Career Corner: Making the Most Out of Your Internship

As the school year winds down, it’s time to start thinking about summer plans outside the classroom. Internships are a great way to learn new workplace skills and gain experience in a field that you are curious and passionate about. If this is your first internship, you might be wondering what having an internship actually entails. Internships, especially unpaid internships, give students the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe, learning environment. Not every internship has a structured program, so it’s important to have close relationships with your supervisor and co-workers, try something new, and ask a billion questions.

These articles highlight some of the ways in which interns can proactively navigate the world of internships and make the most out of their experiences.

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR INTERNSHIP

These tips are not only great for internships but can also be applicable to volunteer and research positions. To quote one of the articles, “be a sponge”! Don’t wait until it’s too late to explore a new interest or express a concern. Be proactive and have a positive attitude!

Career Corner: Last-Minute Job Search Strategies

Spring has officially sprung! Unsure about your summer plans? No worries! These two articles will help you learn how to effectively search and apply for late-minute internships/jobs for the summer!

Last-Minute Job Search Tips For Students Without Summer Internships

5 Ways to Get a Last-Minute Summer Job

Although internships are a great way to gain experience in the job field you are passionate/curious about, there are plenty of other opportunities that can help you gain valuable experiences!

Look below for examples of informal opportunities that can help boost your resume and job skills.

  • Set up informational interviews to expand your network.
  • Shadow local professionals who have careers that you are interested in. Utilize the Northwestern alumni network and Mentorship Program or your personal network to locate individuals and set up shadowing opportunities. This can be a great way to acquire an understanding of a variety of different fields in a relatively short period of time.
  • Volunteer with an organization working in an area that you’re passionate about.
  • Work on a passion project that you don’t find the time to do during the school year.

Career Corner: Thank You Letters

Congrats, you just finished a job interview! Now what?

Thank you letters are a crucial step in the post interview hiring process. Check out this helpful article and learn how to craft a perfect thank you letter to make a lasting impression on any employer!

Happy job hunting!

Career Corner: Finding the Right Internship & Funding

Hiring season is upon us! Whether you are beginning your search, applying for internships, or secured offers from employers, it is important to know which internship is right for you. This article will help any student navigating the internship application process on helpful tips to securing internships, knowledge on the different types of internships, and funding programs.

In addition, students looking for financial assistance this summer for either a PAID or UNPAID internship should heavily consider applying for the School of Communication’s Internship Awards. All School of Communication undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the internship award programs. You do not need to have a secured internship when applying! Deadline to apply is Monday, April 17, 2017 at 9:00am.

The Hammerschlag Internship Award is an initiative made possible by the generous donation of  the Hammerschlag family, provides funding to students interning over summer quarter in any market.

 

The Molotsky Internship Award is an initiative made possible by the generous donation of Barbara Molotsky, provides funding to students to help defray the living expenses associated with interning outside of the Chicagoland area.

 

The WCLV Internship Award is an initiative made possible by the generous donation of Robert Conrad, provides funding to students interning over summer quarter in any market. While all students are welcome to apply, preference is given for students with internships in the radio industry.

 

FAQs:

  • Nationwide/International internships: If you are interning outside of the Chicagoland area, you are eligible for all three awards and are welcome to apply to all of them
  • Chicagoland internships: If you are interning in the Chicago area, you are NOT eligible for The Molotsky Internship Award
  • Paid versus unpaid internships: You may apply for these awards for both paid and unpaid internship experiences
  • Selection Criteria:
    • Degree to which the internship will help the students in his or her future career
    • Financial need
    • Academic performance
  • Award amount: Award amount varies for each program. On average student have been awarded up to $2,000-$3,000
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at epics@northwestern.edu

 

EPICS Career Corner: Crafting a Great Resume and Cover Letter

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Finals are beginning to wrap up and the prospect of freedom from classes approaches! Now you might be thinking, what am I going to do with all my free time over break? In between catching up on much needed sleep, family time, and Netflix, winter break is a great time to start thinking about your career plans and prepping application materials for future opportunities whether it is full-time employment or internships. Enter the resume and cover letter!

Resumes: Articulating Relevant Experiences

One of the most common concerns I hear from students is how to make past experience look relevant to future opportunities on your resume. It may seem like your past experiences don’t exactly line up with where you want to go or they might seem completely irrelevant. I can promise you they are not! Luckily there are a lot of strategies to use when you want to highlight seemingly unrelated experience to showcase what a great fit you are for a position.

Check out this great article from The Muse for tips and tricks on transforming your seemingly unrelated experience to relevant experience for your future career endeavors!

Cover Letters: The Power of a Story 

Cover letters are tough and writing them is no piece of cake. Top that off with the fact that you might find a lot of the jobs or internships you are applying for have vague descriptions. It’s no doubt this leaves you wondering how you are ever supposed to align your experience with the qualifications the organization is seeking. Enter the power of a story!

Implement three steps from a recent article from The Muse and you’ll find writing a cover letter becomes a lot easier. You might even craft the perfect story to show you are a great fit for the job you are applying for and secure an interview!  

Written by EPICS Assistant Director Mandi Glowen, who serves as the main point of contact for students in the Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.

 

EPICS Career Corner! Fall Recruiting Season

The new school year is just around the corner and so is fall recruiting season. It’s best to start early, if you haven’t already. This includes those of you only looking to intern next summer since many employers start recruiting for summer interns during the fall.

As you prepare for the new school year, there are several steps you can take now to help jump-start your job or internship search:

Review your resume and cover letter. Did you intern or work over the summer? If so, add that experience to your resume. Create a cover letter if you don’t already have one. Not sure where to start? Check out NCA’s online resources for steps on how to write a cover letter. Using a job description that interests you will help you create one geared towards your career path.

Do your research. Create a list of possible jobs and organizations as well as recruiting timelines for your chosen industry. Again, more and more companies are recruiting earlier in the year. Doing the work upfront will help ensure you get your applications in on time.

ThreePeopleContinue building your network. Networking can seem daunting at first, but it’s likely you’ve already started if you’re talking to friends and family about your career aspirations. Keeping in touch with previous employers will also help. They may be aware of future opportunities or know someone who is. Additionally, Northwestern has resources you can use including Our Northwestern, the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program, and various career events. Watch for information regarding NCA’s career fair on September 27th and 28th. This will be a great chance to network and see what job/internship opportunities are out there.

Apply! SoConnect and CareerCat are great places to start when finding jobs and internships. Pay attention to deadlines and don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Waiting till the deadline may lead to missing out on opportunities. Sometimes hitting the submit button can be the hardest part, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Keep in mind; Northwestern is one of the few universities on the quarter system. This means students on semesters will have a head start on the job search.

Feel free to login to SoConnect to make an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your resume, cover letter, or any other career related topics.

Written by EPICS Assistant Director Funmilayo Ojikutu, who serves as the main point of contact for all SoC undergraduate programs.

EPICS Career Corner! Networking During the Summer.

Why is Networking important?

Networking over the summer does not just boil down to your time spent on LinkedIn or refining your elevator pitch at summer BBQs.  These are great practices, but building your network should be happening all the time and most likely is (even if you aren’t fully aware of it).

Networking is a practice that may have played a part in launching the career of Ernest Hemingway.  An article by Jeff Goins linked below points out that Hemingway’s success can’t be attributed solely to his talent or being in the right place at the right time. Northwestern’s own Noshir Contractor and his research on networks investigates how networks are created and maintained. These are just examples, but it suggests that your network plays a part in your success.

Embrace the Northwestern Network

At Northwestern, you have probably heard the NU community referred to as the “Purple Mafia” as a network and it is. Purple Pride is real.  It is strong and in the EPICS office we get to see it every week.  Not all career services offices are as lucky as we are to have alumni that are interested in taking part in panels or a Speaker Series, hosting students on Leadership Journeys, or posting their organization’s opportunities on SoConnect. Northwestern’s alumni really connect and engage.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 3.44.09 PMAn example of the power of the “Purple Mafia” is the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program recently launched by NAA (Northwestern Alumni Association).  This program allows both current students and alumni to connect based on shared career interests and develop a mentor/mentee relationship.

Other examples of ways to connect with NU alumnus are reaching out to an alumnus on Our Northwestern, speaking to an alumnus at an event, or have taken part in programs such as NEXT or Dinner with Twelve.

So how do you build this important network over the summer?

So networks are important and Northwestern has amazing resources, but how do you network over the summer?  Where should you be spending your time and how should you be doing it?

Again, there is no easy answer.  However, your summer is a great time to get strategic about how you will network over the next academic year and what will work best for you.  The following tips are things to keep in mind if you are looking to grow and maintain your professional network:

  1. Decide on what you want the outcomes of your networking to be and the type of network that you want to build. It is okay to think about the job search as a part of the networking process, but it is a better byproduct than an intentional goal.  Think about who you want to connect with and why?  Make a list.  This doesn’t have to be specific individuals at this point.  Who are the types of people you’d like to connect with?
  2. Be ready to articulate your interests when connecting with others. How can you provide value to create a networking relationship?  Most likely this can be built on potential shared interest.  Sometimes this is as easy as being nice (and professional of course).  And, it never hurts to treat someone to coffee or lunch whenever possible.
  3. Do your research. Who is out there that you’d like to meet and how can you meet them?  Learn about the industries and the organizations and who these people are.
  4. Create a way to organize and keep track of the people you know (LinkedIn and Facebook aren’t the best and they may not always work in the same way). Think about creating your own list of contacts that you can manage.
  5. Get active and decide what works for you. Divide your time between in-person opportunities such as attending events and doing outreach online (LinkedIn, Our Northwestern, etc.).  Develop a plan to set aside a certain amount of time each week.
  6. Keep your active networking contacts engaged.  Connect them with others in your network.  It is an ecosystem that everyone helps grow.

Northwestern Resources

Additional Resources

Written by EPICS Assistant Director Colin DeKuiper, who serves as the main point of contact for students in the Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.

College-to-Career Path for Northwestern Graduates with Disabilities

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Photo courtesy of BestColleges.com

Graduation is now behind us and most college grads on now jumping into a full-time job search.

While all college graduates faces challenges in regards to the college to career transition, students with disabilities face additional challenges. As recently discussed by BestColleges.com article, “Career Guide for Students with Disabilities” the employment rate for college graduates with disabilities is 50.6%, as compared to 89.9% of graduates without disabilities.

For that reason, BestColleges.com has created a Career Guide for Students with Disabilities resource which discusses common challenges, career prep prior to graduation, and tips for after graduation, and links to additional resources for students with disabilities.

Read more by visiting the BestColleges.com article.

EPICS Career Corner! Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

All of your hard work has paid off! Long gone are the multiple revisions of your resume, cover letter, the weeks spent waiting to hear if you will be offered an interview, preparing for the interview, THE INTERVIEW itself and a few more weeks of waiting to hear those cherished words: “I’d like to offer you an internship with our organization!”

As the summer approaches, we thought we’d provide you with advice on making the most of your internship experience. What follows are best practices gleaned from our own adventures as interns, from former students, and employers

background-checks-2015Best practice (BP) number 1 might make you “roll your eyes”, but don’t ever underestimate the obvious: Be on time! Not just the first day of your internship, but every day of your internship. If you are going to be late or if you are ill, be sure to communicate with your supervisor.

BP# 2: Ask for a clear set of objectives that you’ll need to achieve by the end of your internship. Request feedback on a regular basis. Regular means weekly or bi-weekly depending upon the schedule of your supervisor. Implement that feedback and if you don’t understand something, make sure to ask clarifying questions.

BP# 3: is related to #2: Journal! Capture weekly what you have learned and accomplished during the week. The former will help you measure your personal growth and the latter will help you build your accomplishment-based resume!

BP# 4: Work hard and when appropriate, take the initiative! Nothing turns off an employer more than a worker or intern who slacks off. The purpose of your internship is to help you learn as well as contribute. Every work day will have an ebb and flow—don’t wait to be told what to do! Seek an opportunity to take on a new task or project! Be a contributor.

BP# 5: Be quick to listen and slow to speak. When attending a meeting, ask your supervisor what your role should be. Are you there to observe? Expected to contribute? Listening carefully will enable you to contribute meaningfully.

BP# 6Meet deadlines. If you’re going to miss a deadline, be proactive and renegotiate early, not when the project is due!

BP# 7Network. Utilize your time to build your professional network. Ask a co-worker for a cup of coffee. Network vertically as well as horizontally in an organization. Be mindful that everyone has a journey that might provide insights on how to be a success in your future career.

BP# 8: Keep in touch. The summer will be over before you know it. You’ve built relationships with the folks you’ve worked with. Keep those relationships alive as you continue your education. Sometimes, it is as simple as a quick note or email to say hello. Be that person that makes the effort to keep in touch.

Written by EPICS Assistant Director Kimberley Cornwell, who serves as the main point of contact for students in the Master of Science in Health Communication program.

EPICS Career Corner! Salary Negotiation

One of the final elements of the interview cycle is the opportunity to negotiate salary and other benefits. We all dream of making more money, but there are some rules to follow to fully convince a new employer about the value your employment brings to the firm. Negotiating will be something you should do as you progress through your career, but your first job might be another story.

Before you begin the negotiation process, remember that many entry-level positions have standardized salaries and all new recruits may begin at the same pay rate.  This is especially true from companies that take in a large starting class (think consulting, for instance).  Additionally, depending on the industry you are entering, pay varies based on budgets and organizations.  With this in mind, as an entry-level candidate, it’s important to look at the overall benefit package offered by a firm and look at your long-term career path and how your first job can help you achieve your overall career goals.

In order to negotiate properly with a company, you should do your research on what comparable organizations and positions offer.  By researching ahead of time, you’re able to gain a baseline of what comparable positions pay.  As the candidate, you should never bring up the topic of salary.  Let the employer bring the subject up first.  This gives you an additional amount of knowledge to help frame your argument once they disclose a position’s salary.

Remember that companies won’t simply pay you more because you ask for it.  You need to be prepared to have a conversation about your experience and the impact you’ve made in your previous roles.  By demonstrating the value you brought to an organization by streamlining a process or saving the organization money, you are demonstrating to the employer how you can make an impact if they hire you. It’s not simply a conversation about you wanting more, the emphasis should focus on the value you will bring the employer, the different ways you can contribute, as well as your ideas for helping the business succeed if you are hired.  As Forbes contributor Laura Shin notes, “…you don’t want to ask for a higher salary when securing a new job, or when requesting a raise or promotion.  You want to make a strong case for why it makes sense for them to give you one.”

There is more than money that can be negotiated.  If a pay increase isn’t feasible, inquire about flexible work hours, work from home options, or health benefits.  Again, not all companies are able to offer flexibility with working from home, but it’s acceptable to inquire about all benefits that may be available.

Here are a few items to consider:

  • Let the employer bring up the topic of salary first
  • Make sure you’ve done your research. Sites like glassdoor.com can offer insights into salary data
  • What can you do for a company? What value and insights can you bring? How will you contribute to their success?
  • Practiced for your interview! Asking for more money can be nerve-wracking. Make sure you have a solid grasp of your talking points
  • Entry-level positions don’t always offer salary flexibility. Look at the full picture!

Finally, remember that nothing is more important than finding a position that gives you experience and allows you to build a set of skills.  Deepak Malhotra of the Harvard Business Review says “[negotiating] should come into play only after a thoughtful, holistic job hunt designed to ensure that the path you’re choosing will lead you where you want to go.”   Translation?  No amount of money can make you happy compared to the experience of doing something that you love, with a company you like, in a position you enjoy.  For your first job out of college, that can be incredibly rewarding.

Written by EPICS Associate Director Michael Johnson, who serves as the main point of contact for all students enrolled in the Master of Science in Communication program.