Career Fair Tips

Attending a Career Fair isn’t always enough. You have dropped your resumes and got the business cards. What is there to do now? Just sit and wait for a phone call or an email? There are actually steps to take after attending a Career Fair to ensure you stand out amongst the hundreds of students that attended the event as well. Here is a short list of the most effective ways to get that internship or job opportunity above the crowd:

1. Start Getting Organized

Networking with employers is in many ways a daunting task. Especially when you have just spoken to a handful of employers and recruiters. So the best way to stay ahead is to create a document that organizes what organization or business you spoke to. If you have a business card staple that to the document next to the corresponding name, or simply make note of the recruiter. It will also benefit you to write down anything you might have said that stood out during your encounter. This way you have a conversation starter during follow-ups.

2. Follow-up

If you grabbed a business card or two (which you most definitely should have) remember to give those recruiters a ring. Make sure to stay fresh in their mind and give them a follow-up call. There are really two general routes you can take when planning that conversation. Depending on the relationship you might have with the recruiter, it might be note worthy opportunity to call within 24-48 hours. If it was a recruiter whom you have never met before, realize that these recruiters travel from Career Fair to Career Fair and do not necessarily have the time to chat right away. A rule of thumb is to wait about a week and a half’s worth of time before following up. This is to give them time to sort through resumes and to catch them when they are not focused on recruiting during Career Fair events. Remember, a well-planned follow-up will show dedication and leadership.

3. Update and Professionalize LinkedIn

100% of employers look at LinkedIn; make sure they can find you! That is probably the most important aspect. But a professional account will put you in a different league than the competition. GET A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT! If you do not have one already, get one. No cropped pictures allowed and definitely make sure you have a picture of you in your best outfit uploaded. Not having a profile picture is the worst possible scenario on LinkedIn. This cannot be stressed enough! Make sure EVERY question/aspect of the profile is filled out to the best of your ability. This profile is your E-resume and should be treated as such, professional and complete.

4. Continue Practicing

Interviewing well is most certainly a skill. And like any skill when you don’t utilize it, you lose it. It will keep your skills sharp and ready for your next opportunity.

5. Reflect on the Experience

How do you think you did approaching recruiters? Here is a list of questions to ask in reflection on a performance:

• Did I prepare for the Career Fair?
• Did I make enough networks? More than 3?
• Did I give my 30-second elevator speech?
• Did I have any memorable conversations?
• Did I learn anything about a potential employer or myself?
• Would I do anything differently next time?

Hopefully your Career Fair experience was memorable and you gained some new networks. Sometimes the preparation for a Career Fair can be daunting in itself and you have to decide if all that preparation is worth it to find your career. I can tell you it most certainly is. These Post-Career Fair tips are just as essential, maintaining professionalism and taking initiative will put you ahead of the heard. Anything we might have missed? Do you have a follow-up experience to share? Let us know in the comments!

Like, Share and Follow UWW Career on Facebook and Twitter for more helpful hints and tricks on career advice and opportunities!

 

Sources:

7 Things You Need to Do After Attending a Career Fair. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

Focus on Follow-up – nationalcareerfairs.com. (2015, January 30). Retrieved October 4, 2015.

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.

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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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.

Colliding Worlds: Student & Professional

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You’ve been a student your entire life! The daily ritual of getting up, going to class, and doing homework has become nothing short of a habit for you. But unlike Peter Pan, you have to grow up and become a professional with a career. Here are three easy ways to act like a professional while you’re still technically a student.

1. Polish your image

You’ve slowly created a public image of yourself over the years. Whether it’s your voice mail, e-mail address, or social media presence, they all speak about who you are. For this reason, it’s important as a professional to polish your professional image. Change your voice mail to a simple one that a recruiter will understand and respect. Make sure you create an e-mail address that is professionally appropriate, no more “h0tbAbe545@aol.com.” Instead, opt for an e-mail address that includes some variation of your first and last name. Lastly, make sure your profile pictures across all media are appropriate. While you can make these accounts private, people can usually still see your profile picture.

2. Invest in business cards

Business cards are a great way to make sure your new connections have a way to contact you. I know it sounds a little weird to have business cards as a student, but they are the easiest way a person can retain your contact information. You can buy relatively inexpensive business cards, some sights, like vista print, even offer free business card options. As a student, consider putting your school name, major, and expected graduation date on your new cards. Be sure to include your full name, e-mail, and phone number. Bonus: if you have a LinkedIn Account, then include your URL.

3. Become an industry expert

Whether you’re a media major or a finance major, you need to know the industry. Make sure you’re up to date on trends and hot topics within your industry. Nothing is more worse than not being able to answer an industry related question in an interview. Here are some relevant trade publications for advertising, book publishing, business, finance, media, nonprofit, science/health, technology!

 

*Some of these tips are from Lindsey Pollak’s book Getting from College to Career. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it!*

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!