Tip Tuesday: Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

Written by Undergraduate Career Consultant and Second-Year MHRM Student, Sheri Sheffel

Starting your summer internship can be a daunting thing. How should you prepare? How do you manage your projects? What happens as you begin to close out the summer? Below are my top 5 takeaways for making the most out of your summer internship. Check out our full-length handout here for even more tips on how to be the best intern you can be!

  1. Time Management – This means that you should be taking the most of your opportunity by making sure you are on time every day and utilizing your time to its full potential. This starts from the very first day! Make sure to take a practice drive a day or two before your first day so you know traffic patterns and the best route. Also, make sure that you are spending your time working on work-related issues while on the job. This means you should be minimizing any distractions (like your cell phone) while on the clock.
  2. Stay Positive – You probably won’t know everything the first day you step into the job, but no one is expecting you to! Don’t get frustrated or upset when you’re not sure what the next steps are. Take some time to work through your problems and come up with a few solution ideas before talking with your manager. Being able to go into that meeting with a positive attitude and a few good solutions can make a big difference!
  3. Keep a journal – Keeping a  journal throughout your internship can be a great way to reflect back on how you have grown. As your confidence builds throughout the summer, you will be able to see that come through as you read back through the journal. It can also help you understand what you did/didn’t like about the job so that you are more aware when looking for your next opportunity. Finally, it also helps you to keep a record of all the projects and assignments you worked on which will be extremely beneficial in future interviews!
  4. Network – Your internship is a great way to start building your professional network outside of OSU! Chances are the people you meet during your time at that company will move around to various other companies within the next couple years and those connections may land you your next job. Networking with people from different departments also allows you to get a holistic sense of the company and the different sub-cultures within it!
  5. End it well! – No matter what the outcome is after the internship, make sure to always remain courteous and respectful for the opportunity the company gave you. Even if you didn’t get the offer you wanted, you are walking away with valuable experiences and insights you can take with you to your next job. If you did get the offer you wanted, make sure to be grateful then take some time to think about it and what you want. Finally, use that time to reflect and understand how you have grown, the opportunities you enjoyed, and where you see your career going from there.

Tip Tuesday: What if I Don’t Get an Internship?

Written by Sarah Steenrod, Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs

As career fairs and on-campus recruiting programs launch at colleges nationwide, highly motivated students may have one goal for next summer—to secure an internship. While it is never too early to seek an out an internship opportunity, it can be challenging for first and second year students since many companies and organizations recruit students following their junior year when they have completed a certain level of coursework in their academic discipline.

While some students do land an internship and others student travel abroad or take classes, there are many ways a student can work toward their goals during the summer:

Special Programs – Some companies and organizations create specific programming targeted toward  first- and/or second-year students. These events can range from a one day on-site event designed to introduce students to their company to a weeklong leadership program. Be sure to check your college’s career services system to ensure that you are aware of these opportunities.

Conduct Informational Interviews – Reach out to family, friends, or alumni from your university who work at a company/organization of interest to you and set up a time to talk with them about their work, their company, or their city. This is a great way to network and people love to talk about themselves. People also like to help college students because it gives them a chance to “pay it forward,” so do as much of this as you can while you’re still a student. LinkedIn is a great resource for expanding your network – www.linkedin.com

Get Experience – While many students put pressure on themselves to get an internship as early as freshman or sophomore year, most companies target juniors for their internship programs. While you may not land an internship, there are so many opportunities to develop transferable skills through more traditional jobs. For example, being a server in a restaurant may help you develop strong customer service or communication skills, and working as a camp counselor may help you develop teamwork or problem solving skills. It is important to value your experiences and be ready to tell potential employers how you can add value to their company based on your experience from previous employment.

Develop a Skill – Perhaps you’ve been meaning to learn some new Excel formulas, get familiar with a social media platform, or brush up on a foreign language. Summer is a great time to focus on the things you have been putting off.

Be Strategic – Many students want to work for large companies or organizations after graduation, but they don’t always think of ways to get insights into the company. For example, if a student is interested in a career with L Brands, it could be very beneficial for them to get some in-store experience at Bath & Body Works. This would be a great way to show that you understand the company culture and the customers in an interview.

Volunteer – Approach volunteer opportunities as if you’re applying for your dream job. Write a personalized cover letter and send it along with your resume to local organizations and offer your help. Even if you don’t land a gig in the marketing department, you never know how much you may gain (both personally and professionally) from the experience of giving back.

Do Something That Makes You Interesting – What do you like to do for fun? What would you enjoy talking to people about in a casual setting? Training for a half-marathon, learning a new instrument, perfecting your cooking skills, or taking a cross country trip? The opportunities are endless, but you are the only person who can decide what makes you interesting.

Read – “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

Best of luck with your plans to make next summer a meaningful and memorable one!

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


Tip Tuesday: Get the most out of your Job Shadowing Experience during Spring Break!

Written by Audrey Bledsoe, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Services and Education

Spring break is just around the corner, and many Fisher undergrads are using the time to do company visits and job shadowing.  This is a great opportunity to spend time with industry professionals and to learn about potential career paths.  If do not have any plans over the break, think about setting up some job shadowing experiences!  You can do this on your own through personal networking and reaching out to friends, family, alumni, and other connections.

Here are some things you should do to prepare for your job shadow experience:

  • Appropriate attire—communicate in advance with your company to find out what you should wear. This isn’t a job interview, so you won’t likely need to wear a suit unless everyone at the company wears suits, but you DO want to dress to impress.  Usually business casual is the most appropriate dress for a day of shadowing.
  • Company research—it is smart to spend some time researching both the company and the department you will be shadowing so that you can ask some good questions. While the most important thing is to be a good listener, it is also important to show curiosity by asking questions that you have thought of in advance.  Career Management has a great handout on networking with several examples of these questions.
  • Notepad/pen—take notes! Again, you want to demonstrate interest in the company so they can see your curiosity and desire to learn.  It also is good to take notes so that later you can reflect back on the day and go over what you learned.
  • LinkedIn research—if you know a specific person you will be following throughout the day, try going on LinkedIn to do some research on the individual’s background. This can help you understand their work history and help you generate better questions that are more tailored to them.
  • Map out your travel plans—if you will be driving to the company, try doing a test run during the same time you will be going on the day of your job shadow. For example, if you are supposed to get to the company by 8:00 am, you will be traveling during rush hour and you will likely need to allow extra time to get there.  Make sure you are on time (or early!).  Also, have a phone number of a person you can call to notify if you will be running late.
  • Clarify your goals—what are you hoping to get out of this experience? Are you hoping to learn about the company’s culture to see if it is a place you would like to work someday?  Are you hoping to learn about more about the industry?  Do you want to walk away with an idea of what a day in the life of a certain professional looks like?  Do you want to network and make connections with professionals at the company?  Make a list of what you would like to learn, and then make sure you ask questions that get you the answers you are looking for.
  • Be ready for small talk—often times the conversations you have with employees at the company might be informal. If you are nervous about what to talk about, try reading up on some current events to have some talking points in mind.  Stick to things like sports, entertainment, food, weather, family, hobbies, travel, and company or industry news.  Avoid anything controversial (i.e. religion, politics, sex, and money).

Once you have adequately prepared using the list above, you are ready for your job shadow experience!  Enjoy the day and soak in as much information as possible.  Remember, you are there to LEARN!

Lastly, make sure you follow up with a thank you note that expresses your gratitude for the time they spent with you.  You can either send a handwritten thank you note in the mail (which is always a special touch), or you can send an email.  Send thank you notes to anyone you shadowed throughout the experience.  In the note, remind them of certain topics you discussed or things you learned during the day.

You never know what you will learn at the end of a job shadow day.  You may find your dream career or the perfect company—OR on the other hand, you may simply learn about something you DON’T want to do, which is fine!  There’s no doubt about it; job shadowing helps you narrow down your career choices so you can be more focused in the future, and that’s always a good thing!

OCM Staff Spotlight: Maggie O’Brien

Maggie O’Brien is the Marketing Intern in the Office of Career Management and a sophomore marketing student at the Fisher College of Business.  This is her first year working in the OCM!  Her favorite part about her job is connecting with her peers in the business school.  Maggie first worked as a soccer referee.  If Maggie could be anything in the world, she would be movie critic.  Her favorite spot on campus is University Hall!  Outside of the office, she enjoys spending time watching sports and hanging out with her friends!  Her advice for Fisher undergraduate business students is, “study hard for accounting!”

OCM Staff Spotlight: Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams is the Assistant Director of Career Management & Corporate Development on the Graduate Team in the Office of Career Management.  In May, she will celebrate her two year work anniversary in the OCM!  Her favorite part about her role is the people and students she works with every day.  Mandy’s first job was babysitting.  Her favorite spot on Ohio State’s campus is the Horseshoe.  She loves football and game days!  Outside of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, being outside when the weather is nice, and reading or watching Netflix when it isn’t.  If Mandy could be anything in the world, she would be an owner of a beach house.  She has loved the beach ever since she can remember and hopes to own a house there someday.  You might not know that Mandy is in the process of building her first home!  Her advice for Fisher business students is, “get involved early on. The experiences you have with different student organizations, leadership roles, volunteer opportunities and internships will help develop your professional skill set and provide opportunities to learn about yourself which will help you in your career decision-making.”