Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 Ways to Make the Most of the End of your Summer Internship

By Anna Kenney, Assistant Director, Internships

Can you believe that we are just over one month away from the fall semester beginning? It seems like the summer flew by! For many of you, summer brought with it internship opportunities. This is a great way to test the career “waters”, if you’ll forgive the pun. 

With your internship coming to an end, there are some things you may want to consider doing to maximize the rest of your time there. 

1. Update your resume!
You should always have an up-to-date resume, but what better time than while you are still in your internship. The experience will still be fresh in your mind, so hopefully you won’t forget to include things. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask your supervisor and/or colleagues/peers to review it for you and provide feedback. Who better but the experts in their fields?

2. Review your resume!
Once it’s updated, peruse your resume. Identify the main skills you possess and start to look for any gaps. According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers most recent report, the top job candidate skills/abilities are:

Do you feel like your resume can effectively articulate these skills/abilities?

3. Seek out new experiences/projects!
If you answered no to the previous question, then it’s time to make some moves! Sit down and come up with a list of ideas of ways that you think you could work to develop some of those top skills/abilities. Set a meeting with your supervisor and come up with a specific action plan as to how you will work on that during the remaining time in your internship. 
Or, start thinking of ways that you can develop these skills during the school year. Maybe there is a class you can take, student organization you can join or future internship to pursue. 

4. “Document” your experience!
Journaling during your internship experience can be a really helpful tool for decision making down the line. Have you ever experienced frustration with a person and thought, “Ugh, they always do this!” Then 20 minutes later, peace exists and your completely forget until the next time. Journaling about things that you enjoy as well as things you do not enjoy can help you identify the right questions to ask in future interviews. 
If there are tangible pieces from your internship experience, and you are able to share these externally, they can be used as a portfolio of sorts. This can be really beneficial, so that in a future interview, instead of just telling them about the amazing infographic you created, you are able to show them. 

5. Utilize Toppel!
Each advisor at Toppel is highly trained to assist you no matter which stage of your career development you are at. We also each work with different schools and colleges, so we can be a great resource as not every industry or major recruits in the same way. If you want to get a head start, reach out and schedule an appointment now, we are here for you during the summer just like during the regular school year. To schedule an appointment, log-in to Handshake and request your appointment. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top 5 Podcasts for Career Development On-The-Go

If you’re anything like me, summer means fireworks, fresh cherries, and weekends by the pool, but it also means lots of time sitting in moving vehicles. Whether you’re on a train commuting to your summer internship or in the backseat of a car on a road-trip, listening to podcasts can be a great way to pass the time – and get a leg up on your career development journey. Here are my top five picks:

For the ‘Cane who’s on the hunt for the right career path:

Each episode of Half Hour Intern or Working gives you an engaging thirty(ish)-minute peak into the life of someone with a different career. Some of them are unusual, like “Pet Detective” or “Coffee Chemist,” while others highlight more familiar roles like “Retail Manager” or “Psychotherapist.”
If an episode piques your interest, take advantage of Toppel programs to explore further! Earn course credit for a Toppel Internship in the field, arrange an informational interview, or shadow a professional through the UShadow program.

For the ‘Cane seeking industry inspiration: 

So you’ve discovered an industry that sparks your interest – now what? Industry-specific podcasts like award-winning On The Media (about – you guessed it – the media industry) and The Business (all about the entertainment “biz”) give you a chance to delve deeper. If “traumedy” films and data journalism aren’t your thing, a quick Google search is all it take to find the top podcasts in your area of interest.

For the ‘Cane who’s landed the job (or internship):

Now that you have the position, are you prepared to rock it? Every week, The Accidental Creative brings you advice and inspiration for making the most out of your time on the job. Conversations with expert guests cover everything from game-changing morning rituals to dealing with criticism. Challenge yourself to implement one tip each week and discover what works for you!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Reasons You Should NOT Apply To Graduate School

By Esther Lamarre, Assistant Director, Graduate Student & Alumni Career Programs

The question of when is it time to consider graduate school is a popular topic for many graduating seniors and alumni. Often it is the result of a frustrating experience navigating a job search process that has yielded few leads and zero offers. Many alumni tend to question their bachelor’s level education and view an advanced degree as the only choice that will provide employment security.  
It’s not. 

Do NOT apply to graduate level programs if this is the reason you’re applying: 

1. I want a guaranteed job.
While this reasoning makes perfect sense in an ideal world, today’s job market is not an ideal world. Therefore, a master’s degree (or even a PhD) will not guarantee you a job.  In fact, there are many people who change career paths after securing an advanced degree because they are unable to land a job in their field of choice.  Job security is not based on whether or not you have another degree. Job security includes many different variables such as job demand, the economy, your background and experiences, where you live (or want to live), etc. Make sure you are exploring all factors before assuming a graduate degree will provide a blanket safety net for a future job.

2. I can easily finish a program in 1-2 years.
Timing certainly plays a critical role when it comes to deciding whether or not a graduate degree is the right choice. However, just because you can easily completely a short 1-2 year program doesn’t necessarily mean you should – especially if you’re paying for it. It is more important to know how this degree will complement or enhance your current experiences, education, or future goals.  For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and your goal is to manage a nonprofit organization, how will a one year chemistry master’s degree help you to achieve that goal?  You may have the time (and even resources) to quickly complete a program but if does not align with your future goals, you are wasting time, energy, and money.

3. I have no idea what I want to do next. 
If you have no idea where your career is headed, a graduate program isn’t going to help you figure that out any faster.  In fact, you will likely waste time, energy, and money pursuing a degree you later realize you never wanted and/or needed.  Instead, it would be a better of use of your time to spend some time identifying your interests and passions and related careers.

4. I will be more marketable with a graduate degree.
Marketability comes from how you talk about your experiences and education.  In some instances, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree can be more marketable than a seasoned professional with an MBA because the recent graduate is better at showcasing related experiences and knows how to sell those experiences.  A graduate degree will not automatically make you marketable if you cannot articulate the connection for future employers. A graduate degree does not equal marketable.

5. I’m not ready to start paying back my student loans. 
Eventually everyone has to pay back student loans.  Piling on more debt simply because you want to hold on to that forbearance option is probably the worst financial decision ever. Just don’t do it. Being a lifelong student is great – when the financial responsibility will not eventually haunt you.