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  • Amanda Osborn 3:59 am on April 30, 2012 Permalink  

    ‘Till Next Time 

    Well, today marks another semester over, another internship completed. Like any ending, the end of my internship at the Peace Corps has been bittersweet. Do I look forward to future gigs in the future, particularly ones that pay? Of course! But I will miss my internship still. I’ll miss my supervisors, the relaxed office atmosphere, the different writing projects I’ve been tasked with, the co-interns I became friends with over the semester. But I know that I’ll be able to keep in touch, and in a city as small as DC, I wouldn’t be surprised if my paths crossed again with anyone I’ve worked with over the last four months. So, it’s not goodbye, but rather ’till next time!

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  • Amanda Osborn 6:21 am on April 25, 2012 Permalink  

    Some Resume Tips 

    Having a stellar resume is pretty important when it comes to landing that perfect internship. Here are some resume tips and tricks:

    • Keep it onto one page. Anything more than that for a college student is excessive.
    • Avoid personal pronouns. It’s clear that a resume is written about you, but a resume is still written in third person. There is no need to put “I” or “me” in any of the resume content.
    • Use “action” verbs. Saying “I assisted…” or “I helped…” is much weaker than “I delegated…” or “I coordinated…” or “I managed…” Your resume is a marketing tool. Use language that best sells your skills and experiences.
    • Don’t list your references. If an employer asks for your references, you can include them separately. There’s no need to include them on your resume.
    • Include all relevant information for your positions. This includes location, company name, your position at the company, how long you worked there for, and several bullets of information briefly summarizing what you did while at that position.
    • Don’t lie. This is a no-brainer.

    These are just some general resume tips. For more, be sure to stop by the Career Center to meet with a peer adviser or a career adviser!

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  • Amanda Osborn 5:20 pm on April 24, 2012 Permalink  

    Challenge Yourself At Your Internship 

    This week, my internship supervisor took me out for coffee so we could chat and catch up. We’ve gotten along really well this semester, and she wanted to check in with me and see how I was doing since she knew that finals are fast approaching. We started talking about the different tasks I juggle as an intern in the press office, and she told me that she knew I wanted more challenging tasks as the semester continued, which is why I started out archiving clips and working with press templates and continued onto writing articles for promotional publications and working on original stories to be posted on the office website.

    It really stuck with me how she really wanted to challenge me and trusted my judgment with projects like going through materials to come up with original angles for a story or condensing lengthy articles for a short, concise story to be published in a print publication. Getting assigned these more challenging (and more interesting!) projects has been great. Not only have I learned more about my organization and what it does, but I have also been able to add some great clips to my public relations writing portfolio. I’ve also been able to track a few of my stories in publications nationwide, which has been really awesome!

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  • Amanda Osborn 8:42 pm on April 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Everyone Was An Intern Once 

    Everyone was an intern once.

    This is a great thing. It means that supervisors are incredibly understanding if interns need to take a day or two off to tackle that big research paper or prep for that all-important class presentation. They’re willing to guide interns through all of the various duties and tasks interns have, and are more than willing to answer questions. They know what it’s like to be an intern, and are always more than happy to give you whatever advice or tips they have.

    My current internship supervisor reminded me of her own history as an intern on my first full day. She handed me my intern manual (which was a thick, 30-odd page document) and told me to refer to it if I ever needed a guide to my daily intern tasks. I must’ve looked overwhelmed by the length of the manual, because she smiled and said, “Or you can always just ask me. I was an intern once, so I know how you’re feeling. I’m always more than happy to answer any questions.”

    Everyone’s been in the position of an intern, and no one is likely to forget that experience. So don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with the rest of your office; your coworkers will most likely be more than happy to talk with you and answer any questions you might have.

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  • Amanda Osborn 5:07 pm on April 22, 2012 Permalink  

    Network with Your Supervisor 

    When people say the word “networking,” I used to think it meant leveraging who you knew to directly get a job. As in, if I networked with Person A at Company A, my networking skills would pay off in the form of a job at Company A. I didn’t really think about the other benefits (or forms) that networking can, and does, take until this last year.

    Take my experience networking with my supervisors at my internships this past year, for example. Neither organization I interned were in the position to give me a full-time job offer. However, that didn’t mean that networking with my supervisors would be futile. I have great letters of recommendation from both, and both have offered to keep an eye out for any opportunities that might be suited to my background, skillset and interests. Had I not taken the effort to excel at my internship, get to know my supervisors on a personal level, and keep in touch with them even after I’m done being their intern, I would have completely missed out on this networking opportunity. I’m so grateful that no matter what job I apply for, if I need a great letter of recommendation or reference, I have my internship supervisors who are willing to sing praises about me.

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  • Amanda Osborn 3:07 pm on April 7, 2012 Permalink  

    Thank You Notes 

    I am a strong believer in the power of a handwritten thank you note in a professional setting. Whether it be for an interviewer after a job interview, or for your supervisor at the end of your internship, a handwritten thank you note speaks volumes. A handwritten thank you note demonstrates professionalism, care, and that extra personal touch, which has become increasingly rare in the world of electronic, non-face to face communication.

    Career Adviser Dave Fletcher once told me if an employer receives a (timely) thank you note after an interview from a candidate, more often than not the candidate automatically is placed at the top of the application pool. One of my friends swears that the only reason he got offered an internship at the FBI his freshman year (!) is because he sent a thank you note to his interviewers.

    I make it a habit to write all my interviewers thank you notes after my interview, and I always mail them first thing the next morning (if not the day of!) to ensure that they will be delivered promptly. I also write thank you notes to my internship supervisors at the end of an internship. A thank you note could make the difference between you and a competing candidate for a position at a company, or put you at the top of the list for previous interns the company may reach out to in event of a job vacancy. If nothing else, at the very least it will definitely be appreciated by the recipient!

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  • Amanda Osborn 12:56 am on March 19, 2012 Permalink  

    The Intern Bargain 

    I came across this article today about unpaid internships in the media industry. With unpaid internships rampant in the media industry, it’s not uncommon for this subject to be news, but the recent lawsuit a former intern filed against Charlie Rose is bringing this subject back into the forefront. The case is about wage violations, and whether college-age workers are employees or students, educated or exploited, etc. (More detail about the case can be found here.)

    The article I read is not about Charlie Rose in particular. It’s about unpaid internships in general, and what an employer makes of hiring an intern that is not going to be paid. The writer compares the benefits the intern gets to the one the employer gets from the bargain. A great intern will get experience and contacts in the field, a poor intern will, at the very least, get school credit. (The article is quick to state that this is not how it is in the real world: in the real world, a poor employee gets fired.)

    Overall, the article is a great read, and provides insight into the approach many employers use when managing interns. If nothing else, at least read this particular excerpt:

    That’s the bargain with interns. Sometimes you invest a bunch of time in them teaching them how to do things that more experienced journalists already know and they give you nothing in return except a headache. If they were employees, you’d fire them, but since they’re not, you just wait to be rid of them. Sometimes they turn out to be brilliant, require minimal oversight and actually help you do your job — not because you’re cleverly exploiting them, but because that’s what bright, motivated, ambitious young people do, and any attempt to prevent them from doing so would be resented. They don’t want to sit and watch someone else make widgets; they want to prove they can do it and get the credit. And when you find those interns, unless you’re an idiot or a jerk, you hire them out of college if you can or recommend them to someone else if you can’t.

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  • Amanda Osborn 3:21 pm on March 14, 2012 Permalink  

    On Not Burning Bridges 

    You’re at your internship and for whatever reason, you’re just not feeling it. Maybe it’s because you’re not getting paid and that’s wearing on you more than you thought it would, or you feel like your supervisor is insane, or your workload is unmanageable, etc. Whatever the reason is, you might go so far as to say you hate your internship. (Yikes!) Now what?

    Whatever you do, don’t burn your bridges. You never know what networking potential your internship will give you, regardless of how you feel about the actual internship. Also, as an intern at X Company, you are a representative of American University. Your actions as an individual and as an intern will strongly influence the way your employer views other potential intern candidates in the future. If you burn your bridges, you will also affect another student’s shot at what may be their dream internship.

    No matter how disgruntled you are at your internship, always strive to behave in a professional manner. Wouldn’t you rather be known as the intern who stuck it out during tough times rather than the intern who just up and quit, leaving an employer high and dry? Most professional fields are fairly small, especially in a city like DC: word gets out, and if you’re known as the “quitting” intern, few are likely to hire you.

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  • Amanda Osborn 7:01 pm on March 10, 2012 Permalink  

    Communicate with Your Supervisor 

    I’ve always been really lucky in the sense that I’ve had great supervisors at all my internships. They’ve been really understanding of the fact that I also have responsibilities as a student and student employee at my on-campus job. While I love interning and have enjoyed all my internships, sometimes, I’ve found myself stretched a bit too thin around periods such as midterms and finals. The way I’ve resolved this issue is to be sure to communicate with my supervisors whenever I feel I am getting too stressed with everything I have going on.

    Last week, for example, I told my supervisor that I had a Chinese midterm paper due the next day. I mentioned that if I got all my projects wrapped up early, it would be really great if I could leave the office earlier so that I could have more time to write my paper that evening. She said that it wasn’t a problem. At 3p.m., I was in the midst of wrapping up my project when my boss emailed me and told me straight-up to put aside my project, go home, write my paper, and get some sleep.

    Maybe I’ve just been really lucky with my supervisors. But there’s no way they could have been so understanding if I hadn’t taken the first step to communicate with them. If my supervisor didn’t know I had a paper due the next day, then she definitely would not have emailed me and given me her blessing to go home a little early that day!

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  • Amanda Osborn 1:44 pm on March 6, 2012 Permalink  

    It’s Always Worth It To Do an Internship 

    At the beginning of this semester, I had some reservations about whether or not I made the right decision to accept an internship for 20 hours a week at the Peace Corps. Twenty hours is a long time. It’s two and a half days to spend at the office – time I could have spent doing homework, working more hours at my other (paid) job, meeting professors at office hours, hanging out with friends, or making progress on the job search so I don’t find myself living in a cardboard box on the street come May. It’s a lot of time to dedicate to one internship when I definitely had other options with how to spend that time!

    But I chose to use that time to intern because I am a firm believer that it is always worth it to do an internship. The experience and skills you gain are invaluable and make you a better, more competitive candidate when it comes to search for full-time, entry-level employment. The connections you make at an internship might help you land your first (or second, or third) full-time job! Internships also help you figure out what it is that you love, and don’t love, about your field. That alone makes it worth it to do an internship. It’s better to figure out that you can’t stand working in an office all day at an internship that you’re at two days a week that only lasts a semester rather than a full-time position that could last indefinitely.

    I’m lucky that I lucked out with my current internship at the Peace Corps as a press relations intern. I love what I’m doing, I love my supervisors, and I love the office environment. But, more about that later. To those who have reservations about whether it is worth it to intern, whether it be over the summer or during an academic semester: do it! What do you have to lose?

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    • Francine Blume 8:09 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      20 hours is a long time. I’m really glad you love what you’re doing. I can’t wait to hear more about your job as a press relations intern and any insight you have as to the best way to promote the Peace Corps’ mission.

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