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  • ec3782a 7:06 pm on March 25, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , college student, , , , , tips   

    4 Tips on Managing Your Time Commitments 

    To give you some background, in addition to my 17 hour internship with the Grameen Foundation I also work at a sports bar and help coordinate a swim school that practices in the AU pool. I am involved as a Brother of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and a player on the AU Club Volleyball Team and oh yeah, I also go to class!

    How do I manage my time commitments? I have a time turner like Hermione in Harry Potter. Just kidding, but sometimes I wish I did! I’ve had a great deal of practice at time management—so I never feel too overwhelmed. Let me share some of my favorite time management tips:

    1.    Always have a planner/schedule.

    At the beginning of the semester I organize my basic schedule (class, work) accordingly so that I can get hours at each job and avoid conflicts. This semester I have so much going on that I made a schedule on the computer and printed out several copies to fill in each week. Have a hard copy to back you up help—that way you don’t have to rely on your own memory. Use whatever works for you: Google, iCal, or good ole fashion pen and paper.

    2.    Pencil in some fun

    Make sure your schedule includes time to do something you WANT to do. Whether it be catching up on Netflix, going to the gym, cooking, hanging out with friends, playing soccer, whatever you love—make time to enjoy it. Taking a few minutes to release endorphins will make you more productive and happier! Each week I look forward to taking time out to play volleyball, go to the gym, and watch Modern Family or Law & Order!

    3.    Work at work

    As young, energetic college students most of us are very good at multi-tasking. However, sometimes it gets hard to juggle everything at once without letting something fall through the cracks. In order to ensure my internship work is high-quality I’ve had to separate it from my other jobs and school work. This semester, I only work on my internship during the 17 hours I am in the office.  This is the time I check my email and work on my deliverables. Compartmentalizing like this helps prevents stress and feeling of being overwhelmed.

    4.    Enjoy what you do

    Don’t get stuck in an internship where you feel useless, bored, or stressed. Select a job in a field you are interested in or want to learn more about. Take every opportunity to network, meet people, and absorb as much as you can. Take on additional projects that may interest you—you’ll be hard pressed to find an employer that will say “no” when you ask for more work. This will give you experience and keep you busy/entertained. Take advantage of your internship to learn as much as you can—you may decide you love the field or maybe it isn’t for you.

    Hope some of these tips help you manage your lives and increase your productivity and happiness levels J Feel free to contact me with any questions.


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

    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 …)

  • Audrey Tsaima 8:17 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , tips,   

    Navigating a U.S. Department of (Fill-in-the-Blank) 

    “Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world…She took the midnight train going anywhere…”


    Maybe not so much.

    But moving from a relatively small unknown state like Oregon (pronounced Ore-uh-gun for the East Coasters) is a big change. From the quaint, hipster, semi-bustling city of Portland to a “not-so-lonely-place” called Washington, DC, there are plenty of changes to deal with, especially at the workplace.

    Now this is the second time around for me. I’ve interned before at a public charter school in DC, however a government job is different, and let’s face it, kind of A BIG DEAL (not to brag).

    The great news though is that this “midnight train” can take you anywhere. There are so many opportunities for growth and development once you get your foot inside the U.S. Government (hopefully for good reasons). o.O

    Don’t expect these government internships to be all about paperwork, running copiers, buying coffee, etc. etc.

    The more interesting the department you are appointed to, the more you will actually get to learn and gain hands on experience (such as the Office of the Chief Information Officer). Not to mention, a lot of these government institutions actually offer training, networking, and volunteering opportunities for their employees (which congratulations! you sort of count! :D)

    (More …)

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

    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.


  • Emily 6:07 pm on March 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , tips   

    How to Be a Better Intern … Without Superpowers 

    After only a few weeks at my internship, I realized something: If I wanted to be a better intern, I needed to read minds.

    I had just finished making a 150 page textbook for one of the courses that my office runs for retiring Foreign Service Officers when my boss came in for a “final check” before sending it off to the printer.  As I scrolled through each page, my boss gave me tweaks and corrections, muttering things like “Oh, yeah, he wanted us to change that after last year’s presentation.”  At first, I was impressed that my boss could remember all of these important little things, but I quickly became nervous.  I realized that the only way I could do a better job was to anticipate the changes that my boss was going to make, and since they were not written down anywhere, that meant reading her mind.

    Even though I knew that goal was a bit of a stretch, I tried to figure out what I could anticipate in my internship.

    In order to anticipate tricky situations and avoid wasting everyone’s time trying to fix things and tracking down help, I learned to fix the copy machine when it jams.  Making copies is not a huge part of my job, but because of the nature of our work, everyone, even my supervisor, ends up spending a few minutes a day wrestling with the machine.

    Office Space Copy Machine

    The wrong way to fix the copy machine. http://www.moviefanatic.com, from the movie Office Space

    Now, this isn’t just a little desktop printer, this is a piece of equipment that is 5 times my size and probably doubles as a tank.  It’s big, it’s bulky, it’s loud, and it is intimidating.  But I knew I could not avoid it, so I took the first paper jam I came across and fixed it.  It was frustrating, but now I know I don’t have to bother anyone else with paper jams.  It also felt good to take initiative and do something about a minor problem.

  • Amanda Osborn 11:39 pm on November 17, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , tips   

    One Small Tip for Networking Receptions 

    While providing event support at the SPA Networking Reception last Tuesday evening in my role as a Career Center Peer Advisor, one student confessed her dislike for networking.

    “I just never know what to say to a prospective employer,” the girl said as she swiped her ID at the sign-in computer. “I always feel so awkward at these things.”

    I’m sure almost everyone can relate to this. Who is really, truly, genuinely comfortable at approaching a stranger in any setting, let alone a professional one? The extra pressure of networking and all that is associated with it doesn’t help either. We’re told that if we network successfully, we can talk our way to a job; but if we don’t maximize our networking potential, we miss out on the professional opportunities that could have been. How’s that for some extra pressure?

    The thing with networking is that you want to be memorable (in a good way, of course) with the short amount of time you are given to connect with an employer. You want to establish a connection that will ensure that not only will the employer remember you, but he or she will want to hire you. But sometimes we get so overwhelmed with all that we want to do in the too-short amount of time we are given in a networking setting that we fall short of our goals and are left thinking of what we could have said, or should have done instead.

    Here’s the thing with networking receptions: there are always a lot of employers there. Chances are, you aren’t going to want to be hired by every single one of them. A great way to calm nerves and relax is to “practice” networking with an employer that is not your first choice. That way, you’ll still be practicing your networking skills in a real live setting, but you won’t be beating yourself up if you psych yourself out a little bit here and there. Then, once you’re done with your round of “dry run” networking, you’ll be confident enough to network with your top choice employers because you know what it’ll take to be the best you can be.

  • Amanda Osborn 11:45 pm on November 9, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: first impression, , tips   

    The Key to Making a Good Impression at the Interview 

    The general job search equation goes as follows: resume gets the interview, interview gets the job. By that logic, getting an interview means you’re already halfway to the job. That means the pressure is definitely on to make a good impression on the employer as the best candidate for the position. Employers generally look at a resume for a maximum of 30 seconds, but an interview lasts much longer than that. If an employer is investing time in his or her busy day to meet with you, then it is all the more crucial to make a good, memorable impression.

    All the typical interview do’s and don’ts fall squarely into the common sense category. Dress to impress, arrive early, answer all questions truthfully, etc. These are all crucial tips to make a good impression. But the trick between making a good impression and a lasting good impression comes at the end of the interview, when an employer generally asks, “Do you have any questions?”

    The wrong answer to this question would be “No, I have no questions.”

    Asking a good question (so, nothing like “How many days off can I ask for until I get fired?” or “Do I really have to dress professionally every day I come into the office?”) shows that you have done your research about the organization and have a vested interest in both the organization and the position you are interviewing for. Even something simple like “What does a typical day in the office look like?” goes a long way to show the employer that you truly are interested in working for the organization.

    Remember, these kinds of questions not only help make a good, lasting impression on the employer but it also gives you insight into both the position you are interviewing and the organization. The interview is not only a chance for the employer to get to know you better but also for you to know the employer and organization better, so take advantage of the opportunity with a well-thought out question or two!

    • Julia Beyer 10:00 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I completely agree, Amanda. It’s a two-way evaluation process and if you don’t ask questions at the end of the interview, you miss out on determining whether the opportunity is a good fit for you.

  • nn1702a 5:51 am on October 23, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , tips   

    A Network of Experiences 

    It may be hard to wake up early and get ready to get on the metro to get downtown in the mornings, but it really is worth it in the end. Looking back at my position so far, I am really learning a lot. Up until now, I have realized how essential networking is. We had an event last month. It was a reception focused on fostering economic ties between Arab and American businessmen and women. My job that night was to mingle with the guests and to collect as many business cards as I could. Once it was over, I ended up collecting over 200 cards and probably 500 combined with what the other interns and co-workers got. It was surprising, but it reinforced how it really is about “who you know and not what you know”. I really do believe that connections are what get you far in life.

    Looking back, these are a few tips that I learned that helped me to survive through the night:

    1. Say your name clearly because you want them to know how to say it correctly throughout your conversation, and also to remember who you are.

    2. Shake hands, but always make sure it is a firm handshake- it says a lot about who you are, especially about your confidence.

    3. Use an “elevator” speech: describe who you are or what you do in ten seconds or less. This allowed me to keep it short and sweet, but to make a good first impression as well.

    4. The best way to introduce yourself I found was starting with small talk.

    5. Don’t stay too long talking with one person, try and meet other people. The more the merrier.

    After an event, your networking doesn’t stop! The following week, I had to compile all of the business cards and input the contact information of each individual into an excel spreadsheet. Why? Because it is also important to keep in contact with those that you have met. That is why the database will most likely come in handy for the organization that I intern for. They will use it to contact companies and individuals for future endeavors and business opportunities they want to pursue.

    It was a very interesting and fun life learning experience, definitely one that has prepared me for the “real world”. Oh and by the way, I am still working on that database and it has been exactly a month!

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

    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.

    (More …)

  • Jessica Darmawan 7:39 pm on August 18, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , presentation skills, tips   

    Develop a #Winning Presentation 

    It’s time to leave your fear of public speaking behind. The ability to communicate well is essential in any career path. So don’t let your public speaking fears stop you from winning over an audience or articulating your great ideas. In fact, everyone can do it with the right mindset.

    My internship recently organized an Intern-A-Palooza, where selected interns have the opportunity to present their summer internship experience in 5 minutes. The “battle of the interns” are vying for the coveted chocolate trophy (a drinking glass filled with an array of chocolates and etched Top Intern title) for Top Intern in three categories: Best Presenter, Best Content & Research, and Crowd Favorite. The intern presentations are judged by three senior employees and the Crowd Favorite category is based on votes from the audience.

    I won the Top Intern for Best Content & Research and here are my tips on how you can develop a winning presentation: (More …)

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