Archive for the ‘Internships, Career & Life After College’ Category

What is the Peace Corps and should you apply?

peacecorps_logo-ogPeople often ask, “What is the Peace Corps?” President John F. Kennedy created this governmental agency in 1961 to promote peace and encourage friendship in developing countries. The organization offers a great opportunity to respond to President Kennedy’s inspirational challenge to “ask what you can do for your country.” Volunteers can use their talents to improve the living conditions in the areas where they serve. Since its formation, approximately 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in almost 140 countries. They have helped local populations with agriculture, education, healthcare, and business development projects.

While the Peace Corps limits enrollment in order to recruit the best possible candidates, there are approximately 8,000 people training or on assignments around the world at any given time. The application process can take as long as 12 months. Peace Corps workers are a diverse group from all over the country. Most are young, educated, and single. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. The average age of workers is 25, and approximately 95 percent have at least an undergraduate degree. More than half are women, and nearly 17 percent are ethnic minorities.

10-028 Peace CorpsThe Peace Corps has opportunities in all fields of study. Volunteers are placed into policy areas that match their skills and interests before being sent to their final destination. They can work on conservation efforts and educate farmers on land management projects, such as how to increase crop production, which reduces the need for pesticides. Individuals can work on healthcare and medical assistance projects that include HIV/AIDS education and awareness. Volunteers with technical experience can help with IT infrastructure projects while other individuals can oversee projects that dig wells and plan irrigation and water purification systems. Business majors can train entrepreneurs, develop marketing strategies, and assist local community development initiatives.

There are a number of benefits associated with volunteering for the Peace Corps. One is the possibility of receiving graduate-level credit through Masters International. In addition to a small stipend and medical benefits, volunteers may be entitled to a deferment on their student loan payments for the duration of their assignment. Not only do volunteers gain valuable work and technical knowledge, they also achieve a better understanding of different cultures and language skills that are invaluable in today’s global economic and cultural environment. When their service is over, volunteers receive financial assistance to aid the transition to a life outside of the Peace Corps.

Click here to learn more about the Peace Corps.

Image credits: peacecorps.gov, smcm.edu

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Top 10 Coolest Internships

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Interns might have a reputation for being nothing more than glorified coffee-fetchers, but plenty of companies have internship programs that allow recent grads and current students hands-on experience, decent pay, cool perks, and legitimate resume-boosting credentials. So get your resume ready, because here are ten of the coolest internship programs offered today.

1. Accenture: If you are looking for an internship in consulting, there is no better company to look toward than Accenture. These internships, taking place all over the United States, offer hands-on consulting experience. These are paid summer positions for undergraduates, meaning you won’t have to serve coffee on the side for spending cash. And you’ll get to experience the work of a full-time consultant.

2. Viacom: Work with the company in charge of MTV Networks and VH1. With positions available in every department from Production to Design, there is awesome job training waiting for just about anyone.

3. IBM: IBM offers a comprehensive internship program with benefits that rival most full-time jobs: competitive salary, paid holidays, “challenging and stimulating work assignments in leading-edge technology and service operations.” For an internship in technology development, you can’t beat IBM.

4. Nordstrom: The Nordstrom Retail Management Internship is available to recent college grads with an interest in fashion retail. Receive mentoring in the area of luxury retail management, a competitive wage, an employee merchandise discount, and the offer of an assistant manager or salesperson position upon completion of the program. Internships in other areas are also available.

5. Google: Google offers technical and non-technical internships for students and recent grads able to commit three months full-time. Work at the coolest company, earn money, and be at the forefront of the latest in social media technology.

6. Huffington Post: Work at one of the fastest-growing internet publications to gain experience in areas such as editorial, social media, and software development. Huff Post internships are paid opportunities that allow you to do important work within the company.

7. MillerCoors: Talk about a unique summer job! Learn the basics of a career in brewery, complete with plenty of opportunities to kick back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Miller hosts two social events for employees per week. (Must be 21 or older to apply.)

8. Electronic Arts: Want a career in video game creation? Check out EA. Their internship program also offers a weekly speaker series, ample opportunities to network, experience working on the creation of new games, and sometimes even a full-time job upon completion.

9. Apple: Get hands-on at Apple, where interns work alongside seasoned professionals for product development. Maybe you’ll be partially responsible for the next iPhone-level sensation.

10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Art history buffs should flock to the Met’s internship program, offering full access to all of the museum’s collections, as well as other collections and research libraries in the NYC area. Learn about art (and earn a healthy stipend!).

image credit: rollins.edu

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What Employers Want in New College Grads

Every year, recent college grads, fresh with diplomas in hand, come to the realization that finding a job right out of college can be rough, leading many to ask the question: what do employers actually want?

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Regardless of your major, whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed unique strengths over the course of your college career that are valuable in the workplace. The Association of American Colleges and Universities surveyed 318 employers with at least 25 employees and found that overall employers want recent college graduates to be broadly educated.

Other findings of this survey include:

  • 80% of employers surveyed agreed that regardless of their major, college students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • 95% prioritize hiring college graduates with skills that will help them contribute to innovation in the workplace.
  • Another 95% of those surveyed said it was important that new hires demonstrate ethical judgment, integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued learning.
  • 93% of employers said that a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve problems is more important than a candidate’s undergraduate degree.

You’ve likely obtained and honed several strengths through a combination of academic work, internships, jobs, on-campus activities, and community engagement. In preparation for the job search and interview process, ask yourself , “What experiences separate me from the pack?” In your resume, cover letters, and interviews, transform your experiences into marketable job skills:

Problem Solving 

Problem solving skills demonstrate to employers that you can think critically, logically, and creatively. Think of times where you’ve identified a problem, thought of a solution to this problem, and implemented it. If an example doesn’t come to mind right away, it’s simpler than you think: you’ve likely solved a multitude of problems in the classroom, during an internship, a part-time job, or maybe volunteer work.

Collaboration 

Teamwork is a vital skill that you’ll likely use everyday no matter what your career after graduation. Believe it or not, the ability to work well with others will take you far. Think of a successful group project. What was your role – did you lead? Were you encouraging and supportive? If there was a conflict, how did you compromise? Be prepared to explain why the group project was successful and how your role on the team positively affected the outcome.

Innovation 

Here’s where you’ll want to discuss contributions you’ve made to your internship, part-time job, or involvement in a student organization. Whether you’ve thought of a bright new idea or a great improvement upon an old idea, employers embrace grads with creative thinking skills. To highlight this ability, explain how you came up with an idea or improvement, how you put it into action, and the results (stick with positive examples).

Communication 

Employers want grads who can not only speak and write clearly, but also listen and engage in conversations effectively. Throughout college you’ve had presentations, essays, and group projects (maybe even an internship or part-time job). Draw upon these experiences to demonstrate how you’ve used communication skills to successfully solve a problem, collaborate, and express ideas and information to others.

With this knowledge in mind, you can make yourself a competitive job applicant! If you’re having trouble finding a job, don’t give up. And remember, keep an open mind as you’re searching – having tunnel vision for your dream career could hinder you from finding opportunities that are a great foundation to develop these valuable skills.

image credit: campuscalm.com

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