LinkedIn Question of the Month – How Can Undergraduates Get The Most Out Of Their Summer Internships?

Mitch_BetterMitchel Better • Remember that internships are not about the money, but the opportunity and experience. Try to diversify yourself with multiple skills and knowledge to make yourself more marketable when applying for full-time jobs.

Michael_PhelpsMichael Phelps • Keep a journal. Record what you see and hear and think. Save questions and pick the best five and ask them weekly unless answering any one of them is necessary to execution on any given day. Listen lots; talk not so much. Link in with all that you meet–you never know. Never burn a bridge. Everything begins with a sale–including selling yourself to a boss, co-workers and customers. Keep all conversation focused on the other person in the conversation.

Roger Elias • First – “Do not believe everything you think!” 2nd – ask good questions, 3rd – listen intently and then 4th make sound decisions …

Once you get the hang of that process, then volunteer to do extra projects, look for a mentor to help you understand the office politics …. you never know what you might learn or who can help you in the future … have fun!

Internships can be great learning experiences …. you may learn positive things … but you may also learn a lot about things you will never want to see or do again! Your interniship will be a journey … be adaptable!

Ryan_ElmerRyan Elmer • Network! Sometimes the work performed by interns isn’t the greatest, but remember to be an engaging professional to everyone you meet at your internship. Having the right advocates during the career search process will make the world of difference to you.

Abhayam SharmaAbhayam Sharma • While you might find yourself swimming in new information and processes there are a few things you must be cognoscente of:

1. Try to keep track of how long it takes to you become fully functional during the ramp up process. Quick studies are sought after by employers and it is an effective talking point to bring up during an interview.

2. Try to understand how your coursework translates to your work during the internship. Too often students get to graduation but don’t have any idea what they learned or how their knowledge/training can be used in the workplace. There is also very little accountability on your school to make sure that your coursework is actually useful. This is one of the reasons that employers shy away from new graduates. It is your job to sell what you are able to do so try to align classroom learning with the things you see around your office (there are going to be other people doing things that you actually learned how to do. Take note of their position and take the time to try to talk to them about their work so that you can be informed about your opportunities when you graduate)

3. Track your tasks and accomplishments/goals reached. They are important during an interview process because the hiring manager will often ask you about them.

4. At the end of the internship you should be able to answer the question “how did you help the firm?” every employer is asking that question. If you can answer it for them it leaves little left to perception

5. Make friends and contacts! Networking is the way to a permanent job. Make friends both inside and outside the department in which you work. You never know when someone can help you. Make connections and add them on Linkedin it will expand your ability to view job openings on this site.

6. Do not forget the recruiting manager: Stay in contact with this person. Make a point of speaking to this person as often as you can while you are working. If you make them feel like you are appreciative and they matter they are more likely to place you within the firm or refer you to their counterparts at other firms (This is how I got my job)

6. GET A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION!!!!!! This is one of the most powerful documents that will help you get a job. After your academic record this is one of the things that will separate you from the crowd. 90% of graduates do not have letters of recommendation. Imagine what a couple of these would do to separate you from the pack.

7. Overachieve! Think of an internship as a tryout. If you don’t give it your all you have nobody to blame but yourself. Believe it or not 3 months will fly and even though you might not be able to work at that pace for a whole year your future employer doesn’t know that!

John_SchurzJohn Schurz • You have access to the “experts” of your potential chosen field. Ask as many questions as you can and lobby to be given specific projects so you can learn on the job. Practice beats theory almost every time.

Jay_PetersonJay Peterson • Make yourself invaluable. I had two interns last summer. One needed constant supervision, and details of what to do and how to do it. But she didn’t ask questions or for help if she didn’t understand something. The other – asked questions, offered suggestions, clarified expectations. She not only did her projects, but she took INITIATIVE by doing beyond what was asked – but did what she knew would benefit the organization. She also met with key personnel to learn about their function, and asked what would be helpful to them to make their jobs easier. She was prompt and ultra organized. She detailed all of her work/projects and left notes on what else needed to be done to either continue or improve upon the projects she started.

Frank_ModicaFrank Modica • I have come to the thread late. Most of my points have been made above.

Treat an internship as a 12 week interview. Realize employers WANT you to succeed. Otherwise they are recruiting for open positions which takes time and effort.

Politely back away from gossipers, complainers, and other toxic personalities who will kevtch about all that is “screwed up about this place”.

Treat an internship as a dress rehearsal. Your perception of what a job is may not match up with the reality. Learn as much as possible about as many jobs as possible. This will help in making employment decisions later on.

Jason_SmithJayson Smith • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Listen and ask questions at the appropriate time…however don’t let a question that you have go unasked!

David_KovacovichDavid Kovacovich • Here are a few tips:
1. Get to the office early and stay late.
2. Ask a lot of questions.
3. Offer to take on extra projects.
4. Do not feel as though any task is beneath you.
5. Find a mentor (or several).
6. Set goals every Monday and recap them every Friday.
7. Focus on positive feedback!!!
8. Make adjustments when given constructive feedback.

Skills is stronger than luck! Work Hard!

Mo_HallMo Hall • It’s very easy for interns to be seen and not heard, and by the time they get comfortable, it’s time to move on. As quickly as you can, be someone that your peers will remember after your internship is complete; a strong, seamless social integration will also help ease some growing pains of learning your job and responsibilities.

To re-emphasize a comment upthread, keep in mind that everyone wants you to succeed–but be sure to have confidence in yourself.

Dale_WeberDale Weber • I think all the above are great, wish I’d known a few earlier (keep a journal!)

I’d just like to add to grasp the opportunities to talk to your co-workers. Consider putting the lunch you brought with you back in the fridge and getting a bite with somebody in the office. The stories between the lines – what they do in their roles and what educational and work experiences got them to those roles – can be very useful when you graduate and need to choose a career path to meet your talents and interests.

Jonathon_PalmieriJonathon PalmieriHere is an Article that I shared with my chapter. In my opinion short work towards being someone you yourself would want to hire for your own company.

Paul_SabatinoPaul Sabatino • Put your best foot forward: Quite often, companies view internships as tryouts for future hires. Looking to receive an offer at the end of your internship? Hitting it out of the park with each assignment or task that crosses your desk is the best place to start.

Spatial Awareness: For many, a summer internship is their first look into corporate America. If your time as a summer associate is nothing more than an internship, you’ll want to be able to paint a clear and concise picture of the experience you’ve gained. So, take a moment to learn about the company you’re at:
1. What service, product or widget do they provide to the world?
2. What vertical or industry are they part of?
3. Who are their competitors (potential employers who may have interest in the industry knowledge you are acquiring)?
4. What internal divisions are you coordinating with (Accounting & Finance, Technology, Legal & Compliance, Sales & Marketing, etc.)?

Resume Building Blog: At the end of your internship, one of the more challenging undertakings will be summarizing and highlighting your work experience. From your first day forward, grab a legal pad or a spiral notebook and keep a running log of your day to day activity. Start where most of your time is spent, leverage the position description you applied to, summarize mini-milestones, project initiatives and tasks completed as well as new software systems you’ve been exposed to (Accounting suites, CRM’s, ERP’s, heavy Excel usage etc.). Your Resume Building Blog will provide you with building blocks as you update your resume in the fall.

Build your Professional Network: Are you part of the LinkedIn community? Well, you should be. Unless you have a website or blog, LinkedIn might be your only professional corner of the web. Take some time to review and update your current profile early on (Be sure to add your new position). Employment dates, titles, Degrees (expected or completed) should mirror your resume as many companies choose to review both. Send invites to your co-workers, team members, managers and executives that you interact with over the summer. Last but not least, try to identify a few managers or mentors that have taken interest in your work or been impressed with your efforts that might be open to writing a recommendation for your profile. Two or three should do the trick!

Stand out & Finish Strong: Leave your mark while you’re there and stand out from the intern crowd. Working for a company that lacks documentation or direction for interns? Consider creating a FYI binder throughout the summer for the next intern; the little things go a long way and it’s a desktop reference manual for you as well. Do not slack off on your contribution toward the end of the summer; this is the time to put in your best work, finish strong and end on a high note. Remember to thank those you worked with and let them know how much you appreciated their time and direction over the summer. Exchange of personal contact information might not be a bad idea, let them know you are reachable should additional information on your project work be needed.

Garrett_GosselinkGarrett Gosselink • Be sure to connect on LinkedIn with everyone you meet in your internship, co-workers and customers alike!

LinkedIn Question of the Month – Selling Your PDT Experience During Job Interviews

Question: How did you sell the skills acquired during your Phi Delt experience in job interviews?

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LinkedIn Question of the Month – How Did You Sell the Skills Acquired During Your Phi Delt Experience in Job Interviews?

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LinkedIn Question of the Month – What skill do you see as most lacking within young professionals?

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LinkedIn Question – How Has Phi Delta Theta Helped You During Your Career?

How You Do Things Is More Important Than What You Do

By Nick Prihoda

During the last four years, I can’t recall the number of times I’ve heard that phrase.  For my most recent boss, the phrase is not only her personal mantra, but also a mantra for how she manages her job, her team and the department of the agency she oversees.  When adopted, it has a noticeable, direct impact on the quality of work we provide our clients.

While I thought I understood what she was talking about the first few times I heard her say it, it wasn’t until much later that I fully realized what it meant, or that my fraternal experience had laid the groundwork for ‘how you do things.’

At the heart of the statement is the idea that no matter how intelligent, smart, correct or otherwise amazing what you are doing is, if you don’t do it in a manner that solves a problem, meets a need or in a manner not consistent with your values, that idea/deed cannot reach its full potential.

Our fraternal experience provides a great foundation for developing the ‘how.’  It teaches us how to be men with a high standard of morality and how to live lives with integrity and accountability. Our fraternal experience also gives us the opportunity to get ahead of our job competition with some very concrete job skills.  From basic skills like how to run a meeting, prepare a budget, and work with a diverse team to more advanced skills like how to be a self-starter, exceeding when no one is holding you accountable and not settling for being average.

While all of these skills and opportunities can be a part of our fraternal experience, they are not given to anyone.  Just being in a fraternity doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll develop these skills.  Full, active participation in your fraternity experience puts you on the path to learning the ‘how’ and puts you at an advantage over your colleagues who didn’t have these same opportunities in college.

When correctly utilized, this experience can be a four-year head start on the competition to not only get the job you are dreaming of, but to also take that job and make it a successful and rewarding experience.

Nick Prihoda is a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and a 1999 graduate of Wabash College.  Nick works as an Account Director on the Nintendo account for Leo Burnett USA, a worldwide advertising agency in Chicago, IL.  Prior to Leo Burnett, Nick spent six years as the Director of Expansion and Recruitment for Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity where he led the colonization of more than 15 new chapters and developed fraternity-wide programming which has led to double digital overall growth for the entire organization.

Personal and Professional Advancement Through Community Good

By Jordan Pallitto

Many young professionals find themselves struggling to balance new demands amidst pressure to excel quickly in a fresh career.  Responsibility to pay student loans.  Desire to make the most of a social life suddenly buoyed by the presence of disposable income.  Finding new personal and professional networks in an unfamiliar city or industry.

How can a young professional, just out of school and wet behind the ears, deal with this?  Many ways, of course.  One effective strategy is to get involved in the local community.  In college, this meant participating in Make a Difference Day or volunteering at the community center.  In professional life, this can and should mean serving on an organization’s Board of Directors – a great benefit to you and your community.

Whether you believe it or not, you learned valuable skills in college that set you apart from your peers and can serve as a springboard for meaningful participation in your new community.  If you are entering a new career directly from undergraduate studies, you are part of only one-third of the United States with a bachelor’s degree.  If you completed graduate studies, you are among less than eight percent of the population.  If you have a doctoral degree, you are part of an exclusive club measuring less than three percent of the over-25 population (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).

You can leverage these special skills to benefit you and your locale.  You may be thinking, “Why would an organization want me?”  The answer is “Why wouldn’t they?”  According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are nearly 1 million registered nonprofit organizations in the United States, all of which are legally required to maintain a Board of Directors, many of which choose to frequently rotate or turnover board positions to attract new and fresh ideas – like those you can bring to the table.  In Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, for example, there are more than 4,000 registered nonprofit organizations.  In Butler County (Oxford), Ohio, there are more than 1,700.  Even in Loving County, Texas – the least populated county in America – there is a registered nonprofit organization.  Every one of them faces an uphill battle for new donors, greater impact, and greater relevance – all challenges which you, as a young professional, are equipped to help address.

Additionally, doing so will enable you to (1) grow your personal and professional networks with people who share the same passion for a particular organization or issue, (2) hone your financial literacy skills as you provide fiduciary oversight of an organization’s budget, (3) refine your supervisory skills as you work with an agency’s senior staff to fulfill a nonprofit mission, (4) develop your meeting facilitation skills while you attend, participate in, and potentially preside over board and committee meetings, (5) showcase your particular life experience and expertise as you work on important organizational issues, (6) demonstrate commitment and follow-through to others, (7) learn how to motivate others toward a mission without compensation, and so much more.

Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Double check with your employer to see if any company policy prohibits participation on nonprofit boards of directors.  This is not common, but it can happen.
  2. Develop a monthly schedule to understand the time you have available for board service.  Be mindful that many boards meet in evenings or on weekends at least once per quarter.
  3. Read up on general nonprofit fiduciary responsibility and organization management principles, rules, and regulations.  Your state’s association of nonprofit organizations is a good place to start.  Many online resources such as BoardSource, GuideStar, and others can provide great information for a budding civic leader.
  4. Investigate your local nonprofit community using online resources like GuideStar or the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
  5. Create a list of issues, ideas, or organizations for which you have passion, and match those to organizations in your region by using nonprofit NTEE codes (classification codes for nonprofit organizations by focus area such as arts and culture, environment, animals, and many more.
  6. Visit websites, review publicly-available tax filings, and do other homework on local organizations that match your interest, and create a short-list of those that you like best.
  7. Reach out to the Executive Director or a board member at each organization to learn more about the process of board recruitment and selection.  Have a resume ready, and be prepared to discuss how your skills can help them achieve their mission.
  8. Recognize that many boards only recruit and select new members once per year.  You may have to wait.

Increasing your civic leadership and community engagement while you are struggling to balance new demands associated with post-college life might seem counterintuitive, but it can be an effective strategy for personal and professional growth.  You have fresh ideas, up-to-date academic knowledge, and a young person’s drive and ambition to offer.  In return, you get a sense of accomplishment from active participation in improving your community while building a strong base of friends and colleagues in an environment that offers learning and development that can’t be matched in an entry-level occupation.  In short, you get personal and professional advancement by doing good in your community.

Jordan Pallitto, a consultant with The Hill Group, specializes in strategic planning and organizational capacity assessment.  He is a Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) Standards for Excellence Trained and Approved Consultant. Prior to joining The Hill Group, Jordan worked extensively with Pittsburgh Public Schools to help develop a comprehensive plan for the new Pittsburgh 6-12 Science and Technology Academy.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (now part of the Pittsburgh Foundation), as Vice President of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, and is an active volunteer with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.  He is a graduate of Leadership Development Initiative XV, a program of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc.  Jordan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Allegheny College and a Master of Science degree from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University.