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.

May Monthly Recap

CWIB Chronicles Articles:

Leaving Legacies: Class of 2018 – Congrats to our beautiful and accomplished graduates! If you were too busy studying and finishing projects to go to the last monthly meeting, you still have a chance to read about the valuable lessons and advice given at our senior panel in Heather’s article here!

The Power in Being Proactive – If our Editor-In-Chief, Heather Sangalang, has one piece of advice to give fellow CWIB members during the summer, it would be: STAY PROACTIVE! Read more about her advice in the latest article.

#FeatureFriday

Follow the links below to check out the posts about your fellow CWIB members’ summer plans!

#WisdomWednesday

#MotivationMonday

A few  quotes we shared for some much-needed Monday motivation:

What do you think of the posts we’ve shared this month? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts!

The Power in Being Proactive

Happy summer, CWIB!

Now that the school year has officially wrapped up, it’s time to start those summer internships, externships, study abroad programs, volunteer programs, and part-time jobs! Before you embark on your first day of whatever you’re up to this summer, I have some advice for all of you CWIB members: be proactive!

This was the most valuable lesson I learned in my summer internship last year. This habit will serve you well not just during the summer, but during the school year and eventually, your full-time jobs also.

During the first week, I was only given small assignments, but nothing of substance. The 8-hour days felt so long. I eventually realized that I had 12 weeks to learn and make a name for myself at this company. I knew that if I wanted to feel fulfilled at the end of this program, I had to do something.

First, I emailed this entry-level employee whom I had met at orientation asking if she wanted to grab coffee together. She was a friendly, bubbly person who had also interned with this company, so I thought she would be a great person to get advice from. We hit it off right away and she quickly became my “work BFF!” Throughout the summer, she invited me to meetings that she was involved in. If I didn’t take the initiative to reach out to her, I wouldn’t have been able to see this company from different perspectives or meet any of those amazing people, including her!

Another example is more work-related. Like I said before, I wasn’t doing anything at the beginning of my internship. I worked up the courage to talk to my manager and express my desire to do more. She listened to me and shortly after, I was invited to more meetings and assigned to more projects. I was even invited to go to business process alignment meetings with our vendor in Maryland! All of these were opportunities that I know I would not have been given had I not spoken up.

I hope these two examples showcase the value that being proactive can have. All of you CWIB members are capable, intelligent, and talented young women. If something isn’t going the way you envisioned, say something! Doing so will show your peers/managers what your interests are and what you can bring to the table. Do not think that all of your hopes and dreams are going to be delivered to you on a silver platter. Work hard, be proactive, and you will come back to Blacksburg in the fall feeling fulfilled, I promise!

Summer Internships: How to Prepare for Your First Day

Summer is slowly approaching, which means so is the first day of that summer internship many of you were able to receive. It is very stressful and nerve-racking to think about the first day and what the entire summer will be like, but it is important to be ready. Keep reading to learn some tips on how to make sure you make great first impressions on that day!

1. Have an Open Mind

Since you got this job, you have most likely done some intense research on the company and the position, right?  When given your first task, you may find that it isn’t something you expected you would be doing. Be able to adapt to any situation and try your best.

2. Ask Questions

Do not hesitate to ask any questions! Don’t think that any question is a dumb one; someone probably asked it before.  Your manager will appreciate it if you ask thorough questions on your position; it will show that you’re interested and want to do the best you can. Also, your coworkers are in the same boat as you, so ask them anything and you may even make a new friend along the way.

3. Dress for Success

Go to the mall a few days before your first day, and stock up on clothing that satisfies your dress requirements. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have a blazer, some blouses, and dress pants – this will get you through the majority of the summer. Remember to take into account the conditions of your travel! For example, if you’re walking a few blocks to your office, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.

4. Get Organized

Load your Metro card, fill your gas tank up, prepare your bag/briefcase, and pack your lunch the night before! Also, look up directions to the building and leave about 20 minutes earlier to allow yourself more than enough time to get to work on time. Another important task you should do is familiarize yourself with the area so you can easily find the closest coffee shop!

5. Have Proper Etiquette

This is a little obvious, but still one of the most important concepts one needs to remember when in a professional environment. The first impression is typically how one is remembered, so make sure to smile, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake with everyone you meet. Introduce yourself properly and ask as many questions as needed.  Don’t be shy!

6. Be CONFIDENT

Everyone has their own unique strengths, personalities, and skills. Believing in yourself is the first step in showing the people at your company that you are an intelligent, capable intern. Make a lasting impression on everyone you meet, attend company events, never stop learning, and don’t hesitate to ask a question or pitch any idea. Confidence is the key to success!

 

These are all little tips that can lead to a great first day on the job and a great internship experience. Remember, you were hired for a reason. Show this company they were smart for hiring you. Good luck this summer, CWIB! We know you’ll make this organization proud!

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!