Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go Pro-Bono!!

That's right. Just like everyone is going "go-green," it may be time to go "pro-bono." Why? Because its not all about the money. Well..OK, but it shouldn't be.

For those of you who don't know what pro-bono is, its when you do something for free; volunteer work.

And if you haven't guessed it, I have gone pro-bono. Its only temporily, but it is something to do for now. At first I was hesistant to do it, because I was really hoping for a job. But then one person I talked to said its good to do something like this. It shows that you care about the community and want to give back, and future employers will see that.

As I thought about it, like anything else, you will get to learn things and for those who don't have a lot of internship expereinces, this is a good way to start. Plus the hours are felxible and you can still continue to look for a job.

TIP of the BLOG: Try volunteering. We are fortunate to have what we have and we should give back.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Hard-Knock Life for Us

Its been almost 2 weeks since my last internship ended, and right now I'm beginning to feel that thing where many college students are struggling to find an entry-level job or any job for that matter. I applied to 6 different places and I have been turned down from two of them so far. I've never had that much trouble getting into classes with the budget cuts (which I am very thankful of), but I guess I am paying for it by having a hard time finding a job, or even another internship.

So here are a few things I like to share (from my personal experiences, of course) when dealing with this kind of problem.

1) Apply everywhere. Don't be picky when searching for a job or an internship, and don't settle yourself short. Of course, don't apply for a medical internship if you are a business major, just don't limit yourself to the fields related to your major.

For me, I have not only been applying for positions in Marketing, Journalism, and PR, I've also been apply to jobs in customer service and to businesses who need an assistants.

2) Follow directions when applying to internships/jobs. If the post says "put this... on the subject line" then do it. If they say "list 5 things that make you tick in your cover letter," then do it. A lot of the postings I saw on Craigslist, the employers are looking for people who can pay attention to details. So if you can't follow a few simple instructions on how to send in your resume, then how can the employer know for sure you will follow directions when they give you assignments?

3) Once you send your cover letter and resume, wait for a few days. If you haven't heard from them by then,its best to send them another email, asking them for a follow-up. This is so you can show them that you really are interested in the position. Unless the internship/job posting says otherwise.

4) If they ask you for references, its best to give your references a heads up. That way they know where you are applying and what they can do to help. Its also a good idea to do this once you had an interview with them and they asked for references.

5) If a internship/job posting is a few days or even a week old, still apply for it. You never know. They could still be looking for someone.

6) Never give up. I know it sounds cliche, but its true. It is important to stay positive and have a good attitude. Someone is going to be interested in you; someone is going to take a chance on you, you just have to be patient and keep on trying.

FYI: Your cover letter is a good place to show them why they should consider you.

TIP of the BLOG: I just gave you 5 : )

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The End of an Internship

My internship at University of Dreams is over. My last day was on Wednesday and unlike the other days, I was sad to come to work. This would mean that I have to say goodbye to everyone in the office. But this is also a good thing because I now can go on to other things and be able to learn more about myself and see what I can do.

Looking back at my internship, I learned a lot. Not just from the projects that I worked on, but also how a company works. The employers put a lot of effort and time to make things happen for students. They are all dedicated in what they do and know that what they are doing can make a difference. And I am with them on that and everything else 100 percent.

I feel that I have grown over the last 2 months. When I look at my resume, I can't believe how far I have come since my first job in high school, and feels like I can take on anything.

On your last day of your internship, be positive, thank everyone in the office (if its a small office), and write a few "thank you" cards to those you have worked with. Ray and I actually received a thank you card as well from everyone in the office. I'll admit, I almost cried as I said goodbye to everyone. I didn't want to leave, but it was a wonderful experience and I will be more than happy to return to the company in the future, if needed.

TIP of the BLOG: If you really connected to some of the people in the office, keep in touch with them. You never know when another opportunity will arise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You know you love your internship when...

Its been awhile since my last posting, but I have been so busy with school and my internship.

I LOVE my internship!!! : ) It is such a blast. I'm learning a lot about marketing and public relations. The people are awesome!! And I'm working with another intern, Ray. We all have the same lunch hour, so when the time comes, we all go sit at a table in the office and we eat and talk about the current news. This week we are playing games during our lunch time in honor of the Olympics.

I love coming in early, and I'm always excited when Sunday and Tuesday nights come around because it means the following day I get to go to my internship. I'm not weird, OK. This internship has really helped me develop new skills (I can use photoshop creating a new template or an existing one) and it is helping me realize what I am good at.

I think the reason why I love my internship so much is because I am so dedicated in the company and its mission. I think what they are doing is great, and coming from someone who has experienced what the company is all about, makes it all worth it. For me, my experience helped me realize what I want to do. I'll be honest, without this opportunity I probably still be lost at what I wanted to do after graduation. And so this is why I want to give back and help others realize what they want to do. (Hence the name, University of Dreams).

As far as school goes, its going. The biggest news is that I turned in my graduation application. All I have to do now is to pass my classes and pray my application is approved.

TIP of the BLOG: What I said above is, I think, important when you intern/work somewhere. You have to be comfortable in the environment, be positive, and know that you can do the things they expect you to do. If you want more tips look at my previous blog " Preparing for Interview."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On The Very First Day...

The first day of an internship or a job is just as nerve racking as the interview was. You don't know what to expect, you feel nervous yet excited. It's like the first day of school.

My first day yesterday went great. I got there early (of course) and was shown where I would be working. With another intern, we were introduced to everybody else in the office. A couple of people remembered me as participant and were very happy to see me again and that I was joining their team.

After the introductions were made, my boss began to talk about the program, what we were going to do, and what he would like to be done. Afterwards, it was lunch time and every Wednesday everyone gets together at the main table, located in front of the office. Mostly the conversation was about what was going on with the "NBC drama," "American Idol," and the recent "Golden Globes."

Its a pretty relax environment.

Afterwards, my boss had a one-on-one discussion of what each of our first project is going to be. My first project is to critique the content of the Web site.

And that was pretty much my first day.

5 Tips for First Day:

1) Arrive early. Don't leave until you have completed your hours. Stay till the end, even if your boss says you can leave early if you want to.

2) Go in with a positive attitude, and relaxe.

3) Like with your interview, it is a good idea to wear something nice. Like business casual or a nice jean with a nice top (depending on the environment of the office).

4) Try to remember every one's names in the office, if its a small working area. (Of course, you don't have to have every one's names memorized on the first day)

5) Don't be hesitant to ask questions. You are here to learn.

Oh one more thing. The day before my internship started, I received e-mails from other people in the company welcoming me. If people took the time to e-mail you and wish you luck, you can also take the time to reply back and thank them. It will simply take a minute.

TIP of the BLOG: If you are working in a relax environment, don't get lazy or carried away. It is still a working environment and things need to be done.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lessons about Phone Interviews

So I had another interview yesterday. And it was again with University of Dreams, but this time I was applying for a position as one of their summer staff programs. And unlike my previous interview, I had it over the phone.

Phone interviews...ya...there not exactly as easy as it sounds. Sure you don't have to "suit up" (a little saying from Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother), or worry about getting there on time (in this case they will call you). But you don't see the person's face and you have to make sure your phone reception is good. I much prefer face to face interview, it makes it somehow more personal and easier for both parties (I think). Somehow I feel like I don't do well on phone interviews, we shall see. I won't hear back from them till the end of January.

But interviews do happen over the phone and here are some tips, some of which I realised afterwards I should have done. But that is why I have this blog.

7 Phone Interview Tips:

1) Be in a good, quiet area where you will not be disturbed. As a precautionary, tell others in your apartment/house that you are going to have a phone interview at whatever time, so they know not to disturb you. And where ever you are, make sure your phone is working. You don't want your phone to have static problems and all of the sudden it ends the call.

2) Phone interviews usually last up to 30 min. or maybe an hour (mine took only about 15-20 min), so make sure you have enough minutes on your cell phone (if that is the number you gave them).

3) Write down the questions they ask, so you can answer them easily and if you sort of ramble, it will help you get back on track.

4) Try not to say "...., so yeah," after your done answering a question. Instead just paraphrase the question (Ex: "So that is why I think its important....". FYI: This is where #3 comes in handy.

5) Take a brief moment before answering the question, so you can gather up your thoughts and not jump in so quickly.

6) Don't talk too fast because chances are the person is writing down some of the things you say. And don't interrupt them in the middle of the question, let them finish first.

7) At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. After you asked your questions or if you you don't have any, try to tell them something that they don't already know about you and something that might be beneficial.

And before the end of the day, yes, send them a "thank you letter" (see previous blog).

For follow ups on the interview, see the previous blog as well.

TIP of the BLOG: Don't do anything else during the interview (ie: check your e-mail, clean your room, etc) you might get distracted.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Preparing for Interview

I have an internship...and its with University of Dreams. I don't start for another week, but I am very excited and looking forward interning at the company.

When you get a reply back from the place you want to work at (see previous blog), they will probably say that they are very interested in you and would like to set up a time and date to interview you. Once you have the date for the interview, write it down on a notepad and stick it on to your desk, or write a little alert note in your cell phone.

I would suggest that the day before the interview, gather everything you need to bring to the interview. That way you are not running around trying to finds things 5 minutes before your supposed to leave. For my interview I brought a copy of my cover letter, resume, references, samples of my writing skills, and a little notepad with a pen if I needed to write something down (I didn't have to, but its always good to be prepared).

I also looked the company's website and wrote down a few thoughts in case they asked me during the interview. Obviously its a good idea to familiarize yourself with a company's background and what they do.

I think the number 1 rule of the whole interview process is NEVER be late. It will not look good for you. I wasn't really familiar with the place of my interview, so I looked at Google Maps (using street view) so I know what the area looks like and where I can park. Even though I knew it only took me about 20 minutes to get there, I still left a good hour early before my interview. And this is not a bad idea to do. I was half an hour early, but at least it was better than being 5 minutes late.

Here are my 4 reasons why I think its important to be extra early:

1) It gives you time to relax and calm your nerves down. It will help you get focus on the interview, and not on other things (such as did I park in the right place? Did I lock my doors?).

When I arrived early, I walked around the area around the building for a little bit before going in. And it really helped me and my nerves.

2) While you are waiting for your interviewer, observe the environment (if its not at a coffee place). Is this kind of place you would like to work at? See how people address one another/what they wear. Will you be comfortable in doing the same?

3) If you are early, make sure you have everything you need and didn't forget something in the car. (You should probably do this when you are about to leave your car). So if you do forget something, you will at least have time to go back to your car and get it.

4) It just looks good to be early. It shows how dedicated you are and that you would really like the position.

During the interview, listen to what the person is saying. If you are confused about something, ask. Don't just say "OK, sure, yeah." Or you could simply restate what they said to make sure your both on the same page. Answer questions as best you can, the person is looking to see if you will be a good fit for this company, and you need to show it. Give examples or ideas you have depending on what position you are applying for.

I'm sure I'm not the only person, but once when something is over, I think to myself: Did I remember to mention this? Or did I answer this question correctly? But what I usually do is that I say to myself, "I did the best I could. What's done, is done." (I learned that last part from an old roommate).

Now that the interview is done, you can finally breath properly again (haha!). So what should you do? Two things: Treat yourself to something (a sweet, go to the movies, shopping) and by the end of the day send them a thank you letter.

A what!? Didn't you just tell them thank in person?

Yes. But when you send them a thank you note, you stand out because you are still fresh on their mind (I read this through many sites on Google).

Its really simple. Like a cover letter, you only need 3-4 short paragraphs. Do it within 24-48 hours after the interview.

Paragraph 1: Thank them for taking the time to meet you and giving you the opportunity to discuss whatever it was you guys talked about

Paragraph 2: Reflect a little bit about what you guys talked about and why you are perfect for the position. Mention anything else you forgot to say in the interview. And if you forgot to give something to them, attach it to the e-mail and let them know.

Paragraph 3: Its similar to Paragraph 2, but say what you will bring to the company and the position.

Paragraph 4: Let them know if they need anything else, they can call you. Thank them for considering you and that you look forward to hearing from them.

That is it. Then you just have to wait to see if you get it. Usually its a good idea to wait at least a week before calling them, if you haven't heard from them. Unless you know that the interviewing process will take another week or so.

If you got the position, congratulations! If not, its OK. Remember its a really tough process and a hard decision to make. That is why you should find ways in which you will stick out.

One more thing. Don't wait around to hear from them, apply elsewhere as well. There are people who are looking to fill in a position right now, rather than later.

TIP of the BLOG: Be yourself and have confidence (cliche I know) . When you are yourself, you will feel comfortable and will do well in the interview.