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Virtual Internship

How to Make Your Virtual Internship A Success

Starting a new internship is an exciting opportunity for many students to gain invaluable experiences and boost their post-graduate job prospects. However, virtual internships are becoming the new norm as students tackle this upcoming semester from the safety of their homes. An internship gives you a chance to gain some real-world experience in an industry that attracts your attention. Now, this experience may be different from your parents’ house or an apartment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to make a strong impression in hopes of securing a job offer upon graduation. Here is how to make your virtual internship a success.

Connect with your new colleagues

Besides gaining work experience and putting your education to the test, one of the most important aspects of an internship is building your professional network. Establishing connections with your colleagues can have a lasting impact on your career and help take your job prospects to new heights. However, building these relationships can be more challenging with a virtual internship. As a result, you have to be more proactive about reaching out to people with your new employer.

Start reaching out to your new colleagues and introducing yourself. Send them a brief email giving them a quick background on you and your responsibilities in your virtual internship. Additionally, connect with your co-workers on LinkedIn. Pro tip: don’t just add them as a connection; send them a personalized InMail introducing yourself and express your excitement to work with that person. Building these connections early on will help make your virtual internship a success from the get-go.

Always ask for clarification

When working on an assignment or a project, it’s natural to have questions or be unsure about something. Never just assume what you should be doing. It’s much easier to ask for clarification when you get the assignment than to only assume something and finish it incorrectly. You want to put your best foot forward and complete your tasks correctly and on time. So, ask questions whenever necessary to ensure you are producing your best work! The end result will be better for everyone.

Don’t miss a deadline

It’s crucial to be conscious of all your deadlines. When assigned a task, ask for a due date if you do not receive one. Some companies will use scheduling software or calendar reminders to map out due dates. At other companies, you may have to be more self-reliant about your due dates. Get a calendar or a whiteboard and keep track of all your current tasks and due dates. This process will help you ensure that you are never late turning in a project or missing a deadline completely. In an office environment, you have more direct supervision with your deadlines. With a virtual internship, you have more independence, and thus, need to keep a closer eye on your calendar!

Are you looking to secure a virtual internship?

Are you looking to secure a virtual internship during the pandemic? It can be a little challenging to find one in today’s climate successfully. Lucky for you, we have collected a few tips to help you gain a virtual internship and receive valuable experience from home!

virtual

Help! I Don't Know What I Want To Do For A Career

Help! I Don’t Know What To Do For A Career

Growing up, we have all been asked the astronomically hard question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Not only is it difficult to answer this question as a young professional, but most adults don’t even have an answer! With that being said, it is perfectly normal to house uncertainties of where you want your career path to end up or even where you should start. When you feel that existential dread creeping in, try implementing these four steps to determine the direction you should take.   

Step One: Breathe 

First of all, slow down and take a moment to breathe. You don’t need to answer this life-defining question right now. Keep in mind, your life may look completely different five years down the road. Everyone’s path is different. Some people are born knowing their career destiny, while others spend their whole life on a journey to find it. It’s called a ‘career path’ for a reason. Paths are not linear, and they aren’t supposed to be. Life is full of unexpected changes that you cannot anticipate, and you can change your career in as little as 5 seconds!  

Step Two: Answer The Important Questions 

What Are You Passionate About?  

Discovering your passion is obvious for some and murky for others. If this question is too broad, ask yourself – what do you spend your free time doing? For example, spending time outside, playing in the stock market, completing DIY projects, or a wide variety of other passions. If these activities bring you joy, try to find a career field that incorporates them. As a result, you will do your job much better if you care about it. A study from the University of Southern California found that loving what you do boosts productivity and enhances performance. 

What Does Your Dream Job Look Like? 

Then, try to envision your absolute dream job. Are you out in the field all day? Would you like to spend all day interacting with clients? How do you feel about working remotely? Are you tapping into your creative side or spending the day crunching numbers? Even if your dream job may seem out of reach now, answering these questions will point you in the right direction. 

Step Three: Conduct Important Research 

Now, it’s time to get to work and start doing some research. What type of job will put you on the path towards your ideal lifestyle while simultaneously incorporating your passions and values? Spend some time looking into the entry-level jobs that can lead to your dream job in the future. Next, search for people on LinkedIn who have those jobs right now. Send a connection request and let them know you’re interested in learning more about their career path. Not only will this give you some great insight, but it may also help you get your foot in the door.

Step Four: Develop Necessary Skills 

Start building skills that apply to your passions. Through your research and conversations, you’ll pick up on skills that will be beneficial in your ideal career path. Start by taking online courses, or even just reading articles related to your desired industry. 

Overall, discovering your passion and finding your career path can be challenging. However, if you look closely, it might be right in front of you. Analyze what you spend your free time doing and follow that fire. This will lead you to a happier, more successful career, and in that same realm, a better employee. Everybody wins!  

entry-level jobs

The Most In-Demand Entry-Level Jobs in 2020

At the end of this academic year, approximately 6 million American students will be graduating from high school, community colleges, and undergraduate programs. These students will be graduating in a labor market that is looking a little murky right now. It can be discouraging to be graduating right now, with over 43 million Americans out of work and collecting unemployment benefits. However, don’t let all the negativity and bad news shoot down your hopes of securing a great job opportunity. There are tons of employers still looking for great candidates just like you to get to work. Here are some of the most in-demand entry-level jobs needed in today’s job market.

The industries hiring right now

Some industries have been hit harder than others with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, some industries are ramping up their hiring during these challenging economic times. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Grad’s Guide to Getting Hired, these are the top industries hiring right now:

  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Recreation and Travel
  • Software and IT Services

Healthcare is one of the most resilient industries out there. So, regardless of the current economic conditions, healthcare professionals are in high demand. And this isn’t necessarily nurses or doctors – healthcare organizations need all kinds of workers, such as business analysts, safety professionals, marketers, and product managers, to name a few.

Online retail and transportation/logistics are seeing an uptick in hiring as people are staying home and doing more online shopping than ever before. Moreover, Software and IT services are seeing a massive demand for their products and services as employees work hard from their homes. Video conferencing and other communication tools are skyrocketing right now as we all try to work remotely and remain productive. And finally, recreation and travel are putting people to work to ensure visitors of parks and other recreational activities are keeping visitors safe.

Entry-level jobs in high demand

Now that we know where the hottest jobs are, here is a brief list of some of the most in-demand entry-level jobs:

  • Material Handler
    • Top skills needed: forklift operation, shipping, receiving, order picking
  • Food Service Worker
    • Top skills needed: food prep, customer service, time management
  • Developer
    • Top skills needed: HTML, CSS, Big Data, Git
  • Technician
    • Top skills needed: Electrical troubleshooting, EPA, HVAC
  • Customer Service Specialist
    • Top skills needed: Data entry, time management, customer service
  • Software Engineer
    • Top skills needed: Java, Spring Framework, Hibernate
  • Product Manager
    • Top skills needed: product development, product management, product strategy

These are just a few jobs that are in high demand, according to LinkedIn. Also, these jobs don’t necessarily require any prior experience. Now, these jobs or career paths may not be what you expected when preparing to graduate. Nonetheless, these positions are in high demand and are excellent areas to kick off your career.

Career kickoff resources tailored to you

So, if you are looking for more career advice, take a moment to visit our Career Kickoff series of helpful resources. We have gathered a collection of information, tips, and strategies to help you secure a job, even in today’s challenging climate.

Video: The most in-demand entry-level jobs

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

Everyone has a company that you dream of working for. Maybe they even inspired your entire career choice! And of course, rather than continue admiring them from afar, you’d like to get your foot in the door and make your dream job a reality. But where do you start? Begin by following these three steps. (Spoiler alert: you’ll want to get really friendly with LinkedIn!)

Learn everything there is to know

While “doing research” may seem obvious, we want you to take it much deeper than a brief skim of their “About Us” page. Follow them on social media, and do a deep dive into their previous posts. Keep an eye out for posts that allude to their company culture. Note key employees who are consistently featured. You may even be able to pick up on projects or causes that are particularly important to you! All of these things are important to store in your memory bank for networking conversations or interviews.

Find college alumni to connect with

College bonds typically run pretty strong, even if you’ve never met fellow alumni. It gives you a great conversation starter and highlights commonalities between strangers. Head to your dream company on LinkedIn. Follow the prompt to “see all employees on LinkedIn.” Once the search populates, you can filter further by schools. This will give you a list of any fellow alumni who currently work there. Send a warm connection request citing your alma mater and interest in learning more about their employer.

Don’t be afraid to send a cold email

It can be intimidating to reach out to a company without a prior introduction. However, if they have no current openings and you don’t have any existing connections there, how else would they know you’re interested? You never know if your message will reach someone at just the right time! Keep it simple and express your admiration and interest in the company and eventually working there.

“Hi {Company Name} Team,

My name is Kate, and I’ve always admired {Company Name} and your dedication to {cause.} I recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Journalism, and I would love to be a part of your incredible mission. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and get my resume in your hands in case there should ever be an opening that fits my skills. I look forward to building a relationship in the future!”

While it may seem overwhelming at first, pursuing your dream company is actually a great way to build your network and grow your confidence. And besides, you’ll never know until you try!

Interested in more career advice? Subscribe to our Career Kickoff newsletter tailored specifically to those of you in the beginning stages of growing your career.

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

While some may believe the practice of writing cover letters is outdated, many employers are still requesting them. And as if it’s not challenging enough to write a full page about yourself to a prospective employer, how in the world are you supposed to do it with little to no experience? Just because you may be newer to the workforce, doesn’t mean you can’t write a great cover letter. In fact, it could be just the thing to set you apart from the competition and help you land the job.

Express Your Interest In The Company & Position

First and foremost, a cover letter is an ideal place to share your passion and excitement about the job you are applying to. Yes, this does mean you need to customize each and every cover letter you submit! It also means you need to do your due diligence on the company.

What is it about this job listing that initially caught your eye? Explain in detail to the hiring manager why you’re here. Furthermore, when you began to look deeper into the organization, did you see anything that multiplied your interest? For example, maybe the company volunteers once a quarter at the local animal shelter, and that is something you are passionate about. Be sure to include a sentence about your shared values.

Draw On Your Background

Just because you don’t have a wealth of professional experience in this field does not mean that you don’t have relevant talking points in your background! Think about the skills and knowledge you’ve amassed over the years. You’ve probably learned valuable lessons from being involved in athletics or volunteer programs. Did you have an internship in college? Even if it wasn’t in the same field to which you are applying, you surely gained insights that will prove beneficial to your career.

Paint A Picture For the Hiring Manager

Last, but most importantly, paint a vivid picture of why you’re an excellent fit for this position. Allow the hiring manager to imagine you as part of their team. Explain how you would contribute; share the traits that you possess that will allow you to succeed in this role. The better they can picture you on their team, the more likely they’ll be to make you an offer!

Don’t let cover letters intimidate you. While they may seem excessive, they can actually be a great opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective company! Are you interested in more advice on how to establish and grow your career? Check out our Career Kickoff Series or subscribe to our newsletter to get brand new advice delivered straight to your inbox once a month!

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

It’s a very popular choice for new grads to take a year off after graduating. Whether you use that time to travel, help out family members, or just to figure out what your next step should be, it’s a perfectly fine choice to make. However, it is something you’ll need to explain to your future employers. Don’t be worried, though! With the right framing, a gap year can actually be a great asset to have in your arsenal. Just follow these three guidelines throughout the hiring process to explain (and even sell) your gap year to future employers.

Be Honest

The most important thing you can do when addressing your gap year is to be upfront and honest about it. From the start of your application – make sure to acknowledge it anywhere you can. Note it on your resume, explain further in your cover letter, and head to your interview prepared. Most hiring managers will ask about it during an interview, so be sure to craft a thoughtful answer that sells your gap year as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

Use It To Your Advantage

So, how do you sell a gap year as an advantage? You’d be surprised at the value hiring managers may place on the experiences you had during your gap year. Some positions have hundreds of applicants, and a diverse skill set and background can be a great way to set you apart. Hopefully, you collected a few impressive accomplishments or life lessons throughout your time away. List those out and how they contributed to your maturity and world experience.

Relate It To The Position

Once you have a couple of great selling points in mind, think about how you can relate them directly to this position. Did you go on a solo backpacking trip throughout Europe that required you to plan ahead to book travel, hotels, and sightseeing? That kind of foresight could really come in handy for a project manager or account executive who needs to be incredibly organized. Did you spend a year working for your family business before you decided to jump in and follow your own dreams? What skills did you acquire during that time? No matter what, there are ways you can relate almost any experience to your dream position – sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of creativity!

In the end, taking a gap year after you graduate does not have to be determinantal to your career. In fact, it could be just the thing you need to set yourself apart from other young job seekers. It’s all in how you frame it. Interested in more job search tips specifically tailored to young professionals? Sign up for our Career Kickoff newsletter!