Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

Jocelyn Asks: What Are You Thankful For?

If you’re anything like me, you have been counting down to today since Fall Break. Well it’s finally here! As you head home to celebrate this time of thanksgiving, take time to relax and enjoy the holiday: great food, time with family, and an opportunity to give thanks.

While you’re thinking about who you are thankful for, keep in mind those who have helped you with your career development. This holiday season is a great time to reach out to mentors, internship supervisors, and others in your professional network to catch up and say thank you! Expressions of gratitude will make you stand out and perhaps even spark conversation about new endeavors. Keeping in touch with your professional network is a key aspect of preparing for your future career!

So, take a break from the food and fun to send a few quick notes out to remind past and present mentors that you are thankful for their help and support.

Safe travels!

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15, Career Services, Student Assistant

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

Following Up with Employers

Recruitment season means many students are likely writing and sending out numerous resumes and cover letters in hopes of being selected for interviews and, ultimately, internships or full time opportunities.  Tailored application materials are much more likely to get you noticed than generic ones, but there is still fierce competition in the job market.  So what do you do after you’ve submitted an application?  And how do you stay on an employer’s radar after an interview? By following up!

Following up with employers is essential in the job search.  However, there’s an important distinction between touching base and being a pest.  The CareerSpots video, Follow up with Employers, offers guidelines from an employer perspective to help you know when to call or email after submitting your application and what to do after an interview.

Although all employers are different, one thing remains certain – you MUST make time to follow up!  Doing so will help you stand out and demonstrate genuine interest while remaining actively engaged in your job search.

The Art of Saying Thank You

You’ve worked up the courage to contact someone for networking reasons or to further your job or internship search.  You’ve attended career fairs and events to interact with people in your industry of interest.  The preparation involved with all of these activities may seem like the most difficult part, right? So once the initial meeting is over, how do you keep the conversation going?

The immediate step is to send a note of appreciation!  Saying “thank you” allows you to remind the individual of your previous conversation by expressing gratitude for their time, reiterating your interest and skills, and conveying enthusiasm for continued communication.  Whether you send it through snail mail or email, make sure your note is timely, genuine, and professional.  Don’t mistake this as an optional step – sending thank you notes should be a priority within 24-48 hours after your meeting!

For employer advice of what to include, check out The Art of Saying Thank You CareerSpots video.