No Internship, No Problem

As a college student, there is one constant fear looming over our heads – what the heck am I going to do after I graduate? With this thought comes the desperation to build up our resumes with anything that will make us a desirable candidate for our desired companies. One of the most common ways to do this is through summer internships.

Summer internships are obviously incredibly useful. They give us experience in our desired career field and allow us to network with industry professionals. However, the internship search has become an incredibly stressful process, and many students believe they need to have these experiences every summer so they can be an attractive candidate to future employers.

Is it really the end of the world if you do not have a summer internship? Definitely not! There are so many things you can do during the summer besides an internship that will allow you to build your professional toolbox! Here are just a few examples:

1. Work a regular summer job – Whether it is waitressing, babysitting, or working in retail, summer jobs will help build various skills. Jobs like this put you in the position to learn about the most important thing in the business world – how to deal with people! You will consistently be put in different situations where you have to solve problems on your own to keep clients happy. One of the things employers most look for in a candidate is empowerment- are you confident enough to do the right thing on your own?

 

2. Volunteer – More and more companies are starting to place a higher importance on service and giving back to the community. Companies are not only looking for great employees but great people! Volunteer opportunities can also help you figure out what you are passionate about and what your values are. When searching for a full-time job, you can look for one that not only aligns with your professional goals but your personal values as well!

3. Take the summer off – You have the rest of your life to work, so you do not need to be in a rush to figure your future out so soon. Spend time with your family and friends, travel, or simply stay home and relax! Sometimes the most important thing you can do for yourself is taking the time to figure out what you really want.

If you did not get your dream internship this summer, do not worry! Internships are not the defining factor in whether you get a full-time job or not. Your four years of college are all about finding the path that is best for you.

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Double Majoring: Is It Worth It?

“Dear Rosie… I’m thinking of double majoring. Is it worth it or should I just stick to one major and really focus on it?”

 Hi CWIB Reader!

That’s a great question! This topic is something I’ve thought about a lot as well. When it comes to getting a double major, it really depends on what you want to do when you graduate. If you are thinking about taking on another major within Pamplin, women currently in the business world are going to say that double majoring isn’t worth it.

At the Fourth Annual Power Panel, Kerry Wekelo from Actualize Consulting said that getting a double major wasn’t worth the late nights, extra work, and stress; and that you can reach the same success with one degree.

However, if you want to extend the scope of your education with a business and a liberal arts degree, then you should go for it. Studies have found that a college graduate with both a business and liberal Arts degree may earn a higher income than a graduate with only a Business degree. If you decide to double major, make sure you are aware of the opportunity costs before jumping right in.

Double majoring comes with a larger time commitment to academics and may limit how involved you are with organizations on campus. Another thing to think about is that when the time comes to apply for jobs, employers want to see how you got involved and exemplified leadership in the community as well.

If you are still having a difficult time deciding, make an appointment with your Academic Advisor! They are a great resource for us students and will help you decide what is best for you.

A Freshman Survival Guide to Interviews

“Dear Rosie, I’m a freshman. In interviews, they always ask me what experience I have in whatever subject they use, and I don’t have much experience. How do I answer those questions?”

Hi, CWIB reader!

First of all, that’s incredible that you’re getting interviews as a freshman. You’re already way ahead of the game! Secondly, it’s important to understand that if a recruiter has called you back for an interview, it means they have looked at your resume/application and liked what they saw. Interviews are nothing but a way for them to see how you’d fit in with their company’s atmosphere, and how you’d handle certain scenarios under pressure.

There are three types of interviews – case studies, behavioral, and technical. For a business position, interviews are most often behavioral. This means they’re testing to see how you react to their questions and come up with answers in a short amount of time. When it comes to the “experience” question, remember that they already know about your skills and past experiences based on your resume. It’s all about how you sell yourself – your attitude, your answer delivery, etc.

If you’re in a situation in which you feel like you don’t have the right skills for the company or position you’re interviewing for, an important thing to remember is to sell whatever you have. Talk about the classes you’ve taken, whether they’re in high school or college, as long as they’re relevant. For example, if it’s a technical position, talk about your experience with technology (such as coding classes) or using social media (which is something we all do…come on). If you’re a business major, you’ve probably taken ACIS 1504, a technical class that teaches basic Excel skills. Refer to that!

A piece of valuable advice I got from one of our panelists at Power Panel this year was to twist whatever you have into what the company is looking for. Were you a waitress in high school? Talk about customer service, people skills, and working under pressure. Have you babysat? Talk about responsibility, organization, patience, and dealing with difficult situations on the fly. Did you work in retail?  Working with people, following delegated tasks, and conducting shop operations are just a few examples of things you can discuss with the interviewer!

You can also talk about clubs (*ahem*, CWIB!) you’re involved in, past positions you’ve held, any projects/volunteering you’ve done, and discuss what you learned from these activities. Remember that you don’t always have to talk about your major in school – flaunt your extracurriculars!

Last but not least, remember to talk about your future plans. Talk about classes you’re going to take later, clubs you plan on joining, or any skills you intend to learn, like a new coding language or a certification you want to get. When a company takes interest in you for a position, they’re looking to make a long-term investment in hopes that you’ll one day join them as a full-time employee. Make sure they know what you have in store along the road!

Maximizing Your Summer

Question: I’m a freshman and have had trouble finding an internship. I know it’s uncommon for freshmen to get internships, but I don’t want to do nothing this summer. What can I do to maximize my summer?

 

Dear CWIB reader,

First of all, I want to highlight some things that students often forget: not all internships are like the classic office job where you copy papers or get coffee for people at big firms, and some may not be paid. An internship is a position that students hold in an organization with the goal of gaining real work experience. It’s okay to think outside the box when considering internships. Just keep in mind that there are many more opportunities than you think of, so you just might have to be willing to look a little harder. Are there any passions you have that could be relevant to your major? You could ask a local business or charity if you could shadow someone who works there with your dream job. However, if you aren’t able to find anything, there’s always next year.  In case you can’t find anything, below is a list of a few things that you can do to maximize your summer.

  1. Clean up your resume: you may have already done this during winter break, but it’s always good to keep it updated.

  2. Volunteer: getting involved in your community looks great on resumes!

  3. Get a job and save: take the pressure off during the year by saving as much as you can during the summer!

  4. Get ahead on a class or two: if you don’t have a hectic schedule, you can take classes at your local community college to get ahead.

  5. Network with people you met on a company visit: Ask for tips on how to ace internship interviews or ideas for resume builders! This is a great first step to building your network!