Top 10 Career Strategies for Freshmen and Sophomores

By Bob Orndorff. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

You control your career destiny! Just going to class and picking up your diploma after four years doesn’t cut it. You need to become active on and off campus.

Becoming marketable to employers or graduate schools is a four-year job. Here are the top 10 things you can do during college to make yourself marketable at job-search time. In fact, if you do all 10 of these, you’ll be unstoppable:

  1. Keep your grades up—Employers and graduate schools want candidates with good grades. That will probably never change. Doing well academically not only proves that you have a good knowledge base, but indicates a strong work ethic—a trait that employers value.
  2. Identify your interests, skills, values, and personal characteristics—The first step to clarifying your career goals is to go through a process of self-assessment. Visit your career center and take advantage of the self-assessment instruments it has to offer.
  3. Actively explore career options—You owe it to yourself to find a career that enriches your life, not one that brings you down. Actively exploring careers means talking with professionals in occupations of interest and observing professionals on the job. Your career center probably has alumni and other volunteers who are willing to talk to you about their careers. Also, attend any career expos, career fairs, and career speaker panels that are offered.
  4. Become active in extracurricular activities and clubs—Active involvement in activities and clubs on campus is highly valued by employers and graduate schools. Joining a club is fine, but becoming active within that club is what matters most. Become a leader, hold an office, or coordinate an event. You will develop your skills in leadership and teamwork—skills that recruiters covet!
  5. Get involved in community service—It’s important that you begin to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to your community, and that you live in a larger community than your college or hometown. Typically, students look at community service as a chore. After they’ve served, however, it’s usually one of the most rewarding experiences they’ve had! Recruiters love to see that you’ve volunteered to help in your community.
  6. Develop your computer skills—Take advantage of the computer courses and workshops your college offers. You can also learn a lot by just experimenting with different software packages on your own. Finally, you should learn how to develop your own web page or web-based portfolio. There are many web-design software tools that make it real easy to develop your own web page! Contact your college’s information technology office to see how to get started.
  7. Develop your writing skills—Over and over, company and graduate school recruiters complain about the lack of writing skills among college graduates. Don’t avoid classes that are writing intensive. Work at developing your writing skills. If there is a writing center on campus, have them take a look at your papers from time to time. Remember, the first impression you give to recruiters is typically your cover letter or personal statement.
  8. Complete at least one internship in your chosen career field—More and more, internships are the springboards to employment and getting into graduate programs. Many recruiters say that when they need to fill entry-level jobs, they will only hire previous interns. In addition to making yourself more marketable, internships also are a great way to explore careers and determine whether or not certain careers are for you. When you work for a company as an intern for three to four months, you get a really good feel for whether the field (and company) is one in which you want to work day in and day out!
  9. Gain an appreciation of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, and courses—We are now, more than ever, working within a global work force. For you to be successful at work and in your life, you must stretch yourself, and learn about people and cultures different than yours. Take advantage of the wonderful study-abroad opportunities and the courses relating to diversity. This is your time to travel! Most people find it harder to take time to travel as they begin their careers and start families.
  10. Use your career center all four years—Your college career center can help you throughout your entire college career. Here is just a sampling of what your career center can help you do:
    • Choose your major and career direction,
    • Explore career options,
    • Obtain an internship,
    • Write a resume and cover letter,
    • Develop your interviewing skills,
    • Identify your skills, interests, and values,
    • Develop a job-search or graduate school plan,
    • Connect you with prospective employers (career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and more), and
    • Connect you with alumni mentors.

Remember, you control your career destiny. Don’t wait until your senior year to start realizing your goals. Your career train is on the move. Jump on board now so you can reach your destination!

 

The 30 Largest Employers in Brown County

Released this month (July 2014) was the list of 30 largest private employers in the Greater Green Bay area.  This report, which is compiled by Advance, the economic development program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce lists Humana in the number one spot with 3,167 employees, followed by Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (2,690 employees) and Schneider (2,580 employees).

The great news for students and graduates of UW-Green Bay is that each employer on the list has some type of connection to UW-Green Bay!  A large majority have listed jobs or internships with Career Services, attended our Job & Internship Fairs,  and/or provided support for programs whether it was volunteering to conduct mock interviews with our students, or speaking at workshops or in classrooms.  Four (4) of the employers have been recipients of Career Services’ Recruitment Partner of the Year award –  WPS (Integrys, 2007), Schreiber (2011), Humana (2012), and Schneider (2013).

See the complete list of 30 Largest Private Employers in the Green Bay Area here.

Climb to Your Career in Four Years

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Where will you be in four years? Will you be ready to join the work force?

Maybe you have your future planned: You know what you want to be after graduation and you have an idea of how to get there. Or, maybe you aren’t even sure what you want to major in—never mind know what kind of career you want to have after college.

No matter if you’re decided or unsure—if you’re planning to graduate in four years and find your place in the work force, take steps now to reach your goals. It’s never too early (or too late) to start. But—the earlier you start, the easier it will be to prepare!

First, develop the habit of stopping by the career services office on a regular basis. Check in a few times during your freshman year, more often during your sophomore year, frequently during your junior year, and weekly during your senior year.

Here’s a timeline to guide your progress:

Every fall

  • Make an appointment to talk with a career services counselor.
  • Check your career center’s website for a calendar of dates and times of career development and job-search workshops and seminars, career and job fairs, and company information sessions.
  • Update your resume and have it critiqued and proofread.
  • Join professional associations and become an active member to build a network of colleagues in your field. Find a student version of your professional association and take leadership roles.
  • Subscribe to and read professional journals in your chosen field.

Freshman year

Asking questions, exploring your options (up to 30 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment at the career services center to familiarize yourself with the services and resources available.
  • Take interest and career inventory tests at the career services office.
  • Start a career information file or notebook that will include records of your career development and job-search activities for the next four years.
  • Identify at least four skills employers want and plan how you will acquire these skills before graduation. Visit your career center for information on the skills.
  • Scan the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is filled with information on hundreds of occupations. Check out career-search books in the career center library.
  • Familiarize yourself with your university’s career center home page—a good source of tips and articles to help with your job search.
  • Take a resume writing class and explore other career planning workshops. Write your first resume.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs to gather information on potential careers and employers.
  • Explore your interests, abilities, and skills through required academics.
  • Talk to faculty, alumni, advisers, and career counselors about possible majors and careers.
  • Join university organizations that will offer you leadership roles in the future.
  • Collect information on cooperative education programs, internships, and summer jobs available through the career services office.
  • Consider volunteer positions to help build your resume.

Sophomore year

Researching options/testing paths (up to 60 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment with a career services counselor to bring yourself up-to-date on what’s needed in your career file.
  • Update your resume (with your summer activities) and have it critiqued in the career services office.
  • Begin a cooperative education program or consider internship, summer, and school-break job opportunities that relate to your interests.
  • Read at least one book on career planning recommended by career services staff.
  • Explore at least three career options available to you through your major.
  • Take a cover-letter writing workshop.
  • Review your progress in learning four (or more) skills employers look for in new hires.
  • Research various occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook  and materials in the career center library.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs and employer information sessions relating to your interests.
  • Identify organizations and associations in your interest areas for shadowing opportunities and informational interviews.
  • Join at least one professional or honorary organization related to your major to make contact with people in the professional world.
  • Work toward one leadership position in a university club or activity.
  • Begin to collect recommendations from previous and current employers.
  • Put together an interview outfit.

Junior Year

Making decisions/plotting directions (up to 100 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment with a career services counselor to have your updated resume critiqued.
  • Narrow your career interests.
  • Review your participation in a co-op program or explore internship opportunities with a career services professional.
  • Participate in interviewing, cover-letter writing, and other job-search workshops.
  • Practice your skills at mock interviews.
  • Review your progress in learning four (or more) skills employers look for in new hires.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs and employer information sessions that relate to your interests.
  • Take leadership positions in clubs and organizations.
  • Consider graduate school and get information on graduate entrance examinations.
  • Ask former employers and professors to serve as references or to write recommendations to future employers.
  • Complete at least five informational interviews in careers you want to explore.
  • Shadow several professionals in your field.
  • Research potential employers in the career library and talk to recent graduates in your major about the job market and potential employers.
  • Start your professional wardrobe.

Senior year

Searching, interviewing, accepting, success!

  • Update your resume and visit the career services office to have it critiqued.
  • Get your copy of the career center’s calendar and register for on-campus interviews. Also schedule off-campus interviews.
  • Develop an employer prospect list with contact names and addresses from organizations you are interested in pursuing.
  • Gather information on realistic salary expectations. Your career services office will be able to help.
  • Attend local association meetings to meet potential employers.
  • Draft a cover letter that can be adapted for a variety of employers and have it critiqued.
  • Participate in interviewing workshops and practice interviews.
  • Read two or more professional or trade publications from your major and career field on a regular basis.
  • If you are planning to go to graduate school, take graduate school entrance exams and complete applications.
  • Follow up on all applications and keep a record of the status of each.
  • Go on second interviews. Evaluate job offers and accept one.
  • Report all job offers and your acceptance to the career services office.

 

 

 

 

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

Grades have been submitted, Memorial Day has come and gone… it’s true, summer is officially here. Perhaps you’re still in recovery mode. Maybe you’re just starting to think about what you’ll do over the next few months. Many students may not realize “How Summer Can Change Your Future.” 

In The Wall Street Journal article written by Brett Arends, he addresses research that was conducted by Economic professors from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the University of Pennsylvania and Auburn University.  I encourage you to read the article, as it gives a glimpse of what employers consider when reviewing candidates. To sum it up, what gave fictitious candidates the edge?  Their academic major?  Their GPA?  Nope. It was their summer internship. Noted in the article – “Candidates whose resumes could point to pregraduation work experience in the industry they were applying for were 14% more likely to get an interview. An English major with a middling GPA and a summer internship in a bank was more likely to get a job interview at a bank than an outstanding finance major who spent the summer touring Europe.” 

If you haven’t quite planned out your summer, it doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. While many employers may have already hired their summer interns, there may be circumstances that have created last-minute openings – or – an employer may be seeking a part-time or summer/seasonal employee that would allow a student to gain experience in an industry or position of interest. Use the various resources available to you through Career Services. Log into your Phoenix Recruitment On-Line (PRO) account to search for positions. Career Services is open throughout the summer; you can call to make an appointment to have a staff member review your resume and/or cover letter or discuss your internship/job search strategy or go through a practice interview. Our website with links to various resources and information is available 24/7. Even if you aren’t able to secure an internship for summer, you may find opportunities for the fall.

Taking action today can help you later as you prepare to enter the competitive job search process.

Advice from the Alumni

Written by Tina Norman, Human Resources Manager at GENCO

Congratulations on your impending graduation! As you think about your college career coming to an end and beginning the next chapter of your life with a “real job”, who better to get some advice from than UWGB Alumni?

As a large employer in Green Bay, I had the opportunity to sit down with nine of our UWGB Alumni to get their thoughts on some common questions college students may have as they enter the next chapter.

When should a college student begin looking for full-time employment?
Don’t wait too long! At a minimum, begin researching the companies that interest you during the summer before your graduating year. As the fall semester arrives, begin to narrow your search. By the end of that semester, we recommend sending your resume to prospective employers or networking through alumni connections that you found in your search the prior summer.

How do I begin a career search?
Begin your search with companies that are natural fits to your field of study. Pay attention to the location and job market within that geographical area. We cannot stress enough the importance of networking and LinkedIn makes it easier than ever. If you know someone who works/interns at the company you have interest in, ask for their feedback. If you have an opportunity yourself to intern there, take advantage of this as early as you can within your college career.

What can I do to learn about a company’s culture to ensure it’s where I want to work?
There are many ways to learn about a company’s culture to include researching them on the internet, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We recommend applying to multiple companies. Time is of the essence as graduation, believe it or not, it will come very quickly! If you get multiple interviews, great! Not only will this give you good practice and help you gain confidence in your interviewing skills, you may also have options to choose from in the end. Remember to also use your career resources at UWGB – they do a wonderful job at helping you be prepared.

As interviewers yourselves, what do you look for in a candidate during the interview?
First of all, the first impression is critical. Many interviewers will form an initial impression within the first few minutes of meeting you. It’s important to have a clean, professional personal appearance, eye contact, and a firm handshake to show confidence. When asked to “tell me about yourself”, be sure to have your thoughts organized. More importantly, remember to be specific, but brief. As you proceed with the interview, use specific examples to help the interviewer get to know you. At the end, be prepared with questions for the interviewers…you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. For example, consider asking your interviewer about their experiences at the company – what do they like best? What does a typical day look like? What keeps them up at night? It’s always good to ask about key factor metrics for the role and seek to understand the company’s three-year strategy.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t comment on the resume. A resume should be well written with no spelling or grammar errors. As you highlight your education and work experience, be sure to keep in mind the job description of the position you are applying for. Highlight your experiences that compliment the skills your potential employer is looking for. For example, if you were interested in a position at GENCO, we are looking for people who are motivated, a self-starter, and able to balance multiple tasks. Don’t be afraid to list student groups and activities that you’ve participated in on your resume to “beef up” your work history.

When given a job offer, what should I consider as I make my decision to accept, counter, or decline?
Many people look at the salary, but there is so much more to a job offer. Our advice is to consider the entire compensation package which includes base salary, benefits, bonuses, culture, work/life balance, training, and career opportunities.

What final advice do you have for graduating students?
As you begin your job search, be open-minded. Take some time to reflect upon what is important to you. Rank the top 5 things that are most important to you such as location, commute, culture, pay, benefits, etc. As you begin your career, you will notice that you will spend a lot of time at work. It’s important to take the time up front to do your research to find the right company for you.

Good luck!

Are you showing up for the right interview?

Written by Abby Despins, Corporate Communication Manager at Schreiber Foods.

The day is finally here. You’ve spent months perfecting your resume, creating cover letters and following up with potential employers. And now you’ve gotten the most coveted call among all job seekers … the recruiter asking for an interview. Most students will jump for joy and then wait patiently until the day of the interview. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your job search. The hard work really starts now: preparing for the interview.

Before you hang up the phone with the recruiter, make sure you know what interview style the company uses. Some recruiters will offer up this information, others will not. Either way, don’t hang up without knowing what interview you’re showing up for.

Why? What many students don’t know is that there are several types of interviews. The company’s interview style will drastically change how you prepare. The most common include:

Structured and Patterned Interviews
Also called a repetitive interview, in structured interviews, potential employers ask every applicant the same questions to ensure that similar data is collected from all candidates.

Similarly, in patterned interviews, also called targeted interviews, interviewers ask each applicant questions that are targeting the same knowledge, skill or ability. Unlike structured interviews, questions can vary from applicant to applicant.

If you’re headed into a structured or patterned interview, ask the recruiter for some sample interview questions they may ask, or research potential questions online.

Behavioral Interviews
Behavioral interviews focus on identifying a specific situation and evaluating how the interviewee handled it. The theory here is that an interviewee’s past behavior will predict future behavior if they were to work for their company. Potential employers find these interviews valuable because they get to see the candidate thinking, solving and acting. They’ll ask you to tell them about situations you’ve handled in the past, such as:
• Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
• Give an example of how you worked on a team.
• Describe how you’ve handled a difficult situation.

In this method, you should use a STAR method to answer behavioral-based questions.
• S/T= Situation/Task: Paint a high level picture of what the situation looked like and then describe the context or background of the situation or task.
• A= Action: Describe what you did or did not do in that situation and how was it done. The majority of your answer should focus on your actions.
• R= Results: Describe what the end result of that situation was.

To prepare for behavioral interviews, think about some examples before the interview. How did you handle the situation? Who was involved? What was the outcome? Be prepared enough to give specific details about your experiences that demonstrate your knowledge, approach and personality.

Situational Interviews
Similar to behavioral interviews, this method tries to predict future behavior. The Interviewer will ask questions to elicit stories and examples that demonstrate skill and qualification levels. What differentiates situational interviews from behavioral interviews is that in situational interviews the interviewer will ask hypothetical questions (i.e. how would you handle this situation), such as:
• You have a deadline approaching and fear you will be unable to meet it. What do you do?
• A co-worker frequently leaves early when the boss is not around, and asks you to cover for him. What would you do?
• How would you handle it if you believed strongly in a recommendation you made in a meeting, but most of your co-workers shot it down?

In the interview, take the opportunity to weave in past experiences as you answer situational questions.

At Schreiber, we use a combination of behavioral-based and structured interviews. This means that we ask all candidates the same questions and look for previous examples on how they handled a situation. We’ve seen great success with this interview style and we can tell who’s prepared to give us examples of successes and challenges they’ve encountered throughout their careers – whether they have 20 years of experience, or classroom experience.

For more information about interviews, I encourage you to visit the UW-Green Bay Career Services’ resources page on interviewing. And as you’re planning to land your next interview, take a look at the careers we offer at Schreiber and get a peek into the Schreiber culture by connecting with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Network For Your Job Search

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Networking could be what helps you land a job.

If you take part in social networking sites, you probably have a pretty good idea of how networking can enhance your personal life. But, if you’re like many new college graduates, you’re probably not as comfortable about incorporating networking into your job search.

In spite of your discomfort, you need to incorporate networking into your job search: Especially in a competitive job market, networking could be what helps you land a job. In fact, many jobs are filled before they are even advertised—filled by people who learned about the opportunity before it was formally announced.

What is networking when it comes to the job search? It’s not about using people. Just as you look to build personal relationships through social networks, you want to build relationships to foster your professional life. These relationships can help you not only in your current job search but down the road as you build your career.

Networking is not one-sided: It works both ways. You offer assistance to others just as they offer assistance to you. Perhaps the easiest way to think about networking is to see it as an extension of being friendly, outgoing, and active.

Here are some tips for building and maintaining a healthy network:

  1. Make a list of everyone you know—and people they know—and identify how they could help you gather career information or experience.
    Who do you know at school? Professors, friends, and even friends’ parents can all be helpful contacts. Did you hold a part-time job? Volunteer? Serve an internship? Think about the people you came into contact with there.
  2. Sign up for an alumni mentoring program.
    Many colleges offer such programs, and they are a great way to build relationships in your field.
  3. Join the campus chapter of a professional society that relates to your career choice.
    In many ways, a professional society is an instant network: You’ll be with others who have the same general career interest. Plus, you may be able to learn more about your field from them. For example, you may be able to learn about the field and potential employers from others who share their internship experiences.
  4. Volunteer at a local museum, theater, homeless shelter—anywhere that even remotely relates to your field of study.
    By volunteering, you’ll not only learn about your chosen field firsthand, you’ll also be able to connect with people who are in the field.
  5. Speak to company representatives at career fairs, even if you’re not ready to look for a job.
    Be up front that you’re not currently in the job market and don’t take a lot of the representative’s time, but touching base with a potential employer now can help you down the road when you are ready.
  6. Attend company information sessions at your college and talk one-on-one to the recruiters who run them.
  7. Schedule informational interviews with people who can tell you about their careers.
    It’s best to ask to meet in person or by phone for a short interview, and don’t immediately start asking “How can you help me?” Plan your questions ahead of time, focusing on how the company works and how the person shaped his or her career path.
  8. Add your profile to LinkedIn.
    It’s free. And then, work your profile. Add work history (including internships!), skills, and keywords. Make connections to people you’ve worked with or met through networking. Ask for “recommendations” from people who have worked with you. You’ll find LinkedIn is a good source of suggestions for people in your field to contact for informational interviews.
  9. Remember to be courteous and tactful in all your conversations, to send thank-you notes to people who help you, and to find ways to help others as well.
    Don’t drop your network once you’ve gotten a job. Nurture the relationships you’ve built and look for opportunities to build new connections throughout your career. Getting started might be uncomfortable, but with time and practice, networking will be second nature.

Common Career Pitfalls to Avoid

Written by Robert Brookman, Talent Acquisition Department with Humana

Within our robust college recruiting program, we see a lot of mistakes and pitfalls that college students regularly fall into during their career search. These are things that may seem like common sense, but over the course of time become less of a priority. The strategy any student should take into a job search is to make sure first and foremost; they do not disqualify themselves because of a minor mistake. Often times in recruiting, the first cut of candidates is made because of minor mistakes such as grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. We want to put you as a job seeker, in the best place to succeed in your impending search. That’s why we have compiled the following list of common pitfalls to steer clear of.

1.  I can begin looking for a job after I pass my finals.

If you have taken this mind-set into your final semester, you are already behind. Many of your peers have been looking for, and may have locked up, internships or full-time positions for the coming months. Job seeking can be an extremely long-process especially when you have little experience. There are not many things in life that you wait until the last minute to start planning, especially something as important as a job search.  

Normally at Humana, we begin accepting internship applications and entry-level college programs roles in August of the year prior. But, each year we also get notes from students inquiring about positions the next spring and summer as well, when those positions have been long-filled. Make sure to start your search early.

2.  I want to work as a _____ for ____ company, living in ____, and making ____ .

This is one of our favorites. Sometimes students can get a very narrow focus (not always a bad thing), while other times the student can have no focus at all. The difference between the two would be someone who could fill in each blank of the above statement (narrow) and a person who does not know what they would like to be doing now, much less five years from now (broad). You have to find a balance between having too narrow a focus and too broad a focus. You want to have some idea of where you would like your career to go, but not so much that you limit your options too far.

Another piece of this is your expectations. Some students come in and want to get their foot in the door anyway they can. That’s great, and we love to see students like this. They want to work hard and get in the door because they know they can use their skills to stand-out and eventually move up once they have a solid foundation. On the other hand, we have students that come into interviews who have obviously over-valued themselves. It’s one thing to be confident in your abilities, but it is something completely different to come into an interview as a recent college graduate and look for a director-level role. This is not a hard and fast rule, but you should know what your true value is.

3.  I can do my entire job search online.

Untrue. In this digital age, it may seem as though this is the case, but remember, the name of the game in a job search is differentiation. How do you differentiate yourself by just using a word document you uploaded to a website (just like everyone else). There are so many opportunities to network person-to-person with employers. We at Humana are regularly on campuses across the country throughout the year, as well as other major nationwide events. Come see us, meet our people, and show us a face. This allows you times to articulate more than you can on a one-page resume and also can potentially give you a point of contact into the employer.

All that is not to say that you can’t connect with us online, or that you shouldn’t; far from it. We have a lot of resources online devoted to connecting with people just like you. Check out our Twitter account @Humana_Careers or our Facebook page Humana College Programs. If you have questions or comments for us, we love to hear them on our social pages.

Forget What You “Know”

(Written by Tonia Gibeault, Director – Human Resources for ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company)

Life is about choices. For example, one can choose to “know,” or one can choose to know. While attending college in pursuit of a degree in business management, I knew I would eventually establish a career in a business or corporate setting. I also “knew” I would never work for an insurance company, nor in the sales or marketing fields. Ironically, however, my first “real job” out of college was as a marketing analyst for my current employer—an industry-leading and award-winning insurance company—over 13 years ago.

I have spent the last decade of my career in ACUITY’s human resources department. During this time, I have had the pleasure of interacting with a myriad of students, many who “know” and a few who know. For the few who know, this attribute is a distinct competitive advantage when talking to employers about job opportunities. So, how do you gain this advantage?

#1 – Forget what you “know” by keeping an open mind. If you’re a math major, do you “know” you must become a math teacher or work with numbers all day, or do you know that some of ACUITY’s brightest and most talented software developers earned their degrees in mathematics? If you’re an accounting or finance major, do you know you have transferrable skills conducive to a successful career in underwriting? If you’re a history major, do you know you can come very close to rewriting history for many victims as a claims adjuster, positively impacting their lives forever?

I estimate that 95%—likely more—of the employees hired at ACUITY never envisioned working in the insurance industry, simply because they didn’t know about the variety of dynamic and rewarding opportunities. Keep an open mind and know there are incredible opportunities outside the commonly known career paths in your field of study.

#2 – Forget what you “know” by doing your research. Many students have their hearts set on one position with one or two companies because they “know” these as their only options. When an acquaintance informed me about the marketing analyst position, I immediately dismissed the opportunity because I “knew” I didn’t want to be employed in sales or marketing (nor did I want to work for an insurance company, as you may recall). Thankfully, enough information was shared with me to spark an interest. At this juncture, I transitioned from “knowing” I would never work in the insurance industry to knowing it was a possibility. Extensive research on ACUITY and speaking with someone already in the position solidified my interest. I knew this was a great opportunity to leave my job and begin a career.

Your Career Services team hosts several events throughout the year—including widely-attended career fairs—to broaden the informational and job opportunities available to you. Use these convenient events to educate yourself. Research positions and companies. Know which are best for you.

The return on investment from keeping an open mind and conducting research is substantial. Forget what you “know,” and learn what you need to know.

To learn about ACUITY’s entry-level job opportunities, visit https://www.acuity.com/acuityweb/careers/mainpage.xhtml

Building Relevant Work Experience

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Getting the Most From Your Internship Experience

Learning, confirming, impressing, and positioning. When you take an internship, these should be four of your goals.

Of course you want to learn as much as you can about your employer and its culture, and about the industry in which it operates. You’re looking to confirm that both the employer and the industry are good matches for you.

But you also want to impress managers and leaders to position yourself for an offer of full-time employment from the organization once you graduate.

“If you get a ‘high-quality’ internship that gives you the chance to apply what you are studying in school, it will give you the opportunity to confirm that your major is really the right direction for the start of your career,” explains Steve Canale, General Electric’s (GE) manager of global recruiting and staffing services. “An internship is a great testing ground to make sure that you are on the right path.”

Most companies hire the majority of their full-time college graduates from their pool of interns and co-ops. Canale says that 70 percent of GE’s full-time hires have interned with the company. What can you do to get the most out of your internship experience? First, you need to know what employers look for in their interns that makes them candidates for full-time positions.

First and foremost, employers see potential in you, says Julie Cunningham, president of The Cunningham Group. Potential, Cunningham explains, is indicated by your:

  • Ability to learn quickly (not just the job tasks, but the informal rules of the organization)
  • Perseverance when confronted with obstacles
  • Ability to work independently and finish tasks
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Technical skills related to the job

 

“Lastly,” she continues, “don’t underestimate how much social poise and good manners count.”

Burke Walls, Intel’s intern program manager, agrees, adding that a positive attitude during your internship is a key indicator of on-the-job success.

“Many times, students come into an internship ready for their dream job,” Walls says.

“However, in some cases, that dream job may be several steps away from the original internship. Even if this is the situation you’re in, you need to perform at a high level. Managers want to see you take care of your assignments, understand your deliverables, and use your skills and the resources available to you to get the job done. Be humble and appreciate the work others have done to make you successful.”

In this competitive job market, it’s important to keep in mind that the overarching goal of an internship is to get a full-time job offer, Canale says. “Realize that, like school, you are in a competitive environment and that your actions, attitude, and deliverables are being ‘graded,’ ” he adds. “With this in mind, look for ways to differentiate yourself.”

To make your mark, take advantage of the opportunities your employer makes available to you, says Shannon Atkison, Vanguard’s intern program manager. An example is speaking or presenting in front of senior leaders.

“Treat this like a final exam and prepare as much as you can,” Atkison says. “And be creative with your projects. Every project has the opportunity to turn into something robust and value-added given the right amount of time and creativity you put into it. These opportunities are like auditions and represent an incredible chance for you to set yourself apart.”

Incorporating these strategies will help you meet your internship goals in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a full-time job offer.