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  • Eleanor 4:32 pm on March 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , intern, , job applications, ,   

    I’m the One Who Reads Your Resume 

    Last week and today, I spent a good portion of my days going through job applications. Yup. When I saw them on my desk in the morning, I thought it was a mistake. I ended up going through all 34 to find education, last three jobs, and experience related to the position. By no means did I read the applications thoroughly, nor will I be asked for my opinion. I was just making a spreadsheet with that info for my boss to look at. But wow, I learned a lot about job apps.

    1. You can get jobs without a masters (OR EVEN A DEGREE), and lit and history majors get jobs too. Woah. Mind blown.
    2. Don’t put on irrelevant/outdated stuff. One or the other, but not both. If you were an intern in 1985, it might be time to take that off your resume.
    3. Consider the job posting. I know my office put a lot of thought into what they were looking for (someone with experience on the hill was a must) and someone with experience in museums and libraries was a plus. Some people applied with neither. It didn’t make sense to me. If you don’t fit into any of the categories besides wanting the job, you may not be qualified.
    4. Don’t underestimate your power. Here i was, thinking i was a lowly intern, when in fact it’s my reading of these applications that the boss is going to read. I’m moving up in the world.

    All the reading of people’s email addresses reminded me a lot of Harvard Sailing Team Mailing list video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AXtOnR5dnE), because some of the applications had ridiculous email addresses, like @starpower.net. Honestly, that was the only really weird one, but still. Weird.


  • Eleanor 8:00 pm on March 2, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , breaks, cliche, dos and donts, , faxing, , intern, , list,   

    A Tried and True List 

    I didn’t want to seem too eager about this whole blogging thing, so I decided to wait until someone else posted a blog before I wrote another. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And now, I’m just going to post. Because I want to, that’s why.


    I want to talk today about balancing creativity in my internship. I’ve been there, oof, 5 times now? I think? It’s been three weeks, but with Presidents’ Day, I got a day off (yup, everyone except AU does, it seems. Perks of working for the government). And while I’ve been here, I’ve been struggling with knowing when to turn on and off my creative brain. If it’s on and I’m doing busy work, I’m falling asleep. If it’s off while I’m writing, I’m just stringing words together without any style. Because people like me like lists, I’ll give you a list today, readers. This is a list for myself and for other interns or future interns.


    1)      Find some satisfaction in the mundane: On my second day, I had 99 problems, and faxing was ALL of them. I’m pretty sure I told this joke to all of my friends, so if you groan too I won’t be offended. I literally was assigned to send 99 faxes. I stood next to the fax machine for about an hour and a half, because you can’t send 2 faxes at a time. So there I was, typing, scanning, sending, again  and again. But when I finished with the tedium, I had accomplished something measurable. That stack of 99 letters was boring, but the completed pile was a very fulfilling thing. After work, I found this really funny article about faxing in Japan. Apparently, it’s still a thing there.

    2)      Take your breaks: Most of my life here at IMLS isn’t faxing, it’s writing and researching, which can really zap those brain cells whether it’s a Monday morning or a Thursday afternoon at the end of a long week. Everyone at my office sits at their desks for lunch, and so I do too, but while I’m eating, I’m not doing work. I’m usually reading articles online about stuff that entertains or interests me.

    3)      Stay off Facebook: I haven’t done it yet, and I’m not planning to, but when I do homework, Facebook and Twitter eat my time (I’m not on tumblr for that reason). I used to think that Pintrest was easier to let go of, but it’s really not. I stay off social media even during my breaks, so it’s a treat when I get back home.

    4)      Ask for more: Seriously, this is the most clichéd list of dos and don’ts ever. I’ve read this blog before. But I think there’s a reason this stuff gets said time and time again. Soo, if you run out of work or are stuck on a project, ask to talk about it with your boss/supervisor. Mine was pretty impressed with all the work I’d done, even though I thought it seemed pretty standard. And then she said she’d give me tips, next steps, and more information the next time I come in, after she reads it. Never know if you don’t ask. And being bored all day is so not worth it.


    The one thing I don’t have figured out yet is how to not get a headache looking at a computer screen for 6 straight hours. My brain and my eyes hate me at the end of the day.


    Thanks for reading through. See you next time.

  • Eleanor 10:48 pm on February 9, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , intern, , , , ,   

    First Day on the Job! 

    Oh hey world! Didn’t see you there! So, as this is my first post, I thought I’d do some introductions. First off, I’m Eleanor. Nice to meet you. I’m a sophomore print journalism major (Creative writing minor? Maybe.) at the School of Communication at American University. And, starting this morning, I’m the new intern (maybe the only intern, don’t know) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It’s a small government agency that gives grants to museums and libraries. That’s the one sentence summary I’ve given to my family and friends who’ve asked me to explain. I have a feeling I’ll be able to say a lot more about it by the end of the semester.

    I guess I should probably tell you about how I got this internship. Well, every semester on campus, there’s a job and internship fair that’s very well publicized and usually everyone goes. Except me, because I’ve always had either class or work on Wednesdays, the day they’re usually held. Last semester, it was October 4th, I believe, and I was looking for an internship for the spring. In the weeks before the fair, the career center sends out a lot of emails with lists of the companies and organizations attending, so you can do your homework on the businesses, if you’re really interested in them. From this list, I found IMLS, and looked at their internship requirements for their intern in the Office of Communications and Government Affairs. I pretty much fit the bill for a position, and thought it might be a good match because my campus job was at the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. I also saw that IMLS had an October 1st deadline for fall interns, and since the career fair wasn’t until after that date, I thought I might have a good chance because I wouldn’t be competing with many other AU students, at least. So I sent them my application, and went in for an interview. The women I interviewed with were very welcoming, and seemed really grateful to have someone interested in the internship. They offered me the position at the end of the interview, telling me they’d love to have me in the spring, because their current intern was leaving in November, and their office was under construction, so they had a lower capacity than normal. It has been a little weird, but such a relief to have the internship waiting for me in the spring. So here I am, just after my first day on the job.

    I can’t wait to really get this blog going, check back for some of my adventures at IMLS! Thanks for reading.

  • Erika Sentz 8:44 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , house of sweden, intern, SACC, Sweden   


    My name is Erika Sentz, and I am a freshman at American University. I am currently pursuing a B.A. in CLEG – Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government.

    But wait, you might ask. What is a freshman doing interning during their first semester of college? Well, I was selected to be a part of the Washington Mentorship Program, and it is a requirement of the program to complete an internship two days a week, as well as a full load of courses.

    I am interning this semester at the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the USA, Inc. (SACC-USA for short) as their Editorial Intern. Two days a week I am lucky enough to work in the beautiful House of Sweden, right off the Potomac. I work alongside the President of SACC-USA, the Director of Trainee Programs, our Financial officer, and four Swedish trainee’s. Each trainee is here on a Visa for either six or twelve months, leaving me to be the only American-born worker in the office!

    The House of Sweden!

    It is my job to report on Swedish-American business news and the SACC network, proofread articles sent to be published by the SACC-USA Currents, plan and develop the monthly Currents, and help my co-workers learn English! I do hope to learn some Swedish along the way…

    I really enjoy what I do, and look forward to continuing this blog through my experience as a SACC-USA intern. Stay tuned for a post about the crayfish party I attended that was hosted by SACC-DC!

  • Zach C. Cohen 2:30 am on August 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: fieldrunners 2, , google, intern, , ,   

    Goodbye…not really 

    Today was the last formal day of my internship. Meaning, it’s the last day for a while that I’ll get up at the crack of dawn and drive to McLean, Va. to produce articles for USA TODAY Tech online.

    It was probably a good time to end. Most of the interns have left; I only stayed to work on some unfinished business. But I’ve been pulling overtime the past few weeks between everything I needed (read: wanted) to do, and I’ll be happy to get a bit of a break before the school year starts again.
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  • Zach C. Cohen 12:32 am on July 3, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Chris Jaskinski, intern, ,   

    Why Interns Blog 

    Last week was the launch of the USA TODAY Interns brand. Complete with Tumblr (or is it “tumblr”?) and  Twitter accounts, this new initiative was actually started by a fellow AU intern, Chris Jasinski.

    So, in essence I’ve had to jump headlong into the Tumbling and Instagramming universe. I’ll be posting there and here regular updates on my internship.

    It’s a pretty cool project, actually. Not everybody takes the time to update others about their responsibilities as an intern. I suppose it’s fair to want avoid sounding arrogant. But let’s be honest, interns get to do some pretty amazing things. This week in the intern Tumblr, one USA TODAY intern talked about her experience reporting at the White House. That’s not bragging; it’s sharing your excitement for your work and showing your passion for what you’re doing.

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    • Jennifer Carignan 7:09 pm on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Zach, I love the idea of the Tumblr and Twitter accounts! One of the most challenging but important parts of the Career Center’s work is to find ways for interns to share their experiences with each other, as opposed to only hearing about student experiences from advisors. It looks like these tools are really productive ways to do this. I look forward to reading more!

      • Zach C. Cohen 5:02 am on July 12, 2012 Permalink

        Like USA TODAY has recognized, we can create all the content we want, and it’ll be great. But in today’s day and age, it’s crucial to go to the consumer, not the other way around. Tumblr and Twitter are only the start of that process.

  • Marie 6:22 am on June 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , intern, ,   

    DUCK and Cover! 

    A phrase I’ve used frequently as of late is “hit or miss”. I’ve said it about relationships, I used it when talking about fast food joints or tea. I also associate the phrase with my work at DUCK.

    These first few weeks have thrown new and exciting challenges at me.

    One of the major challenges that has hit me is the new environment, working with children in junior high and high school. In the past, I have worked mainly with children between the ages of 5 and 8. This summer, I am dealing with rebellious yet brilliant youth. It’s refreshing and infuriating at the same time.

    It’s really hit or miss trying to get them interested in a game. They don’t like talking about themselves, because they feel so much pressure from their peers. This is hugely disappointing in my eyes. I am convinced that having them share with each other is the key to kicking down the walls… but how?

    Then, there are some who try to lead the other kids. Somehow, the other staff and I have to convince him to lead the kids towards good, not disrespect and delinquency.

    To say the least, my job keeps my mind and heart busy. These kids are fantastic, but they have yet to fully appreciate who they are meant to be. I suppose that’s what staff members like us are here for.

    Until next time, I will leave you with a few covers of the song I am teaching the kids to play on the guitar.

    • Jennifer Carignan 4:35 pm on June 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Marie, it sounds like you’re going to have an exciting summer! I used to volunteer with a similar organization and can empathize with the “hit or miss” feeling of working with teenagers. Believe it or not, they usually do come around, especially when they build a trusting relationship with staff. Music is a great way to create this bond!

      I’m eager to see how your relationship with the kids evolves during the rest of the summer.

  • Erica Hilton 3:13 am on June 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , intern, , VA, veterans affairs   

    Intern Until You Can’t Intern Anymore! 

    Week 2 at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was just as exciting as the first. I thought the pace I was moving my first week was at record speed… until I got to week 2! Ironically, no matter how much I have going on at my internship, I’m still fully enjoying myself there. That hasn’t always been the case for me.

    I’ve had about 6 internships  before my current one at VA. Honestly, I didn’t like them all. A couple I loved. A couple I liked. A couple made me realize what I did not want to do with my life, but that was the best part about the experience.It helped me to clarify what I want out of a career.

    My advice to you is to grab as much internship experience as you can. Don’t just do two and quit. Even if you don’t like what you’re doing, put your all into it anyways! Pay your dues! These experiences are about more than just gaining recommendation letters. I have taken so much from each of my past internships and have met some really incredible people at each of them. Each helped me to determine what I love to do, got me to where I am now and will help me to achieve my ultimate career goal.


    • Jennifer Carignan 4:21 pm on June 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Erica, I really appreciate your perspective on how a less-than-ideal internship can help to clarify your career goals. With six internships, it’s clear that you’ve really had the chance to test your assumptions about what you do and do not enjoy. Even when things don’t turn out like you thought they would, there are almost always other positives, such as the new connections and relationships you mention above. And those are often just as important as completing your day-to-day work.

  • Zach C. Cohen 1:42 am on June 19, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Apple, intern, iOS, Siri, ,   

    Another busy week! 

    Last week was another busy few days at USA Today. My supervisor, Charlie, was surprised there was so much news to handle, but it’s fine with me. I’d much rather be kept busy rather than waste my time being bored. I figure that’s why I decided to go into journalism in the first place!

    I’ve written a few more blog posts and even an article for the Tech site. But I’m hoping to move my byline to the print edition. I’m percolating a few ideas, but the key is finding an idea the editors will find important enough that hasn’t already been investigated. That’s even more difficult to achieve since I’m still learning the culture of USA Today and recognizing what news the editors are particularly looking for.

    (More …)

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