career

Tips to Landing Your Perfect Internship

September 19, 2014 in Alive Campus, Career

This summer I interned at NASA Langley Research Center.  I thought it was a dream that a Communication Studies major from small Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia would every have the opportunity intern at a place like NASA.  Needless to say, I had the best summer of my life, doing things I never thought I would ever get to do, while also receiving internship credit and learning new things about myself personally and professionally.  Because of that, for my article this week I thought I would give some tips on how you too, can land your perfect internship.

  • Prepare-  Prepare before you start applying for internships.  Ask your peers about their internships and find out the good and the bad.  Then, search online and do your research on different types of internships (like paid and unpaid) and start making a list of the ones you really want.  Have your list include internships that you know you can get and have it range to internships that might be long shots too.  Also, pay attention to what the internship duties are, where it is, and how it can help you with your future career.
  • Experience-  Make sure that you join a club, organization, or get a job, so that you can have leadership experience under your belt.  This experience will help you in interviews, make you more qualified, and is always a great addition to your resume. Experience is also good because these are the types of places you can find references to write you letters of recommendation.
  • Engage-  Once you have done your research and have found your perfect internship, engage with the company, but don’t be a bother or seem desperate.  Make your name known to the company and show your interest.  Also, pay attention to their mission and start to reflect that in your own life.
  • Network-  Meet and talk with people that you may never had talk to before.  Every person can be the next link to your perfect internship and you may never know it!  Also, attend networking events, job fairs, and get to know people while you are there.  Introduce yourself to everyone and keep business cards in your wallet or purse just in case. Pay attention to the little things, because the little things count!
  • Work Hard-  Work hard with everything you do.  Whether it is running a 5K or volunteering, this is the type of work ethic that places looking for interns want.  They want people who make hard work not just something a person does when they need to do it, but someone who makes it something they do everyday and at everything.
  • Study Up- Grades can often come in the way between people and landing their perfect internship.  Remember, that your grades aren’t everything, but they sure do mean something.  Most companies do not even consider your application depending on your grade point average and most of the best internships seek the best and brightest of students.
  • Apply-  Apply to the list of internships you made.  Do not be afraid to apply for easy and hard internships.  Also, apply for a wide range of internships and make sure that when you apply, you apply on time and review your application thoroughly.
  • Reflect-  Once you get an interview, make sure you know about the internship and company you are about to interview for.  Check out their website, review the internship duties, and research their history.  Also, identify your strengths, weaknesses, and what you can do for the company not what they can do for you.  By reviewing all of these aspects, you will be better prepared for the interview.
  • Follow up-  After an interview always follow up!  This is important because not only is it nice, but it makes them know that you are interested and grateful for the opportunity.
Natalie Joseph (me) at my internship at NASA Langley this summer.

Natalie Joseph (me) at my internship at NASA Langley this summer.

Why every college student should have a job

September 18, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

Having a job or internship as a student is never easy, but for most students it’s a necessity in order to save money to pay off loans, or to have some spending money. Plus, working is great experience, no matter what kind of job you have.

Working in Dining

Working in Dining

I worked in dining at both Franklin Pierce and at Boston College; at FPU, I served students food, and at BC I was a barista at our Chocolate Bar. There were days where I didn’t want to go to work, or I felt like I deserved better, but that happens with every job, no matter where you are. Even in a job that relates directly to your field of study, you will most likely start from the bottom doing menial or boring tasks. Only after having completed this stage will you have opportunities to get promoted or show that you have innovative ideas to contribute.

I also think that it’s important for students to experience working for other students/adults. Unless you worked during high school, you have been pretty much served everything you’re entire life. This continues in college; dining halls serve our food, universities provide housing, and, with the exception of laundry (in which case, let’s be honest – people only do it once a month anyway), everything else is pretty much given to you. Because we are handed everything on a plate, we forget that those who serve us are also human beings and that they also have lives and feelings. The next time you get frustrated because you had to wait too long for your coffee, or your server forgot your extra side of mac ‘n’ cheese, remember that you could just as easily be in their position. Nobody likes to be embarrassed or yelled at, so treat those who are serving you with the same respect you would like to be treated with.

Working teaches you how to deal with difficult customers, how to follow directions, and be part of a team. These are lifelong lessons that will be important for every aspect of life and future career, no matter what field you’re in (unless you have a job where you don’t interact with any human beings…).

Learn to Keep Cool with Customers

Learn to Keep Cool with Customers

However, most of us have other aspirations that have nothing to do with brewing coffee or swiping IDs at the gym entrance. The summer after your sophomore and junior is the best time to have an internship; most internships look for older candidates who have more experience and more knowledge under their belt. As a rising junior or senior, you will committed to a certain major, and will want to try out working at a job/internship that relates to that interest. Internships are invaluable because they give you experience and a contact to put on your resume (for future applications), and they give you an opportunity to discover if what you’re studying is truly what you want to do.

This past summer, I interned as a research assistant at a psychology lab on campus. Even though I’m majoring in psychology, I was shocked to find that after two months of doing research and testing subjects, I was sick of it. I dreaded going to work each day, I hated entering in data, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It astounded me that there were parts of psychology – something I’m deeply passionate about – that I disliked. The internship showed me that research is definitely not something I could do long-term. If I already hated it after two months, I would definitely not be able to do it for life. Thankfully, there are other areas of psychology that I can pursue, but if I had not been a lab assistant, I would have never known.

Working a job and interning are both crucial parts of education – ones that are sometimes overlooked or left out. Not everything is learned in the classroom; experience in a job unrelated to and in line with what you are studying may give you a better sense of what you want to pursue/accomplish in the future.

And let’s be honest, it’s also nice to have some pocket money.

A bit of advice: if you want to have an internship during the summer, start looking midyear, around January (or earlier) and start applying by February or March. It’s much better to be on top of things and proactive, because you’ll have more options and back up plans.

Finding an Internship

Finding an Internship

Get a Job Near Campus!

September 6, 2014 in Campus Life, Career

It’s always great to have extra cash while you’re in school! That way you can do fun activities, fund your school supplies, and make sure that you aren’t worrying over an empty wallet every time your friends want to go out to eat instead of heading for the dining hall for the millionth time. Even if you want that ease of mind or to start saving up, you can’t overload yourself with hours. Schoolwork is still the most important part of your college experience! Getting a job on or around campus can guarantee that your employer will be a little more sympathetic to your class schedule or your needing a break for midterms.

At The College of New Jersey, I work in our bookstore. Even though we typically only hire new booksellers toward the end of each semester, you can check out the bookstore’s facebook page to see when applications are being accepted and if the store needs more employees at any time of the year! It’s great because you’ll only get a certain number of hours per week and you can take over for other people if you want to get a little more work in. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxed and all of the workers are very friendly!

Some local businesses also have signs out stating that they’re looking for more help. Taking a little drive around will give you a wide variety of places to choose from, if you act quickly in bringing along your resume and speaking to someone who is in charge about getting a position. A store I noticed a few minutes off campus looking for work is Target, about a ten minute drive from campus. You’ll need to have a car to get to that location, unfortunately, as well as the multitude of stores and restaurants that line the streets around that store. If you’re looking to get a job in a restaurant, Olive Garden is hiring.

If you live on campus, particularly if you’re a freshman or simply do not bring a car to school, you’re going to want something a little closer to home. Unfortunately a lot of the jobs on campus are assigned in the summer, usually August. If you’re looking to work in the library or as a secretary for one of the departments, you’re going to have to apply for those positions before the school year even begins!

Fortunately, some of the dining options at TCNJ hire during the school year. You can check out Dining Services for more information but most students, if they do end up with a job in food, work at the Rat on campus. It seems like coming construction might take that restaurant out of the lineup; hopefully TCNJ will come up with other places students can be employed. Campus Town, featuring a new strip of restaurants and stores, is set to open next year, but that leaves students scrambling this year to compete for a lack of job positions. Hopefully all of the construction and worries will be worthwhile and any incoming as well as returning students will have no problems getting jobs in the coming year.

Several stores including Target are now hiring.

Several stores including Target are now hiring.

Useful Websites for the Job-Seeking College Senior

August 15, 2014 in Alive Campus, Career, Reviews, Top 10 Lists

College seniors have enough on their hands.  Between classes, internships, senior events, pub crawls, karaoke nights and beer pong tournaments, these hardworking students hardly have anytime to sleep, let alone figure out their entire futures.  However, there is still hope.  The world wide web is full of job searching websites that make the whole process easier for the recent or future graduate. I have found these three sites listed below to be the most helpful, user-friendly and beneficial during the job seeking process. Check them out for yourselves!

JobSearch

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the first step on the path to a successful job search. This is the perfect place to network and make connections with people in your field of interest. Create a profile highlighting your successes and job experiences and then follow the companies you may wish to pursue a career with. Recruiters will often search LinkedIn profiles to find prospective new employees.  You can also join groups such as alumni groups, college groups or honor societies.  This allows you to connect with a larger pool of people, taking your networking success to even greater heights.  LinkedIn also allows you to conduct job searches of your own and makes it easy to keep track of jobs you have saved and jobs you have applied for.

Indeed.com

Indeed.com is one of the top job-searching sites in the game.  Simply make an account and start your search!  Indeed.com allows you to narrow down your search to jobs you are interested in in a particular area.  Choose your city or state and provide a few key words related to the job you are looking for and Indeed will provide you with a list of recent job posts that match your needs.  Often you can apply to these jobs simply by logging in to your LinkedIn or uploading a resume.  Uploading your resume to Indeed.com will make the job searching process even easier, allowing Indeed to find relevant jobs for you.

Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com is another useful website for the job or internship seeker.  Glassdoor offers a variety of helpful features including job searches and company reviews.  Here you can see what employees have to say about the company they work for. Learn about the work environment, salaries and the interview process.  Glassdoor is a great tool to use to see if you fit in well with a companies dynamic.  Reviews are anonymous so employees can openly speak their minds. If everybody at the company leaves reviews about how much they love their jobs, there’s a good chance you will too.

Also, checkout Neuvoo.com for more entry-level jobs!

The Pros and Cons of Majoring in a Foreign Language

July 17, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career, Reviews, Travel

The response is just about always the same when you tell someone you’re a foreign language major.. “Oh, that’s interesting. What are you going to do with that? Teach?”

It’s hard to dispute the fact that there are many major benefits that come along with learning another language.  Choosing to do so as a college major though, is more heavily disputed.  After graduating college as a Spanish major, I certainly do not regret my choice. At the same time however, I discovered that while the foreign language major has its pros, there are plenty of cons that go right along with it.

foreignlangmajor

PROS

-These days, the job market is super competitive for recent college graduates.  Companies are looking for the best of the best to represent their businesses.  Having a foreign language or two under your belt will certainly increase your chances of being hired as you are able to communicate with a larger number of people/potential clients/customers.

-You will develop a wider perspective on life. Seeing the world from different points of view is important. So often we get stuck in the comforts and norms of our own culture and society that we forget other people around the world may see and do things in an entirely different way.  Understanding these different ways of life will ultimately make you a more well rounded person and better prepared for the real world.

-You’ll have an excuse to travel. As a foreign language major, you are often strongly encouraged, if not required to study abroad for at least a semester.  The knowledge and experiences you obtain from studying abroad are invaluable and can offer you so much more than the typical classroom setting.  Being a foreign language major also opens up plenty of opportunities to work abroad if that is something you are interested in.

 

CONS

-Classes can become a bit repetitive. Once you have completed the speaking and grammar classes, just about all of the major requirements deal with either history, literature or both.  This, at least, was the case at my school.  Upper level classes were very limited in subject range. I had found myself going over many of the same topics and authors in multiple classes, which became quite boring.

-Most of the more job-specific courses at my school were either unavailable or did not count towards major requirements. These types of courses included Spanish in the medical field, Spanish in political science, as well as linguistics.  Courses such as these are so useful… If students were able to apply the language they are learning to a particular field of work they are interested in, it seems that many more people would be in favor of the foreign language major.

 

Ultimately, if you think you want to major in a foreign language, I say go for it.  You can always add another major or minor to compliment it if you want to.  I just graduated this past spring as a Spanish major with a minor in writing. The biggest problem I have right now is not finding a job I am qualified for, but instead figuring out which of the endless number of jobs is right for me.  Do I want to be a translator or an interpreter? Do I want to work for the government? Maybe I do want to teach? Should I go work abroad for a couple of years? The opportunities are nearly limitless.