Thursday, August 24, 2017

Things You Should Plan to Do When You Get Back to School

The summer always passes quicker than we think it will and suddenly the start of a new semester is right around the corner. Here’s what to do to prepare for balancing finding or maintaining a job while still keeping your grades up.

  1. Enroll in an internship class
Some universities offer courses in career preparedness. If your university offers this type of class, strongly consider taking it. Your assignments will include things that aid in your professionalism and career development, such as creating a resume.
  1. Take on an internship for credit
Instead of taking on a ton of credits in classes this semester, leave some room open for a professional internship. Most majors will let you work in an internship for class credit in lieu of a traditional class. Typically, an academic adviser and professional supervisor will be assigned to guide you through this process.
  1. Seek out your career center’s help
Take advantage of all the services your career center has to offer! Enroll in a career preparation program or make an appointment for a one-on-one meeting with a counselor to discuss how best to approach your career path.
  1. Take note of any events - mock interview nights, job fairs, etc.
Similarly, take note of any events the career center puts on. The beginning of the fall semester is always ripe with mock interview nights, job fairs, and workshops. Keep your eyes peeled for special opportunities only available to students or certain departments.
  1. Join clubs
Add to your experience, resume, and social life by joining a club. Join an organization dedicated to something you’re passionate about outside of your field of study. Breaking up the traditional skills your future employer will be looking for is important - it shows that you’re well rounded, unique, and willing to experience new things!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What to do Before You Leave Your Summer Job/Internship

So you landed that summer position. That’s awesome! But be mindful of your situation. The summer is short, but your impact can be long lasting. Here are a few ways to ensure you get the most out of your summer job or internship.

  1. Ask for feedback
A surefire way to let your supervisor know you’re serious about your position is to ask how they think you’re doing. It shows that you are interested in how you are helping the company to the best of your abilities and are committed to its progress.
  1. Secure references
If you feel that you’ve built a substantial and professional relationship with your supervisor or any other colleagues, don’t be afraid to ask if you can list them as a reference in the future. These people will become invaluable assets to your network. Make sure whoever you choose is reliable and actually has good things to say about you!
  1. Remember to thank everyone
Potential reference or not, it’s important to thank everyone for all they’ve done to help you while you were there. Express your gratitude to your recruiter, supervisor, and any coworkers who helped you significantly with any projects.
  1. See any projects you started through to the end.
If you’re unable to do so, leave a set of detailed instructions or offer to walk your coworkers through your process.
  1. Gather contact information and keep in touch with your colleagues
Higher ups who admired the job you did might reach out to you in the future if they’re looking to fill a position in either theirs or a partner company. Staying in touch also means you have expanded your network and they can help you get a leg up in your field in the future. They can also act as a mentor or source of guidance later in your career.
  1. Ask about office protocol for departure
It’s important to know what you need to do before leaving. Different offices have different policies and procedures pertaining to departure. There may be loose ends to tie up and last-minute things to put in order.
  1. Communicate to your supervisor what you gained from the experience
While it’s important for the supervisor to give you feedback and periodically let you know how you’re doing, it’s equally valuable to let your higher up know what you gained from the experience. In turn, let your supervisor know if there’s anything you think that could use improvement in order to enrich the experience for future interns.
  1. Ask about continued work/other employment opportunities

If you enjoyed your time at the internship, inquire about any opportunities to extend your time there or pick up a different position in the fall.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Mix Vacation and Work

Summer is universally recognized as the time to take a break. However, taking a break is not always an option for a full time employee, even if you go on a trip. Here’s how to effectively balance work and vacation.

  1. Work ahead
Try to get some of the work you’ll be missing finished before you leave. Staying overtime in the weeks before your trip is never a bad idea. Try to get as much done as possible before leaving.
  1. Set boundaries
Staying on top of work is important, but you should remember that you planned this vacation for a reason. To ensure that you get that much needed rest and relaxation, set constraints on when and how much you work. Do work when you know it won’t interfere with your recreational plans. Are you excited for early morning hikes or you looking forward to the nightlife? Plan accordingly. Additionally, try not to spend more than an hour or two working. You don’t want to turn your work/break balance into a part-time job.
  1. Plan
It’s also incredibly important to plan ahead. Arrange who will cover for you and who you want to put in charge of any projects. Distribute outlines and checklists to those who are helping you. Throughout your trip, periodically check in to ensure that everything is getting done as you see fit.
  1. Limit yourself to a phone
With your boundaries set and your plan set in motion, go even further in ensuring you get the break you need. Limit your devices to just your phone. This allows you to stay in contact with those who need you, but doesn’t give you the ability to waste your vacation time writing reports or doing digital filing.
5. Don’t take your work with you
Plan to only check your e-mail or update your team while you’re in your hotel room or in the taxi on the way to your destination. Once you’re at the beach, the park, or the club, turn your work off. Do what you came here to do - enjoy yourself!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to Stay Professionally Productive Over the Summer

Letting the warm weather affect your work ethic is a danger that all workers face. Try not to get stuck in the haze of summer by staying productive in your professional field.

  1. Cover for vacationing coworkers
Show that you can take initiative and are a team player by taking on any projects or work that your coworkers abandoned when they went on vacation. Ensure that your coworkers are up to speed on any changes that go on in the office or attend meetings that they might miss and take notes for them. Not only will you be helping your coworkers, but you’ll also be gaining invaluable experience in different areas of the office.
  1. Take on new projects
With the calm of summer, it’s easier to take on a lot of work at once. Start new initiatives that didn’t take priority during the busy seasons. Revisit smaller projects that fell through the cracks or were postponed. You’ll have more time to invest your time and passion and really make a difference.
  1. Combine work and play
If you’re lucky enough to be able to go on vacation during the summer, don’t let your work fall by the wayside. It’s important to relax during your trip - after all, that’s what it’s for. Dedicate half an hour in the morning to check your work e-mail or check in on a project you left in the hands of a trusted colleague.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What to do If You Don't Have a Job/Internship Lined Up for the Summer

Facing a summer of unemployment can be disheartening. But there’s no reason to despair. By doing the right things during the break, you can effectively work towards a job for the fall and move further down your career path.

  1. Reach out to your network
Reach out to your connections! It’s important to cement your network and get back in touch with those who can help you in the job hunt.
  1. Go back to school
Taking a class over the summer is also highly encouraged. Learn or refine a skill that will bolster your resume and open the door for more job opportunities. Earn more credits in a field that might help in your journey to graduate school or result in earlier graduation.
  1. Volunteer
While it’s great to be paid for work, volunteering with a non-profit organization, charity, or community center is also a great way to spend the summer. Not only will you be helping your community, but employment at the organization is also possible if you truly prove yourself to be a valuable asset.
  1. Summer research
Do you have a senior thesis coming up? Are you in a field in which you can work with professionals in a formal setting? A great way to spend the summer is by conducting research. This time of year gives you time to become truly enmeshed in your work and devote yourself fully to it.
  1. Start looking for a fall internship
A number of things could have prevented you from finding employment during the summer. Whatever the reasons were, list them and see how you can combat them now without the distractions that the academic year brings.
  1. Shadow a professional or mentor
Use your network to see if there are any professionals you can shadow while they work in their field. The experience you gain will be invaluable and the opportunities presented to you will be irreplaceable.

To find on-campus jobs, start checking Handshake in mid-August.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

9 Things to do Over the Summer to Help Advance Your Career

The end of the academic year doesn’t also signal the end of your hard work. Whether you have a job, are traveling, or are attending classes over the summer, it’s important to keep your career path in check. During the summer, you should try to do the following things that will help advance your progress along that path.

  1. Network
Look for networking events in your area that give you the opportunity to connect with people while also enjoying the season. Take advantage of the nice weather and take networking outside through things like retreats or work picnics.

2. Fill in for your vacationing coworkers
Show that you can take initiative and are a team player by taking on any projects or work that your co-workers left unfinished when they went on vacation. Ensure that your colleagues are up to speed on any changes that go on in the office or attend meetings that they might miss and take notes for them. Not only will you be helping your coworkers, but you’ll also be gaining invaluable experience in different areas of the office.

3. Schedule informational interviews
It’s difficult to get a job in the middle of the summer, but there’s no harm in going to a company and asking to speak to a professional about opportunities and what might be involved in holding a position there.

4. Start cultivating a professional presence online
Do a quick Google search of your name. Does anything inappropriate come up? Clean up your online image and make sure there’s nothing attached to your name that could be considered incriminating. Also look through sites that are available to the public, such as your LinkedIn profile, and make sure they’re clean and concise.

5. Freelance
Just because you aren’t working in an office doesn’t mean you can’t work. Offer your expertise and submit your work to different publications or corporate interests.

6. Volunteer with charities and nonprofit organizations
Another effective way to contribute to your community is through volunteer work. Find charities or non-profit organizations that are offering positions or looking for volunteers.

7. Learn a new skill
A great way to keep your mind active and open yourself up to more job opportunities is to learn a new skill. Take a class at your community college or find out where lessons are being offered. Learn something you’re passionate about but might not have had time to study during the academic year.

8. Update your resume
Be sure to include any new skills, experiences, or references gained by your summer activities to your resume. Everything is valuable!

9. Determine what you need to eliminate in order to reach your goals
Try to limit your time working with toxic people who will detriment your network or working on skills that you are able to do, but are not rewarding or able to further your career in any way.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How to Be Successful at Your Internship - JCFP Style

Congratulations on being selected to participate in the Jaggar Community Fellows Program!  It is a very prestigious program and one that is sure to greatly impact your summer.  There are many incredible employers doing fabulous work who cannot wait to meet you and see your work within their organizations.  Always remember, as you will be working in a not-for-profit company, every assignment given is, in some small or large way, helping contribute to a greater cause.  Whether this is your first internship or you are an intern expert, here are a few things to help you navigate the 10-week long intern road ahead.

Always remind yourself that you are an intern.  While the Center for Career and Professional Development prides itself on matching JCFP interns with companies that give their interns real work (not the coffee runs or photocopying), there are times where you may be doing everyday tasks.  Everyone in every position has to do these things at some point so do not take it the wrong way.  Interns are there to learn first-hand what it is like to work in a particular position.  You are new, green, and at the bottom of the totem pole.  Let this experience mold you, even the less exciting tasks to the huge projects that you might get to work on.

Dress to impress.  Definitely beating a dead horse with this as it is a mantra of CPD, but it could not be more true.  If you are dressed appropriately, others will see the seriousness that you bring to the job and you yourself also feel more confident.  Now, this comes with an asterisk (*) … some positions do not require suits or business casual every day.  Clearly, this is a tip for those in offices, etc.  If you are doing manual labor or spending many days outside, clearly a suit, for example, might not be the ideal choice.  Have common sense and dress appropriately for the situation at hand.

Be courteous and cordial to everyone that you come into contact with throughout the internship, but especially at the beginning.  You do not know which departments collaborate with one another, who is friends with who, and the dynamic of the office as a whole.  Be sure to take note of these connections quickly.  You may be able to utilize these same relationships when you are working on assignments.  Also a side note, everyone loves food, especially baked things, so it never hurts to bring in something for everyone to enjoy.  Yes, it’s shamelessly convincing people you are great, but as long as the food is good, it usually works and you typically get to share in the deliciousness, so a win for everyone!

Always look for more things to do.  You signed up for JCFP because you wanted an internship experience.  Now, you have to work for it, but with each new task and day comes more experiences and opportunities.  Do not let it go by.  If your supervisor is out or too busy to assign you something new, seek something out!  Perhaps you can take the initiative to begin a new project that you know needs to be done or asking someone else in the office what they need help with.  Displaying ambition and interest to your employer not only reaffirms your desire to be an intern, but it also may lead to even more meaningful tasks.

Feeding off of the last tip, give the internship some time!  Everyone needs to get to know you, especially your new supervisor.  He/she may be a bit hesitant to give you incredibly large or important assignments on the first day, or even the first week.  As with everything, you need to show your strengths and worth.  Just put your best foot forward and be patient.  Allow your supervisor to build a trusting relationship with you.  While it might be difficult to wait, it will pay off in the long run and it never hurts for you to propose things that you could do (see previous tip).

A personal note from a former JCFP intern to the newest class – The non-profit world is a special place!  There are a good number of you who have probably never been exposed to it before or have even considered that there is an entire working force in the not-for-profit sector.  In the end, you may realize that you do not like it at all.  Thank goodness this is a no risk situation!  What would you have done had you gone throughout your entire undergraduate career to realize you dislike the career that you worked so hard to enter into?  Now, you can decipher the various aspects of your major and the numerous jobs that you can acquire with it.  And, what happens if you love your job and even the non-profit world?  Well then, you have found your niche in the workforce and we sincerely hope you not only take advantage of this experience, but propel yourself forward to even greater heights as you work toward something you love to do each day!

Go out, be your best selves, and do great things!!  Best of luck!

By Alexandra Wurglics