3 Winter Break Alternatives

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Winter is not just for relaxing after finals (although that’s all you’ll be thinking about after finals week!). There’s a lot of great opportunities to fill your winter break, but you have to start planning them now! Everything from plane seats to movie tickets sells out quickly during the holiday season, and especially if you’re going to try to coordinate a group effort on a college kid’s budget, you need to start planning … yesterday.

Study Abroad!

Many programs offer small “winter session” programs that you can do over the holidays. Yes, you could probably do this at your own university, but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. If you do study somewhere else over winter, it can be a great way to both be productive and travel.

It’ll also cost significantly less than a whole semester abroad. There are definitely benefits to spending half a year in a foreign place; most importantly, you have more time to learn about the culture, the people, the language, and just explore. However, not every place is for every person. Maybe you can’t stand to be cold or hate humidity, or just don’t want to be away from home for that long. Studying abroad during winter intersession can be a great alternative.

Additionally, just because it’s cold in the US doesn’t mean it’s cold everywhere else. The seasons are flipped in the Southern Hemisphere, so places like New Zealand are 50-75 degrees during December. That’ll seem like heaven after going through winter at school! Take advantage of the time and go somewhere a little warmer than where you are at.

Something like traveling abroad takes a lot of planning and precautions.  You need to get your passport, apply for the correct program, and get your health affairs all situated.  It takes time to get your vaccines up to date and verify your insurance coverage.  So it’s important to get started as early as possible if this is something you’re interested in! Go down to your study abroad office now and get this started, even if you have to wait until spring break or next year!

Travel in the US

There are plenty of great places in travel in the US as well. This has the benefit of not being quite so plan-intensive or expensive. Sure, you’re unlikely to practice a new language while you’re traveling locally, but you will still learn something! Depending on the snowfall where you live, a road trip might not be possible, but you can still travel in the nearby area or by plane.

And because you know the country, you might have a better idea of what’s available to do in each location. Lots of universities have community service programs over winter intersession, and they are hosted in nearby communities or across the nation! If this sounds more up your alley than just planning a relaxing trip willy-nilly, then ask your student council if they offer any programs like this.

Job Shadowing

What? Who wants to work over winter break? That’s why it’s a break, right?

That’s true, and you can certainly spend the entire three or four weeks sleeping in and watching Netflix. If that sounds appealing to you, then this section might not be very useful to you. However, if you want to get ahead in your future career or just get a better idea of what you might be getting into, then consider interning for a company briefly or just shadowing one of their employees.

Now, obviously, not all companies offer these sorts of programs, so it’ll behoove you to call well ahead of winter break and set that up. Not only will this give you a definite plan, but it will also give the company some time to consider what to showcase. It’ll give you a great experience, and it will look stellar on your resume. Winter break might not be when you want to think about resume building, but the sooner you start thinking about it, the better. No one wants to submit only a few lines as a resume.

Winter break is the perfect time to relax, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accomplish anything over those few weeks. Whether it’s discovering someplace new, helping out your community, or even gaining career experience, you shouldn’t waste the whole break. The only part of it— make sure to sleep in a little!

25 Flexible Jobs for College Students

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Flexible Jobs Students

Finding your first job while in college can be tough! These 25 flexible jobs are tailor-made for college students. We broke them down by majors to help you get a faster head start.

Education

Tutoring

You’ll get to be close to students who need your direct help and get valuable experience planning lessons, correcting work, and giving feedback — all while getting paid.

After-school worker

Elementary and middle schools are always on the lookout for future teachers who want to get involved in supervising activities or teaching kids new skills.

Daycare attendant

Daycare assistants or attendants help the head teacher make lessons, direct children, and keep the classroom running smoothly.

Campus tour guide

If you want to work with older students and love your college, a campus tour guide is a great way to build your confidence and gain experience speaking to high schoolers.

Arts

Box office worker

Box office workers take tickets, show audiences to their seats, and assist in cleanup. You’ll love the late-night and weekend hours and getting to see a show or two for free.

Performer

Restaurants and cafes hire aspiring musicians or actors for well-paying gigs. You can also get a job performing for children’s parties on weekends.

Docent

If you’re an art major, you may already be offered the docent job at your school’s museum. Docents supervise museum spaces while also giving tours or answering patrons questions.

Photographer

Have the equipment and talent? Build up a client base with photos of babies, high school seniors, and even weddings. You can make your own hours will building a portfolio for the future.

Science

Bike shop repairman

Learning how to repair bikes is perfect for engineer majors who love to tinker and play with parts. Plus, with campuses full of bike riders, you’ll never be without customers.

Park ranger

Environmental students will absolutely love getting their hands dirty with a job with local, state, and national parks where you can keep lands clean, safe, and friendly for everyone.

Barista

The science behind coffee drinks will keep you on your toes, and the hours are perfect for early bird college students.

Research assistant

Students with research-based facilities can enjoy jobs preparing for classes, going over data, or even just cleaning up for a great work-study job.

Health/Fitness

Lifeguard

Fun in the sun doesn’t stop when the summer is over. Local and college pools need physically fit swimmers to help man the pool or even teach swim lessons.  

Physical trainer

If you’re a fitness nut working towards your degree, you may want to share your experiences and passion with others. You can even get your license through online training that will help you gain clients.

Hospital dietary worker

Dietary workers help nutritionists build meal plans and deliver foods for patients. You’ll get to work within the hospital system and get face-to-face time with patients in need.  

Hospital check-in attendant

Hospitals are open 24/7 which means there is always a need for people willing to talk to patients, check them in, and get their insurance settled. This job is a bit high stress, but it has great pay.

Business

Front desk receptionist

Businesses love hiring those to manage their front desks, answer phones, and sort paperwork. But you will dig getting an insider’s look.

Retail clerk

Retail is a favorite job among college students because of the hours and the relaxed environment. You’ll love it as a go-to job with lots of flexibility.

Resident adviser

Resident adviser jobs are a little hard to come by, but if you want management experience, it’s the job for you. You’ll keep residence halls organized and running while helping deal with people’s issues and complaints.

Freelancer

Freelance personal assistant, secretaries, accountants, and marketers are all extremely popular side jobs that can pay great and be done on your time.

Entrepreneur

Who says you can’t start your own business in college? Come up with an idea, such as delivering food for local restaurants, and promote it among your peers.

English/Literature

Writer/Editor 

Your love of the word is so needed with businesses and individuals seeking help to getting their writing out there. Plus, it’s project based so you’ll just follow deadlines instead of schedules.

Social media manager 

Love writing on Twitter or Facebook? Helping a business build a following is a growing job among creative college students who are great working with people.

Library assistant

Your school’s library have awesome hours and tons of big and small jobs from sorting, checking out, and even preserving older books to fit what you’re looking for.

Journalist

Small town papers need journalists to cover local events, provide colorful articles, or even work coming up with story ideas. And with papers going online, there are even more opportunities to work off-schedule.

Summer Adventures: Updating Your Resume

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updating college resume

Hello all, and Happy Summer Solstice!

With another year gone by, you have another year of experiences and accomplishments under your belt, and with that comes the opportunity to beef up your resume!

Personally, I’ve been getting really into LinkedIn since I started a profile for my Business Communications class two semesters ago. It’s an accessible, simple way to organize and display your experiences as they pertain to your professional goals and endeavors. And better yet, it’s designed to ensure you’re (literally!) making connections with others. (Anyone new or unfamiliar to LinkedIn? A “friend” is to Facebook as a “connection” is to LinkedIn.)

Now that you’ve spent another year’s worth of activities and jobs at school, this summer break is an opportune time to update your profile!

Tips and tricks? You know I’ve got ’em!

Updating Your Resume

1.) Make note along the way!

Even though I highly recommend updating along the way, you may not be the kind of person to update immediately. In that case, make note of new jobs, awards, publications, projects etc. along the way for when you do update!

2.) Describe!

When given the chance to describe your experience, award, etc. on LinkedIn, make sure you’re giving a brief, yet thorough and accurate description. But even more importantly, connect everything back to your professional goals! Describe your new job in a way that shows how this job is another steppingstone on your way to being who you want to be.

3.) Find the line between professional and personal.

While your LinkedIn profile should first and foremost be professional, appropriate and honest, it should also be a reflection of who you are. What will you bring to the table when you enter into the workforce post-grad?

Now let’s get down to business!

 

Making Your Summer Job Work For You

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summer job picWhat happens when you can’t afford to take that unpaid internship and your summer job seems like the most random, thankless set of tasks you’ve ever done? Make your summer job work for you!

Once you figure out the qualities employers are looking for, you can discover how your summer job may actually be building you into a perfectly marketable employee! There is value beyond the skimpy paycheck. Communicate this to potential employers and you’ll elevate yourself out of that summer job and into that paid internship or position!

The first thing to do is get an idea of what employers are really looking for. The more specific to your ideal position you can get with employer desires, the better. There are a few ways you can do this.

  • Do some online research     linkedin     poynter     glassdoor    higheredjobs
  • Talk to upperclassmen/grads who work or intern
  • Speak with professionals in your field and your college administration about who they hire. Taking the time to ask shows great initiative and they will REMEMBER you.

Check out “The Top Ten Things Employers Look for in New College Graduates” on the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Website. A great list. (What they don’t include is that you probably need to know somebody too. Connections never hurt, and that’s why you shouldn’t be shy about reaching out early on to those in your field!)

Alas, you sigh and say, “How am I supposed to gain experience when I don’t have the valuable work experience they want? I work at a dairy farm but I want to be a [something other than a dairy farmer] !” Once you’re familiar with what employers want, the next piece is to realize  the value in your current experience. Employers don’t have time to look for it, you have to show them.

Regardless of the job, when discussing your work experience with a potential employer you have to show you had goals, took initiative to learn and grow and can now transfer your Top Ten Traits to their goals.

interview

“Mr. Interviewer, I flipped burgers.”- Not impressed.   

“Mr. Interviewer, I exceeded my company quota of 800 burgers in a day and then took initiative to add to our blog in my free time.”  -Now you have the attention. And if Mr. Interviewer remembers you from last year when you asked him what employers look for? –He becomes Mr. Employer.

Here are some peers and professionals in the higher education field (big cheeses!) who’ve shared their WORST summer jobs. Believe it or not, some of these big cheeses were putting cheese on burgers when they were in your shoes too. And you know what? They learned. Find the value in your summer job.

Noah Fox, Director of Housing Operations: Tiffin University

“I would have to say one of the worst summer jobs I ever had was working on a duck farm (hatchery). As you can imagine, the work was very dirty. Cleaning out duck barns full of duck droppings was probably the worst part of the job.” “What did you learn?”

  • Learned value of hard work
  • Practiced effective time management
  • Built commonalities and fostered lasting professional relationships.

“These lessons I learned have helped me tremendously throughout my time in the workforce.”

Ty Krueger, SWACURH Regional NRHH Advisor

“I worked in the records/registrar’s office one summer and spent the entire summer taping documents to sheets of paper to be scanned.” “What did you learn?”

“The tape and paper has to be flat so it doesn’t jam the printer, hah!” “But seriously…”

“Even the most menial of tasks have a purpose and in the long run, helping someone is a valuable reward.”

Bill Pickett, Senior Director of Student Involvement: University of Nebraska, Omaha

“I worked at McDonald’s. I smelled like fries and nuggets every day. I opened for breakfast and then lunch, 5am-2pm in the summer! McInsane! I will tell you, I learned a lot.“What did you learn?”

  • I enhanced my ability to work with a team
  • Applied creative problem solving to meet company goals
  • Learned to work effectively under pressure
  • Honed customer service techniques and developed relationships with customers

“It was honestly like a housing job… you learn a variety of things that will help in any field from jobs you may not expect to learn from.”

There is a reason they call jobs “opportunities”. Any job, regardless of how many feathers, droppings, tape, or burgers are involved, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Take your Top Ten Traits with you to your next interview. When an interviewer sees the value in you, you will earn that paid internship or job and you’ll be prepared. By this time, you’re no stranger to hard work!

Share YOUR worst summer job and what you learned in the comment field below.

 

Social Media: A Resume Enhancer?

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If you are trying to develop your social media useage start playing with some social media management tools!  via Social Media Monday: Social Media Management Tools

There are tons of articles, blogs and advice columns devoted strictly to the dangers and “don’ts” of social media. As these articles encompass valuable information such as not portraying yourself negatively or offering personal information to the public, they fail to concede the positive effects that can come from the channels. As a college student, you’re always on social media, in fact, you just about breathe it. Before you get out of bed in the morning you’ve checked your Facebook, cleared spam out of your e-mail and tweeted to the world about how you don’t want to get out of bed. Then, on your way to class, you’re tweeting about the girl in her pajama pants or how you wish you had a pair of rain boots.

So what, what’s the big deal? The cool thing about social media, besides being constantly connected to friends and family of multiple geographic locations instantaneously, is that if used correctly can really boost your resume. How? Carefully, and over time. There’s a bunch of ways you can use channels such as blog sites, LinkedIn and more to boost your professional credibility. This way, when potential job seekers go to view your resume and check you out on social channels (yes, they do that now) they will not only be pleased to see non-incriminating content, but also may be impressed with your entrepreneurship. Using video sharing sites can be super beneficial to video blog or do product reviews. Blog sites may open up doors for you that allow you to be creative and express yourself. If you think these things may be of interest to you, here’s a few ideas and ways to get started.

1) Video Blogs– Over the past few years, there have been viral explosions of college kids making their own Youtube channels to video blog and do product reviews. Youtube is now populated with style gurus, make-up geniuses, and people showing step by step directions on how to create DIY products or fix broken electronics. Using a video blogging site such as this can allow you to find an area of interest and completely just “go with it”. If you love cooking and baking, show people what you’ve made and your recipes. Put some clips of how you cook the food or what ingredients are your favorite. Buy some products in a “product haul” and give your honest opinion. The most amazing part about this (besides having fun doing what you love) is that you grow a huge following from the community while also catching the eye of big businesses. Many of the “style gurus” that have made their name on Youtube get approached by companies of interest asking them to do videos reviewing their product or even  send them things to try out. This is a way to get yourself in the professional industry, without even really trying to. Remember, be professional, and truthful. Credibility is golden.

How do I get started?: Buy yourself a webcam or use the one on your laptop. If you’re really feeling inspired, buy yourself a handheld video camera that you can set up and film. Make sure you can hook the data up to your computer, so you can edit to your heart’s content! Make a little title slide and animate it to match your area of interest. Pair this with a spunky tune and use it in every video. This creates consistency and strikes interest in your audience. Studies have shown that most people lose interest after about 5 minutes, so keep it short, and sweet! Make an account on your favorite video blogging site and pave your way to success!

2) LinkedIn LinkedIn is a professional website where you can network with professional contacts either in your direct industry, or industries of interest. You can upload your resume, share articles and join groups much like in Facebook. Here, you can be social in a completely professional environment. You can build your professional profile and get your foot in the door with potential employers. You can even stay in touch with colleagues and friends or browse for job openings. If you’re interested in paving a professional outlet for yourself while being in college, that may just be a great idea. Remember, keep it professional. LinkedIn isn’t for posting pictures of your nephew riding his bike or uploading your savviest Instagram shots (unless you’re in a professional photography industry).

How do I get started? Head on over to LinkedIn.com and sign up/register. Follow all of the instructions and validate your e-mail to finish the process. Similarly, you can log into LinkedIn by linking your Facebook account. This may be something you want to think about, as it gives side links to your other social media outlets. If you’d rather not disperse your Facebook into the professional world as of yet, skip this option and sign up through the registration form on the left. Once you’ve registered, upload your resume and start building your professional profile. Start finding connections and interacting with them, as well as searching for groups that interest you to join. Really learn from the atmosphere here and try to apply it little by little to your everyday life. This is a great way to prepare you for graduation and landing that first real job.

3) Instagram… What? Yes!– Here’s the deal. Instagram IS used daily by people uploading pictures of their Starbucks or dogs sitting at restaurant tables (why is this such a fad? My dog gets in trouble for sitting UNDER the dinner table). BUT, there are exceptions to this rule. Many young entrepreneurs are now using Instagram as an outlet to spread the word about their goods and services. Example? I’ve seen copious amounts of girls making jewelry (some of it’s really cute and fairly inexpensive.. see etsy.com) and spreading word about it through their Instagram. Not only are they creating a “voice” but they are also building individual relationships with their community through such a great channel. The added bonus is that although Instagram is mostly targeted to the X/Y generations, people of all ages are now joining and sharing. This opens a huge market up to these young-sellers so that they may see increased revenue from efforts other than just selling their products online. Also, some of the biggest brand names we know and love today, Shoe Dazzle, Betsey Johnson, Her Campus and more are creating their voice through Instagram; uploading pictures of office fun, snapping pictures of their cute new merchandise, showing the faces behind-the-scenes and more. This is an excellent way to really grow relationships with your customers, which builds trust and credibility. Plus, it’s fun for you, too!

How do I get started? It USED to be that the only people who could use the Instagram app were Iphone users. Now, you Android users can share your creative photos as well. You can even use Instagram-esque capabilities from your Windows desktop by using Instagrille. If you want to check out how to maximize your Instagram skills(z) here’s an interesting article from Tech News Daily on how to make the most dramatic effect with your photos. Create an account on Instagram, snap a few photos, edit and submit! You can search users and #hashtags to grow your audience and follow some people of your own! Market your goods or services in a fun and friendly way, but don’t spam it! One or two posts a day should do it, and make sure you think creatively about how to market so that you set yourself apart from the rest!

4) Blog It Up– One of the absolute best ways to make a professional profile for yourself is to start blogging. Write. As much as you want. About what interests you. Why? Writing is a great form of expression, and people love to read things from the latest news stories, gossip columns, DIY crafts, recipes, movie reviews, and more. You can tailor your blogs to be completely based on style if you want; what’s hot, what’s not. What pairs well, and what celebrities nailed the VMA outfits on the head. Make sure you really make sure to be professional in your writing. Check your grammar, use credible information/sources, try to be un-biased (unless you want your voice to be in support of one case or another), and most importantly, write about things your audience can interact with you on. If you’re going to use writing for professional purposes, try to leave your personal information out of this blog. Maybe create a separate, more personal blog that only you, or a select few, know about. That way your personal information isn’t compromised and you aren’t mixing personal life with a potential profession. Blogging is a great way for you to polish up your writing skills and create a voice for yourself. Many businesses are looking for young professionals who can come up with new and innovative ways to create their company voice, and may be really impressed with the way you conquered the task on your blog.

How do I get started: Browse the web for your favorite blog format of choice. Maybe it’s WordPress, maybe it’s Tumblr. This is your chance to show how creative you are, so be creative and start writing.

I Threw Out the Bait, Where’s the Nibble: Trying to snag a new job

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You may have heard that the job field is a dog eat dog world in today’s competitive market. While this may be true, you are perfectly equipped and qualified to go in and rock that interview. You’ve read over the job description and you have the experience. You’re feeling confident and excited about going in and meeting your potential new co-workers and “wowing” them during the interview. Always remember, it’s okay to be nervous! Being nervous shows that you care about making a good first impression, which is always the most important thing to do.

You pick out your perfect outfit and make sure everything is ironed and ready to go with every hair groomed and in place. You get to your interview ten minutes early and you’ve remembered to bring a copy of your resume. You’re confident, and prepared.

After what seems like two hours waiting in anticipation, you’re called back and interviewed on your skill sets. You’re a little nervous, but you hide it with confidence and answer any question they throw your way. The interview ends, and you feel like it went really well.

The first part is to congratulate yourself for being proactive and shooting for success. Showing up early with a copy of your resume shows organization and dedication. You stepped into that office showing them that you were ready to contribute to bettering their business. Regardless of the outcome of the interview, you have gained important experience that will help you improve for your next time.

The interview lasts for about 15 minutes and then it’s over. All that anticipation for 15 minutes, you’re relieved. Your interviewers shake your hand and thank you for coming in. You walk out of your interview to 4 texts from your friends and 5 from your mom asking you how it went. You felt it went really well, and you’re not afraid to talk about it. You know it takes a few days for potential employers to get back to you, so you go through the rest of your week with your phone attached to your hip, just in case.

A week goes by, and then two. You still haven’t heard anything. You check your e-mail constantly and refresh your inbox to see if anything new came in. Maybe they forgot your number or you accidentally wrote down the wrong information in your nervous panic. Maybe they hated your interview and don’t even want to speak to you ever again. Maybe your breath was so offensive during the review of your resume that you clouded their judgment and they forgot who you were.

The truth is the answer is none of the above. You really DID do great on your interview, and they’re more than likely keeping you in the back of their head as they grow a running list of candidates. Sometimes we get so excited about job interviews that we forget that other people need to be interviewed for the position as well. And, in most cases, the interview is done in waves, where a smaller group is selected and then re-interviewed (either in person or via phone) to find the ultimate candidate. Just be patient. Know that you did your best and that you are just as qualified as anyone else they interviewed.

Make sure you follow up after your interview and after sending your resume to stay on track with the process. This doesn’t mean call five times a day, but sending a nice, “Hi Joe, this is Sarah. Just checking to see if you’ve received my resume and if there’s anything else I can provide you with during this process” e-mail is a good way to re-iterate your interest in the company. Keeping touch while polishing your image with things such as a personalized cover letter for your resume are the cherry on top of that perfectly frosted cupcake. It shows that you’re really interested in the position, and want them to know so.

When you finally do get that call, just remember that regardless of if you got the position or not, you tried your hardest, and that’s what counts. You’ve gained the experience and know what to expect for your next interview. Maybe there are some things you’d like to do differently, or maybe you want to knock it out of the ballpark in the future like you did with this one.

The call with the job offer is one of the best moments ever. You feel so accomplished and qualified. All your hard work and following up was worth it, and now you’ve snagged that awesome position. No more staying up late playing video games and going to late movie showings with your friends during the weekday anymore. You are now employed, and would like to stay that way!

If the call doesn’t turn out how you expected and they decided to go a different direction with their choice of hire, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of job opportunities out there for you that are waiting for you to send off your resume. Sometimes, you can ask the interviewer why they went with a different candidate, and they may tell you they were looking for someone with a bit more experience, or maybe they won’t. The important part of this is to learn how to reflect on what happened, and take it in constructively for future interviews. Don’t get discouraged, you WILL find that perfect job and it will be worth it when you get it. Be proud of yourself for the effort, relax a bit and try again tomorrow.