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

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?


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.


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.


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).


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.

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Buying a Work Wardrobe on a Student Budget

InterviewingSU2Beginning your summer job search? Or perhaps you have several internship interviews lined up? Whether you’re a high school senior or soon to be college grad, it’s never too soon to have office-appropriate clothes on standby. Even trickier is assembling a work wardrobe on a limited budget, which may spark you to frantically ask, “What do I wear!?” There are many simple ways around it, so don’t fret. The following advice will help you throughout and after your college career.

Invest in Workplace Staples

You’ll always have a need for blazers, nice slacks or pants, nice blouses or collared shirts, skirts, and button-ups. You can dress them up with accessories and other accent pieces. Remember to always dress more formally for interviews, even if the office has a casual dress code. Flip-flops are a major no-no, but hiring managers report that it still happens. If you’re unsure about whether your outfit is appropriate, check out these great visuals.

Mix & Match

Instead of buying new everything, mix and match what you already own. Versatility is the key to saving money – a nice shirt has a completely different look when paired with denim jeans than it does with nice pants or a skirt. This strategy allows you to be a chameleon; you never know when you might have to go from casual to business or vice versa.


While the latest styles in store windows are tempting to splurge on, you can create similar looks with items from the sale section. Try to shop out of season when possible; for example, in the spring, you’ll find lots of sweaters and cardigans for the fall on clearance racks.

Resale and Consignment Stores

These hidden gems are great ways to find quality pieces without spending a fortune. Even if something isn’t your size, you can easily have it custom-tailored and it will still be less than retail. Brand name suits, often notorious for being on the higher end, are more affordable in price at resale stores.

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College Career Moves: 7 Awesome Paid Internships

InternshipThere’s no doubting the benefits of an internship – they provide you with the ever elusive real-world experience that amplifies your postgrad job search. Paid internships are a flexible way for you to gain valuable experience and earn cash to avoid the “broke college student” stereotype. While you may think they are plentiful only in STEM fields – think again. In addition to science, technology, engineering, and math - paid internships exist in business operations, marketing, sales, communications, art & design, hospitality, and even publishing. Your paid internship could also lead to a full-time job offer. In a 2013 student survey, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found 63.1 percent of paid interns received at least one job offer.

Even if you’re still a high school student, keep these internship opportunities in mind when it comes to deciding what you want to study in college. Your area of study may lead you to some of the following lucrative internship opportunities.

1. NIKE, Inc.
Nike offers internships in product design, product development, financial, e-commerce, communications, sports marketing, logistics, or human resources. No matter the department, all Nike interns receive a competitive salary, travel and living stipend, and employee perks and benefits like access to amazing athletic facilities and employee store discounts.

2. Disney Professional Internships 
Vision yourself working for the mouse? Distinct from the Disney College Program, Disney Professional Internships allows students to gain on-the-job professional experience at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Walt Disney Imagineering. Agricultural sciences, communication, education, engineering, events, finance, operations/guest relations are just a few examples from a range of different areas. All internships are paid and may include housing and relocation assistance. 

3. Penguin Group USA
This internationally renowned publishing power house offers 10-week paid internships in editorial, finance, graphic design, marketing, online marketing, production, publicity, sales, and operations. The February deadline for summer internships is the 28th, so if you’re interested in working for the publisher behind bestsellers like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, get your application in soon!

4. L’Oreal
There’s business behind beauty. A diverse range of majors benefit from L’Oreal’s internship program. Become an intern in research, operations, finance, information systems, marketing, sales, communications, digital, or human resources. Students can also gain a global perspective with an international internship.  Each intern also receives personal development monitoring and coaching.

5. Nordstrom
For trendsetters interested in the business of fashion, Nordstrom offers a Retail Management Internship, Headquarters Internship, Merchandising and Planning Internship, and an MBA Internship. Interns work on strategic projects and gain an inside understanding of what it takes to create the Nordstrom shopping experience, all while earning a competitive salary.

6. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC for short, offers winter, spring, and summer internships across the United States and internationally. PwC interns work directly with PwC clients on relevant assignments, receive coaching and training, and shadow PwC professionals. The International Intern Experience gives students a chance to work abroad to develop new skills.

7. Coca-Cola
One of the most recognized brands has internships for both undergrads and grads with aspirations to help “open happiness” across the world.  Coca-Cola offers strategic internships, seasonal internships, co-ops, summer jobs, and international opportunities.