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  • Cole Mellino 9:20 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, interning for the wrong reasons, the right reasons to intern   

    Final Dispatch 

    Today is my last day at my internship and I am genuinely really sad. I cannot speak highly enough of the internship program at the Center for American Progress. It is extremely well run. And the staff at CAP are just amazing people. They’ve always had really interesting things for me to do, such as researching for articles that I, or someone else is working on, writing articles, attending events, conferences, and meetings and taking notes and writing articles about these events. Yes, I’ve done a few not so fun things, such as transcribing interviews or checking people in for an event, but honestly, compared to what my friends tell me about their internships, CAP seems like one of the best places if you want to spend the vast majority of your time actually doing things that contribute to the work of the organization. I wasn’t interested in interning at a place just because it had good name recognition. I wanted to work at a place where I would actually do meaningful work. I managed to find a place that offers both (and it also offers a stipend), so I just really lucked out and that’s why I can’t rave enough about my internship.

    So my final advice to internship-seeking students: Do a lot of research. Find a place you actually think you’ll like working at and not just one that sounds good. Are the types of things you’ll be doing actually things you like doing? Don’t take an internship just because you think it’ll look good on a resume. You’ll just be cursing yourself every time you have to go to it. Do an internship because you think it’ll enrich your coursework and make you a more experienced young professional. Yes, you want to have work experience on your resume, but if it’s for something that you didn’t like and didn’t get much out of, what are you going to tell the interviewer for a potential job when she asks you about it. Well, those are my parting words. Good luck with your search.

    • Julia Beyer 4:29 pm on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nice points, Cole! It is very important to have a meaningful internship experience. I’ll be featuring this in the SOC Spot newsletter.

  • Natasha Bavolar 2:40 am on October 25, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , , , , sticking out   

    Personality: What to Do When You Have A lot of it 

    Being a loquacious person in the working world can be a difficult struggle. Trying to balance witty banter and constructive discussion of your current work projects can be a tricky one. But, who says you have to choose one or the other? So many interviewees have extremely similar resumes filled with student positions, great internships or just overall good experiences they feel have provided them with superior skills for the job. However, if everyone has the same basics, what will make you stand out? You.

    Don’t read those articles that tell you to dim down your nail polish, don’t listen to those people who say to wear neutral and conservative colors, and definitely do NOT listen to anyone who tells you to not be yourself in an interview or job setting, to a certain extent. These are the little pieces that will allow YOU to stay fresh in the employers mind and friendly with coworkers around the office. They are looking for that special spark; this can come in the way you speak passionately about your goals or interests, in your desire to improve an aspect of an organization, approach or process, or just having a creative idea you want to explore.

    However, this isn’t to say you should get carried away.
    1. Make sure you are listening to what the interviewer is saying and asking; stay on topic, be alert and to the point when it is your turn to respond.
    2. Always be respectful, from your outfit choice to your demeanor to your language choice.
    3. Ask questions. Go into any meeting, interview or conference with questions to ask and write down more as you think of them! This will show your enthusiasm and desire to be more engaged and knowledgable.

    9 times out of 10 that will land YOU the position and not someone else who’s GPA may have been slightly higher than yours. People want to work with other people; someone who can help push the company further in a new direction or can be that positive energy in the office they have been needing. Let yourself shine with that shattered nail polish you did at 2AM while you were procrastinating, wear that funky patterned tie with your favorite suit combination because that describes you, and definitely do not be afraid to share with your potential employer what makes you special and unique.

    • Francine Blume 9:19 pm on October 26, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      You are absolutely right about listening!

      You are absolutely right about asking questions!

      You are absolutely right that employers are looking more at who can push the company along and contribute rather than just what your GPA was!

      I love the attitude and the spirit of the advice about what to wear, but I have to disagree with you when it comes to going all out. It really is important to be YOU, so maybe the question is not what to wear at your interview as much as doing your research to find a place where, if you really want, you can wear a funky tie and shattered nail polish because everyone else there does, too!

      But sometimes, you just need a job. I’d say be yourself, but at least consider it as a living anthropological experiment. Dress like your subjects in order to blend in, so that you don’t make them uncomfortable. Find out who they are and what they’re about. Then, if action research allows, choose what part of your funky self you’re going to share with everyone else and when you’re going to share it. But honestly, if folks perceive that you’re going to an interview dressed in a disrespectful manner, they’re not getting care who you are or what you have offer. You said that yourself and number two!

  • Zach C. Cohen 1:20 am on August 22, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , , , , ,   

    Living a Real Life 

    Let’s face it: school is “some of the best years of our life” because we have so much going for us. But this summer, my full-time internship put me in a position I was not quite used to. I had to fend for myself in regards to food, and I had to budget my time, get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and somehow find time to hang out with friends.

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  • Zach C. Cohen 3:02 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , , , , overload, , ,   


    If you’re going to work on a high-pressure environment, especially one that requires constant deadlines both avoidable and not, you’re going to need to learn a few basic skills. And while I’m pretty sure I haven’t learned all of those lessons myself, I can definitely tell you what I’ve been expected to do. Who knows, it may apply to you, too.

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  • Jessica Darmawan 8:34 pm on August 8, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , success,   

    Overwhelmed? How To De-Stress 

    Sometimes I wish there was more than 24 hours in a day. These last few weeks at my internship has given me an endless list of things to do. While it may be impossible to add hours to a day, there are ways to make you feel less overwhelmed. Here are some simple tips that can help you handle a stressful day at your internship:

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  • Paul Lopreiato 9:30 pm on July 27, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, experiences, , , soccer,   

    Interview With an Unpaid Intern 

    A follow-up to this interview with someone who manages interns. I’ve known Brendan since seventh grade. Even though several other writers on this site are involved in unpaid internships, I’d like to know exactly what makes this one tick.

    me: Brendan, in what industry do you intern?

    Brendan: I am currently interning at YSC Sports which is a youth sports complex. It is also affiliated with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.

    me: What kind of person does an unpaid internship? What kind of person doesn’t? (More …)

    • Jennifer Carignan 1:18 pm on July 28, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for an insightful interview, Paul. I thought I’d add another perspective to the “who takes/doesn’t take an unpaid internship” response.

      It’s important to keep in mind that unpaid internships, while a nice learning experience for students, are not always a possibility given the financial constraints of many enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. It may be the case that some folks take paid internships because they are attracted to the paycheck, but I suspect that this is more the exception than the rule. From my perspective, there are many students who would love to do an internship like this but simply might not be able to afford to work several hours a week for no financial compensation. This is less a case of “caring more about getting paid than actually gaining useful experience” and more of needing to keep their finances in mind when making tough decisions about how to spend their time.

      Just my $.02, and perhaps others have opinions too.

  • Rachel Frank 6:10 pm on July 27, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , stressful,   

    Two posts! One day! 

    Hello again! I realize that I just posted this morning but as the summer comes to a close I’m finding myself with less and less free time. And yes I am at work right now but summer life in the library tends to move pretty slowly. However the rest of my life seems to be speeding up rapidly. I  leave for abroad in 4 weeks and suddenly realized I have done nothing to prepare. The dreaded statistics class seems to be taking up the majority of my free time between tutoring and trying desperately to understand everything without my tutor present. I finally seem to be getting more responsibility interning which is appreciated but also exhausting. All in all exhausting would be the way I would describe this summer. So here it goes some hopefully helpful tips for staying sane during a less than chill, relaxing, and lazy summer.

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  • Zach C. Cohen 6:29 pm on June 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , ATF, , , , Mark Benjamin, , , Operation Fast and Furious, pitch,   

    Sometimes there’s just nothing to do It’s an… 

    Sometimes, there’s just nothing to do. It’s an unfortunate fact that interns sometimes get relegated to the “if we need anything, we’ll let you know” position. But there’s more to do than meets the eye. If you want to make an internship worth it, you have to put in a little extra effort.

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    • Julia Beyer 7:34 pm on June 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      You have some great tips for how to make the most of your internship. It takes some time to determine how you can uniquely contribute to an organization and it looks like you are doing all the right things in taking a proactive stance. Keep up the good work!

  • Quinn Smeaton 2:28 am on June 7, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , ,   

    An Unexpected Opportunity 

    The end of the spring semester is always a stressful time. While you want to enjoy the gorgeous weather you’ve been waiting for all semester, you end up spending endless hours in the library working on group projects, writing papers, or studying for exams. On top of school work, the summer job/internship search is an added stress.

    Although I applied for internship positions in late March, I didn’t start to hear back until late April. While I was fortunate to schedule some interviews, I was worried as the semester was coming to an end that I didn’t have any set summer plans. However, during the last week of classes, I unexpectedly received an email titled “FPA U Internship.”
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    • Francine Blume 7:01 pm on June 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Congratulations! That must’ve been a nice stress reliever to receive that e-mail. Looking forward to hearing more about the internship!

  • Jett Choquette 1:07 am on April 22, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: advice, , , , , , ,   

    The End 

    Today was my last day at holaciudad.com. As always, I can’t believe how fast the semester passed! I was particularly sad to say goodbye; I really enjoyed interning at holaciudad.com and think it was a great opportunity.

    I was busy up to the last couple of minutes. I revised the articles I wrote about the National Zoo and the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress will be published sometime in the next several weeks, which makes it the last article I contributed to holaciudad.com. I also ensured that the site calendar is set for the month of April and wrapped up several other projects I had going.

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    • miranda78 1:22 pm on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great job at your internship. It was very interesting reading all about it!

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