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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to Stand Out at a Job Fair

Attending a job fair can be intimidating. With so many people competing for the same job, it’s difficult to stand out as the unique employee you know you are. Here are a few tips to follow so you can make a lasting impression at a job fair.

Do your research
Before the job fair, conduct some basic research on the companies you have the most interest in. Knowing some of their policies, their mission statement, goals, and services is instrumental in impressing an employer and appealing to them as a future employee. Asking specific questions and making references to information you find on their website shows the employer that you are truly interested in working for that company.

Make a strong first impression
When you first meet an employer, firmly shake their hand and maintain eye contact when you introduce yourself. This shows that you are confident. Also, smile! Although you may be feeling intimidated, make it clear that you are happy to be speaking with this employer and excited to be there.

Put yourself on display
This is your time to shine. Once you begin speaking to a potential employer, you only have a few minutes to show them why they should hire you. Mention your achievements and any special projects you worked on. Don’t just speak about where you worked in the past. Tell them what you accomplished there.

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades
Be specific and focused about what kind of job you want. Don’t come up to the table asking what opportunities are available. Your previous research should have also included a look into what positions they’re offering. Have one in mind that you want to discuss and focus your conversation towards that. If you want a human resources job, gear the discussion towards your experience in human resources and what you enjoy about working in that field.

End on a high note
Your final impression should be a lasting one. Ask about the next steps in the application process. Offer to come by the employer’s office for a longer conversation or informational interview in person. Make sure you thank the person for his/her time, and request a business card. This shows that you are committed to following up and are truly interested in the position.

Follow up

Within a few days after the job fair, follow up with the people you spoke to. Although it seems old fashioned, sending a thank you note to thank them for their time and for speaking with you comes off very professional and impressive. It shows the recruiter what type of worker you are and is often the difference between getting offered a position or not. Be sure to ask about any other opportunities to meet and have a discussion if you didn’t bring it up during the in person interview.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to Succeed in a Group Interview

A group interview is an interview in which an employer will screen several applicants at one time. These can be daunting, but are practically unavoidable in a competitive job market. Many employers not only do this for efficiency's sake but also to see how you work with other people. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your success in a group interview. 

Approach the room with confidence
When you see the other candidates for the first time, you may feel intimidated or surprised, but don’t let it show. Your reaction to the situation and the group is very important to the employer’s perception of you. Show that you can handle new environments, new people, and situations that deviate from your norm.

Speak with a purpose
In a group, it’s easy to feel like you need to constantly participate. While it’s pertinent to pay attention to the discussion, it doesn’t always need your response or input. When you have something to say, make sure it is unique and moves the conversation along. Use body language to show that you’re engaged, even when you’re not speaking. If you have a thought while someone else is talking, make a note of it. When your turn comes up, you’ll be confident in all that you have to say.

With that being said, it is essential to pay attention to the questions and your group members’ responses. You may be asked the same question and therefore don’t want to give the same answers. Or a discussion may spring up from a reply and it will be beneficial for you to make a contribution.

Focus on yourself
Don't focus your efforts on "bringing down the competition" or discounting others' thoughts and ideas. Not only will it make you look like a bad team player, but it will take away from the opportunities you have to build yourself up. Take this time to show how you interact with others and what you can bring to a group and company. Spending all your time tearing others down is merely a detriment to yourself.

Set yourself apart
While it’s good to be friendly with the other candidates and beneficial to maintain an effective dialogue, you are there to be hired. Show your employer what makes you unique. Stand out by sharing different views on a topic or how you took advantage of a special opportunity.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Senior Ayako Nakashita Gains Confidence After JCFP Experience

Ayako Nakashita gained confidence in herself and her abilities after interning at New York Cares in their Service Events department.
As an international student, Nakashita found her career experience options limited. However, JCFP gave her the opportunity to “earn clinical experiences working in the field.” She learned the importance in asking for help from her supervisors and coworkers when she encountered challenges. She realized that even if an opportunity seemed beyond her reach, she needed to try to the best of her ability. With this newfound confidence, Nakashita says that “with the faith in myself that I earned, I am now rather excited with trying new things than being afraid of it.”
With the tenacity to move forward, Nakashita was able to learn things she could not in the classroom and pursue her future further. “Be proactive towards whatever you want to accomplish for your future,” she says.
The JCFP experience helped Nakashita see things in a new light. “These experiences will widen your perspective in a way that enable you to see the things from opposite side of where you are,” she says. “If you want to see the best version of you, JCFP is the perfect place to work in the summer.”

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sarthak Arora Paves His Own Path to Success

Sarthak Arora gained invaluable skills working as an Executive Marketing Intern at The National Urban League.
Although Arora’s internship didn’t align with his job aspirations, his role as an intern granted him skills and experience in the workplace that would come in handy at any job in any career field. “Through JCFP, I was able to show that I can adhere to organizational structure and be a contributing member of a team, which are invaluable skills in any work environment,” he says. “The JCFP employers...often times require heavy assistance with their day to day operations, thus allowing students to get a real insight into what it is like to work with a team to accomplish goals and navigate through real obstacles that may come in the way.”
However, he was able to incorporate the type of experience he wanted into his internship experience. As a Mathematics and Computer Science major, he was able to immerse himself deeply in website development and the analytics side of marketing for the non-profit. Once he specified the type of experience he was seeking, he was given more projects to do relating to that field. “Once I specified the type of experience I was seeking, I was given more and more projects related to my interests,” Arora says.
Arora stresses the importance of paving your own path to success. “Ultimately, it all comes down to actively seeking opportunities and making connections which will help you tremendously in all your future professional endeavors,” he says.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

María Bruzon Dreams Big After JCFP Experience

María Bruzon realized her non-profit dreams after interning at The National Urban League as a Talent Management Intern through the Jaggar Community Fellows Program.
Participating in JCFP gave her a new outlook on non-profit organizations. “I had never in my life considered working for a non-profit organization,” Bruzon says. “I never really understood them and I was never curious about how [they] worked either. After my internship this summer I honestly cannot see myself working for an organization that is not a non-profit.”
Working with a non-profit also gave her a new goal to strive towards. “It inspired me to dream big,” she says. “My ultimate goal in life is to go back to [El Salvador] where I was born and raised...and start my own non-profit.” She also looks forward to giving back to the Long Island community in the future.
Bruzon gained a new way of looking at her life and what she can do for others. “I have always been aware that I am a very privileged girl,” she says. “However, [JCFP] gave me that one push I needed to understand that I need to apply the amazing education I have received and all the love and empathy in my heart to give back to people that need it the most.”

Her advice for aspiring students is to maintain a positive attitude and realize the potential of each new day. She stresses the importance of focusing on building up as many skills as you possibly can.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Junior Lani Chau Shoots for the Stars as a Jaggar Community Fellow

Sometimes interning is all it takes to reaffirm your goals and dreams. Lani Chau interned at the Cradle of Aviation Museum as part of the Jaggar Community Fellows Program (JCFP). She worked as a planetarium presenter.

While there, she gained confidence in her choices to fuse her passion for arts and sciences. Chau was doubting her recent decision to start a minor in graphic design on top of a physics major when a conversation with her supervisor opened her eyes to opportunities she didn’t even know existed. After she talked to her supervisor about technicians at NASA who colorized black and white images from space, she felt more confident about her choice. “It was conversations and experiences from moments like the above that decreased my insecurity and pushed me forward confidently in my journey,” she says.

Chau says that “in gaining more confidence with the choices I made, I also gained more motivation.” This drove her to find more opportunities for hard and innovative work.

The advice she has for students considering applying to JCFP is to keep an open mind. Although the Cradle of Aviation Museum was not her first choice of internship, she “ended up having fun and would not want to trade this experience with anything else.” Although at first being hesitant about taking an internship at an aerospace center, Chau learned the importance of being honest and open about any questions someone may have at a new job.

“If we cannot succeed at first then we can learn,” she says.