Summer internships. Two words, but one phrase, that carry a lot of weight for college students of all age, including myself. Being a junior, there is the looming worry about landing that perfect internship that will set me up after graduation. There's all kinds of things you hear from upper-class men friends like, "OMG if you don't intern now you'll never get hired", "You need to intern at a huge company", or "This is your last chance to do something!" No wonder people second guess themselves and review their resume almost a dozen times looking for every comma that's out of place!
By no means am I a career guru. But, I have had plenty of experience working with professionals learning about what helps a candidate stand out in an application pool. The biggest take away is that language is key. Rarely will you get a chance to make your first impression in person, and so it is up to a carefully crafted cover letter, and reviewed resume, to get your foot in the door and your seat to that dream desk.
The resume is the heart of any application. This is the document that communicates to a reader what skills and experience you carry. Everyone will always have different resume advice, but themes I have found in conversations with professionals is that clarity, concession, and coherence is the key to a strong resume. Below are some tips that can help elevate your resume to a strong piece that ignites a conversation.
Using Strong Verbs: "Utilize" the sin of resume words! One of my Writing & Rhetoric Professors stresses the point that verbs drive the English language, and people love to read about people and places. These have become the tenets of my professional writing knowledge. Here is an example from my resume:
Here is a link to a great PDF: http://career.opcd.wfu.edu/files/2011/05/Action-Verbs-for-Resumes.pdf
Finding Relevant Experience: "What am I gonna do? I don't have any previous internship or job experience?!" I hear this one a lot, and I tell all my friends the same, "You may not have had an internship before, but what are you doing right now that is relevant?" As college students, we honestly have a surplus of time. Honestly, we are not ALWAYS that stressed. However, if you are that stressed, than you probably are on the right track. I'll explain why in a bit. Being part of clubs, sports, on-campus jobs, Greek life, etc. there are dozens of leadership positions that exists on our campuses that help cultivate your leadership skills. For example, being President of an animal shelter volunteer club means you clearly manage logistics, build relationships, manage accounts, etc. See what I mean? You often do things for fun that are giving you practical skills that could contribute to whatever company and team you intern with. Sit down and find what you do well. Once you have this down, start thinking about what you do, and don't say you "utilize" anything!
Make it Pop: For most people who have never written a resume, I notice that they end up getting an online template, or they use a basic one from their school's career office. This is fine, but you have to understand that your resume has to stand out in a sea of many. Adding a pop of color, I literally mean like on line, like honestly the most SUBTLE details, can make your resume feel fresh to someone who has gone through hundreds in one day. Using programs like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign offer a great way of working with both your font and aesthetics. A monogram never hurt anybody right?
White Space is Good Space: My last bit of advice is to let your resume breath. Do not feel like you have to get your whole life down on this 1 sheet of paper. It is both impossible and unnecessary, that is why cover letters exist. Your resume should look polished and precise. This means that having smaller margins is a good thing, and having enough space between sections is appreciated. You want your resume to look like a relaxed piece of work, instead of an investigation of who you are.
Cover letters are somewhat confusing, but I will try to explain it best I can. A good cover letter compliments your resume. It should add details and experiences that were not included on your resume, and it should invite the reader to refer back to your resume too. Despite what you may initially think, a cover letter should be brief, thoughtful, and memorable. Here is what I recommend for a cover letter.
Your First Line is Paramount: "Hi my name is...." if your cover letter starts with these 4 words, expect to be pushed aside. This is perhaps the worst way of starting off a cover letter! Why? Because your reader already knows this! A few other mistakes include "I go to X College", "I major in X" or "I am a X year." Once again, these are things your reader knows. Your first line is where you have to be direct and show that you are here to work hard, and work smart. A safe first line is, "I am writing to show my interest in X position." Short, sweet, and to the point.
Formatting: A good cover letter is seamless in style with your resume. This means that the font, margins, and spacing should be similar to each other. The top of your cover letter should often be copied directly from your resume.
End on a High Note: Before you end your resume make sure to thank the reader for their time! This may seem like a minuscule detail, but people really do forget to thank the person who gave them the time of day. I personally think that this shows how you are someone considerate and thoughtful, and not simply there for the company's name. Also make sure to include a line the invites the reader to contact you for work samples, more questions, etc. Including a line like this helps keep the conversation open, instead of done once the paper is put down.
Also, make sure you also have a great mentor who doesn't mind when you text her 3 times in a row asking for the best way of saying "I did this"! Whether it's your friend, professor, coach, etc. get as many eyes on your documents!
I start off every new year with a list of goals I have set, but honestly who doesn't? It sounds cliche, but I do believe that one can speak their dreams into existence. That was definitely the case in 2017 for me. It was a year that begun with the declaration of war on "fake news" and the truth, but it was a year where groups sought to present their truth. I am proud to share that it in 2017 I began my resistance, and it is something I plan to build upon in 2018. In 2017, I lived up to my motto of, "I Will do great things" because I proved to myself that I truly had potential to make my mark.
My year began a bit turbulent, with personal doubt and fatigue creating bumps everywhere. At one point, I did not even want to apply to internships anywhere because I was sure I wouldn't get anything. But, that all changed when my Posse CPM let me know about a brand new company partner. This was my literal golden ticket into entertainment, an industry that I swore I could only dream of being in. While this was a turning point, the larger world was facing more serious issues. #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and the fight of Dreamers are news that I would follow and that humbled me while I was abroad. I witnessed how the world began to understand that the personal is political. In 2017, I saw the tenacity of the human spirit. Whether it was on the news, or hearing about my parents working longer hours at their company to ensure that I could afford that trip to Paris, I saw resilience in all its forms.
This year truly did humble me, and I plan on entering 2018 building upon this sense of resilience that I have witnessed from the people around me, and that I have begun to develop. I am also entering the new year with a newfound sense of resistance. I cannot remain silent when people and protests around are occurring all in the name of justice and equity. I can support a friend's Go Fund Me page because I know how invaluable going abroad was for me. I can retweet a link for a movement I believe in. I can listen someone and offer them merit and the affirmation they need.
My professors, my parents, my friends all consider me a writer. Thus, my protest will be on the page. I will stand up for what I believe in. I will advocate for myself and others when I must. I will prove to myself that in 2018 I can continue to succeed and grow, while helping those around me reach their own truths of who they want to be.
I would much rather be on the beach than in the snow, sipping on iced tea instead of egg nog, and I love unwrapping fresh tamales with my grandma.
Winter break is one of my favorite times to come home because of the back-to-back holidays that center around the family. For the past 3 years, I have sacrificed important moments like Thanksgiving and birthdays all for the chance to better myself and see a bigger world than the fishbowl that is San Fernando, CA. Of course, I love where I live. I truly would not want to live anywhere else. Upstate NY's pace is too slow for me, NYC too dense, and while I love the UK, my home is 2o minutes away from Hollywood and 40 minutes away from Malibu Beach and Rodeo Drive. Throughout my breaks, family friends and people I meet all say something similar, "Oh wow you travel so much! Congratulations!" At first, I did not understand why people kept saying this. But, as I see more of the world, and subsequently learn more about it, I understand what they mean. They congratulate me for going out and doing something.
While traveling is amazing, it can also be very taxing. When I come back home I catch myself slipping in my speech. Friends will ask me how are things at HWS and I'll say, "Oh things back home are great." Really, Geneva has been my home. The same thing happens when people ask me about Norwich and I'll say, "Oh I loved living there!" Thus, I'm caught with a new disposition. I consider my myself to have a nomadic spirit now. In a sense, I'm a global citizen. I have met people from all over the world, and more importantly, I have heard narratives unlike my own.
While humility is important, it's also important to recognize just how much you have done. Yet, I know that I have not done it alone. My parents of course play a huge role in helping me get into the position where I am. Whether it's been buying me a suit for my first day internship in entertainment, getting me my first car, or sending me money when I really wanted a Salsa Rico quesadilla, its mom and pops that got me covered. It's also my family and friends that have gotten me here, by enduring my crass and fantastic banter.
I consider myself a visitor when I'm at home for winter break, but that is not such a bad thing. Knowing that my time is limited prompts me to see it all and see as many people as I can. Whether it's my friend Adriana and Rachel calling me 20 minutes before a movie, by the way The Greatest Showman was good, not great, but good, my friend Alma making the trip down to see me from Palmdale, or even my Posse mates Saoirse and Carlos always down for the #GoodTimes, whipping around LA is a lot more fun when you know you have to go soon.
I've even tried to get my sisters to join my trips more, because now that the youngest has started college I think she understands the longing for family I have developed. Four weeks in SoCal flies by, and hopefully I make it count as much as I can.
I told my British flatmates that one of the first things I had to do once I got back into America was drive. They all shared their fears for witnessing me behind the wheel, and for good reason. You can ask my friends and they will all exaggerate that I'm not focused, that I sing too much, or that I cut my turns too close. But, when you have an 8 hour jet lag, you take your time a little bit more.
Yesterday, I decided to go full on and hit up a not-so-nearby mall. This meant that I would get back onto the freeway. For my UK and EU friends here is a good example of what I mean:
Gorgeous isn't it?! Hell no it's not! I cannot describe the amount of times my heart skipped a bit as I bobbed and weaved at 80 mph as I narrowly tried to get my exit. My sisters sat in silence as they simply cried internally, or prayed, that we would make it. To be fair, they were exaggerating a lot. I had my Paddington bear keychain with me, and so I felt the spirit of her Majesty guide me through.
Once we got to the mall, I was shocked by seeing how out of tune I was with things. Instead of saying line I said, "Where does the queue look better?" I would even go to the wrong side of the line, I approached it from the left instead of the right. When it came to paying, cashiers would look at me like I was stupid for asking, "Do you accept contactless?" Excuse me but the Brits originated the language, so I am in the right.
I'm still tired and ahead the rest of the world, like last night I slept at 8 PM and awoke at 5 AM. This break is turning out to start out a bit rough, but let's hope that I don't forget the time difference in submitting my last summative!
Please follow along as my extra self announces to the world how I am so cultured, and how different the USA and UK are. Cheers if you read this far xo.
Words cannot even begin to describe the emotions I have felt in the last 24 hours. Three months may seem like a long time, but I woke up today feeling like I had just landed in the UK yesterday. By no means did I do it all, yet I would say I got a lot done. The most important thing I did was learn to love Norwich.
I texted my mom telling her, "I am so sad to go. But I feel done. I am happy with what I got done while I was here." That is the most important point. I was here. I went from CA to NY 3 years ago, never having left the state, and I truly made Norwich my third home. Every day was something new and it was exciting. The people I met here were the greatest part of this experience hands down. I met new friends, and I feel like I formed lifelong friendships. I joked that I came here to be an American Icon. I think I sure did come close.
Last night, it was my last time at the LCR, UEA's on campus club. It was an end of term Christmas party where everyone went all out to celebrate the end of school. However, for myself and dozens of other erasmus students, it was our bittersweet goodbye to UEA and all those we met here. I really did try to enjoy my night and dance and drink, but seeing a lot of the friends I made for the last time took priority. Granted, nearly everyone at the LCR was pissed, and I saw a few people chunder in line for the bathroom, but it was this aura of adolescence, grime, and camaraderie that made UEA such a special place to me. I will forever gag at the idea of spilling as licking, tossing VKs, and screaming, "Oi Oi!", but I am gonna miss everything else.
The Brits I met here were the defining factor in making my semester at UEA one of the greatest times of my life. From the Nelson Court kitchen, to the always packed Colman House, and my cozy (slightly grimy) home of Norfolk terrace, I got a good view of a lot UEA had to offer. Honestly, living with freshers was also the most amazing thing I could have done. My flatmates in particular, made me always feel so at home and so important to them. It was endearing, and honestly heartbreaking, as I had to start saying goodbye to them in the last few weeks. My floor was my home, and my friends here became family. Madi's flat, Hannah's flat, and all the people I met along the way were so great to us. I cannot be more thankful for having been part of their first semester in college.
Whether it was me copying, and failing, at a British accent saying, "Oh my Gad!" to learning how to properly queue for the bus, there are so many things from being here that I will take back with me.
I could spend all day writing down the people who made my time here amazing, but that wouldn't do justice to the depth and effect they really had on me. Even though I'm a junior in college, I still grew so much alongside the freshers I met. I was there for many of their firsts, just like they witnessed many of my firsts in a new national context. To say I'll miss them is an understatement, I loved my friends here so much.
I hate saying goodbye, I vow that this is only a see you later to Norwich and the gems I'm leaving behind. To my flat, thank you for loving this American slag. To my Hannah and Madi's flats, thanks for always being excited when the Americans showed up to pre. To my fellow international friends I made, thank you for always tagging along for the good times. To all my British friends, cheers on making this the greatest 3 months ever.