• Making the Most of your Internship Experience

    by Mariam Ameha

    Two college interns sitting on an office couch looking at a laptop screen.

    You finished applying, got through the interview process, and have received your acceptance letter. Now what? Preparing for an internship can be stressful, especially if it's your first time completing one. Whether your goal is to secure a full-time return offer or you want to gauge a feel for a new industry, an internship is a valuable experience and time for growth. It can be difficult to adjust for someone who has little-to-no experience in a professional setting. This is why it's important to form strategies that can be applied throughout the experience to build your skills and make you a more confident college student as you prepare for your career. Here are four ways to be successful as an intern and leave a lasting impact.

    1. Set goals

    Prior to starting your internship, you should think about what you want to learn during your time there. Once you connect with your manager, you should set more role-specific goals to measure your success. And it does not end there. Many people forget to review and note if they’re actually hitting their goals until the end of the internship, which can lead to added stress. Try checking in weekly or bi-weekly and listing your achievements somewhere, using a journal, for example. This will be very helpful as you recap what you’ve accomplished during midpoint or final evaluations! Keeping notes on what you have done will also be invaluable when writing a resume because you’ll want to include specific details and log any metrics that show your impact.

    2. Self-Advocate

    In any job, you will learn that actively seeking opportunities is the best way to get them. If there are specific projects that catch your eye, ask if you can be involved and do anything to help out. Although you are an intern, your time is just as important as others’ time at the organization, so be realistic about what you can handle in terms of workload. One common mistake made by interns is not following up after asking for something, in fear of bothering busy people. However, if you make a request to someone and do not get a response, kindly follow up after waiting an appropriate amount of time. Chances are that the initial request just slipped through the cracks!

    3. Be receptive to all feedback

    As an intern, you may receive both positive and negative feedback. Feedback is a gift, so try to remain open-minded to constructive criticism from your manager or other colleagues. You are there to learn, so put your best foot forward and ask how you can do better in your role. Once you receive this information, make sure to actively work on your weaknesses so you can show improvement by the end of the program. Being an intern does not mean you are not allowed to also share feedback. Communicate with your manager and respectfully let them know if you are missing tools needed to help you be successful, because they cannot read your mind! This will also show your initiative and leadership, as you are stepping up and have the ability to improve the program for future interns.

    4. Build your network!

    You may get caught up in a routine of working solo on your computer but remember that your internship time is limited. This is a valuable time to build your connections and get to know different people at your company. Even if someone is not in your team or specific department, you can learn about various areas of interest and potentially find something that aligns more with your goals. Find a good balance between your usual workload and networking. To avoid burnout, you can set a goal of speaking to a certain amount of people a week. During my summer internship this year, I aimed to connect with 1-2 new people weekly, and set up meetings to ask questions and learn about various departments. This led to many new connections and more clarity about my career goals. If you are in a cohort of interns, take this time to form long-lasting relationships and socialize! This can be through coffee chats (especially if your internship is virtual) or asking to grab lunch together at the office. Take advantage of company-wide social events as well, since this will let you mingle with people you otherwise would not cross paths with through your day-to-day work.

    Internships can fly by, and you want to be able to look back at the end and feel confident that you did the best that you could. Plan ahead, ask questions, and conquer your internship!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Everything Happens for a Reason

    by Tahmina Tisha

    Four college students standing arm-in-arm in a college building hallway.

    “Everything happens for a reason.” Oh, how many times have I heard this phrase after getting rejected by fifteen companies for an internship? It is a stressful feeling when you were the smartest kid in high school but suddenly when you transition to college you are no longer the smart one. You start competing with people that are on the same level as you and now you have imposter syndrome. Rejection is something I did not encounter until I started college. I did not quite understand this concept of ‘everything happens for a reason’ until something good finally came along.

    As a responsible college student, I felt heartbroken and insecure with each rejection on an internship application, especially since I felt I had tried my best, stayed active in school, and had a better than average academic performance. Was there something wrong with my accent, my style? Was I somehow not smart enough for these jobs? There are many times I wanted to give up and never try again for an internship, job, or even a leadership position. That is when I encountered mental health problems.

    It is not fun to be depressed and sad and stressed all the time. It affected my academic progress. I could not concentrate in school because I felt like it was pointless. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Coming from a South Asian household, I have seen my immigrant parents who came to this unknown land, having the same feeling where they are lost and stressed. No idea where they might get their next meal. I used their hardship as my inspiration to never give up and to keep moving forward. I utilized three techniques to overcome my rejection by continuing to: move forward, keep trying, and networking.

    Moving forward

    When it comes to rejection, it is best to move forward because taking things personally will not help you move forward in life. You can be sad and depressed all day, but that won’t help you get the job that you desperately want. Yes, rejection may be the worst feeling, but opportunities are always within our reach. Learning to trust the process is the biggest confidence boost anyone can ever have.

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  • Ace the Interview to Land that Job or Internship!

    by Geeta Chandaluri

    A screengrab of a virtual networking event held on Zoom.

    Searching for an internship or a job as a college student can certainly be very stressful. There are many moving parts from building a perfect resume, marketing yourself, meeting the right people, and sometimes being lucky enough. While considering all factors that are supposed to go right to land a position, it is hard to stay mentally sane. Do not feel alienated if you feel pressure, it is common to get stressed when starting your career.

    I am a college senior, and I have been down the “applying to a job” road several times before. One thing that all jobs have in common is interviewing. Interviewing is one of the important steps to landing a job. So here are some tips on how to stay poised while applying and interviewing!

    1. Identify What You Want

    There are an astonishing number of jobs out there; meaning that there are many paths for you to choose. When applying you need to list out your goals and intentions. Do you want something to make some money? Do you want an educational experience that relates to the industry that you are interested in? Do you want to meet new people and network? There are no right or wrong answers, all you need to do is sit down and brainstorm a list of your priorities.

    2. “The Perfect” Resume

    Many people may apply for the same opening you did, especially if it is a huge corporation. To make the hiring process manageable, many firms tend to process resumes through a “software”. This is not a reason to be intimidated; all you need to do is make sure you use keywords in your resume that demonstrate both hard and soft skills. And the last thing you want is for your resume to be thrown out because of spelling errors, so make sure your grammar and formatting are a hundred percent accurate. Run your resume by a friend or a family member to make sure it is the perfect version of your resume.

    3. Research The Role

    After you submit your resume, you may get a call for an interview. This is an achievement itself, but now the real work begins. Make sure you research your firm and the role. This helps you better formulate your answers and tie them back to why you are interested in the role to begin with. It shows the employer that you are interested in the job because you spent time learning about it.

    4. Prep

    Interview prepping can be difficult as it is impossible to know what questions you will be asked. However, good preparation is simply knowing yourself. Think about all the times when you had to be a leader or made an impact, take these stories, and convert them into potential answers that demonstrate various desirable skills. Interviewing is all about marketing yourself; the better you tell your story, the more memorable you will be.

    5. Stay Poised

    In addition to preparing for the interview make sure you eat well and get a good night's rest. It is important to take care of yourself physically and mentally because it reduces stress and nervousness.

    Interviewing for a job or internship is daunting, but with enough preparation, you will be able to speak eloquently in front of your future employer. When you are familiar with what stories you want to tell and ideas you want to express, the interview will start to feel more like a conversation.

    Want to read more on this topic from other students? Check out these blogs on finding and securing an internship, making the most of your internship experience, and more advice on interview prep.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Finding and Securing an Awesome Summer Internship

    by Cobe Fatovic

    A college student’s computer monitor and keyboard. The monitor screen shows two open windows, one featuring a financial spreadsheet and the other featuring the home page of a financial institution.

    Most college students have been asked, “do you have any internships lined up?” While internships are certainly not for everyone, they are common among college students. They are a great way to learn about areas you may be working in down the line. Finding and securing an internship is arguably one of the most stressful parts of college. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding parts.

    The Search

    Often, the hardest part of finding an internship can be the search. This can be a daunting task when you don’t even know where to begin. The easiest place I found to look was simply Google. If you type in, “Summer 2022 Internships in (whatever you are looking for)” there are a ton of results. If something interests you, then apply! You can always turn down interviews later down the line, but you might as well keep your options open. If you have a better idea of what you want to be doing, then skip Google and try searching on LinkedIn or through a job search website through your university. I found that many companies through my school’s portal were more responsive than just cold applying on Google. If you know exactly what you want to be doing, then go directly to your favorite company’s website. Normally, you can navigate to a careers page, where you will be able to see all their open job opportunities and internships. There are many ways to find internships, but I think a combination of all of them is the best strategy.

    Resume

    Now you have narrowed it down to a few opportunities that interest you. That is great, but how do you go about standing out from all the other applicants? Your resume is vital to securing an interview. It is very important to have multiple people read and edit your resume. One small grammatical error is all a company needs to toss your resume in the trash. Have your parents, grandparents, friends, and professors edit it. My strategy was to have family and friends go over it first to catch the grammatical errors. Once I knew it was free of these errors, I had trusted adults at my university edit it. It is a better use of their time to find ways to improve the content and phrasing of your resume rather than finding grammatical or formatting errors that your family could have caught. The more eyes on your resume, the better.

    Interview Process

    Finally, the interview process. This is where you get to stand out and show your personality. Interviews are for the interviewer to judge your fit in the company, but also for you to judge whether you want to work for the company. I found that my best interviews were always the ones where I connected with the interviewer. In terms of preparation, repetition is the most important thing. Practice with older students and friends in mock interviews. This will help you get used to speaking about yourself and your experiences. Finally, just be yourself! It is important to ask genuine questions and try to get to know the company. If the role is meant for you, it will naturally work itself out.

    The most important thing through the whole process is remaining positive and confident in yourself despite rejection letters. A rejection to a company does not reflect your ability to do an internship. There is a job for everyone out there, it is just a matter of finding the right one. Good luck!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Balancing School, Work, Internships, and Interviews

    by Rukmini Waranashiwar

    A female college student sits in a saucer-type red chair with a laptop in her lap. There is a large window behind her, a low round table in front of her and the chair next to her is empty.

    When first starting college, I always looked forward to having a relaxing senior year; however, that did not turn out to be the case. What I hoped to be an easy semester turned into me taking 12 credit hours, managing a Pearson micro-internship, working as a Pearson Campus Ambassador (PCA), and interviewing for full-time jobs. My life became incredibly busy. Although it seems like a lot, my past experiences taught me how to manage my time wisely.

    Increasing Responsibility

    This was not the first time I had to handle a chaotic schedule. During the Spring semester of my junior year, I took 18 credit hours, worked as a PCA, and completed an internship with a search fund. During that time, the best thing I did to manage school and work was to prepare for exams at least a week in advance. Since I would have multiple exams a week, internship deadlines, and PCA projects all coinciding, I couldn’t spend all day studying for an exam anymore. Learning how to space out my studying was extremely integral to my being able to manage other responsibilities on top of school.

    Helpful Habits

    The habits I built during that time made me confident that I could handle all that senior year had to throw at me. I’d learned how to space out studying so I could balance my academics and maintain my GPA, while still being able to keep up with other commitments. Another habit that helped me was to put all due dates onto a Google or Outlook calendar. I have a hard time keeping up with a written planner, however I am always on my laptop. Having those notifications pop up for things like internship meetings, job meetings, and even classes is super helpful. I keep up with all my deadlines and make to do lists for day-to-day tasks. Being organized is genuinely the most important thing to manage several projects at once.

    And something interesting I learned during these heavy semesters is that I work more efficiently when I have more to do. Having many deadlines helps me get things done faster because I know I don’t have much time to procrastinate. When I was in high school and my only focus was on school, I wasn’t as efficient with my time because I didn’t need to be.

    Although taking on more responsibility may seem daunting, it has proven to be rewarding. Both my PCA position and Pearson internship have provided me with so much experience to talk about during my job interviews.

    Take Time for Yourself

    Now in my final semester, I’m finding that carrying out a job search can feel like a full-time job on its own: preparing for interviews, updating my resume, and applying to jobs in between classes and during lunch. The best thing I’ve done for myself this semester is build time in to take breaks, like hanging out with friends, exercising, and treating myself to some ice cream. Taking care of your mental health is important to maintain your best self. I’m extremely thankful for all of opportunities I have had throughout my college career and hope to apply what I’ve learned during these busy semesters post-college.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Making the Most of Your Internship Experience

    by Sydnie Ho

    The entrance to General Mills headquarters in Minnesota on a sunny day featuring a green lawn, trees and shrubs alongside the General Mills sign.

    So, you finally landed that internship you’ve been working so hard to get. You have done the hard part by getting the offer – now it’s time to actually start the job! Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to make the most of it.

    Ask questions and be curious

    Asking questions is crucial to optimize your learning during your internship. Employees understand you are an intern and are there to grow and learn. They except you to not know what you are doing at first, so don’t feel like you are being bothersome or asking to many questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question! Take advantage of your time and ask all the questions.

    Take initiative

    There will be moments during your internship where you don’t have much to do or are having to wait on people to complete something. Take this time to take initiative and show people how active and willing to learn you are. This skill is something employers look for and is a great time to put into practice.

    Communicate with your manager

    I’ve learned how important this is during my last internship. I found that the project I was working on was not what I wanted to do or what I wanted to learn. I learned that it never hurts to speak up and say something. I was able to communicate with my manager about what I wanted out of this experience, and she was happy to work with me on a new project.

    Connect with other employees

    Not only are you there to work, but you are there to learn about the company and see if it would be a good fit for your future. The best way to learn about the company is talking to its people! Set up coffee chats, talk with people in roles you want to learn about, and take advantage of being an intern. Learn about the pros and cons of the company, how people like living in that location, and what made them chose to work there.

    Learn what you want in a full-time role

    As a rising senior, it has been important for me to learn about what I want in a full-time role. What would be salary be? What are the benefits? Is there room for career growth? Promotions? Ask about entry level roles, company structure-- everything! This is a great way to learn about what you like and don’t like so you can take it into your full-time job search later.

    However you chose to spend your internship experience, make the most of this learning opportunity! Even if it doesn’t turn out how you hoped it would, it’s a great resume builder and opportunity to learn about what to look for next.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

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  • Hunting for internships in the time of COVID

    by Christy Zheng

    GLP-screenshot

    We all know how difficult it is to get an internship. Most times, you need job experience before even getting your first job and this standard has only increased. To add on, COVID-19 has made internship hunting harder: no coffee chats, in-person recruiting events, and many companies can’t even afford to hire. However, COVID has also allowed us to work from anywhere. After going through the recruiting process myself, I’ve gained some experience that I feel can help you maximize your time and get an internship when you feel like it’s impossible. Keep reading to find out!

    My Background

    For reference (and ethos), I had a consulting and small banking internship two years ago and had the opportunity to attend some small conferences. Currently, I’m interning at an investment banking firm. I received neither of these opportunities through traditional resume dropping or online applications. With all this being said, I hope the advice I give in the rest of this blog holds some merit.

    Build a Network

    The single most important thing you can do to help you stand out from other candidates in lieu of in-person career fairs is building your network. Since you won’t be able to talk to recruiters in person and Zoom fatigue gets even the best of us, you have to take things into your own hands to, basically, create a career fair of your own.

    Firstly, NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK. And did I mention network? Utilize your connections and if you don’t have connections… find some! Simply searching “[school name] [company] LinkedIn” into google will give you at least 10 connections to reach out to. However, don’t just rely on LinkedIn (most professionals won’t check it often). Instead, try to find the email format of companies. The most common ones are firstname.lastname@company.com and firstinitiallastname@company.com which can usually be found in SEC filings. Next, draft up an interesting, but short, introduction email asking for a short phone or Zoom call. This builds a more personal connection and they now know what you sound like!

    Make an Impression

    Now, what do you say on the actual phone call? After briefly introducing yourself, give a quick elevator pitch (no more than 1-2 mins) as to why you’re interested in the field and why you want to talk to this person specifically. After that, try to let the conversation flow naturally and ask good questions. Besides the obvious, sometimes even “what’s your day-to-day like” or “why do you want to work at [company]” are a little generic. Instead, ask about specific projects that are happening within the company. Did your contact just publish something? Ask questions that prove you’re genuinely interested.

    Ask for Referrals

    Lastly (and this is the most important part), ask “is there anyone else at your company that you think I could benefit from talking to?” This way, your network doesn’t stop here, and you can use this person as a referral for the next. It’s like making your way up to the boss level in a video game. If they say yes, great, reach out to the person they recommend or wait to be referred. If they say no, then no worries, on to the next; there are 10,001 more people to reach out to.

    Now, you have a whole long list of people to refer to in your interview; people to vouch for you and flag your resume for interviews and mentors to help guide you through the rest of the recruiting process. COVID-19 era job hunting is going to be difficult but keep pushing and something will come from your efforts!

    Pearson Students: How did you land your first internship? Share in the comments below!

     

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  • Securing your dream internship

    by Jacquie Dunworth

    blog image alt text

    When summer is coming to an end, you may not be thinking about what you’ll be doing a year from now. However, it is never too early to start preparing for the internship search and making a plan. Many companies are beginning to recruit earlier and earlier to secure the best talent. There are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself for securing an internship.

    Determine your interests

    The first step of your internship search is to determine what you are looking for. This entails figuring out which industries you are potentially interested in, like finance or health care or retailing. Reflect on your past schoolwork and major to help see where your skills lie and determine what kind position you are seeking. Determine what the size of company and culture you are looking for. Evaluate your past experiences, such as clubs, projects, or classes that you enjoyed and could translate into a career.

    Research

    Once you have an idea of which industry and role you want to get an internship in, start researching. As you discover specific companies you want to work for, create a list with the company name, then add internship opportunities and application deadlines as you find them. If you want to work somewhere with a very competitive internship program like Amazon, Google, or Facebook, ensure you have some companies that have less competitive programs. Research the type of interviews associated with the role you want. For example, some internships have multiple interview components. Finance interviews typically have a behavioral component and a technical finance component, whereas many engineering interviews contain a math test and consulting interviews have a case study.

    Prepare

    Once you know where you want to work and what to expect in the interview process, you need to prepare. Networking is very important and can help land you your first interview. Reach out to family and friends to see if they know anyone in the industry or company you are interested in. Check your school’s career events. While events this Fall may be virtual, many large companies will still have recruiting opportunities for students. Contact graduates from your college who work for companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn and have a coffee chat. Set up an appointment with a career coach at school and do a mock interview so you are ready when the time comes for you to interview for an internship.

    It’s never too early to start preparing, setting goals, and doing your research. Small things like these can help put you a step ahead of the other applicants. Hopefully starting early will help you land your dream internship. Good luck!

     

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  • A lady in Spain: How I got an international internship

    by Sanjana Saji

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    Everyone hears about study abroad options when in college, but did you know that you can intern abroad, too? As someone who loves to travel, I wanted to study abroad in my college career. However, I realized that I was too involved in my extracurricular activities to take a full semester off. Also, the thought of being gone for four months made me nervous. 

    Luckily, a friend told me about a summer internship abroad program through her school. I was intrigued and decided to look into some programs that were available at my school. Since my school didn’t offer a program in the city I wanted to be in, I applied to a program from a different school as an autonomous student. 

    After applying, I received an acceptance email along with the details of the program. I was excited for this opportunity; however, I knew this wouldn’t be the cheapest way to spend a summer. Most internships abroad are unpaid. Fortunately, my parents were excited and pushed me to take it for the professional and personal experience. I was officially participating in an eight-week program based in Barcelona working a global business internship for university credit. 

    Now, several months after I returned, I can say it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was lucky to have parents who supported me, adventurous friends who inspire me to take risks, and the opportunity to do something like this for my career and personal growth. I recommend this type of program to any business student that wants to get work experience and see the world over a summer vacation. Check out the intern programs that your university offers and see if there is a fit. If there isn’t a perfect program, don’t get discouraged. Check out online programs and other universities to find your match!

     

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  • My internship story: The struggle and the success

    by Shumaila Lakhani

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    If you are a college student seeking an internship, you know how stressful it can be. Countless hours of searching, networking, and researching companies is what it takes to land an opportunity. All the time spent may lead to only a few interviews and many rejections. It can be very stressful.

    I began looking during my sophomore year at UT Austin. Between going to career expos, attending info sessions, and other networking events, I felt like I was doing all I could. Seeing all my friends who were juniors at the time get offers and interviews, whereas I was struggling to even land my first interview was hard. My heart became heavy as I began to feel demoralized that no company was going to give me a chance since I was a sophomore.

    Until one day, my friend who was also a sophomore came running to me and told me how he got an internship offer from Dell. It surprised me that he was able to get an offer being a sophomore and I realized it was OK seeing other students land internships before me. I could not be hung up on it, but instead had to change my approach.

    Companies look at who you are as a person and how passionate you are about the company and position. Applying to smaller companies and companies where my experience would be useful was where I began next in starting my journey. I ended up landing an interview with two companies. I knew I would have to be engaging and show my passion during the interviews. With a lot of advance research I was able to connect my interview responses to current news or my experiences, plus I was able to show a wide range of knowledge. I got offers from both companies and accepted an internship with Travelers insurance company.

    My internship was in the oil and gas department and the 10-week summer program was amazing. Learning so many new things and working with numerous different teams was the highlight. It was an experience where I faced a lot of challenges but I also got a fun learning experience out of it. Although I loved the company and the people, I realized this was not what I wanted to do after I graduated. I ended up receiving a return offer that I wanted to accept so badly to have a safety net, but I knew I had to say no and continue searching to find something that was more aligned with my career.

    Through this process I learned to put all that you have into pursuing your hopes and dreams and to not feel discouraged when you do not see results right away. I also learned to not just settle for anything that comes my way, but to see what the right fit for my future is. For students seeking internships, do not stress over the search; take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.

     

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  • Get ready for internship success

    by Johnny Condit

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    Do you think you are ready for an internship? Having real world experience in a specific career is the best way to find out what you love and what you want to do for the rest of your life. An internship can present endless opportunities that help you grow and prepare you for your future. You can learn a lot about yourself, like are you a “9-5-sit-at-a-desk” worker or an “on-the-move, meetings, on-your-feet” kind of person? Experiencing both kinds of jobs for four months will let you know what you desire to do. 

    Everyone wants to do well in their internship and make a good impression. If you’re lucky enough to still have an internship opportunity this summer, here are three great ways to help you succeed: be teachable, be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and have a great work ethic.

    Learn

    Over the past summer, I was lucky enough to have an internship the sales department of a health insurance brokerage. Being my first internship, I had no idea what to expect and was incredibly nervous to start. But once I started, all my nervousness and doubts left me as I started to become accommodated to a brand-new work environment. The most important thing I did this summer was to learn from other people and be vulnerable. I knew I was not the most informed with the industry I was working in, but being able to ask questions and learn from professionals around me was a privilege. I learned more about sales in the past four months from the people I worked with than I had in my entire life. The desire to learn and grow in the workplace is an important trait to have.

    Step Out of Your Box

    A popular line that I love is, “you can never grow being comfortable”. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a necessity when getting a new job. You shouldn’t avoid situations that will challenge you in prosperous businesses. There were many things that I had to do this summer that I was nervous to do, like cold call prospects for my company and present data in front of clients. But after completing these actions, I am so thankful I did them because I was able to grow and learn from the experience. Never feel intimidated of being uncomfortable.

    Work Hard

    Lastly, use your internship as an opportunity to grow and strengthen a great work ethic. Any job will teach you all the things you need to know to be successful in that job. But what they won’t teach you is how to work hard, be proactive and take initiative. These are the traits that people look for when hiring and should be incorporated into your daily work life. You will impress your boss exponentially more by being proactive than by just doing things that you are told.

    So whether you are getting ready for your third internship or your first, be coachable, be comfortable being uncomfortable, and take initiative during your job. These three things will help you grow to your full potential in any industry that you want to pursue. Make the best out of your internship and build connections with coworkers that can last forever!

     

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  • Securing a summer internship: 3 tips for student success

    by Alana Castle

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    “What are your plans for summer break?”

    If you are a college student, this question is likely one that you encounter quite often. With the spring semester well underway, having a plan for your summer break is especially pertinent. Although taking a break from your studies, visiting friends, and vacationing are important aspects of summer break, the summer break plan that I am referring to is that of an opportunity for valuable undergraduate experience through an internship. 

    The months of summer break provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to gain valuable experience in their chosen field of study. However, knowing exactly how to locate and secure such experience can be a challenging task. As a student who recently secured an internship with the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I learned throughout the process of finding summer undergraduate experience with other students. 

    Reach out to your university’s Career Services!

    One of the first things that I would recommend to any student who is looking for a summer internship is to visit their school’s career center. Career services on college campuses are specialized in connecting students with opportunities specifically intended for undergraduate students. Check out your university’s career service website, subscribe to their email list, or schedule an appointment with a career center advisor to explore what options are available to you. 

    Create a LinkedIn profile

    Alongside exploring your university’s career services, creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way for students to connect with organizations and companies that are searching for interns. Ensure that you have a professional headshot and bio, upload an updated resume, and link related projects that highlight your skills to your profile. In addition, be sure to connect with past employers, coworkers, and other respected professionals that you know and that are in your field of study. You can even specify in your LinkedIn settings that you are currently looking for an internship opportunity in order to increase the chances of your profile being located by potential employers. 

    Don’t limit your options 

    Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice that I have for students who are searching for a summer internship is to not limit what options are available to you. What I mean by this is to be open to new places, new people, and new experiences throughout your search, application, and interview processes. There are countless opportunities available for undergraduate students during the summer months. Whether that be in the form of a paid or unpaid internship, research experience, shadowing, or working in a particular field of interest-you just have to be open to the opportunities that come your way. Being able to gain any form of experience is better than no experience at all, and exploring new aspects of your chosen field of study could help you find new passions and forge new connections with employers and professionals. 

    Whether you are a first-year or a third-year student, no time is better than now for you to look into what opportunities are available to you for gaining experience in your field of study. Start your search as early as possible by going to your school’s career center, creating a professional LinkedIn profile, and keeping your options open. This will set you on the path to securing a summer internship and to gaining valuable hands-on experience! 

     

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  • School, Job, Internship: Finding time for it all

    by Elise Aguerrevere

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    Finding time for an internship or job can seem impossible while trying to get used to a new course load of challenging classes. Whether you need a somewhat steady income to pay your bills or just some extra cash for going out on the weekends, most college students find themselves searching for a job at some point throughout their four years at school. Plus, fall and spring term internships are just as plentiful as summer internships now. Although it may seem like you could never find the time to balance these opportunities with your class schedule, employers can be understanding and will often put your academics first. It’s all about finding the right fit for you. 

    Just the thought of having to find a job is daunting to many students. Thankfully, most universities have a career center that is there to help you find job and internship listings. They can direct you to on-campus positions that fit with your class schedule. Some on-campus jobs even pay for your meal plan or housing on top of your salary. On-campus jobs are a great way to make some money and build your resume while still staying in touch with your academics as they are not allowed to schedule you to work during your classes. 

    Internships can be more tricky to balance with classes as they can often take up more time than an average part-time job. Getting creative with your schedule can help. You could try to schedule all of your classes in the mornings or only on certain days of the week so that you can better fit those internship hours into your schedule. Another option is to consider taking a class or two online. Often times online classes are not as intense as in person ones and allow you some flexibility on when you complete assignments. Now that you have a few extra hours where you do not have to be on campus for class, you can put those hours into your internship.

    It is all about finding what works best for you. Being honest and upfront with your employer about how you are doing in school is also important. They will most often prefer that you do well in your classes than overwhelm yourself at work. If you find yourself falling behind in school, speak with your boss and maybe ask if you can take an afternoon off to study for that exam you have coming up. They can be more understanding than you think. 

    At the end of the day, balancing your academics with work or an internship is all about time management. You have to find what works best for your schedule and never forget that your studies should always come first. 

     

     
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  • The best of both worlds: Start planning now for an amazing learning experience next summer

    by Abby Adams

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    Taking classes and working an internship all while being abroad with friends? Yes, please!

    Summer break offers many different opportunities for students. They can take classes, work an internship, travel, all while still wanting to have time to socialize with friends. I struggled trying to decide which option was right for me. However, after doing research about different programs offered at my school, I found an option that allowed me to experience all four at once. 

    This past summer, I participated in Georgia Tech’s Leadership for Social Good study abroad. Through this program, I took 9 credit hours that apply to my minor and got a deeper insight to the nonprofit world. I worked an internship with a Hungarian social enterprise, AndiJoga, where I was able to apply the lessons I learned in class directly to an organization. Over the six weeks I was abroad, I was also able to visit six different countries, make 19 new friends, and create countless memories. 

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  • A Leap of Faith: Unexpected lessons from my summer internship

    by Madison Kriege

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    I’ve always been one to walk before I ran and put myself into a box before the rest of the world could do it for me, so when I decided to take a summer internship four hours from my friends and family – in a city I barely knew – it came as a shock.  The 12-week program was with a company that I had never heard of until the career fair and wasn’t exactly what I had considered doing long-term, however, this summer has been one incredible journey and I am so thankful for it.

    I work for a comfy-chic software company that believes in open collaboration and equal parts work and play.  There are no cubicles or closed doors, and everyone has a chance to join in the Smash Brothers tournament at the end of the day.  I learned how to win at ping pong and finally got good enough at cornhole to call myself a Midwesterner, but I also found a space where I could freely ask questions and never had to doubt my ability. 

    I was just an intern, but I had the same desk as a full-time engineer and sat in on the same meetings they were attending.  This summer helped me regain confidence in myself that I had lost through the semesters of feeling excluded in the classroom or feeling afraid to ask questions because I was already fighting an uphill battle to fit in.  A fun company is excellent, but a supportive one makes all the difference.

    My decision to pursue a job outside of my predetermined search radius was a bold one that hit me before I had an opportunity to consider the risk.  It meant leaving my friends for the first time and learning how to make new ones. Throughout my three months, I discovered that I love to paint my nails and that metal may have a place in my music library.  I learned that regardless of how similar our lives are now, people have amazing experiences to share and different stories to tell.  My coworkers came from different states, ages, and races, but at the end of the day, we were all college kids taking a chance on our future together.  

    I learned how to stop caring long enough to enjoy a night out or sleep in on a Saturday.  I put away my to-do lists and binge-watched a TV series for the first time in years. I’ve spent so much time trying to juggle the things I love and the things I do and the people I surround myself with that I forgot to include myself.  By finally stepping out of my self-created box, I discovered a balance between the life I normally led and the new things I had found.  The world suddenly wasn’t as black and white as I had led myself to believe and those boxes we put ourselves in are not always accurate.

    This summer, I decided to challenge myself and step entirely out of my comfort zone for 12 weeks.  There were days that I felt on top of the world and days that I cried watching my boyfriend’s car leave after a weekend visit.  I pushed myself and found a happiness that I have never felt before with a group of people I would never have had the pleasure to meet.  So the next time an opportunity comes at you, take it and run.  There are days to calculate your moves, and there are days to celebrate your ability to move.  This leap of faith was one worth taking.

     

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  • Navigating an Internship from Start to Finish

    by Sydney Fredette

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    Interning has been one of the most valuable experiences I have gained during college. I was even fortunate enough to get an internship abroad. No matter what your ideal internship setting is, the most essential steps in seeking an internship include: searching, preparing, performing, and following-up. Navigate your internship from start to finish by adhering to these steps.

    Searching for internship opportunities

    You may feel a bit overwhelmed when you first begin the search for an internship and that is totally normal! I remember calling my mom in a frenzy, completely convinced that I was behind everyone else in my internship experience. She reminded me that everyone is on their own path, and the search for a job is not as important as the search for experience. 

    Before beginning your search for the “perfect” internship, it is important to define what “perfect” is to you. Brainstorm what you would like to gain from this experience, and what skills you will bring to the table. 

    Next, examine your personal network. Think of anyone in your life who could give insight into the field you’re interested in or could point you in the right direction for a valuable experience. As they say, “It’s about who you know.” If you do not have connections with anyone in the field you’re interested in, don’t freak out. Websites such as WayUp, Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are valuable resources to utilize in your search for an internship – just make sure you’re continuously checking and updating your accounts! 

    When you get an interview, think back to what you’d like to gain and what skills you could bring to the internship. Understanding your own motivations will help you articulate your goals to a potential employer. For more information about interviewing skills, check out this link.

    Preparing for your internship role

    Once you’ve secured a position with a company, revisit your thoughts on what you wanted to gain from an internship experience. Sharpening your focus before you arrive on your first day will prepare you to answer the common questions of “Why are you here?” and “What do you want to gain out of this?” that many of your curious co-workers and superiors may ask. I was very surprised that people were so interested in why I wanted to be there and was relieved that I had reflected deeply on this question before showing up on the first day!

    Following the news and tracking the stock of the company that you will be working for is an effective way to learn the current trends and developments of the company. The more you know, the better you will be able to articulate your questions and ideas. The News App, Google Alerts, and Yahoo! Finance are among reliable and useful sources to gather information beforehand. 

    Performing on the job

    Whew! You made it. You’re finally starting the first day of your internship after searching, waiting, interviewing, waiting some more, and preparing. But wait – you still have to actually work. Searching for and preparing for this day was only half the battle. Now it’s time to show what you’re made of!

    Every task in a company is important. No matter what position you have or tasks you are asked to do, it is important to utilize the word “yes.” Take every opportunity you can to complete every task, even if it doesn’t fall within your job description. Who knows? You may find joy in something you would have never thought that you’d like. Any opportunity is a good opportunity to learn and grow as a person, and making yourself available to different teams shows your enthusiasm and openness to work.

    Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your immediate supervisor are an important way to receive feedback, clarify and adapt your goals, and voice your thoughts.

    Following up after your internship

    As your internship comes to an end, it is important to show your gratitude and express what you learned while working at the company during an exit meeting. If no meeting is scheduled, ask your supervisor to meet with you to give you constructive criticism and feedback, and recap your experience working for them.

    If you haven’t already, request to connect on LinkedIn with those co-workers you think would be valuable to have in your network. Include a short message telling them what you enjoyed about working with them, and let them know that you’re excited to connect with them.

    Lastly, handwritten thank-you notes are a personal and thoughtful gesture to further express your appreciation for those you’ve worked closely with. In these notes, you should include what you took away from the experience, bringing up specific and personal examples from your time with the recipient. Close with a statement of salutations and action such as “Thank you for your time and effort to mentor me, and I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.”

    During my own internship experience abroad I learned about not only a business, but also about the role that their culture had on their work. Whether you have an internship in America or internationally, I challenge you jump in wholeheartedly and have the best time doing so! 

     

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  • My Internship Experience - Abroad!

    by Sydney Fredette

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    This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern abroad in Krakow, Poland. Now, I know what you’re thinking- why in the world would I travel thousands of miles for a summer internship? I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone by challenging myself to gain a more global view of business. My corporate experience had strictly been based in America before I had the opportunity to go abroad. Working with skilled professionals at the IBM Client Innovation Center in Poland gave me a chance to appreciate the importance of cultural understanding and diversity.

    My Experience

    As a leadership development intern at IBM, I was quickly immersed in the culture of the company. I participated in client visits, boot camps, seminars, and discussions of a variety of topics with IBM’s specialists. One of the most enlightening aspects of working for IBM was meeting for lunch with “IBMers” from functional divisions of the company. Not only did I hear firsthand about the role that their culture and background had on their work, but also how they each managed their work-life balance. 

    In Poland, I noticed that people are much more practical and straightforward than those I have worked for in the United States, where we often have bells and whistles that are not necessary to complete tasks. I noticed these cultural differences in the workplace and also in my homestay.

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