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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

Amy Willard

Diary of an Intern: Laura’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 1

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Laura Jurotich! She completed her summer internship. Laura’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Laura will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Laura discovered about herself and the experience interning at the Nantucket Historical Association on Nantucket Island.

Laura JurotichI have learned so much about myself from my summer Public Programs internship at the Nantucket Historical Association. I originally thought that I wanted to exclusively work in a larger art or history museum, but after working with the amazing staff at the NHA, I could see myself working at a local history museum or historical association. I was primarily interested in working at a historical association this summer to expand my museum work experience from solely art museums, and I have discovered that I have a passion for both lines of work. While I have enjoyed my past two summers working in PR and Marketing at museums, but I found that my passion lies in public programs. I love creating memorable experiences for visitors that combine fun events with educational components in a beautiful space.

            I have also learned that I really enjoy living in larger cities. While living in the small community of Nantucket is so lovely and idyllic in so many ways, I have missed the resources that have come with living in a larger, easily accessible city on the mainland. I have loved my summer on this beautiful island, but I have realized that I am more suited for the mainland in many ways.

            I am going to use this experience to search for further museum work, preferably in public programs at an art or history museum in Washington DC, when I graduate in May.

Laura Jurotich ’15 – History and Art History double major

 

Diary of an Intern: Lauren’s Self-Discovery & Reflection – Part 1

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Lauren Friezo! She completed her summer internship. Lauren’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Lauren will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Lauren discovered about herself and the experience working with Gael Greene, the restaurant critic and novelist, in NYC.

Lauren FriezoI am so thankful for my internship with Gael Greene. Working closely with Ms. Greene, I was exposed to many aspects of being a writer. I applaud the way in which Ms. Greene pulls inspiration from the food she tastes, the people she meets and, believe it or not, the lucky interns like myself who spend time in her office!

Me chowing down on one last Arancino from Arancini Bros NYC before the summer is over

Me chowing down on one last Arancino from Arancini Bros NYC before the summer is over.

After weeks together, Ms. Greene and I really opened up to each other and discussed much more than her latest BITE restaurant review. Ms. Greene was interested and concerned with my future career. We had many conversations about “possible lives” post-graduation and the realities of being a woman in the workforce. We talked about having children, our families, and the demands society places on female, freelance writers. Ms. Greene’s advice was so valuable for me as I enter into my senior year of college and face major decisions.

The sun sets on my amazing internship. Thanks to Professional Confessional for letting me share it with you all!

The sun sets on my amazing internship. Thanks to Professional Confessional for letting me share it with you all!

Though it is often difficult for me to open up to others, I realized that speaking candidly with Ms. Greene was vital in building our relationship. If I hadn’t been truthful when she asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (Read: I have no idea what I want to do!), I would not have been able to utilise her wealth of knowledge. I think this is the most important thing that I will take away from my internship: the realization that the people you work for can help you as much as (or even more than) you help them.On some days — if Ms. Greene needed peace and quiet to write an article — the office was a little slow. Yet it was on these days that I revealed my strengths as an intern. Ms. Greene trusted me to know what was important. I would snap photographs of purses and jewelry, update her Pinterest page and read NY Times, Eater.com, and Grubstreet.com. I knew that it was up to me to interact with Gael’s fans on social media, make Etsy sales and monitor food news — I always made sure to be doing something. Every time Gael asked me, “What’s new?” I had an answer. My love for social media, food and reading really came in handy!

Lauren Friezo, ‘15 – English major

TIP: Telling Your Story: Market Your Skills

Learn how to easily communicate your value to interviewers, using work, academic, and personal examples.

Watch the video to learn more about how to articulate your internship experience in an interview.

Stumped about how to communicate your potential value to an interviewer? A key to interviewing effectively is articulating how your skills relate to the specific job, and sharing stories of times you’ve demonstrated them. You see, to a potential employer, the best evidence of how you will perform on their job is how you’ve performed in the past. Providing specific examples will help them “see” you in their job and can sell them on hiring YOU. Start by reviewing the job/internship description, noting the skills and abilities required. Then, use the STAR formula for creating and telling your stories:

S or T : Situation or task you faced

A: Action(s) you took

R: Positive results of your actions (quantify when possible here)

Prepare for the interview by telling your stories to friends, OPCD counselors, and anyone else that will listen, until you feel comfortable sharing them in everyday conversation. Give enough detail so that your listeners fully comprehend the circumstances you were in, but limit your story to three minutes or less. Ask for feedback on your content and delivery, as well as the abilities evident in your story. I promise, you’ll be amazed at all the skills others see.

Make your preparation for future interviews easier, by beginning a STAR journal to record your experiences and important projects.

Diary of An Intern: Lauren’s Projects / The People / The Skills

Let’s find out what Lauren has been doing the last few weeks.

Lauren FriezoHere are some updates on my third week of work, the skills I’m building and the tasty treats I enjoyed:

I’ve finally grasped the Subway. Here’s my 72nd Street stop!

I’ve finally grasped the Subway. Here’s my 72nd Street stop!

I work directly with restaurant critic Ms. Greene, her assistant Maria and her social media intern, Ana. The projects we undertake correlate with what Ms. Greene is writing. If she’s working on a BITE review for her website, Insatiable-critic.com, the three of us edit her work and help choose the photographs to be featured. My editing skills have improved a lot, and I now know how important it is to fact-check every chef and ingredient mentioned. If she’s working on a FORKPLAY e-mail newsletter, we format the e-mail through ConstantContact.com, on top of editing and choosing photos. Occasionally we have to use HTML coding so the articles look perfect. I’m becoming comfortable with basic HTML and building on what I learned in my Computer Science 111 course at Wake Forest.

 

On Thursday, I attended Broadway Bites. There were over 30 food vendors.

On Thursday, I attended Broadway Bites. There were over 30 food vendors.

Sometimes Ms. Greene is in need of specific information — the name of a certain dish or ingredient — that’s difficult to find. It’s up to us! We have to disguise the fact that we’re working for her, as she likes anonymity when reviewing. I’ve been pushed to think creatively and act quickly, making my fair share of phone calls to restaurants using accents and fake names to figure out secret ingredients. These little details are vital to creating a piece filled with sensory-input.

 

Roberta’s of Brooklyn brought their own pizza oven. The garlicky dough was light-as-air and melted in my mouth.

Roberta’s of Brooklyn brought their own pizza oven. The garlicky dough was light-as-air and melted in my mouth.

A major perk of my internship is Ms. Greene’s overflowing inbox! Every day she receives invites to foodie events, charity events and restaurant openings. She thoughtfully forwards them and encourages us to taste and explore. On Thursday, I went to Broadway Bites, a culinary pop-up market in Greeley Square Park. I spent an hour weaving through the restaurant stalls — nibbling on Buffalo Chicken Arancini from Arancini Bros, “the white guy” pizza from Roberta’s, a pulled-pork eggroll from Mason Jar NYC and clam chowder from Red Hook Lobster Pound. It was such a vibrant experience and the food was delicious. I plan on going back again this week to interview some of the chefs and attendees.


Lauren Friezo, ‘15 – English major

 

TIP: Completed the Internship! Now What?

Congratulations! You completed your summer internship working in an industry you selected as a potential career path. You now have experience in a field that you can speak about during interviews. Now what?

The experience you gained this summer is too important to dismiss. So, I don’t want you to simply check the internship box and move on…Too frequently, we rush to complete a task without giving it much thought. It is easy to return to school and forget about your internship experience. You will miss a vital step in the learning process of your experience – Reflection. What do I mean by reflection? Reflection is making time to ask questions about the experience and discovering how you will move forward as a result. I recommend you review your goals, scan your journal for projects and tasks completed, reflect on the people you met, and areas of strength and improvement. This review will help you develop yourself as well as capture stories you can use for future internship and job interviews.

Schedule time now before temptation surrounds you to put it off for another day. Reflection will not be a priority once you set foot on campus. To help guide the reflection process, use the following questions:

1) As a result of this internship, I learned the following about myself:

2) What is the most important thing I learned about myself?

3) What did I like and/or not like about the internship? Therefore, I’m going to…

4) What are 2-3 things I consider my strengths? How am I going to further develop my strengths?

5) What skills did I develop? How can I apply these skills to academic coursework, extracurricular activities, future internships and post-grad life?

6) What new skills, knowledge, and abilities did you learn? How can I apply these new skills, knowledge, and abilities to academic coursework, extracurricular activities, future internships and post-grad life?

7) What is an area of improvement? How do I plan to develop this area?

8) What are 2-3 things am I interested in learning more about in the industry? How am I going to seek this information?

Get started by printing or downloading the internship reflection worksheet. Upon completion of the reflection exercise, you may need to adjust your internship and job search and career goals based on the information gathered about yourself and the experience. For additional information on reflecting on your internship, visit the career development website. If you need help, schedule a meeting with a career counselor to discuss how to apply your new knowledge in your career search.

Visit the Professional Confessional next week for a video on how to develop and tell your story to market your skills in internship and job interviews.

 

Diary of an Intern: Maeghan’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 2

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Maeghan Livingston! She completed her summer internship. Maeghan’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Maeghan will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s read what Maeghan learned from her experience and the advice she gives to future interns.  Wonderful advice and candid insights!

Maeghan LivingstonThank you so much for sharing in my experience this summer! I hope that something I shared gave you some insight into my professional development and I also hope that you were encouraged to continue to pursue your own professional aspirations and passions!

Beautiful Nashville skyline form Love Circle Park

Beautiful Nashville skyline from Love Circle Park!

In my previous post, I shared with you some ways that I developed and what I enjoyed most about my internship. Moving forward, there is so much more I want to learn about the education sector. Previous to this summer, I was settled on the idea of working in higher education and student affairs. After my experience, I am reminded that before I can help minority students in the university setting, some of them need help getting to college during their secondary education. The diversity training and conversations also got my attention. This summer, I will be spending time learning more about jobs in both levels of education and in specific areas of coursework; this research will help me decide where I will have the most to offer and where I personally be most fulfilled. Before going back to Wake Forest in August, I hope to have completed a vision board for my dorm room with my professional aspirations compiled so that I can be reminded of what I have learned and where I want to see myself in the upcoming year.

There is no limit to what you can accomplish with a focused mind fueled by relentless passion.

There is no limit to what you can accomplish with a focused mind fueled by relentless passion.

For those of you looking for internships, here are a few golden nuggets to take with you:

1.    Start Early: Next summer may seem far away but it is never too early to begin researching opportunities! Talk to professionals in your areas of interest. Many times I would set up informal interviews with a professional in higher education to simply learn about what they do. Often, simply expressing genuine interest in someone’s work will open doors to opportunities. Our OPCD is so helpful! Talk to counselors there about your goals so that they can help you to prepare for interviews and review your resume! Finally, DEACONSOURCE. Our DeaconSource network is what landed me with this internship! In other words, use your resources and do the research!

2.    Be open minded: Every opportunity has value, whether you think you will enjoy it or not. I created a month long job shadowing experience for myself during my freshman summer with the president of a local hospital; at the time I thought that I might want to go into health policy and administration. The summer was very informative. I was able to sit in on meetings with her vice presidents and see how she operated under many different hats. At the end of the summer, I thought to myself, “This is good, but where is the fire?” The experience showed me that my interest was not a passion. Lesson: There is something to learn from every experience.

3.    Reflect: Reflection is the MOST important part of every experience. There is so much we miss in the moment and do not connect with until we are looking back. This blog was one way that I engaged in reflection, I also journal regularly. It is always fun to read old blog posts and journal entries because it helps me to measure my growth and keeps me focused on my goals.

I hope these tips help you as you search for and begin your internships! As always, thank you for sharing your time with me!

Blessings and best wishes,

Maeghan 😉

Maeghan Livingston ’15 – Sociology major

 

Diary of an Intern: Maeghan’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 1

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Maeghan Livingston! She completed her summer internship. Maeghan’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Maeghan will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Maeghan discovered about herself and the experience at Teach for America in Nashville.

Maeghan LivingstonHello all!

My time in Nashville, TN has sadly come to an end! I really enjoyed my time in music city and there are a few reflective thoughts I would like to share with you about my experience.

Some corps members and I during the last week of institute!

Some corps members and I during the last week of institute!

While working with Teach for America, I learned a lot about myself. My passion for education continued to burn as my concern for social justice was deepened. One of the lessons that I took home from my internship was the importance of having difficult conversations. Throughout the summer, many corps members grappled with the content presented at our diversity training sessions. These conversations surrounding race, socioeconomic status, micro-aggressions, and other sensitive topics continued at dinner and in other public spaces. As a black female interacting with my white counterparts, I learned how to navigate emotionally charged conversations to reach shared understanding. Though difficult, both parties in the interaction had the opportunity to reconcile differences and work towards our common goal, equipping us to be the best for our students. I did not know how “gifted”, for lack of another term, I was at calmly challenging the perspectives of others, while effectively “calling them out” in love and then “calling them into” a shared vision.

Maeghan and Kyle, Managing Director, Pre-Service Training at Teach For America for Greater Nashville

Maeghan and Kyle, Managing Director, Pre-Service Training at Teach For America for Greater Nashville

The most important thing that I learned about myself was the depth of my capacity to learn and grow, specifically when pushed outside of my comfort zone. This summer I was challenged professionally, spiritually and personally. I was offered an array of different perspectives on topics that vary from classroom management, to religion and culture, to professionalism. I was able to learn from everyone, whether we agreed or not, and then successfully use constructive criticism to push myself to a place of deeper understanding. In my one-on-one sessions with my manager, we talk candidly about my strengths and weaknesses professionally. These conversations were not always comfortable, but no one obtains true growth inside of their comfort zones. I realized that I had become somewhat comfortable with whom I was as a person but I yearned to grow and experience the world in new ways. The only way that I can continue to do this is if I push myself into unlikely places and situations; this is where I learn who I really am and what I am truly capable of. For me, with God, the sky is the limit! 

This upcoming year is my last at Mother So Dear, so I plan to improve as a student and campus leader by strategically working to further develop my strengths and address my weaknesses. The strengths that I identified in myself this summer are in organization and administration skills, as well as in networking and relationship skills. One thing that continues to challenge me is balancing tasks and time management. As I learn to better manage my time, I will be more effective in organizing and presenting project ideas within my organizations and in the classroom. I was reminded this summer that I am a “process thinker”, in other words, I do not come up with great solutions in high pressure and time crunched situations, although I am great with implementing the idea once it is developed. I come up with better solutions and results when I have time to think and work through details.

Welcoming our corps member home from their last day of summer academy!

Welcoming our corps member home from their last day of summer academy!

One of the things that I enjoyed most about my internship with Teach for America was the people that I got to interact with every day. They each had unique talents, experiences, backgrounds that I could appreciate and learn from. Our top managing director had amazing leadership skills that I hope to model in some ways. One of the corps members had an unmatched zest for life and fun. Sometimes we need to be reminded to live a little. Some of the corps member had uprooted their families and left the other professional jobs to come teach underprivileged youth. I admire their selflessness and dedication to social justice. These are just a few examples, but I hope to exemplify these traits and attitudes in my work and studies. 

Maeghan Livingston ’15 – Sociology major

 

 

 

TIP: Staying Connected: Follow-Up and The Importance of a Thank You

Set yourself apart from other interns by staying connected and following up with your supervisor and key contacts (your network). It is important to continue to build your professional brand and reputation after your internship. A great example is to send a handwritten thank you note expressing your appreciation for the experience, guidance, and growth. You will make a great impression if you send a note to everyone who impacted your experience. Also, if you find an interesting article related to their industry, share it with them. It shows you have interest in news and trends related to their company and industry. The more you give to them; the more they will be willing to give back to you.

Read further as our employers share their thoughts on the importance of staying connected, following up, and sending thank you notes at the conclusion of an internship.

CSX logo

Lauren Dealexandris, Director of Intermodal Finance

Follow up is important throughout your career for several reasons. The contacts you make during that important first career experience may become future references, networking connections, or a potential hiring manager. We seriously consider our interns for full time positions, so that impression counts. In addition, it is an unbelievably small world and you never know when paths will cross again, so it is wise to build instead of overlook or burn bridges. Finally, this type of correspondence shows professionalism and maturity; it is not something everyone does, and you may be surprised at the responsiveness from employers. This helps build your brand and reputation with employers.

Deloitte logo

Liz Hannah, Carolinas Campus Recruiter

Timely follow-up is crucial to your success as a professional and is an effective way to reiterate your interest in a firm. Thank you notes are always greatly appreciated, but unfortunately, they often have spelling or grammatical errors which can hinder a candidate in the process. I would suggest exhaustively proofreading any thank you notes or emails before they are sent. In regards to promptly addressing a full-time offer following an internship, we highly value a quick response.

 

United_technologies_logo

Meghan Hayden, HR Functional Development Manager

A thank you note may be your last opportunity to make an impression, so don’t let it go to waste. 

Use your note to personally thank someone for their time and efforts.  State specifically some of the things you learned in the role, and how you might use those skills in the future.  Ask for support from your manager for a full-time role, or thank them for already providing that support.  Close the message by opening the door for future contact.  You can tell a manager that you will call them in a few weeks or months to find out how a project is progressing, or to catch up on the outcome of one of your classes.  If you make a commitment, keep it.

(Don’t forget, in business correspondence a thank you should always be a typed letter or e-mail, not a hand-written card.)

 

TIP: Receiving Feedback on Your Performance

Before you leave your internship, you’ll want to gather feedback from your supervisor. Seeking feedback helps you uncover your hidden strengths and weaknesses. The feedback is based on your performance and skills demonstrated during the internship. Unlike your academic coursework, you don’t receive a grade on every task you complete on the job. Oftentimes, the only time you receive feedback on your work is during annual evaluation. However, you may be fortunate to have frequent meetings with your supervisor to solicit feedback on your performance throughout the year. The internship is a great place to practice receiving feedback in a professional manner. It is best to have these conversations in person rather than by phone or email. This can be accomplished by requesting a meeting with your supervisor. Don’t wait until the last day of your internship or after you leave! Schedule the meeting one to two weeks prior to your departure date. Therefore, your job performance and contributions will be fresh on his/her mind.

Make it easy for your supervisor by providing him/her with a performance feedback evaluation form. Prior to the meeting, use the form to reflect upon your experience and self-evaluate each competency area. If you kept a journal of internship projects and experiences, use it as a reference to write down concrete examples of how you demonstrated specific skills. The form will help guide the conversation with your supervisor. “An oral review of the written evaluation can provide you with several benefits, including preparation for performance review sessions with future employers, meaningful self-reflection on the significance of the work-learning experience, and focused dialogue with a professional in the field about your readiness for a particular career path or position. Most importantly, in-depth discussions centered upon established performance standards could enhance the likelihood that you would leave the internship with a more realistic understanding of your professional performance.”[1] This may be the only opportunity to receive specific feedback on your work as an intern. Ask your supervisor to review the form, rate your performance, and provide examples of skills demonstrated during the internship. These examples will help guide you in further developing your skills for life after college.

When you return to school, use the feedback evaluation form (from your reflection and the feedback received from your supervisor) to select areas for improvement, and seek opportunities to build those skills in the coming year. The skill-building directory is a great resource for searching for opportunities on campus to develop and strengthen your skills. I encourage you to continue building your professional skill set by using a variety of methods such as academic coursework, extra-curricular and co-curricular experiences, and educational workshops.


[1] http://www.naceweb.org/s06122013/intern-performance-review.aspx

Diary of an Intern: Laura’s Projects / The People / The Skills

Let’s find out what Laura has been doing the last few weeks.

Laura JurotichI am working in the Visitor Experience department this summer at the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) as a Public Programs intern. I work most closely with our Public Programs Coordinator, Corey, and the other Public Programs intern, Maggie. We work closely with others in the Visitor Experience department as well as throughout the NHA to facilitate the wide variety of family and public programs that the NHA hosts throughout the summer. Our programs thus far have ranged from Family Adventure Day at the Oldest House to a lecture on Quaker Nantucket to a rooftop party with a local events planner to a four-night run of Orson Welles’ play Moby-Dick Rehearsed that wrapped last night. Maggie and I facilitate the drop-in painting in the Greater Light garden program every Wednesday morning where all are encouraged to come to the garden at the 1930’s barn-converted-artist home and watercolor paint in the gardens.

The NHA assigns projects to each intern to work on throughout the summer. My project is to create crafts for family programs happening at the NHA throughout the year, including Family Adventure Day, Harvest Fair, and Night of Holiday Magic. I created three crafts for Family Adventure Day, which occurred last Sunday at our Oldest House property, including paper plate discs, faux-wood grain boxes, and strewing herb sachets. In addition to planning the crafts for Family Adventure Day, I also helped plan and organize the program. I am now working on creating and prototyping crafts that are fun, educational, venue appropriate, and historically accurate for Harvest Fair and Night of Holiday Magic.

I am developing many skills this summer, especially customer service. All of our visitors are our customers, and I am constantly working to ensure that they have the best experience possible. My supervisor described how we are producing events for our visitors, and it is our job to ensure that they have a flawless visit, whether it is to the Whaling Museum, one of our historic sites, or a public program. I spend much of my time interacting with our visitors, and it has made me highly aware of being able to anticipate their needs and answer all questions. I am extremely grateful to be learning these incredibly valuable customer service skills at the NHA this summer.

Laura Jurotich ’15 – History and Art History double major