Tag Archives | internships

Image by stockunlimited.com

Being a college student nowadays can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to assume the burden of the ever-rising cost of your tuition, but you also have to find a living space that is preferably nicer than a cardboard box. Don’t worry – you are not alone. It’s not easy to learn and study if you are constantly worried about being buried in debt by graduation. While it is rare to eliminate student debt entirely, there are many practical ways for you to cut costs:

Become an RA
In exchange for monitoring the halls, manning the check-in desk, and organizing floor meetings and events, colleges provide RAs with room and board. That’s $8K – $10K on average that can be subtracted from your annual bill. Surprisingly, a lot of people dismiss this option because they are afraid that their peers will view them as “cops.” This is only true if you let it be true. In a way, being an RA is like being a supervisor: if you are cocky and power-drunk without being fair or personable, nobody will like or respect you; but if you always look for the humanity in others, people will see that you are genuine.

Use Budget-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Every home should have a vacuum, a mop, some dish detergent, a bottle of Windex, and a few white hand towels. If you opt for the store-brand versions of these essentials, you can easily stock up for next to nothing. It’s also worth noting that you can buy a decent vacuum cleaner for under $100. Remember: cleanliness helps to reduce stress, so keep it clean while you pursue your dreams.

Get a Part-Time Internship
When you are strapped for cash, it is tempting to go for a job that “anyone can get.” But college is all about experimenting: instead of going for the same jobs as anyone else, think about the subjects that interest you, and look for a paid internship in that field. For example, if you like psychology, try reaching out to local clinics. If you don’t have a car, consider doing some part-time freelancing online. Most people don’t know what they want to do for a living until long after they graduate. By pursuing internships while you are still in school, you will learn what you like and what you don’t like. Ultimately, these types of experiences will help you develop end goals that you can tailor your education around.

Buy Used Gear
College textbooks are ridiculously overpriced. Few people have need for them when the class is over, and yet year after year, a new version is churned out – complete with negligible changes. Instead of buying new from the school bookstore, look for used versions online. Similarly, if you are living off-campus, browse thrift stores for used furniture.

Shack Up With Your Friends
It’s no secret that rent is cheaper with roommates, but have you thought about sharing your room, too? A lot of landlords offer attractive rates to students who are willing to put two beds in each room. While you may think that you need your own room, remember that it won’t be forever, and if you don’t have to shell out much dough for rent each month, you can use the excess to pay for groceries or a night out with your friends.

This article was contributed by guest author Sammy Dolan.

Image by William Iven, unsplash.com

Image by William Iven, unsplash.com

Many college students may find after graduation that the job market now asks for more than just a Bachelor’s degree. Recruiters are expecting candidates to have experience fresh out of school and most will be looking for that experience through internships. Internships have become the new normal for college graduates. As a newly graduated student fresh in the job hunt, you will want to have not just a college degree on hand but also a plethora of internships to show off to recruiters. Here are some reasons why interning is an important supplement to your college degree:

1. Gaining Valuable Experience – Internships are one of the best ways to gain real-world experience in the field of your choice. Recruiters are often searching for applicants that already have experience working within an established company through an internship. Experience as an intern shows your future employers not only that you are familiar with a professional work setting but that you are eager to learn and be flexible.

2. Resume Booster – A resume with one or more internships listed will likely put you a step above other candidates that have no internships. This goes along with gaining valuable experience as the more you intern, the more experience you have to list in your resume. An ample resume can help you stand out from the sea of applications that many recruiters receive and internships are an easy way to gain work experience. Your resume is also not just a place to show off what you know but also who you know. Internships are also a great place to meet people that you can list as recommendations or references on your resume.

3. Networking – Another key reason internships are so important is that it gives students opportunities to network and to network with the right people. Everyone knows that who you know in the industry matters just as much as what you know and internships give students a great way to get to know professionals in their field. Networking opportunities such as internships can help put you on the fast track to getting your first job out of school.

4. Opportunities For Hire – Internships are often a great way to get your foot in the door for open positions later. Many hiring managers will look to their interns if positions open up as they already have the experience of working with teams and are already familiar with the office culture. Hiring interns allows managers to offer job positions to people they have already trained as well as cut down on the interview process.

5. Earn College Credit – Many internships offer students college credit in exchange for their time. This means as a student you can gain valuable job experience and have it count towards your degree. Earning that extra college credit often means students can get to their graduation deadline quicker.

6. Develop New Skills – There are some things you just can not learn in the classroom and interning can help you learn skills that happen in a real-world, professional setting. The days of interns running to get coffee or office supplies are long gone, as many companies instead choose a more mentorship approach to with their interns. Students often get to sit in on meetings and help teams accomplish goals or projects.

7. Try Out A Field – Many students go into their degrees without ever experiencing what actually working in the field might be like. Interning gives you the opportunity to try out a field and see if it is right for you.

There are numerous benefits for students to intern and in today’s highly competitive job market, interning has quickly become the new normal. Interning is not confined to one industry either; many companies and organizations in virtually every industry offer internship programs. There are also many internship programs that have the added benefit of paid stipends or even going abroad. Overall, students can only benefit from interning both while in school and after graduation.

This article was contributed by guest author Nick Rojas.

Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr

Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr

@USNewsCareers recently hosted a Twitter chat for current and prospective interns to get their questions answered and receive tips from the industry (#internchat). We were happy to be part of the chat (@StudentsDotOrg) and were joined by countless other professionals and interns. Below is a summary of our favourite and most useful tips from the chat:

Tip #1: Use free resources provided to you when searching for an internship

With technology these days, the world is literally at your fingertips. You have access to endless job postings – so use them. However, the consensus in the chat was to not limit your search to job search engines. As a student, you’re given free access to your school’s career centre and advisors. Take advantage of them. You also have an extensive network between students in your classes, your family, your professors, and connections you’ve made on social media sites such as LinkedIn. Ask around. Attend conferences and events hosted by your school; you never know what connections you’ll make.

Tip #2: If you don’t get an internship, there are other things you can do instead

Any experience is good experience when you’re talking about your resume. @CareerCounMatt gives a couple of examples: volunteering, taking courses, or starting independent projects can all give you worthwhile experience that provides added value to your resume and to future employers. Just because internship hiring season may be over doesn’t mean you should stop networking. Many companies will give informational interviews during the summer; you could end up on a short list for the next year if you make a great impression.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.15.17 PM

Tip #3: Develop your people skills

When we were asked what companies look for when hiring employees, not one person responded with “good grades”. Answers all centred around people skills: communication, leadership, teamwork, being proactive. There have been many discussions about how skills can be taught, but personalities can’t. Companies generally look for employees who will fit in well with their culture, and who are enthusiastic about helping take the company to the next level.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.16.08 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.16.58 PM

Tip #4: Use your internship to grow yourself – not just your resume

Although the goal of every intern is to find a full-time career, remember that your internship can provide a lot more value to your own development. Determine what you want to learn/develop during your internship and find out if that can be offered. Does the company offer training or a mentorship program? Are they giving you meaningful work or sending you on coffee runs?

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.15.40 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.13.38 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.13.07 PM

Tip #5: Prove yourself before asking for more

Some interns go into their internship with guns blazing, demanding responsibility for more and more tasks to show that they are the Ideal Intern. Be wary about taking this approach – it could easily backfire. The consensus is that once you are able to prove you can handle the workload already assigned to you (handle = complete on time or early, error-free and above standard), you can ask your manager for more responsibility. Make sure to always finish what you’re assigned before looking for more. One great idea is to figure out what your manager finds the most difficult to deal with, and find ways to improve the situation. Discuss with your manager/mentor any particular interests or passions you have, and how you can apply them to your position.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.15.01 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.14.26 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.13.59 PM

Tip #6: Unpaid internships are not pointless

Many new regulations have come into play regarding the legality of some unpaid internships. If you end up in an unpaid internship, remember that even though you are not being paid, the internship is still worth your time in experience. You’ll have months to learn, and perhaps your company will send you to events or conferences where you can develop new skills.

Tip #7: Always ask questions

During your internship or volunteer experience, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a horrible feeling to complete a day’s worth of work only to find out you did it wrong. Asking questions will also let your manager know that you’re a thinker, not just a doer, and it’ll show them you’re interested in what you’re working on.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.11.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.10.38 PM

Tip #8: Sorry, but you do not know more than your managers

The one thing your managers have over you is experience. They know their company, and they generally know what works and what doesn’t. This is your chance to learn from them – not to compete with them. If you’re looking to turn your internship into full-time employment, the best thing you can do is listen. Show your interest and respect, and if you do have a new suggestion or idea, make sure you don’t propose it in a way that challenges their authority. No one likes a know-it-all!

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.11.59 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.11.34 PM

Tip #9: Take your internship seriously

You’re not in school. You’re not hanging out with friends. Even if your internship is as short as 2-3 months, consider it to be your full-time job. Make a good impression, show up on time (early!), dress professionally, and don’t complain about the work being too hard or boring. If you receive constructive criticism, don’t mope over it. Apologize, correct any errors, and remember the advice for next time. There was a reason the company hired you over all the other applicants – show your worth.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.12.26 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.12.13 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.10.19 PM

Tip #10: Watch your social media usage

Never forget that social media is public content. Even though you think you’ve picked a clever pseudonym for your online self, it is very likely your employers will be able to find you. Never talk badly about your company on social media. Remember the impression you’re trying to make! Find out the office culture and policy towards social media. If you love social media, ask if you’d be able to create an @ intern account to document your experience and office happenings. Some companies may be excited by this – and some may not be. Learn to be ok with whatever response you receive.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.48 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.21 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.07 PM

Tip #11: Be irreplaceable

As mentioned, every intern’s goal is to turn an internship into a full-time offer. The best way to do this is to leave lasting impressions throughout your time there. Be irreplaceable. Show your worth. Make connections with other interns, managers, and coworkers. Make sure your manager is aware of your goals; you never know if they’ll be able to put in a good word for you. At the very least, ask for recommendations or referrals near the end of your program – these could provide you with the leverage you need to gain your next employment.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.07.31 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.07.16 PM

Screen-Shot-2014-06-20-at-3.06

US News Careers also posted a recap of the chat. You can find it here.

Image by jdnx, Flickr

Image by jdnx, Flickr

Throughout my business school undergrad, it was drilled into my head that an internship was mandatory if I wanted to get a full-time job right out of school. Marketing students were steered towards large consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies like Kraft, Loreal, and P&G. The goal of every student was to beat out their classmates to score an internship with one of these prestigious companies. I tried – albeit unsuccessfully – to be one of these students in first and second year. I knew by third year I had to get an internship.

I was an average student with a part-time job and some research assistant experience – but I didn’t have enough to make me stand out. As far as employers knew, I wasn’t the cream of the crop.

I didn’t end up with an internship in my third year.

I went into fourth year with no real (read: marketing) work experience. As predicted, my friends with summer internships received full-time offers. They coasted through their final year with confidence that they’d walk into a job the next year as long as they kept their grades up. Those of us without internship experience struggled to apply for any jobs we could find. We’d all start with ones posted by our school’s career centre, and some of us went outside to sites like monster.ca in hopes no one else was looking there (which they obviously were). I started applying to companies I recognized – but only big ones. As the months went by, my stress level increased, and my “ideal job” criteria decreased. I applied to smaller companies I recognized. I researched websites for any companies I could think of and sent them a resume, even if they didn’t say they were hiring. Then I started applying to any job postings I could find that “kind of, sort of” related to marketing, whether I recognized the company or not.

The life-changer for me in my fourth year was obtaining a position on a conference executive team. I was VP Marketing for the year and put my all into it. One of my team members, two years younger than me (and who I likely wouldn’t have met if not for the conference), sent me a vague message near the end of the year saying that a friend of a friend’s cousin was looking to hire a recent marketing grad. I was given a first name and a phone number – no company name or job description. But I called, found out about the company, went in for an interview, and started working full-time just one month later.

Is my company a CPG? No. Does my job make me happy? Yes. Nearly four years later, I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

So, what did I learn from this experience?

  • Don’t just apply for jobs because that’s what your program pushes you towards. Apply for jobs and companies that interest you.
  • Remove your tunnel vision when applying for jobs. You know how much competition there is in the job market. Consider expanding your search criteria.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a job. It’s your first one. Get that experience on your resume, and if you find it isn’t for you, move on.
  • Make room for extracurriculars in university/college. With some programs, your marks will hold greater importance for employers. In mine, that wasn’t the case. The reason I was hired over another applicant was because I had “marketing experience”. Even though it was a volunteer post for a university conference, it made me stand out.
  • Make connections – not only with people in your class or even your year. Expand your group of contacts. You never know who someone else will know.

Everyone will have a different experience on the job hunt; this is my own. Share your job hunt story with us on Twitter @StudentsDotOrg, or email it to us.

More tips for your job hunt:
A Student’s Guide to Attracting Recruiters on LinkedIn
5 Places to Start Your Internship Search
Do Extracurriculars Add Value to My College Experience?
The Best Time to Work For Free
7 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Doing Freelance Work to Pay for School

Image by lululemon athletica, Flickr

Image by lululemon athletica, Flickr

Being a college student is a fun and rewarding experience. You’ll meet people who you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life. You’ll experience memories and adventures that will profoundly engrave themselves on your personality for years to come. But don’t forget why you came to college or university; it’s never too soon to start thinking about the ‘big picture’ when it comes to your professional career.

Internships are a great way to develop your resume and have fun at the same time. The added responsibility will help you organize your work and school life, while building on your professional development. They allow you to connect with people who are already working in your industry of interest, and can also provide you with invaluable references for the future. It’s a great opportunity to test the water with an inside glimpse into the field, and it can help you decide if it’s something you want to pursue later.

So why is being a student a good time to work for free?

Internships can be paid or unpaid. But don’t get down if you land an unpaid position! Being a student allows you to experience many different industries that can really help you find your niche. It may not feel like it, but you have less responsibility when you’re a student than when you’re part of the workforce. Take this opportunity now while you have the chance – your future self will thank you!

Sounds good! So how do I get an internship?

As a student, make sure you use your college or university’s resources. Visit your school’s career centre and ask about internship opportunities – you’ll be amazed at what’s out there! You can also approach companies directly. Knocking on a few doors and being proactive not only looks great on you, but might open up opportunities that are not necessarily advertised. You can also take a look at advanced searches on established search engines like Workopolis.com for internship-specific positions.

Balance

If you are new to post-secondary education – or a senior high school student looking for opportunities before heading off to college – take your time. Don’t take on too much at once. Being a student is ultimately a balance of work, school and social life. As you juggle these three balls, you will inevitably drop one. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Remember to balance your workload: prioritize what is most important and go from there.

Picking the right internship for you is important in maintaining a good work-school balance. Commit to something that is achievable and beneficial to your social and professional development. Do you get nervous about public speaking? Volunteer as a “frosh boss.” Try and fill the holes in your resume while you have the chance, and learn to build and develop on a social, academic and professional level.

Remember…

Internships are an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a field you may not yet be qualified to work in. They are a great way to beat the age old conundrum: need experience to get a job – need a job to get experience! Before you start hunting for those internships, make sure you’re prepared by checking out these tips to enhance your resume.

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

In school, you’ll see plenty of opportunities to apply for jobs – full time, part time, internships, co-ops – even an application to attend a conference or be a club executive may require a resume. Use the beginning of the school year to freshen up your documents so if something does come up, you’re not rushing to complete them. Here are a number of tips we’ve compiled from @wisebread‘s weekly #wbchat – this one on modern tips for resumes.

  1. Eliminate the Objective
  2. This one will come as a surprise to those of us (myself included) stuck in our standard resume format ways. Look at the objective on your resume. Chances are it says something along the lines of “To use my skills to help your company succeed.” If everyone applying for the position has the same cookie cutter sentence, it won’t help any of you. Remove the redundancy and use that space for more important information. Perhaps, add in a section with your unique skill set.

    objective

  3. It’s Okay to Brag, But Be Honest
  4. Your resume is one of the only places where it’s deemed acceptable to brag about yourself. This is your time to shine. List all the qualities that will tell an employer why you’re amazing at what you do. That being said, keep them accurate and honest. Don’t exaggerate; if you get to the interview stage, you’ll spend more time trying to cover up your little white lies than talking about the job. If there is a gap between jobs in your resume, explain what you did during that time. Chances are you weren’t on the couch day after day (we’d hope) – were you volunteering? Writing/blogging? Travelling? Be sure to include these – they might be just as interesting as another job to your interviewer.

  5. Eliminate the Fluff
  6. Bragging about yourself is great, but no one wants to read a five-page resume. Cut out anything you’ve added as filler. Keep it simple and concise. If you can get your resume down to one page (without eliminating important information), do it. Instead of writing about your job description, include accomplishments and numbers wherever you can – here’s an example:

    Written as a Job DescriptionWritten as an Accomplishment
    Responsible for promoting the conference to peersPromoted the conference to peers, resulting in a 25% increase in attendance

    quantify

  7. Tailor Your Resume
  8. How many resumes do you have? Is it necessary to have more than one? It depends on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying to anything and everything, yes, you may need different resumes for each industry. The majority of people have one; but as standard as a resume might seem, it should always be tailored to the industry and the job you’re applying for. Highlight different skill sets and add descriptions that may apply to the specific job. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile; it can be updated more easily than a resume and you won’t forget new job responsibilities when the time comes to refresh your documents. Remember though that a LinkedIn profile is not a replacement for a resume.

    tailor

  9. Proofread, Proofread, and then Proofread Again
  10. A number of hiring managers have mentioned that if a resume has a spelling mistake on it, it immediately goes into the trash. As harsh as this may seem, the logic makes sense – if you don’t have the time or care to proof your resume – a document that could essentially start a new career for you – how do they know you won’t be as careless with the work you’re given at their company? Always proofread your resume. Send it to a peer to make sure that not only are there no mistakes, but that the content is applicable to the job you’re applying for.

    relevancy

  11. Stand Out, But Keep it Professional
  12. Everyone wants their resume to stand out. But is printing it on pink paper with a spritz of perfume (Legally Blonde style) really the way to do it? Always look at the type of company you’re applying to first. If you’re applying to a law or accounting firm, you’re best to use a standard black and white format. If you’re applying to an ad agency or web design firm, you can probably afford to be more creative. If you’re not sure, play it on the safe side.

    format

  13. Critique It As If You Were the Hiring Manager
  14. Our last piece of advice, and a very important one, is to take a step back. Read it with a different mindset. If you were a big shot hiring manager and you could pick anyone to work for you, would reading that resume sell you? Would you be excited for an interview with this student? If not, try to figure out what would entice a hiring manager to talk to you. Do you need more facts and figures? Do you need to talk more about your accomplishments? Ask family or friends if there’s a better way to word your skills.

    hiringmanager

    If you need more assistance, check out your school’s career centre. The counsellors will be more than happy to review your resume with you and provide suggestions for improvement. Once your resume is finalized, you’ll need to start your interview prep. Here are some tips to get you started!