Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

Where are You in Your Career Planning?

When it comes to your job or internship search, your approach, your goals, your networking, your applications, etc. will be tailored to you and your chosen industry.

Three pieces of advice that apply to everyone, however, is to stay positive, keep going, and be open-minded!  Job searching takes persistence and a willingness to explore.  It also, of course, takes time!  Give yourself plenty of time to learn about opportunities and tailor each application. Several CareerSpots videos address the importance of Being OPEN to Opportunities, Making Career Fairs Counts, Starting Early, and more.

Additionally, think about the following:

  • What do you know about yourself? Can you clearly state your goals, strengths, and preferences in a work environment? Are you able to explain your accomplishments from your college involvement, work activities, internships, or volunteerism as they relate to the working world?
  • What do you know about employers? Have you identified industries of interest, companies within those industries, and potential positions that appeal to you? Have you organized your search activities to help you track when you apply, when you should follow up, and the status of each position? Is your job search public? Meaning, have you spoken with your family, friends, faculty, past employers, mentors, etc. to help you brainstorm and learn about opportunities?
  • Are your materials and interviewing techniques up to par? Have you had your resume reviewed, learned about effective cover letters and other correspondence, and practiced interviewing techniques?

Clearly there is a lot that goes into the job and internship search, and the same is true for those interested in graduate school.  As such, I would add be prepared to the three pieces of advice mentioned earlier! Utilize Career Services’ Resources for Students to get started and include us in your search activities!

Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

 

Your internship – when it’s all said and done…or nearly so

Information abounds from our office about how to find potential internship sites and opportunities, how to apply for internships by constructing targeted resumes and crafting convincing cover letters, how to thoughtfully prepare for interviews, and what to do when you get an offer or receive a rejection. If you haven’t found it yet, look around.  There are TIP sheets and webshops and a host of other resources on both the Career Services webpage and within JobCenter.  Need help?  Come in and ask.

But today, I want to spend some time on another best practice for student interns – finishing well.

What did you learn?

… about your work habits and attitudes and those of others?

… about company culture?

… about skills you need to acquire and/or hone?

… about the connection of your studies to work, industries, jobs, etc.?

Along the way you likely have been reflecting on questions like these in your internship journal. As you near the end of your internship assignment, you are encouraged to review that journal and put together a summary of your reflections. This summary will be particularly helpful in isolating key items you might wish to later share in résumés, cover letters, personal statements, and interviews for jobs and/or graduate school.

Your summary could include:

  • Comments on the progress of the goals you set for yourself prior to your internship.
  • The personal or professional challenges you have encountered while interning that you may not have been anticipated.
  • A description of any new behaviors, interests or changes that you have adopted as a result of working in a professional setting.
  • “Light bulb” moments. You know what I’m talking about… those moments of inspiration, revelation, or recognition when you made a connection between what you are studying and what you are now doing.  Or the whack to the head “V-8 juice response” you give yourself when suddenly it all becomes crystal clear and your way of thinking/behaving personally or professionally changes forever.

Finishing Well

More than likely your supervisor will conduct an evaluation of your performance and discuss it with you as you near the end of your internship assignment.  If not, ask for this feedback.  You also will want to secure a letter of recommendation and/or a willingness to act as a reference for you.  You may even want to discuss at the time what might be some key aspects of the recommendation.

Express appreciation to everyone that assisted you in this learning experience.  Such thoughtfulness rarely goes unnoticed. Meaningful expressions of thanks, whether hand-written or otherwise, for the time and energy someone invested in you says speaks volumes. Don’t delay in doing this!

Keep in touch with those who have now become part of your network. Keep them posted on new developments with respect to your continuing education and /or job search. Let them know of your success and don’t forget to inquire about and/or recognize theirs. Share interesting articles or insights on work-related topics. Invite their input into your professional development.

~Sharon Givler, director of career services

Jocelyn Says: Get Your Foot in the Door by Job Shadowing

You may remember from my last blog entry the importance of researching companies you are interested in as one of the first steps to finding an internship. But, what do you do once you have an idea of where you want to go? How do you get an “in” with a potential internship site?

For me, the first step was to send a letter of introduction to the organization. I searched the company’s website for contact information and sent my letter via email. Of course, this was not a five page essay about my goals and interests, but rather a short paragraph. I explained that I was emailing because I wanted to learn more about existing careers in the organization. I gave a brief description of my relevant experiences and included details from their website that emphasized why their particular company stood out to me. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I concluded the letter by requesting a day of job shadowing.

When I pushed the send button I was nervous. I knew the organization did not have to accept my request and could just as easily deny it. However, three days later the president of the organization replied explaining that they would be happy to help. He provided me with a list of days to choose from and highly recommended that I spend an entire day. He also requested that I provide him with a list of what I hoped to gain from the experience so that he could plan the day accordingly to ensure that I found it worthwhile.

My day of shadowing can be broken into three parts: an informational interview, tour/meet and greet, and assisting an employee with a project.

  • During the interview I had the chance to speak with the president of the organization who answered many of my questions regarding management and responsibilities.
  • While on the tour I was able to meet each employee in the office and speak with them. This opportunity introduced me to the array of jobs existing in the organization and allowed me to seek advice as to how to better prepare myself for a similar career.
  • The final hour of my job shadowing experience allowed me to assist with a project. I was able to actually see myself fitting into the organization; this was a huge confidence boost!

The best part came at the end of my day when the president talked to me briefly about my experience there. He prompted me to consider what I had learned, what I enjoyed, and what I did not like. Before I left, he encouraged me to send a copy of my resume to his office that he would keep on file to consider when they began accepting internship applications.

I left my day of shadowing feeling more confident about the career path I am pursuing. I had gained a better understanding of what I would be faced with as well as the overall work environment. The experience has helped me more confidently articulate what I am looking for in a job, what I want to do as a career, and what type of organizations may be a good “fit.” I made sure to send a thank you note and a copy of my resume the next day and have since kept in touch with the contacts I made.

Although introducing yourself to a brand new person and making a request to job shadow may be out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend taking the risk. After all, how do you know if you will actually enjoy a certain career if you’ve never set foot in the building?

J

Jocelyn Davis ’15, Career Services Student Assistant

Jocelyn Says: The Worst Thing You Can Do is Nothing

As promised, the Blog will feature a monthly topic written by Jocelyn Davis ’15, one of our fabulous student staff members.  Jocelyn is pursuing her degree in English Communications with a minor in Business Administration here at LVC.  This is her second year working in our office and it’s been a joy to watch as she enthusiastically pursues her goals and takes on any challenges that come her way.  For her first post, Jocelyn is sharing how she pursued her summer internship.

When I was 14 I started working at a Hallmark store in my hometown. Yes, it was a job (and more importantly) yes, it was money, but at the start of my sophomore year I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend the following summer at a job that actually applied to my major; somewhere I could utilize and further develop the skills I was learning in my classes. So, I made it my goal to secure an internship for the summer of 2013.

But how would I go about getting an internship? What would I need? Where would I apply? Was I even qualified? After the initial moment of panic and trying to talk myself out of taking the next step, I started with the basics: research local companies of interest, write a resume, and create a portfolio.

First, I needed to identify possible internships. This was important because I had no idea where to send my resume or portfolio and I knew that my documents would need to be adjusted for each organization.  I started checking my JobCenter account regularly for updated postings and also researched local companies that fit my interests to see if they offered internships. By having an idea of where I wanted to get involved, I was able to make my goal more concrete.

Next, the resume, which I will admit was a little overwhelming. I sat in front of my laptop with a list of accomplishments, classes that I have taken, and the two semi-relevant experiences I have had in the past—but wrote nothing. I was stuck. My advice? Do not waste your time. Once you have your ideas together schedule an appointment with Career Services or meet with your internship advisor (both wouldn’t hurt!). They have been in your shoes and know the in’s and out’s of writing a resume.

Then, the portfolio; basically a collection of everything you have ever done that you want to show to a potential employer. The main issue I ran into with this is that most of my work was digital: blogs, digital stories, online news articles. My solution? If everything else is digital, why not make the portfolio digital? I used weebly.com, a free website creator. You can link buttons on your personal website directly to the source where your work is posted so your potential employer does not have to search for each individual entry. If you need an example you can visit my site http://www.jocelyndavis.weebly.com

These are just a few of the steps I took at the beginning of my sophomore year to meet my goal and I hope you find them helpful as you begin taking your first steps toward an internship. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Good luck!

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15

CareerServices- Student Assistant

Make the Choice to Read Job Choices

Among many traits that employers look for in ideal candidates, resourcefulness and an inquisitive approach to problem-solving are right up there.  Learning about the latest trends and resources, as well as staying current on the competition, are important to many organizations for success.  Students should take a similar approach to career planning and the internship/job search!

Each month, the Career Services Blog will spotlight a few of the tools and tips that we believe are valuable.  This month, I’m encouraging you to get acquainted with the digital Job Choices magazine, accessible on the Resources for Students page of the Career Services website.

Why? Because you can be assured that these online magazines, compiled and distributed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, contain oodles of relevant articles and information for your job or internship search.  Published annually, each magazine – Job Choices and Job Choices, Diversity Edition – covers information from rights and responsibilities of job seekers, to social media, to graduate school or first years on the job.  Take a look at the contents page of the Job Choices edition:

Job Choices picture

 

If that doesn’t inspire you to take a look, maybe the opportunity to win $500 by taking a Reader Poll will (details on page 5 of the magazine).  Two LVC students have won within the past several years…maybe your resourcefulness will also be rewarded!

*Note: Even if you don’t win the $500, can we agree that resourcefulness for resourcefulness’s sake is generally a reward in and of itself?  I think so!

~Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

Experience Counts

Internships are a vital part of the collegiate experience, intended to help develop the work habits, attitudes, and skills needed to begin your career. They enable you to build your network of professional contacts, explore career options, apply classroom theory/concepts, become acquainted with company culture, and make a contribution to the organization that mentors you.  Sound a tad daunting?  Read on!

It’s never too early to start thinking about internships. In fact, lack of planning may prevent you from getting the experience you want. All students (including freshmen!) would be wise to acquaint themselves with the steps to find, secure, and make the most of an internship experience.  The Career TIP Sheet – Best Practices for Student Interns – or our weekly internship tutorials, where you will be given a workbook offering practical advice on topics of importance surrounding the full internship experience, would be great places to start.

Before, during, and following:

It can easily seem as though the most difficult stage of being an intern takes place long before your first day – as you search and apply to, interview for, and ultimately are selected for a position!  Career Services has oodles of resources to help you uncover leads, compose your resume and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.  Consider watching the Creating a Resume webshop and reading the Telling Your Story (interviewing) TIP Sheet.  These, along with other resources can help you make a professional first impression at events like the Capital Region Internship Fair (an annual fall event – held this year on October 1st).

Landing the position, however, is only a fraction of what it takes to create a quality experience.  Setting goals as part of your pre-internship planning will help you identify opportunities that match your interests and needs.  Thoughtful goal setting will also help you articulate what you hope to learn to your supervisors; maintaining regular communication about expectations and assignments is vital too.  Ask for feedback frequently and keep a journal to track and reflect upon your activities.  Nearing the end of your experience, make plans for maintaining your new network and practice telling others about your internship.

Making the unobtainable, obtainable!

Perhaps you’ve been thinking an internship at the Smithsonian would give your resume the boost it needs.  Or, maybe interning in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, NYC, Nashville, London, or Rome would surround you with professionals in the industry you hope to enter upon graduation.  “Sounds great,” you say, “but how will I afford it?”

The Edward H. Arnold and Jean Donlevy Arnold Internship Grants were created to remove financial impediments and help students pursue previously inconsiderable internships. Examples may include underpaid internship experiences within the United States or assistance with an international opportunity. Preference is given to proposals that show cost-intensive, unique, transformative experiences, and provide students the opportunity to have internships out of the local area.  Learn more HERE.

So, how about it?  Will you hone your strengths, make a contribution, build your network, and improve your chances for a bright future with an internship?

~Sharon Givler, director of career services

Settle in and browse…the Resource Library of JobCenter

Every week, the Office of Career Services sends out a “This Week at Career Services” email to notify students of upcoming programs, workshops, and deadlines, along with offering a brief spotlight on one of our resources.  Also included is a list of a few of the jobs and internships that were posted in JobCenter the week prior.  The email serves as a constantly updated snapshot of the services available to students; if it were to include everything new and beneficial, it would be much too large for the average inbox!

This week’s blog is meant to call your attention to a section of JobCenter that offers oodles of information on companies, internship, research, or job opportunities, and graduate schools or unique opportunities.  This is only naming a few of the 30+ folders in your Resource Library – a constantly updated electronic filing system of countless resources that should be added to your career planning tool box.

Did you know….

  • The Employer folder offers over 35 sub-folders about industries and/or companies?  There is information ranging from Accounting firms to GREEN jobs to state and federal government opportunities and resources for candidates.
  • There is an Internships / Research / Shadowing folder that includes links to current and annual programs and opportunities at places such as Pfizer, Disney, The Kennedy Center, etc.  I stopped counting at 50 sub-folders, all of which offer students great resources and ideas on identifying potential opportunities of interest.
  • A Unique Opportunities folder includes information on…you guessed it, opportunities that are unique.  AmeriCorps/Vista, Peace Corps, and Teach for America;  English Nanny & Governess School; a Leadership Pennsylvania Summer Institute, and more can be found here.

These are just three of the folders found in the Resource Library, accessible through the left hand navigation column in your JobCenter account.  Take some time today to turn on your computer, settle in, and browse!

A snapshot of current folders:
Post 23 Resource Library

Tips for Using E-mail at your New Job

With so much technology at our fingertips, it can be too easy to slip into a casual communication style in the workplace.  Abbreviations, one line responses, and replying from a cell phone are second nature.  However, employers indicate that professional business communication is still a requirement for many organizations!  Take a look at these tips for using E-mail at work and think twice before hitting that ‘send’ button!

  1. Do not use your employer’s e-mail address for anything other than work-related correspondence.
  2. Read e-mail carefully so that you can respond appropriately.
  3. Don’t send confidential material by e-mail.
  4. Use a subject line that reflects what your message is about.
  5. Don’t use abbreviations or text-message jargon (BTW, LOL, or smiley faces, and so forth) in your e-mail.
  6. Use a brief greeting as you might in a letter (Dear John, Good morning Mrs. Smith). Include a closing (Sincerely, Yours, Thanks).
  7. Use spell check and reread your message before sending.
  8. Respond to e-mail promptly.
  9. Use typefaces and colors that are appropriate to your workplace. Ask if your office has a style that you should follow.
  10. If you find you are e-mailing back and forth several times, pick up the phone to settle the issue.
  11. If you forward a message, remove the FW from the subject line.
  12. Change the subject line if the topic of the e-mail changes.
  13. Do not share other people’s e-mail addresses.
  14. Be careful using “reply all.” Consider whether it is necessary that everyone sees your reply.
  15. Do not forward other people’s messages without permission.
  16. Watch the tone of your e-mail. Remember, the person receiving the e-mail can’t see your body language.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder

Make the Most of Your Internship

It can easily seem as though the most difficult stage of being an intern takes place before you ever clock in for your first day – as you search for, apply to, interview for, and ultimately are selected for a position!  However, landing the position is only a fraction of what it takes to create a quality experience.

According to the CareerSpots video – Make the Most of Internships – there are three main things that interns should do to achieve maximum benefit during their experience.

  • Start building your network immediately
  • Understand your value to the organization by making connections between what you’re doing and how it impacts the department/company
  • Execute your work (and do it well)

A few words of warning are also offered: be careful with how involved you are in extra-curricular activities during your internship time-frame.  You need to be able to devote your attention fully to your internship (and your studies, of course!), something that can be difficult when you’re also stretched thin between multiple activities and organizations.

Additional actions for making the most of your internship are laid out in our Career TIP Sheet: Best Practices for Student Interns.  For example, set goals as part of your pre-internship planning to help you identify opportunities that match your interests and needs.  Thoughtful goal setting also helps you to articulate what you are hoping to learn during your internship to your site supervisor.  During your internship, maintain communication with your supervisor to be sure you understand expectations and assignments.  Ask for feedback regularly and keep a journal to track and reflect upon your activities.  At the end of your internship, make a plan for maintaining your new networking connections and practice articulating your experience.

An internship is meant to be a vital part of your college experience to build career-related skills, work habits, and attitudes.  It’s entirely for your benefit that you make the most of it!

Finding a Co-Op/Internship

Internships are a vital part of the collegiate experience. In today’s competitive culture students are wise to bring career-related experiences to the attention of potential employers and graduate schools. Hiring and admissions personnel are looking for candidates with maturity and confidence, good writing and speaking skills, honesty and integrity, leadership, interpersonal strengths, initiative, creativity, and flexibility. Many of these strengths are honed through the real world experience of an internship.

Internships will help you develop the work habits, attitudes, and skills to begin your career. They will enable you to build your network of professional contacts, explore career options, apply classroom theory and concepts, become acquainted with company culture, and make a contribution to the organization that mentors you. Experience counts. Get your career in motion today!

How do you go about conducting an internship search?  Start by watching the CareerSpots video – Finding a Co-Op/Internshipand begin browsing the Experience Counts website through Career Services.  Here you will be linked to great resources and helpful information on internships for academic credit or for experience only (non-credit).  Make yourself aware of opportunities available through JobCenter, both in the Jobs & Internships section and the Resource Library (available on the left hand navigation column).  You are encouraged to talk with faculty, your personal networking connections, and alumni through the Career Connections mentor database (also accessed through JobCenter) to discuss your interests and learn of leads.  Career Services is glad to work with you as well through the entire process of your internship – before, during, and following the experience.

There are many avenues in which to seek out internship opportunities; give yourself ample time to conduct a thorough search in hopes of landing an internship that will be most beneficial to your future career goals!