Why Internships are Actually Important, Required or Not

We all hear that internships are a good idea, sometimes they are even required of us, but why are they so important, what do they have to offer and what do you do if you are already out of college?

One thing to keep in mind is that there are two different types of internships: experiential and academic. Experiential is strictly for experience purposes. These internships are not for credit, but instead give you an inside look at what it would be like to be in your field of interest in a real world atmosphere. Internships that are for academic credit, are just what they sound like, you get credit for so many course hours based on how long your internship is. Many times with this type of internship one must complete a paper or portfolio concerning the work that they have done.

Another great benefit of an internship is the ability to network with people in your field of interest. Making connections is a key part of being successful in finding a job at any point in your life. When networking, you may work with people who could write you a letter of recommendation or be a reference for a future position. Many employers look for a wide variety of references, not just from professors or a short summer job.

It has been proven that students with internship experience, whether experiential or for credit, usually receive more job offers with higher pay, than those students who do not. Thus it is a good idea, whether it is required of you or not, to do at least one internship.

Internships are the most useful because of one specific reason: the on-site, field experience that you will get from seeing the action. There is only so much you can learn about your field in the classroom and from reading a textbook without actually seeing how it is done in real life. Also, it gives you a look into whether this is what you really want to do. You may think that you have an idea of where you are going, moving forward, but may find that once you are actually in that environment that you don’t really care for it. Better to figure this out early on, rather than waiting until you are actually searching for a job or when you do get a job.

Internships are not only beneficial for students both young and old; they are also beneficial for employers. Interns can provide a fresh perspective to the company and propose new and creative ideas that may not have previously been thought of. Also, (I know this may seem cliché) but many students are more familiar with technology and use of social media than the older generations and can be helpful in figuring out ways to use these so that they are most beneficial to the company.

Interns are also great for additional help with projects that may need some extra attention or time. Projects are great for interns because they are an easy way to ease them into their position and it gives one area to focus on so it is not so overwhelming. Another great benefit of having an intern is that it is almost a trial period to see if you would like to hire the student in the future. You are able to work with them for an extended amount of time, see how their work ethic is, and what their strengths and weaknesses are first-hand.

Hiring interns is also a way to give back to the community. Although it may not seem that way, by giving younger or less experienced people a chance to work with your company you are enhancing the workforce and the student’s experience. This is especially true for small businesses.

Last, but certainly not least, internships are a lot of fun! You get to meet a lot of new people who are eager to help you learn more about what you love and you get to experience it first-hand. What could be better than getting an up close and personal look at what your future could be? Give it a try!


Cassandra Rudd is currently a junior double majoring in Psychology and English. She spends most of her time doing a lot of homework but also enjoys listening to hip-hop/rap music and spending time with her family and friends. She currently works on campus at the Office of Career Services as a Head Work Study and at the Academic Resource Center as a Writing Fellow. After graduating from Nichols, she is hoping to go to graduate school and pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist and possibly work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the US Marshals. She says “You may be wondering why I am also an English major when I am going into the Psychology field, and the answer to that is simple: I love to read and write. I have always enjoyed both of these disciplines and they both can translate in any type of career field.” Writing blog entries connects her interests and work at Career Services and skills as a writer. The mission and purpose of this blog is to give students access to important career information no matter what their year, major or level of experience.

Fall Classes End, the Job Search Continues Through the Break

Although we are all looking forward to the upcoming winter break and all the relaxation, shopping, family time, and holiday fun that will come with it, the job search is something that is important to stay on top of, even if all you want to do is enjoy ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’

Jobs are constantly being posted and offered every day. You never know what you could be missing so it is important to keep on it, even if you are taking a break for the holidays. As we all know, the job market is not the best right now so it is important to look around every chance you get and to be a step ahead of the others. Other than commonly used sites like Indeed and Monster, Road to Success is a great resource that Career Services uses to post thousands of job opportunities and career events.

The break is also a good time to do some research on potential employers or graduate schools that you might be interested in. Make a list of the ones you like the most and focus on these to help clarify your search. It is always a good idea to “do your homework” so to speak and get background information about a company, (their mission, CEO, goals, etc.) or for graduate school you can research what department you are interested in and contact professors and program chairs to begin networking.

Take some time to look over and update your resume. It is important to keep your resume current and make sure that all of your information is correct. Don’t forget to add in any new clubs or awards you have received this semester! If you are looking for an easy way to build and format your resume, check out Optimal Resume.

Volunteering over the holidays not only will make you feel good, but it is good for your resume too. Take some time to help at a local food pantry, help man a Code Blue shelter, or volunteer to wrap presents for Toys for Tots. Your future employer will see that you are interested in helping others and being involved in the community.

One very helpful aspect of the job search is networking with professionals in the industry you are interested in. Winter break opens up your schedule for time to make connections that could potentially be helpful for any level of your career: internships, graduate school, entry-level positions, and even once you’re a professional in your field. Take a look at LinkedIn for networking opportunities near you.

If you think you have a pretty good idea of where you are headed with your job search, even if you have gone through the interview process, it is a good idea to create your plan B scenario for the future. Unfortunately, sometimes things do not go as we expect and with the job market being very competitive right now, it is important to make sure that you have a backup plan so that you do not leave yourself in the dark.

One thing that may also be a good idea is to go shopping for professional attire that you may need. It is always good to have dress clothes not only for presentations you may have for class, but for professional job interviews and networking events. Remember that black and navy are really good basics to work with!

Last but certainly not least: Relax for a little bit! The job search is stressful, so make sure that you do actually take some time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

 


Cassandra Rudd is currently a junior double majoring in Psychology and English. She spends most of her time doing a lot of homework but also enjoys listening to hip-hop/rap music and spending time with her family and friends. She currently works on campus at the Office of Career Services as a Head Work Study and at the Academic Resource Center as a Writing Fellow. After graduating from Nichols, she is hoping to go to graduate school and pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist and possibly work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the US Marshals. She says “You may be wondering why I am also an English major when I am going into the Psychology field, and the answer to that is simple: I love to read and write. I have always enjoyed both of these disciplines and they both can translate in any type of career field.” Writing blog entries connects her interests and work at Career Services and skills as a writer. The mission and purpose of this blog is to give students access to important career information no matter what their year, major or level of experience.

 

The Ins and Outs of Salary Negotiation

Written by Cassandra Rudd

Salary negotiating is a crucial part of being offered a job and for those just entering the professional work force it can be a daunting task, if you do not do your research. There are ways to navigate through the world of salary negotiation with ease.

When it comes to salary negotiation the first thing to think about is surprisingly enough: yourself! Above anything else you have to know your worth. You know how much your contribution to the company is worth and what value to put on that, so be sure to take that into consideration when you choose a salary range to discuss.

To research jobs and what a good salary range would be for your position or area you can look online at: www.usajobs.gov or www.glassdoor.com. On these sites you can research your job title and/or your field of interest see what the hourly rate is at certain popular companies as well as what their salary range is typically. There are also sites like www.salary.com where a “salary calculator” can be helpful.

Always come prepared to the meeting. Once you have been offered a position, you know that salary negotiation will soon be on the table. If you are prepared with what you want to discuss, this will make things run more smoothly, and you will be more confident since you are prepared.

Have a salary range already chosen with which you would like to counter, do not choose an exact number. Some financial advisors and researchers suggest using an odd number is more effective in getting what you are asking for.

One thing to keep in mind: do not undersell yourself. Aim high with what you are asking for with your salary range, but do not go over the top, be realistic. It is important to strike the right balance. Based on your research and your skill level, you should know right about what your appropriate salary would be. You want to attempt to aim a little higher than that. Do not go over the top and ask for tens of thousands more a year, but make some adjustments so that the potential employer knows you are serious.

When negotiations begin do not go in for the kill, let the employer make the first offer. Once you have heard and understand their offer, you can counter. You do not want to come off as being too focused on the money in this sort of situation. When countering, you have to be educated about it. Just like when you are taking a test and you are unsure about a question; you make an educated guess based on what you know and have researched. It is the same thing with salary negotiations; make sure you have the data to back up your offer. Also, only counter one time. You do not want to make a war out of the meeting and put off your potential employer.

Although you might be nervous or anxious to get the negotiations started (or maybe over with), it is important to remain patient and know when the time is right to discuss the benefits package and negotiations. If you start discussing this subject too early, it could be off putting for your potential employer. Usually they will bring it up when they are ready.

The negotiations should not solely be focused on your salary for the year or how much you are getting paid per hour, other aspects of the benefits package are also important to take into consideration. Insurance (including: medical, dental, even life), 401K and pension plans, sick leave and vacation days, stock options, and even tuition reimbursement. Although the pay amount is usually the biggest focus, it is important to consider your benefits and what the company has to offer you. Salary.com has a great compiled checklist of what aspects of the benefits package to focus on other than your salary. Check it out at: http://www.salary.com/10-things-negotiate-non-salary/slide/8/

One thing that you should avoid doing when the subject of salary comes up is to just accept the first offer made to you without discussing it first. Negotiations should always be a part of the discussion. Although doing any kind of negotiating can be taxing on your emotions, try to keep the mood as positive as possible and keep your emotions in check. You are still trying to make a good impression here.

Consider all of your options and think about whether the company you are considering is really a place that you want to work. The monetary offerings may have a big pull in your decision, but you have to consider your happiness with your job. Think about your options, is this really the company you want to work for? Or are there others that you are interested in?

Salary negotiating may not seem like the easiest adventure to embark on, but at the end of the day it very well may pay off, literally and figuratively!

 

 


Cassandra Rudd is currently a junior double majoring in Psychology and English. She spends most of her time doing a lot of homework but also enjoys listening to hip-hop/rap music and spending time with her family and friends. She currently works on campus at the Office of Career Services as a Head Work Study and at the Academic Resource Center as a Writing Fellow. After graduating from Nichols, she is hoping to go to graduate school and pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist and possibly work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the US Marshals. She says “You may be wondering why I am also an English major when I am going into the Psychology field, and the answer to that is simple: I love to read and write. I have always enjoyed both of these disciplines and they both can translate in any type of career field.” Writing blog entries connects her interests and work at Career Services and skills as a writer. The mission and purpose of this blog is to give students access to important career information no matter what their year, major or level of experience.

Surviving a Business Dinner: The Essentials of Etiquette

Written by Cassandra Rudd

All of us know some form of etiquette when it comes to eating at the dinner table, whether it is where the fork and knife go in relation to your plate, to not talk while you have food in your mouth, or to push your chair in when you leave the table. However, when it comes to etiquette and business dinners, there are important steps to take in order to make a good impression.

Eating in a professional environment is a way to “break bread,” as the saying goes, and get to know your co-workers or future employer on a more personal level, but as with anything else in the business world, there are guidelines to follow.

You’re invited to a lunch at a nice restaurant by a potential employer. He wants to interview you in a more relaxed setting so he proposes lunch at a local eatery. In order to make a good first impression, make sure that you show up a few minutes early to avoid being late. Showing up too early may be awkward for the potential employer. When you arrive at the restaurant you quickly spot your host, and make your way to his table. You realize that he has brought some of his colleagues with him to the luncheon. Shake hands and let him know that you are thankful for the opportunity to have lunch with him. You then make your way to the others at the table and introduce yourself to them as well. The more people you network with, the better!

Once seated, remember to sit upright in your chair. Slouching would appear lazy or like you were uninterested in the conversation. Proper posture will show that you are present and engaged in the conversation at hand.

When the wait staff brings the menu, look it over being careful to avoid the pricey items like the fresh Maine lobster with truffle butter. Instead opting for something more reasonable like the chicken Florentine or the California Cobb salad. Your potential boss tells you to “order whatever you want!,”  but try to pick a dish that is neutral price-wise. Try to order something that is easy to eat so that you do not make a mess, even if the rack of ribs sounds delicious.

While in the middle of discussing the expansions that have been made to the company that the host works for, your phone begins to vibrate (you put it on vibrate ahead of time knowing that it would be rude if your Miley Cyrus ringtone started to go off in the middle of this important meal). Instead of checking your phone when the conversation begins to die down, leave your phone in your pocket, out of respect for the others at the table.

Before getting to the restaurant study up on the positioning of place settings and glasses at a dining table (See link for place setting: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~cflac/etiquette/settings.html). Be cautious not to grab your host’s water glass by accident; this would be an embarrassing mistake.

When you finally get your meal, you realize, much to your dismay, that the roasted chicken you ordered came with a side of asparagus, a vegetable you despise above all others.  One thing to keep in mind is that it would not look good for you to be picky about what is on your plate; this may give a lasting negative impression.

At one point in the dinner, just after taking a good sized bite of chicken, one of the guests at the table asks you what drew you to apply for the position at the host’s company; an excellent question that you have an answer for, but you just started to chew your food. Wait a minute gesturing to the person to hold on one moment and finish chewing before you speak. At this point in the luncheon, you begin to feel anxious, overwhelmed and worried about whether you are giving off the right impression and if you are presenting yourself in the proper way to the host and his colleagues. Just take a deep breath and remember to relax, you’ve got this!

While making a move toward your water glass, your elbow accidentally hits your butter knife, sending it crashing to the floor. You think to pick it up out of habit, but then think, “This isn’t someone’s home, so I should just leave it.”

After finishing the meal, the host insists on ordering a round of drinks for the table. He asks what you would like to drink, and although you know you probably shouldn’t, he insists.  Go with the safe choice and order one beer, no need to overdo it with multiple drinks or hard liquor when you are discussing business.

As everyone is conversating at the table, you begin to feel as though you may not be speaking up enough, but the discussion is currently about the most recent Mets game, and this is right in your wheel house. Although you know a lot about baseball, you know that you cannot do all the talking and that listening is an important skill to illustrate as well.

When the bill comes, a few guests at the table offer to go Dutch or at least pay for the tip, however you know that it is the host’s responsibility to take care of the whole bill and the tip, as he is the one who invited you out to lunch. When preparing to leave the table, make sure to push in your chair so that it does not obstruct the path of the other guests as they exit or that of the waiters and bussers as they clear the tables. Shake everyone’s hand and let them know how great it was to meet them and to have had lunch with them.

Overall, you think you did a really great job remembering all the etiquette tips you have learned and that you made a great first impression with the host. You are hopeful that the position that you applied for will be yours.

Use these tips to help you at any professional networking events. Some of these points may seem like common sense to most people, but they are very important to keep in mind. Making a good impression at a business dinner is very important and could make or break a job interview, give you a leg up for that promotion, or just help you to build a stronger relationship with your potential supervisor and fellow employees.