Archive | Self-Assessment

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The medical field is extremely broad and has hundreds of different jobs. From administration to brain surgery and everything in between, the options for a career in the medical field are abundant. There are many aspects to a career to consider in order to find a medical career you’ll love. Knowing what’s important, finding your passion, having realistic expectations, and doing your research are all ways to find a medical career you’ll love. Whether it’s location, salary, education, patient interaction, management, science, or changing the world that motivates you to do your job, there is a medical career to fit your passions.

Know what’s Important
When deciding on which medical career is right for you, you’ll need to prioritize what’s important. If salary is important, research the medical careers available in the salary range you desire. If your degree is important, research the educational requirements of some fields that seem interesting to you. Since the medical field is so broad, there are options in education from a certification to a doctorate degree. If travel is important to you, research the options for travel nursing and what is required to work in that field. The opportunities are limitless as long as you do your research and prioritize what’s important.

Since having a job with every perk we dream about is pretty much impossible, prioritizing in a realistic way is important. Chances are we might have to sacrifice a few more years than we’d like to schooling, or work shifts we’d rather be home for, or make a little less money than we’d prefer, but as long as you know what is important, you can prioritize certain things and discover the non-negotiables while finding your perfect job.

Find Your Passion
Whether animals, patient care, diagnostics, or another area of medicine, you have to discover what your passion is in order to find the job that’s meant for you in the medical field. Any career in the medical field is difficult, filled with late nights, life or death decisions, and physical and emotional stresses. Without a passion to do the work, it’ll be a taxing career choice. So before deciding on salary, location, or educational requirements of each option, decide what aspect of healthcare you are passionate about and seek options in that category. Those in administration, for instance, may not have to work the more difficult shifts, but they do lose out on patient interaction. If your passion is dealing with patients, it might be better to look into the hands-on careers.

You have the ability to work with children, infants, the elderly, emergencies, cancer patients, injured animals, department organization, hospital finances, or a regular clinic. There is a place for your passion as long as you are able to find it. Hospitals need nurses, medical assistants, paramedics, doctors, and hundreds of other positions. The world needs medical professionals passionate about their patients and it’s important to find your passion in order to find the career that coincides with it.

Having Realistic Expectations
Discovering what’s important and what your passion is the first step in finding a medical career you will love. The next step is to make sure your expectations of each career choice is realistic. Research is your friend and it’s important to know the ins and outs of each career option that may satisfy your passion. Medical assisting, for instance, not only requires minimal schooling, but also offers growth for the future as well as a variety of medical settings to work in. Veterinary medicine is not just cuddling kittens and puppies all day, but also involves some less than glamorous procedures as well. Working in pediatrics is a great way to be involved in the treatment of children, but it also involves some heartbreaking decisions to make. Nursing is a great way to experience many different aspects of medicine, but it also involves less than ideal working conditions. The better you manage your expectations, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your job.

Finding a medical career you love is all about discovering what’s important to you in a career, what you are passionate about in the medical world, and managing your expectations for each career choice. The medical field is not a career path for the faint of heart, and those that find their passions within the medical world have to be dedicated and strong individuals. The options can be overwhelming, but it’s a blessing in disguise in order to find the perfect career path for you.

This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.

Image by kychan,

Image by kychan,

Last January, I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. I packed up my bags and moved 6,074 miles away from my college in San Diego to study at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. During the four months that I studied in Milan, I traveled to 11 different countries and 22 different cities. While I was abroad, I experienced and learned something new almost every day. I did not recognize at the time that my experiences abroad would eventually help me in my career.

I am currently interning for eREACH, a marketing consulting firm in San Diego. My time as an intern has made me realize that I am a better employee because of how I apply the life lessons I learned abroad to my professional life. While there are countless reasons I’d recommend studying abroad to any college student, here are seven ways that studying abroad can give you a leg up in your internship:

1. You’ll Be Pushed Out Of Your Comfort Zone
To say I was terrified of moving to a foreign country is an understatement. I was so afraid of traveling alone that I had multiple anxiety attacks leading up to my departure. Today I am so grateful that I did not let my fears hold me back. If I had given up and stayed in San Diego, I would’ve passed up on the best four months of my life. Today I continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. I was nervous to apply and interview for my internship, but I didn’t let that stop me from doing so. It is completely natural to be afraid and feel anxious about trying something new – but don’t allow your fears to stop you from going after what you want.

2. You’ll Learn To Keep An Open Mind
One of the best parts about traveling is having the opportunity to try each country’s specialty foods. However, what some countries consider to a “delicious delicacy” might seem repulsive to the average American. I am absolutely nauseated by snails – but while I was in Paris I kept an open mind and I tried escargot (also known as cooked snails). As it turns out, escargot was one of my favorite dishes that I tried while I was abroad! Some of the best experiences in life can be the most unexpected. For this reason, I make an effort to keep an open mind at work. I listen to the ideas of my co-workers and I am always willing to try something new. It is easy to think that you always have the best ideas, but two collaborative minds are better than one.

3. You’ll Develop More Effective Communication Skills
One of the most difficult challenges I faced abroad was learning to overcome the language barrier. It was easy to get flustered and frustrated when I couldn’t communicate with the cashier at the grocery store or ask for help when I was lost. I learned that if I first made an effort to speak the native language and then ask for help in English, the locals were much more willing to assist me. There are also many other methods of communication including hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language. If one form of communication didn’t work, I would try to utilize a different method. This experience taught me that not everyone communicates the same way – and that’s okay. If I feel that a coworker and I are experiencing miscommunication, I make an effort to reach out to them in a way they can understand.

4. You’ll Improve Your Time Management Skills
Traveling to eleven different countries in four months requires a great deal of planning. From purchasing plane tickets, to planning transportation to and from the airport, to booking hotels – all while being a full time student in Milan, I became an excellent time manager. I learned that the key to time management is staying organized. It is now easier for me to balance school, work, and my personal life with my newfound organization and time management skills.

5. You’ll Learn To Be Flexible
Not everything went exactly as planned while I was abroad. I traveled to Santorini to see its famous sunset, but it was overcast the entire time I was there. I was supposed to visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, but the line was a five-hour wait in freezing temperatures. Experiences like these taught me to be flexible and go with the flow. Sometimes at work my ideas are rejected or a project doesn’t go as planned. Instead of getting overly upset, I’ve learned to be okay with plan B.

6. You’ll Be Re-Inspired To Learn
Before moving to Milan I was feeling burnt out on school. I no longer had the passion to learn new things – I just wanted to get my degree. Living in Europe exposed me to a new kind of hands-on learning. I studied art by getting a first-hand look at the works of greats like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Degas, and van Gogh. My history lessons included visiting Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and the colosseum in Rome. After being re-inspired to learn new things, I am much more engaged at work. I inquire about things I don’t understand and I genuinely want to learn about and understand the world of marketing much more than I did before.

7. You’ll Gain More Self-Confidence
At the end of my four months in Europe I was no longer nervous and afraid of everything that made me almost bolt off of the plane back in January. I learned that I am capable of so much more than I had originally thought. My new self-confidence has translated into my professional life in a number of ways. I am able to interview better because I am confident in my skills and abilities. I am also not afraid to speak up about my ideas at work. Most importantly, I’m not afraid of failure. I treat my setbacks as learning experiences and I choose to grow from them. After moving 6,074 miles away from home, nothing else seems quite as intimidating anymore.

Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience that can benefit you for a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start learning!

This article was contributed by guest author Alissa Young.

Image by Flazingo Photos on Flickr

Image by Flazingo Photos on Flickr

There are so many exciting opportunities available in so many careers that many young women, and men too, end up going to college without a clear cut idea of what direction they will go in. This problem can cause them to waste valuable time, when they could be moving in a definite direction toward long term goals.

This is why a high school student or first year college student needs to learn to focus intently on finding an answer to the age old question: What do I want to do?

This is an exciting and critical choice, especially for young women, who today have unlimited choices regarding careers, many of which used to be dominated by men. More than ever, young women are capable of entering and excelling at anything they choose. This is why it is important to think about it ahead of time and get on the right path.

My best advice is to think big when it comes to a career choice. When you pick a type of career, make sure you don’t limit yourself to one thing. Pick something in which you will have some leadership and growth potential. You want a career that will help you be the very best, smartest, well-rounded person you can be. You want something that may not be easy, but has the potential to be amazing.

A study at the Pew Research Center showed that organizations with three or more women in top leadership roles have high scores for contributing to the overall effectiveness of companies.

I know how intimidating it is to try to make decisions when you don’t really know what a career will be like until you actually graduate and go to work. There are always some things that are impossible to know until you do them. But, there are a couple of things you can do that will help the process.

Fact is, if you are not able to figure out some basic things before you begin your education, you may spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time in a career in your life that may not be right for you at all. If you waste years doing something that doesn’t make you happy, you won’t be able to go back and start over again.

Statistics show that many college graduates often end up being employed in a completely different field than the first career they started out in. This happens quite a bit – because the world is changing at such a fast pace, it is hard to predict anything that is going to happen. Times are so different than say, 50 years ago, when most people worked one job their whole life. Today’s careers offer many more opportunities for personal development, especially for women because there are more opportunities available than ever before.

By spending time analyzing your personal needs before choosing a career, you are contributing to the process of developing a higher emotional IQ, which has been shown to be a contributing factor in 58% of variations in personal and professional success. A high percentage of employers today are placing increased value on a person’s emotional IQ, rather than a person’s IQ level alone, when seeking employees.

Here’s a shortlist of five easy steps to helping you decide on a career.

#1 Who Am I?
First of all, spend time doing some serious thinking about the kind of person you are and what sort of activities make you happy. Are you a people person, who needs constant interaction with those around you, or are you happiest working solo and accomplishing tasks on your own?

#2 What are My Goals?
Ask yourself what kind of goals you want to set in your career. Do you a job with the chance for numerous achievements, or would you be happier with a set of simpler smaller steps for personal development?

#3 What is Important to Me?
Find out the kind of things that really matter to you and the kind of topics you are interested in. I know this sounds ridiculously basic, but unless you can do this, you will have no idea what direction to start out in.

#4 Where do I Want to Live?
The place you want to live and work is ultimately the first thing you should know. This can help you narrow down the type of work you do because of the opportunities in your location.

#5 How Can I Make the World A Better Place?
Think about what kind of personal talents you have and any specific way you can use your individual talent to make a difference in the lives of others. Everyone has a unique set of talents/skills that can contribute to the wellbeing of other people. What is your thing? What are you really good at? What have you done in your life that made you the happiest?

When you look at these five basic questions and record your answers, you will have a basic outline of the kind of career choice you can make.

After you have answered the five questions, it’s time to dig deeper and find more information on the career you are interested in. Read, study, and explore many different types of careers and try to visualize yourself working in that type of a role. Talk to people who do different things. See what you can learn just by searching for information. Use the knowledge and input of everyone around you to help you in your search for what you want to do.

Consequently, after deciding what career you want, you can take the next step and investigate all the various schools that could provide you with that learning.

The important thing is to make sure you don’t limit yourself because of any fear you might have about reaching your goals. Truthfully, it is up to you, as far as you can go in any career, so don’t be afraid to reach higher and farther than anything you have ever done. Educational opportunities will lead you down a path to personal growth that will change your life forever in so many ways.

Set your goals high when considering a career direction, and then take the first step that will eventually get you a rewarding career, not just one that will pay the bills. A job needs to be more than that.

You need a job that involves doing something you will enjoy, but it should also be a job that will challenge your abilities and give you the satisfaction of doing something well and changing the world the way that only you can change it. Believe in yourself and you will get there.

This article was contributed by guest author Karen Bresnahan.

Image by reynermedia, Flickr

Image by reynermedia, Flickr

Earning a college degree doesn’t always result in a dream job right after graduation. Many college graduates — and current students — need to find a quick and easy way to earn money while waiting for their big break.

Some people turn to freelancing. Others turn to direct sales. Let’s take a look at the job prospects, responsibilities and earning potential of a direct sales representative.

What are Direct Sales?

Direct sales involve delivering products directly to customers without relying on a fixed retail location. Direct sales companies are also occasionally referred to as multi-level marketing companies. These involve the recruitment of new consultants.

Individuals who work in this field are referred to as independent representatives, independent distributors, sales representatives or consultants. Sales representatives buy products at a wholesale discount. They then turn around and sell those products to friends, family members, and others in the community for a higher retail price, thus, earning income on each sale.

Who Can Be a Direct Sales Representative?

One of the perks of working as a direct sales representative is the lack of job skill requirements: anyone can work in direct sales. In fact, in 2011, more than 15.6 million Americans were involved in the direct sales industry.

Previously, the market was overrun with middle-aged women — work-from-home moms who wanted to earn some extra money. But recently, the sales force demographic has shifted.

The majority of consultants are still women, but more men are joining the industry. In 2011, 22% of consultants were men (up from 14% in 2008). Additionally, the average age of consultants has dropped. More young people are realizing the earning potential of direct sales, especially with greater access to customer acquisition through social media. The added strain of a difficult workforce has made direct sales appealing to a lot of college graduates.

Naturally, there are certain things that will make you more successful as a direct sales representative. For example:

  • An outgoing personality (you’ll constantly be meeting new people)
  • The ability to sell (anyone who falls into the “selling ice to an Eskimo” category will do well)
  • Business management and marketing skills (you’ll basically be running and promoting your own business)
  • Self-control (it will be awfully difficult to resist those excellent discounts on your favorite products)

What are the Best Cities for Direct Sales?

Direct sales can be made anywhere — including internationally. This field allows you to do business on a global level. What you choose to sell might depend on the area you live in. For example, if another sales representative has cornered the market on Herbalife, you might not want to try competing.

The demographics of your area will matter too. Trying to sell young, hip, and trendy products from Thirty-One Gifts might not be too successful in an area that is heavily populated with retired couples.

Do some research in your preferred area before deciding what you’d like to sell.

What are the Most Popular Companies to Work For?

The Direct Selling Association represents 200 different companies (with more than 50 companies hoping to join).

Some of the most notable direct sales companies include:

  • Amway (food, vitamins, and cookware)
  • Avon (cosmetics, skin care and beauty supplies)
  • Discovery Toys (educational toys)
  • Tupperware (food storage and preservation products)
  • Herbalife (weight loss products and energy drinks)
  • The Longaberger Company (hand-woven baskets)
  • Mary Kay (cosmetics, skin care and beauty supplies)
  • Nu Skin Enterprises (cosmetics, skin care and beauty supplies)
  • The Pampered Chef (cooking and baking supplies)
  • Scentsy (wickless candles)
  • Norwex (chemical-free cleaning supplies)
  • Usborne Books (children’s books)
  • Silpada (jewelry)
  • Thirty-One Gifts

Studies show the most popular direct sales niches are:

  • cosmetics, skin care and beauty supplies
  • food, nutrition and vitamins

Most of these companies require the consultants purchase their own inventory and have items available for sale. However, other opportunities require less overhead.

For example, vitamin sales have grown significantly over the last few decades as our society has become more health-conscious. Many of these sales happen online — similar to affiliate marketing. Direct sales representatives help customers they find online (via their website) or through traditional home parties like other direct sales companies.

We talked with Dr. Agin at, who gave us insight into their sales process. A vitamin sales consultant works closely with one or more vitamin distribution companies (usually vitamin injections, pills, or other nutritional products). You, as the sales consultant, sell the vitamins; the company fulfils the order and then ships it to your customers.

Can I Make Money?

Here is what it all comes down to: can you earn a living as a direct sales representative?

Before you begin making money, you’ll probably have to spend money. Most companies ask their consultants to buy some of their products. It’s hard to sell something you’ve never used personally. Plus, having an inventory on hand means you always have certain products available for purchase.

You might also need to pay registration fees, buy a welcome kit, attend training, or purchase marketing materials.

Of course, these added expenses aren’t involved in ventures that don’t require a significant inventory (like the above mentioned vitamin sales or large exercise equipment).

The amount you earn will be directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into your company. If you want to earn a full-time salary, you’re going to need to work full-time.

The good news is, there is definite earning potential. In 2011, the direct sales industry brought in more than $30 billion in the US. Individual companies earned big; for example, Herbalife sold $4 billion in products.

Stats show the average income varies between $637 and $336,901 per year. In 2011, the median annual income was $2,400.

Those numbers may seem low, but there are several things to consider. First, the vast majority of consultants (nearly 90%) worked less than 10 hours per week. Additionally, many people become consultants just so they can receive their favorite products at a discount — earning money might not even be a goal.

Here’s a bonus: many companies offer perks to their best sellers. These can range from all-expense paid vacations to pink Cadillacs.

Keep in mind there are lots of non-monetary benefits:

  • You can work from home
  • You set your own hours
  • You can take time off when you want it
  • You don’t report to a boss
  • The majority of your sales will take place in social settings, like food-filled parties hosted by your friends

Should I Do It?!

Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all job opportunity. However, many people have found success with direct sales — whether as a full-time job or an extra money maker. What you’ll need to determine is whether you have the personality and motivation for direct sales. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to try!

Would you become a direct sales consultant? Would you do it for the money or product discounts? Which companies sound most appealing to you? Let us know on Twitter @StudentsDotOrg!


We came across something on the Globe and Mail’s website that we just had to share with you. Within a section called “Canadian University Report” sit a number of articles on what you might want to know about university. Here are a few we think you should check out:

University profiles to help you choose
61 Canadian universities are reviewed in this article. For each university, it outlines how many students attend, the cost of tuition, the number of programs offered, and admission competition. A profile of your “typical classmate” is included, as well as a quote from a current student.

The pros and cons of different student jobs
This article identifies the pros and cons of off-campus jobs, on-campus jobs, and co-op programs. It explains that the transferable skills learned at work are valuable, no matter what your student job might be.

Students: How to make the money stretch for eight months
It’s difficult for first year students to predict how expensive the school year might be. This article forecasts costs and recommends resources students can refer to, so it’s a great read for first year students who aren’t sure what to expect.

Four tips to land a job straight out of school
The number one worry on every student’s mind is finding a job after school. This article identifies four ways you can increase your chances at landing employment. If you take these steps right from first year, you’ll be even better off.

Universities that teach you to change the world
“The” course to take at university these days is social entrepreneurship. This article identifies a few schools in Canada that have excellent social programs. If you want to change the world, take a look at these schools.

Read the remaining articles here.

Image by Financial Times , Flickr

Image by Financial Times, Flickr

Deciding what to do after college is a top priority for students–particularly as the day to don the cap and gown nears.

Your major does not necessarily determine what you will do with the rest of your life. It does, however, provide insight to future employers about your interests and background. It can also provide a springboard into your first job.

For students with a business major, particularly in finance or accounting, one potential career to explore is that of a chargeback analyst. If you are interested in commerce, read on to learn about this field that can be an inroad into the financial industry.

What Is A Chargeback Analyst?

First of all, to understand the position of chargeback analyst you must understand chargebacks.

Chargebacks exist to protect consumers from having to pay for fraudulent purchases made with their credit card. If a person notices that an unauthorized transaction was made with his card, he can file a chargeback with his bank. The bank then temporarily issues a refund and notifies the merchant that a chargeback has been filed.

Merchants can then dispute the claim if they suspect the consumer of fraud, or they can forfeit the refund and pay a fine.

A chargeback analyst is crucial for monitoring chargeback transactions. Analysts investigate and have the power to reverse refunds, track chargeback patterns, and serve as watchdogs for fraudulent activity.

A chargeback analyst is particularly important on the merchant end, as they work closely with merchants that choose to dispute chargebacks. Merchants must provide proper documentation–such as video evidence or a receipt–to prove that the customer actually did make the disputed purchase. A chargeback analyst can help round out these essentials and submit them in a timely fashion.

An analyst can also coach the business about proper chargeback prevention practices to help reduce the risk of future problems.


Most companies prefer incoming analysts to hold a bachelor’s degree (in the field of business is particularly valued) and have one to three years of experience in a relevant field. It is also possible to get a job with less experience or with a high school diploma, but higher education and prior work experience are qualifications that make you more likely to land the job.

Besides education and experience, chargeback analysts are also expected to be comfortable making judgment calls and have a certain degree of creativity and flexibility. Skills in accounting, analyzing, communication, and computers are also important.

Average Salary

As of July 2014, the median annual salary for a chargeback analyst in the United States is $32,255. This number will vary based on several factors, including geographic location, size of the company, level of education, and number of years of experience.

Best and Worst Cities

Some of the best cities for aspiring chargeback analysts to seek employment are:

  • Hackensack, NJ
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA

The aforementioned cities have salaries that are higher than the national average. Cities below the national average include:

  • Knoxville, TN
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Abilene, TX
  • Provo, UT
  • Macon, GA

Being a chargeback analyst can be a rewarding career itself, and it can lead to further opportunities in the finance sector. College students and recent graduates with a degree in business can at least consider this career option.

Even students without a business degree can consider a career as a chargeback analyst as an understanding of accounting and a mind for analytics can also make you a strong candidate.

Chargeback management is a relatively new concept. Therefore, there are definite opportunities for growth, expansion, and career advancement. It is absolutely a worthy idea to consider.

Would you consider working as a chargeback analyst?

Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr

Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr

@USNewsCareers recently hosted a Twitter chat for current and prospective interns to get their questions answered and receive tips from the industry (#internchat). We were happy to be part of the chat (@StudentsDotOrg) and were joined by countless other professionals and interns. Below is a summary of our favourite and most useful tips from the chat:

Tip #1: Use free resources provided to you when searching for an internship

With technology these days, the world is literally at your fingertips. You have access to endless job postings – so use them. However, the consensus in the chat was to not limit your search to job search engines. As a student, you’re given free access to your school’s career centre and advisors. Take advantage of them. You also have an extensive network between students in your classes, your family, your professors, and connections you’ve made on social media sites such as LinkedIn. Ask around. Attend conferences and events hosted by your school; you never know what connections you’ll make.

Tip #2: If you don’t get an internship, there are other things you can do instead

Any experience is good experience when you’re talking about your resume. @CareerCounMatt gives a couple of examples: volunteering, taking courses, or starting independent projects can all give you worthwhile experience that provides added value to your resume and to future employers. Just because internship hiring season may be over doesn’t mean you should stop networking. Many companies will give informational interviews during the summer; you could end up on a short list for the next year if you make a great impression.

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Tip #3: Develop your people skills

When we were asked what companies look for when hiring employees, not one person responded with “good grades”. Answers all centred around people skills: communication, leadership, teamwork, being proactive. There have been many discussions about how skills can be taught, but personalities can’t. Companies generally look for employees who will fit in well with their culture, and who are enthusiastic about helping take the company to the next level.

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Tip #4: Use your internship to grow yourself – not just your resume

Although the goal of every intern is to find a full-time career, remember that your internship can provide a lot more value to your own development. Determine what you want to learn/develop during your internship and find out if that can be offered. Does the company offer training or a mentorship program? Are they giving you meaningful work or sending you on coffee runs?

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Tip #5: Prove yourself before asking for more

Some interns go into their internship with guns blazing, demanding responsibility for more and more tasks to show that they are the Ideal Intern. Be wary about taking this approach – it could easily backfire. The consensus is that once you are able to prove you can handle the workload already assigned to you (handle = complete on time or early, error-free and above standard), you can ask your manager for more responsibility. Make sure to always finish what you’re assigned before looking for more. One great idea is to figure out what your manager finds the most difficult to deal with, and find ways to improve the situation. Discuss with your manager/mentor any particular interests or passions you have, and how you can apply them to your position.

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Tip #6: Unpaid internships are not pointless

Many new regulations have come into play regarding the legality of some unpaid internships. If you end up in an unpaid internship, remember that even though you are not being paid, the internship is still worth your time in experience. You’ll have months to learn, and perhaps your company will send you to events or conferences where you can develop new skills.

Tip #7: Always ask questions

During your internship or volunteer experience, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a horrible feeling to complete a day’s worth of work only to find out you did it wrong. Asking questions will also let your manager know that you’re a thinker, not just a doer, and it’ll show them you’re interested in what you’re working on.

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Tip #8: Sorry, but you do not know more than your managers

The one thing your managers have over you is experience. They know their company, and they generally know what works and what doesn’t. This is your chance to learn from them – not to compete with them. If you’re looking to turn your internship into full-time employment, the best thing you can do is listen. Show your interest and respect, and if you do have a new suggestion or idea, make sure you don’t propose it in a way that challenges their authority. No one likes a know-it-all!

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Tip #9: Take your internship seriously

You’re not in school. You’re not hanging out with friends. Even if your internship is as short as 2-3 months, consider it to be your full-time job. Make a good impression, show up on time (early!), dress professionally, and don’t complain about the work being too hard or boring. If you receive constructive criticism, don’t mope over it. Apologize, correct any errors, and remember the advice for next time. There was a reason the company hired you over all the other applicants – show your worth.

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Tip #10: Watch your social media usage

Never forget that social media is public content. Even though you think you’ve picked a clever pseudonym for your online self, it is very likely your employers will be able to find you. Never talk badly about your company on social media. Remember the impression you’re trying to make! Find out the office culture and policy towards social media. If you love social media, ask if you’d be able to create an @ intern account to document your experience and office happenings. Some companies may be excited by this – and some may not be. Learn to be ok with whatever response you receive.

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Tip #11: Be irreplaceable

As mentioned, every intern’s goal is to turn an internship into a full-time offer. The best way to do this is to leave lasting impressions throughout your time there. Be irreplaceable. Show your worth. Make connections with other interns, managers, and coworkers. Make sure your manager is aware of your goals; you never know if they’ll be able to put in a good word for you. At the very least, ask for recommendations or referrals near the end of your program – these could provide you with the leverage you need to gain your next employment.

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US News Careers also posted a recap of the chat. You can find it here.

Image by bpsusf, Flickr

Image by bpsusf, Flickr

In my first two years of university, I was set on finding a job in human resources after graduating. I attended information sessions and noticed that the majority of company representatives there were in HR. I could see myself doing this; touring schools and talking to students about what the company does, interviewing them and deciding who would be a good candidate for our company. Yes. For someone who liked talking to people, teaching people, and giving presentations, it seemed perfect.

Then two things happened:

Thing 1: “You can’t do that right out of university”
I eagerly attended information sessions and job fairs to enquire about any vacancies in the HR department – after all, every company needs HR. With this in mind, I assumed there would be plenty. I talked to accounting firms, who gave me looks like they were thinking, “We’re an accounting firm. We’re hiring accountants…”

No one was hiring for HR. One rep was nice enough to explain to me that their company didn’t hire students to work in HR; they preferred to post internally for those jobs to hire people who’ve worked in the firm and know the company from the inside. Their advice? Get a job in another field first, and move to HR afterwards. Oh. Ok.

Thing 2: The Interview
On a conference executive committee in my fourth year, I met an HR rep from our major sponsor. By this time, I had switched my focus from HR to marketing. From the meetings he attended and recommendations from my peers, he knew I was a hard worker and that I was still on the job hunt, so he brought me in for an interview. He asked what field I wanted a job in, to which I replied, “Marketing.” He said, “We unfortunately don’t have any marketing positions available, but there is an open HR position.” Ok – that was my second choice, and I wasn’t going to be picky about a job prospect. Let’s hear it.

When he explained the job to me, it was not at all what I thought HR would consist of – or at least not the “kind” of HR I wanted.

I’d be posted in a factory, working with 20-30 middle-aged men. They would likely approach me with family issues, illnesses, general complaints, or ask for advances on their salaries. He asked if it’s something I thought I could handle, to which I said, “Yes, of course.” Inside, I squirmed and thought, “But I don’t want to.”

Suffice it to say, and to my relief, he didn’t offer the job to me – we both knew I wouldn’t be a good fit. As stressful as it was, I held out until I could find a job that more closely fit what I wanted. I learned to thoroughly research a position before assuming it’s what I wanted to do. It turns out HR wasn’t right for me after all.

Do you have a similar story? Share it with us on Twitter @StudentsDotOrg or email it to us.

Check out Jenny Lugar’s post on Maclean’s On Campus: How Traveling After Graduation Helped My Career

Image by lululemon athletica, Flickr

Image by lululemon athletica, Flickr

Being a college student is a fun and rewarding experience. You’ll meet people who you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life. You’ll experience memories and adventures that will profoundly engrave themselves on your personality for years to come. But don’t forget why you came to college or university; it’s never too soon to start thinking about the ‘big picture’ when it comes to your professional career.

Internships are a great way to develop your resume and have fun at the same time. The added responsibility will help you organize your work and school life, while building on your professional development. They allow you to connect with people who are already working in your industry of interest, and can also provide you with invaluable references for the future. It’s a great opportunity to test the water with an inside glimpse into the field, and it can help you decide if it’s something you want to pursue later.

So why is being a student a good time to work for free?

Internships can be paid or unpaid. But don’t get down if you land an unpaid position! Being a student allows you to experience many different industries that can really help you find your niche. It may not feel like it, but you have less responsibility when you’re a student than when you’re part of the workforce. Take this opportunity now while you have the chance – your future self will thank you!

Sounds good! So how do I get an internship?

As a student, make sure you use your college or university’s resources. Visit your school’s career centre and ask about internship opportunities – you’ll be amazed at what’s out there! You can also approach companies directly. Knocking on a few doors and being proactive not only looks great on you, but might open up opportunities that are not necessarily advertised. You can also take a look at advanced searches on established search engines like for internship-specific positions.


If you are new to post-secondary education – or a senior high school student looking for opportunities before heading off to college – take your time. Don’t take on too much at once. Being a student is ultimately a balance of work, school and social life. As you juggle these three balls, you will inevitably drop one. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Remember to balance your workload: prioritize what is most important and go from there.

Picking the right internship for you is important in maintaining a good work-school balance. Commit to something that is achievable and beneficial to your social and professional development. Do you get nervous about public speaking? Volunteer as a “frosh boss.” Try and fill the holes in your resume while you have the chance, and learn to build and develop on a social, academic and professional level.


Internships are an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a field you may not yet be qualified to work in. They are a great way to beat the age old conundrum: need experience to get a job – need a job to get experience! Before you start hunting for those internships, make sure you’re prepared by checking out these tips to enhance your resume.