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  • Sara Cecilia 3:06 am on April 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , boss, dress for success, professor, recommendation, reference   

    Awkward. How to Get a Reference 

    It’s an essential end to every internship or job to ask your boss for a letter of recommendation. This task seems simple in concept, but in actuality it can turn into something that makes you question yourself.

    It’s been a tough road for me to travel on the quest for references. I’ve transferred schools, which disrupts ties with professors, and I’ve jumped around a lot through short internships. These things hinder getting a good reference letter. Why? Because your boss or supervisor needs to get to know you in order to write something good about you!

    I’ve had bosses and professors tell me quite often that they are too busy to write me a reference or that they frankly don’t know me well enough to write anything about me. These problems can be solved in a few easy steps:


    1. Be Outgoing- even if you’re not a peppy soul, do your best and make an effort to get to know those around you. Those short conversations during your lunch break matter 10 times more than the work you produce. This goes for professors too. Try to participate in class or, it you’re not comfortable with that, speak to them during their office hours and share a little bit of yourself with them. It means a lot to them and you’ll reap the benefits once they can give you a good reference!

    2. Appearances- despite that we would like to believe, appearance is all that matters. If you look like you are succeeding, then your boss/professor probably thinks you are. Dress for success and leave that cell phone in your backpack! If you look and act professional, your superiors will have a better attitude towards you and respect you more.dress-for-success

    Thinking ahead will get you ahead. This way, when it comes time to ask for a reference, your supervisor will be glad to give one.simpsons boss bff

  • Sara Cecilia 7:44 pm on March 15, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , boss, , emotional intelligence, group project, , , , ,   

    How do you know you have a good boss? 

    Adjusting to the workplace can be a struggle after being able to sit in the back of the classroom for 4 years, having minimal interactions with classmates or professors. Professional communication and learning to work with others is something that can’t be taught in school and is something that you develop throughout your career. Communication between coworkers and bosses can be uncomfortable or difficult, but I was lucky enough to attend a seminar that taught me how to develop good communication skills in the workplace.

    The Smithsonian provided a short one-day seminar on Emotional Intelligence. I’m not sure most people (or college student at least) are familiar with the term. Wikipedia defines it as “the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.” This sounds easy enough, right? (More …)

  • Lizzie 2:14 pm on July 30, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: boss, , Work Ethic   

    Workstation Vacation 

    Well my boss is away on a (much deserved) vacation. He left last Friday after a bit of scrambling to make sure I got his input on all the projects I was working on and had enough to do for the next week. Now it is Monday morning and I must admit that my work ethic has declined a bit.

    Dilbert Comic Strip

    When your boss is away, it is so easy to slip into a non-productive state. Last Friday before he left, I came in early and accomplished more in the first three hours than I usually do in an entire day! Which leads me to believe that either 1) I am usually not working hard enough or 2) I really need deadlines to motivate me (there’s also a third option which involves working with the lights off and no coworkers around to distract me).

    I have things I need to get done, but little motivation to actually complete these tasks. It doesn’t help that I have a visitor in town and I really just want to go play tourist instead of coming into the office.

    But, luckily, I’ve experienced this sort of inertia before, so I have a plan of attack:

    Step 1: Create fake deadlines to motivate myself.

    Step 2: Convince myself that I need to get an inordinate amount done before my boss gets back to show him what a good employee I am.

    Step 3: Disable facebook on my computer. And all blogs. And maybe the Internet in general. I might start working on pen and paper. Or ink quill and parchment – less distractions.

    Goodbye Internet.


  • Claire Wolfe 5:35 pm on March 16, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , boss, ,   

    A Couple Pieces of Advice 

    There are so many pieces of advice I could give about interning.  Let’s be real though, you’ve heard them all before.  Be professional, work hard, be on time, no complaints, the list goes on and on.  I’m not saying that all those things aren’t important, because they are, but you already know them.  These are things you’ve learned throughout your life, skills and rules that don’t only apply to interning, but to everyday living. 

     That being said, I only have two pieces of advice to give.  One is exclusive to interning and work, the other is a little broader.

    1. Always, always have a pen on you.  I know, my number one piece of advice is this.  What do I know?  It sounds dumb but I swear that it’s not.  Every time I talk to my supervisor, there is something that needs to be written down.  I am bombarded with so much information in just one conversation that I leave her office a nervous mess, unless I write it all down.  With my pen in hand, I’m cool, calm, and collected (well, as cool, calm, and collected as I ever am).  There is nothing scarier than having to go back to my supervisor’s office and ask her to repeat what she had just told me.  One time doing this is all that it took for me to realize how important it is to write everything down. Trust me on this one.
    2. So, this might be a little cliché, but still, it remains my second piece of advice.  Don’t be shy.  Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself or ask somehow how they are.  I don’t care if they are the boss or another intern.  I think it’s most important to remember that everyone is a person and, sure, they may be so intimidating, but you won’t get noticed unless you make an effort to.  They will be impressed if you take the initiative to introduce yourself.  Plus, you never know who you are going to meet.  Maybe someone who will change your life.  Whether it is someone who could land you a job someday, a new friend, or simply a friendly face to say hi to as you pass in the hallway.  Bottom line, you never know.  What do you have to lose?
  • nn1702a 8:07 pm on December 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: boss, effort, hard work, ,   

    Shining as an Intern- it’s all about making a lasting impression! 

    The end is almost near; this Friday will be my last day. I am sad, but super excited to go abroad next semester! So last week at my internship, the president and CEO was at the office and only comes in on certain days because of his schedule. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but I wanted to make a really good impression since he was there. And I did just that!
    He wanted me to do research on something and it was a very difficult task, but I came through and delivered. I was asking him questions and then I went to research. Then, I took all of my findings and presented them to him and gave him my feedback. He was really happy that I was able to follow through with what he needed and delivered more information than he asked for. He was surprised, but in a good way and kept thanking me. It’s nice getting praised for doing a good job! Basically, I never assume and I constantly try doing more than I am asked, but in very small ways and they eventually add up. It is always better to show that you are a motivated intern.
    For instance, if someone asks me to provide them with some data, I’ll email it over to them, but I’ll also throw in a little note with a few related links that may also help them with their project. I’m pretty good at finding things online, and it doesn’t take me very long. For my extra two minutes of work, I may save them 30 minutes of additional searching. And even if it doesn’t help them this time, they’ll remember that I gave them more than they asked for, and that I’m a really helpful intern in the office. I always get an email saying “good work” or “thanks so much for all of your hard work” and all it is just putting a little more effort into doing what you are asked.
    Also, what has really helped me make a good an impression with everyone in the office is being willing to help with anything and everything. Don’t be afraid to take a risk! I personally think that bosses are ambitious people themselves, so they will recognize and admire that same quality in others. Ambition requires confidence to stick your neck out occasionally and to seize the moment. It will say a lot about who you are, especially that you are a good at your job. For example, you can volunteer for a challenging project, or give some feedback that is more efficient than what is being presented.
    These are just a few things that I have used to help me get to being well-known in the office as a reliable and hardworking intern. It will really pay off because your employer will make sure to note it in your recommendation letter!

  • Eliza Brashares 5:31 pm on June 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: babysitting, boss, , nervous, part-time   

    Unpaid internship, meet part-time employment 

    Hi all!!

    Well, I’m in the middle of my third week here at Environment America! I have some of the most amazing coworkers ever! Friday, we are going to Jazz in the Park together. We even have a softball league where we compete against other environmental groups in DC, go global swarming!! If you have never been to the Mall in the afternoons, I highly recommend it. Lots of Congressional offices have their own teams and, let me tell you, the competition is fierce. We’re talking team dances, songs, the works. I am not exactly what one might call athletically inclined when it comes to softball, so I head up the spectating session. We have great fun as well.

    (More …)

  • Danielle Wilsey 9:52 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: appreciation, boss, closing, due date, exam, final deadlines, final post, , , ,   

    Turning the page… Literally 

    So the other day I turned the page on my monthly calendar that hangs on the wall in my room… no big deal, right? Wrong. April was full of sharpied-in events, multiple highlighter colors and just generally looks like a disaster of deadlines. Of course, me and my level of OCD added all the final paper/presentation/exam dates to my monthly calendar within the first few weeks of receiving the syllabi. I find that as a visual learner, it helps manage deadlines. Anyways, I’ve also recently found that it helps elevate stress levels too! (More …)

    • miranda78 6:12 pm on April 6, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow, I am the same way with planning ahead–I always use a large calendar and when I turned the calendar to April I was immediately stressed! Good luck with your last month of classes and interning!

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