Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest Post: MU Senior with great internship

Allow me a moment for me to introduce myself. My name is Thomas McGlennen and I am currently a senior at Marquette University and will complete my double Mathematics and History majors in the spring. Now to the real reason everyone here is looking at this! Over this past summer I interned with Target for their Executive Team Lead Internship and I loved it! Interning at Target over the summer was a lot of fun as every day was completely different. I won't get into all the small details about the internship, but I thought as a fellow student it would be nice to have a first-hand account of my experiences there.

First off, the internship was not what I expected it to be at all. I was not given any busy work, didn't have to sort files, or go on coffee runs for the rest of the Team. Instead I was given keys to the store and real responsibility. The first few weeks there I spent learning the different work centers of the store, but right from the beginning I was on my feet and constantly being presented with new information. I worked with all the other ETLs (Executive Team Leads) in the building and they were continuously offering new ways to lead the team of about one hundred and fifty people and how to handle whatever may come throughout the day. What I found to be especially unique about my time as an intern was the constant feedback I was given. Every Friday I would meet with the STL (Store Team Lead or store manager) and he would give me feedback on what was going well as a strength and what were some opportunities I could work on the next week to improve upon. Target is all about developing its people and helping them grow to be better leaders, which to me was fantastic. I really learned that being a leader requires you to set the example as you are constantly in front of the rest of the Team. The fact that I was with the rest of Team and constantly interacting with people kept each day fun and interesting—no cubicle work here!

Now, it may seem fairly easy to set a daily agenda with a list of priorities for the Team to focus on, but as the day develops different situations and obstacles come up all the time. Trust me, if it can happen it will happen, which really adds an extra element of fun as each day is different from the next. One of the more eventful days during the summer happened when the city construction crews outside of the store managed to break a water main to the store. I spent a good part of the day driving around to the various construction crews around the area trying to figure out what had happened and why all the water to the store had been shut off. Occurrences like this really require one to be on their toes and able to use their critical thinking skills in order to approach and handle the random events of everyday.

My favorite aspect of my internship was the relationships I made with the other interns in the area and the friendships I made with the store Team. The people working at Target put a lot of effort into their jobs, but at the same time are great people to work with and the amount of respect I have for them is immense. They are a fantastic group of people which permeates throughout the entire company as everyone is more than willing to lend a hand. I hope this gives a little insight into my experience over this past summer. If any of you have any questions about my experience, or would like to learn more about the internships—or even ETL positions if you’re a graduating senior this December or next spring—available for this next summer do not hesitate to email me at: I am currently a Campus Liaison to Marquette for Target during this school year and will be taking an ETL position this summer after graduation. I hope to hear from some of you soon!

Thomas McGlennenMarquette Campus Liaison G196 ¤Target

Target Careers. See Yourself Here. Learn more<>

  • Target scores top ranking of 100 on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index – 2009

  • Target ranks 8th on Business Week’s “Best Places to Launch a Career” – 2009

  • Named “Top Socially Responsible Brand in Retail” – Alloy Media 2008

  • Target 11th, "America's Most Admired Companies" - Fortune Magazine 2008

Holiday Networking

With finals beginning to wrap up for yet another semester, most of you are preparing to head home for the holidays. This is always a fun experience, whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday. Most people I know have the one dreaded part of meeting with family and friends; the inevitable questioning. Everyone always gets it in some manner, the "Are you dating anyone?", "When are you guys getting married?", "When are you having children?", or any other variation.

Of course, the other fun question that comes about, especially in the college years, is "What are you doing after graduation?" You know it's going to come up at some point, so be prepared to meet the question head on and get something positive out of it. Let your family and friends know exactly what it is you are looking for in a position. Sure, they might not be in your field of interest, but it doesn't mean that they might not have other contacts you could use.

To be able to successfully tap into these contacts, you need to start with knowing what you are asking for. The more detailed you can be, the better off you are. You don't need to know exactly what job you want necessarily, but there is a big difference between "working as in a creative role with an ad agency" and "marketing". The second term is so broad that people that want to help simply won't know in which direction to guide you.

Don't be afraid to ask for help; your friends and family wouldn't be asking those questions if they didn't really care and want to help. Let them help you by telling them how they can. What better way to turn the questioning line into an experience with a positive outcome for you?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creative Ways to Get Noticed in a Competitive Job Market

The conventional ways of finding a job are becoming less effective in today’s competitive job market. Some of you may have heard of guerilla marketing tactics. The basic idea of guerilla marketing is finding creative, unconventional ways to reach a target population. The concept of guerilla marketing tactics can easily, yet thoughtfully, be applied to anyone searching for a job. I refer to these as guerrilla job hunting tactics.

The following are some ideas to give you a better understanding of what guerrilla job hunting tactics are, which will hopefully get your creative juices flowing.

How to get your resume noticed and land that interview:

1. Delivering your documents in a creative way.

One example is The Coffee Cup Caper tactic: a paper Starbucks cup, full-color Guerrilla Resume, and a Guerrilla Cover Letter (asking to meet for coffee), shipped in a box.

Other examples:
  • One Michigan man mailed cover letters with two aspirins taped atop each. His opening sentence: “Your customer service headaches are over!” This message resonated with employers, who called to interview him.

  • A Las Vegas man mailed a paperweight and cover letter to an out-of-state employer. The paperweight was a miniature of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. His cover letter began: “Not everyone who lives in Vegas wants to stay in Vegas,” playing off the famous slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” He was flown to an interview in California.

  • One aspiring assistant basketball coach mailed the right hand from a store mannequin to the coach he wanted to work for. Rolled up and gripped in the plastic hand was his cover letter, which began: “I can be your right hand man.” He was hired.

(Examples taken from the Three Job Search Q & A: Michigan Edition)

2. Following up in fashion:

Instead of using email, arrange your thank you note to be hand delivered by a courier- or have your friend pose as one.
This makes you stand out from the other applicants.

3. Give employers another reason to hire you!

After the interview, go home and think of another way to show the employers you are the person for the job.

You could create a written plan of action for the first 3 months on the job. This proves you can do the work, by describing how you would learn the job, build rapport with employees/customers, and contribute to the bottom line.
Note: Have the plan delivered by FedEx, not by email.

Yes I know, some of the guerrilla techniques do take time; But think, is the time worth landing the job? The answer is Yes.

As winter break is upon us, use the extra time to start thinking of creative ways to get noticed and become a warrior in this competitive job market!

Here is a link to a great article on the guerrilla job search:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trends Post #5: How to talk to employers and other people who might be able to help you get a job

... and other people who might be able to help you get a job

These tips and more can be found in our Networking Handout.

Questions to ask the contacts we discussed in yesterday's post include:

  • Do you know of any openings for a person with my skills?

  • Do you know of anyone else who might know of an opening?

  • Do you know someone who has a good network of professional contacts?

How to ask…

  • Jobs/internship availability:
    “I see that you work at XYZ company. I was wondering if you could let me know if any jobs/internships are available there for Fall/Spring/Summer?”

  • Advice about a career/company:
    “I’m interested in learning more about your company. Can you tell me more about what it is like to work there?”
    “I’m interested in pursuing XYZ career. Can you tell me more about what you do on a daily basis?”
    “I know this may not be your specialty but could you please give me the contact information for someone in your company that does XYZ?”

  • Getting the name of the person recruiting:
    “I’m applying for XYZ position at your company and was wondering if you could give me the name of the recruiter?” ALWAYS say “please” and “thank you”

Now what? Contact those referrals with something like this:

“Dr. Ron Doe suggested that I contact you regarding questions I had related to your career in civil engineering. Dr. Doe is a professor of mine at Marquette University. I am currently a sophomore in Civil Engineering and am preparing to apply for co-op positions. I was hoping you could tell me more about what you do on a day-to-day basis so I can learn more about possible careers in the field.”

For linkedin... one example...

Dear Name:
I am currently a [year in school] at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying [Major/Minor]. I’m graduating this May and looking to start my career in the (be specific) field and am looking to connect with professionals in [State] for networking purposes. I have past experiences with [list broad experiences]. Your [specific] background on Linkedin is very intriguing. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer some questions I have about the (specific) field or offer any advice to someone in my situation.
Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

Name (signature)
Marquette University, May 2010 Graduate[List college]

You can do that, right? Need help, practice, or a some motivation? That's why Career Services is here. Call or stop by for an appointment!

Now what are you waiting for?