Liberty Mutual Talks: Standing Out at a Career Fair

Spring 2014 Career FairThis guest post was written by Lee Ann Chan, an Undergraduate Campus Recruiter for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

With so many employers at a Career Fair, it is extremely important to plan your strategy and make sure you leave a great impression.  How can you accomplish that and stand out from other candidates?  Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Do your research. Choose your top 5-10 companies that you would like to speak with and understand what their mission is and what they are looking for.  Additional information to research would include: products/services, competition, history/vision, size, office locations, industry trends, job opportunities.  You can find most of the information on the company’s website, Career Services, newspaper articles, Monster, GlassDoor, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Review your resume. Make sure your resume is updated, and if you know of a specific job that you wish to apply to, adapt your resume to that position, if possible.  Use keywords mentioned in job descriptions to tailor your resume.  Bring at least ten copies of your resume because you never know how many people you would be speaking with.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch. You have limited time to talk to employers so make the most of it and include the following in your pitch: full name, year, major; example of a skill or accomplishment you have related to the position you are seeking; reason(s) why you are interested in the company/position/industry and what you would like to learn; and questions you may have about the company or job that could not be answered in your research.
  • Be respectful. If there is a line behind you while you are speaking to an employer, make sure to keep the conversation to five minutes or less.  This will also give the employer sufficient time to meet with other candidates, and you can follow up afterwards with a thank you note, reiterating the conversation you had with the employer so that s/he remembers you from the Career Fair.

Remember, this is your time to shine so focus on your strengths and be enthusiastic about approaching the employers.  Best of luck!

Lee Ann Chan is an Undergraduate Campus Recruiter at Liberty Mutual Insurance recruiting for Corporate Programs.  She previously served as a Campus Recruiter with the government and is currently the Co-Director of Collegiate Relations with the National Association of Asian American Professionals.  Her hobbies include career coaching, baking, hiking, and singing.

Thinking Ahead: An Approach to Getting Your Dream Internship

internship post-it pic

This guest post was written by Scarlett Ho, a third year student majoring in International Affairs and Political Science, with a minor in Law and Public Policy.

Securing your dream internship- that is the highlight of your college career- can be daunting. It takes years of planning and preparation as well as numerous rejections. Regardless of what stage of the search process you are at, a couple words of advice to heed throughout your search are to be aggressive and to think strategically. With that in mind, below are my tips for being an efficient internship seeker.

1. Plan early

It is never a bad thing to plan early. If you know what your ultimate end goal is, or even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do after graduation, you should at least have a rough idea of the parameters of the areas you want to explore. Thus, it is crucial you create a bold action plan to make the most out of your time here.

As an International Affairs and Political Science major, I might not know precisely what I want to do after I graduate (e.g. lobbyists, diplomat, Hill staffers, think tank analysts, etc.), but I know that these are roughly the options I have, and the goal of an internship is to try out all these areas during my undergraduate years to test the waters and explore my passion. You should have a list of organizations and companies that you are interested in organize it well and create a timeline.  Try jotting down your dream organizations just off the top of your head and see how many you can come up with, then do some internet research to find more organizations that may have internship opportunities and add them to your list. Set deadlines for yourself and hold yourself accountable for meeting them.

2. Create a Comprehensive Internship Database

Although Northeastern has a sophisticated myNEU Cool database that offers numerous co-op jobs, if you are bit more ambitious and are interested in more internship opportunities, sometimes you have to look outward and create your own personalized database. The reason you should do that is being 1. some jobs are not listed on the system/you are not authorized to view them because of certain settings; 2. the school has not yet developed a relationship with the organization (but you should not limit your options because of that). Take note of outside internship search engines like InternMatch.com, HuskyCareerLink and broader search engines like SimplyHired and Indeed to aid your search and build up your database. Also, check out the Internship Guide on the Career Development website for more ideas.

3. Stay Organized

Once you find a list of internships and organizations you are interested in, how do you organize them in an effective and easy-to-read manner that would serve as a roadmap for applying? For me, I create a Google Doc spreadsheet because it is easily accessible everywhere, and I can share the file to multiple accounts. Moreover, I can also make changes easily and invite people to contribute to my list.

Within the document, I categorize the different job natures and put as much information as possible. Using my career interest as an example, in the excel document, I created tabs for government jobs, campaigns, NGOs, think tanks, etc and provided other details such as time of internship, application period, deadline, compensation, location, materials needed (such as recommendation letters, transcript). I would also put a column where I gauge my chances (just like college applications) – safety, match, or dream; and note what year of students the organizations are looking for. And so, even if you were a sophomore, you would be aware of the dream internship that only takes rising seniors, and you can strategize accordingly.

4. Connect with People and Ask Questions

I’ve found that from the objective internship description that organizations usually offer on their websites, it is hard to get a sense of what the job entails and envisage whether or not it aligns with your interests. To save time from applying and interviewing for a job that you might not like, the best way is to ask former interns and alumni who worked there before. Through searching on LinkedIn or Facebook (if you are friends with them), you can target those people and send them a message to meet up for coffee or for general questions. In my experience, it is likely that people would offer help or a piece of advice. The informational interview will help you understand the following things: tips on application process, a day-to-day work schedule, and whether he/she can introduce you to people you should know. Be sure to write a thank you message to the person as a professional gesture afterwards.

Creating an internship database in the form of a timeline goes a long way in helping you navigate the tedious internship seeking process. Be sure to connect with alumni and existing connections on the way to find out about more opportunities and whether or not the job would be a good fit for you! Good luck.

Scarlett Ho is a third year student majoring in International Affairs and Political Science, with a minor in Law and Public Policy. She is a former Capitol Hill intern and will be interning at the European Parliament this fall with NU’s study abroad program. As a trilingual, she is interested in foreign affairs and diplomacy, and is an avid globetrotter. Connect with Scarlett on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Photo source: Culpwrit via HeatherRHuhman.com

Finding the Perfect Internship

I can do more than get coffee source: www.collegerebellion.com

I can do more than get coffee
source: www.collegerebellion.com

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and has a MS in Higher Education from Northeastern. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. 

During my time here at Northeastern Career Development, “How do I find an internship?” has been one of the most common questions students ask me. Northeastern students are known for their drive and desire for practical experiences so it hasn’t really come as a surprise. Typically, I advise students to turn to one of the following three avenues for finding an internship.

1. HuskyCareerLink & Other Job Board Websites: If you haven’t already, check out our internship listings on HuskyCareerLink. These are companies that are interested in working with Northeastern students, which means that you will stand out more in the applicant pool. My favorite way to search for internships on HuskyCareerLink is to click “More Search Options” at the bottom of the job search box that is found on the home screen and then select “Internships” from the list of one- click searches on the left hand side of the page. This will pull up a list of all the internships we currently have posted; as I write, that number is 500! You can narrow your search down using the options in the menu on the left hand side of the page if you want. Once you identify some potential internships, make sure to personalize each resume and cover letter based on the job description.

If your perfect internship isn’t on HuskyCareerLink, don’t fret- there are other options. You can use websites like Indeed or SimplyHired to do a basic internship search. These websites essentially function like the Google of job searching, pulling results from other web pages. You can also get a little more specific to your major by identifying some job boards that are used by your industry. Take a look at your major’s Career Guide, where there is a list of these websites towards the bottom of the page.

2. Networking: Sometimes your perfect internship isn’t even posted! That means you’ll have to find out about it another way- through networking. As an introvert, networking used to sound like a scary word. I worried that I didn’t have a big enough network to be helpful and I was too shy to reach out to new people. Then I started informational interviewing and realized networking doesn’t have to be scary! As a matter of fact, it can even be fun.

You should start your networking process by setting up a LinkedIn profile. We offer a workshop here at Career Development called “LinkedIn 1: Building Your Profile” that’s awesome and I highly recommend it. If you’re just starting out, your profile probably won’t be that developed at this point- that’s OK! You’re already ahead of the game just by being on LinkedIn. Make sure you have a good picture and a catchy headline and you’ll be all set. Once you have a LinkedIn profile, use the advanced search to identify people who work at your target companies or in your target industries. From there, you can reach out to people you found and try to set up informational interviews. Knowing people in your industry can help you to find out about internship opportunities or potential mentors.

3. Stick Your Neck Out: Sometimes looking at job search websites or networking just isn’t going to work. I got my first internship by doing my research and reaching out to the Director of an Academic Advising Office near my undergraduate college without knowing her or anyone else in the office. Not only did the internship confirm my choice of career path, but it also helped me to build my network! If I hadn’t taken a risk, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be working in Career Development now. That being said, there are right and wrong ways to reach out to potential employers. You should always be respectful and formal in your emails- use formal titles like Dr., Mr., or Ms. Explain why you are trying to gain experience and make it clear you are asking for an unpaid internship. Finally, always make sure to give the person an out- some people won’t have the time or space to take on an intern and others may want to interview you first before deciding to hire you.

Whether you’re looking for your first or fifth internship, finding the perfect one can be a difficult and confusing process. Thinking in terms of the three avenues I discussed above can help make your search more organized and streamlined. Let us know any other strategies that have worked for you below!

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and graduated from Northeastern with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in September. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. You can reach her at p.dowd@neu.edu