Be a Good Intern Every Step of the Way

09-2014-interns-01By Marcie Waters

For many students, an internship is their first look into the career world. This can be exciting, but also a little nerve wracking, especially if you’re trying to get your foot in the door at a certain company or are hoping to score a great reference for future job applications. Having an internship experience on your resume is positive, as it demonstrates to potential employers that you take initiative in your career. However, having a successful internship experience in which you learned new skills, beefed up your portfolio, made networking connections, and received helpful feedback from supervisors is even better. Here are some tips that can help you be a fantastic intern, while getting the most out of your internship.

First Day Tips:
Arrive early and dress appropriately. While first impressions may not be everything, they are definitely important. Arriving early and looking nice will show that you are prepared and professional.
Be friendly and introduce yourself. Smile and introduce yourself to everyone you meet. Know your position and department title, so that you can tell them your specific place in the company. Everyone you’re working with has the potential to be an important networking connection.
Ask questions and be an active learner. If you don’t know or understand things about the company or the workplace, ask. It’s better to get simple questions answered now, so you’re not asking about things you should already know later on. Be an active learner by doing some research on your own. Google information about the company and its work to better understand the environment you’ll be working in.

During the Internship:
Be proactive. Try to avoid sitting idly; you’re not helping the company or learning anything by doing that. Ask for more projects or create one for yourself (Just make sure it is worthwhile).
Listen carefully and take notes. You can really learn a lot from supervisors and coworkers. Take notes, especially during meetings. This way, you can reference them to avoid asking silly questions later. They can also be useful when you are in a job interview and need to provide examples of your prior work experiences.
Follow texting and social media policies. It can be tempting to tweet about your cool new internship or Instagram a picture of your very own desk, but if a supervisor was to see something posted during work hours, it will make it look like you are not doing your job.

Final Days:
Send thank you notes. Thanking your supervisors for their help and guidance during your internship experience will leave a good impression of you in their minds.
Request feedback. Getting feedback from supervisors and collaborators can be a great way to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Not only does this allow you a catalyst for personal improvement, but you also have a starting point for answering future job interview questions.
Get contact info. Ask your supervisor for their contact info. They can be a great resource while navigating future career searches. Make sure to also ask your supervisor if they are willing to be a reference for you in the future.

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What Happens During a Drop-In?

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By Marcie Waters

At Letters & Science Career Services (LSCS), drop-ins are short, 15-20 minute sessions that are perfect for quick questions and simple resume or cover letter review. No appointment necessary!

They take place Monday through Friday, from 1-3pm in the Middleton Building. LSCS also offers extended drop-in hours on Tuesdays from 4-5:30 for students who can’t make the regular drop-in hours. (No extended hours during spring break). With so many time slots available, there is really no excuse for not utilizing this service!

If you have never been to a drop-in before, you may not know what to expect. I stopped by for a drop-in to get my resume reviewed before the career fair. I first checked in at the office on the first floor, where I filled out an iPad form. This alerts the advisors upstairs that a drop-in has arrived. I went upstairs to the LSCS office, where I awaited my turn. I was able to meet with Shaylea, a career advisor who specializes in the humanities. She looked over my resume, commenting on the good parts, pointing out which parts could be improved, and explaining how I might improve them. We talked about strategies for bettering my section headings and layout. Shaylea also provided me with some helpful handouts to aid me in revising my resume. Recently, I had to bring in my resume for a class assignment and was complimented on how successful it was. I know that without Shaylea’s revisions, my resume would not have received such compliments. My drop-in appointment had paid off.

Of course, resume review is not the only service that LSCS offers during their drop-ins. They will also review cover letters or answer simple career and internship-related questions. I recommend giving drop-ins a try if you have any doubts about your resume or cover letter.

7 Insights into the Teach for America Application

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By Michelle Schmid

A few weeks ago, in my hunt for a future after college, I had the pleasant opportunity of interviewing with Teach for America. Perhaps you’ve heard about Teach for America in e-mails from the university, in books, even occasionally from your high school teacher. And what’s not intriguing about a non-profit two-year program that allows you the opportunity to teach and work on your master’s degree and make a difference? However, the entire application process isn’t what you might be expecting, especially for a professional job. Here are seven insights into the application process for Teach for America that might help you approach the process.

  1. Online Application: Conveniently enough, the entire process happens on the web. This includes the original application, recommendations, interview scheduling, your status in the process, and many other helpful details and directions. Because of the status option, this means that you do not need to call Teach for America to check up on your application, unlike other jobs you might apply for.
  2. Written Responses: The initial application has several questions that require a written response. Make sure to allow plenty of time for each answer. This is a concrete sample of your writing skills.
  3. Two Interviews: Not that out-there as far as professional jobs go, but it is good to remember and prepare accordingly. A lot of the time, the first interview is a phone interview which helps screen applicants further than the original application. This dual interview process also lengthens the admittance time, so be prepared for a longer journey.
  4. Pre-Work: The application process requires you to become familiarized with articles that address educational issues. It’s important to take the time read and learn about all the information that you receive because it is relevant to understanding Teach for America’s mission.

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    There are over 1,000 schools nationwide where Teach for America corps members are placed.

  5. Group Interview: Don’t let the idea of other potential employees being present disturb you. The final interview splits the day into two, and the morning has you interact with other applicants. However, this work is strictly non-competitive, so don’t spend your time worrying about comparing yourself to those around you and focus on your own performance instead.
  6. Five Minute Lesson: Another aspect of the final interview is teaching a five-minute lesson to the entire group. You get to pick what you teach, the age group you are teaching, and the subject. Basically, it’s like a mock classroom experience. To keep within the time limit, however, go for simplicity in your lesson. You want to be able to show how you interact with a classroom when there are questions, and questions require extra time.
  7. Details Matter: When it comes to the second half of the final interview and even the phone interview, remember how important details can be. A great way to prepare for these interviews is the use of the STAR method, which will tell your interviewer quite a bit about how you deal with situations and produce outcomes.