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!