As a member of a CI Global Explorer Program you’ll have the opportunity to attend a number of career-focused, employability enhancing seminars alongside your internship. This series of blog posts aims to give you an insight into those workshops.
Seminars are the same across all host locations although the order of events and guest speakers may vary.
You’re likely to be enrolled on a CI program for several reasons. These may include enhancing your resume, making new friends, building your business network or exploring a new city. Almost all of you will agree that you’re here to further your careers.
To enhance this experience and ensure you leave us a more well-rounded, intelligent, employable individual, we have created a curriculum aimed at supplementing your internship and guiding you through your eight week-program. The syllabus is split into two categories:
The Career Navigator Series (CNS), whose purpose is to empower you take your first few career steps, and those that follow, with agility and confidence.
The Future Leaders Series, which provides a platform for you to distinguish yourself from the inexperienced and unproven graduate masses, take your education from the classroom to the boardroom and add compelling evidence to your resume.
In the following eight weeks, I will summarize CI’s program events in New York for you and will outline what you can take away from them. Below, you can find a table of contents with a short description of each event. Click on the link to jump to the relevant blog post.
FLS Unit 1: People & Productivity: Apply motivational theory, to find out what drives you
FLS Unit 2: Company Analysis: Describe your company’s mission
FLS Unit 3: Market Analysis: Calculate the size of your company’s market
FLS Unit 4: Money Matters I: Create a balance sheet of your personal income and expenses
FLS Unit 5: Money Matters II: Discuss bonds and equities to get an insight into financial markets
FLS Unit 6: Career Planning: Taking what you’ve learnt about yourself, define your career goals
FLS Unit 7: Final Project Drop-in: Bring all of your work together for an end-of-program presentation
CNS Unit 1: Business Psychology I: Sports Psychologist Jen Croneberger inspires us to desire more
CNS Unit 2: Business Psychology II: Jen Croneberger explains her take on Courage and Confidence
CNS Unit 3: Acing the Interview: In pairs, we conduct mock interviews to practice for real life
CNS Unit 4: Graduate Panel Q&A: Former CI interns share their stories with you
CNS Unit 5: Executive Panel Q&A: Experienced professionals give an insight into the corporate world
CNS Unit 6: CV Surgery: We take you through the basics of what makes a great CV and see where yours can be improved
CNS Unit 7: CV Drop-in: A one-on-one session designed to make your resume the best it can be
CNS Unit 8: Host Company Mixer: Invite your supervisors to say thank you for the last eight weeks
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM ‘PEOPLE & PRODUCTIVITY’
According to Mckinsey & Company, as many as 50% of employers think that young jobseekers don’t have the required skills to succeed in the workplace. As a matter of fact, we are witnessing a situation that McKinsey & Company calls the twin crises of the millennial generation: a shortage of jobs alongside a shortage of skills, a conundrum that results, among other things, in high youth unemployment.
MCCLELLAND’S MOTIVATIONAL THEORY
The first Future Leaders Series event is simply called ‘People and Productivity’. If I had to summarize the event in one phrase, I would pose a question: What drives you? To answer this, we applied David McClelland’s Motivational Theory, also known as the Three Needs Theory. McClelland came up with it in 1961 and published the theory in his book “The Achieving Society”. His standpoint is that every person has one dominant need that defines your behavior in the workplace. Here are the three possible needs explained:
A HIGH NEED FOR ACHIEVEMENT
People with achievement as their dominant need are uncomfortable until a task is finished. They set high goals to challenge themselves and work hard to achieve them. For this, they will need regular feedback. They can either work by themselves or in a team.
A HIGH NEED FOR AFFILIATION
People driven by affiliation are very focused on the social side of business. They will prioritize good relationships over their own appraisal and they prefer consensus over contention. People who have a high need for affiliation love to work in teams and prefer to be praised in private rather than in public.
A HIGH NEED FOR POWER
Power players like to control and influence others. There are two types of people driven by power: institutional and personal. Institutional-power types like to motivate others in order to further the interests of everyone, power-personal types like to control others for their own interests. What both groups have in common is their enjoyment of competition and winning, plus upholding a high status and being publicly recognized.
ACHIEVEMENT, POWER OR AFFILIATION?
As you might have noticed, these types differ greatly from each other and many people have a few traits that could fit into several categories. However, after taking our survey, all of our interns were able to draw a graph that clearly showed them which type they belong to. There was one group bigger than the rest: Achievement. “That’s perfectly normal. Most graduates start out as an achievement type and the longer they are part of the workforce, their score may gradually start shifting to either affiliation or power”, says Misha, our local seminar coach and part of the CI Student Experience Team.
APPLICATION IN THE WORKPLACE
In 2002, Adrian M. Harrell published a paper correlating McClelland’s Motivational Theory with work performance of CPA professionals. His findings help us understand why some people are very satisfied in a position that others dislike. For example, Harrell found that for partners and managers at the firm, a high need for affiliation had a negative effect on their job satisfaction. Junior-level audit specialists who participated tended to have a high need for achievement in context with long hours devoted to work. This suggests that people in positions of power are more satisfied with their position if they leave their need for affiliation at the door. Entry-level employees are focused on achievement and haven’t found themselves in either the power group or the affiliation group yet.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM ‘PEOPLE & PRODUCTIVITY’
Once you have found your dominant need, you can start applying it in the business world. Look around you and see what drives your colleagues and how you can influence their needs for the good of the business.
For example, you might want to praise a colleague with a high need for Achievement in front of everybody else to let them know what a great job they’re doing. If they are an Affiliation type, however, aim at doing this in private or they might be embarrassed.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM BUSINESS PSYCHOLOGY I
“Character means picking up trash even if it’s not yours”, says Jen Croneberger, Business Coach, Tedx speaker and President of JLynne Consulting Group, LLC. We invited Jen to speak at our first Career Navigator Series event here in New York, also known as Business Psychology I. Jen’s insights into business psychology are simple, yet effective and she has been imparting wisdom on our interns for several years.
Jen Croneberger has been interviewed by Channel 6 Action News several times and published her first book in 2012, “These five words are mine”. She has a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology and has consulted professional athletes. Furthermore, she appeared as a speaker at Tedx talks in 2013 and 2014 on several occasions. Jen has been an inspirational speaker for years. Besides having been recruited to speak for major companies like Macy’s and Century21, Jen also served as a coach for MTV’s show ‘MADE’ in 2007. She spoke at both Business Psychology sessions for CI in New York.
JENS’S 5 C’S OF LEADERSHIP
Jen Croneberger developed a concept called the ‘5 C’s of Leadership: Effectiveness from the inside out’. The title says it all: You need to get to know yourself from the inside, before you can become an effective leader. In the first of her two-part series, Jen focused on Character, Communication and Choice.
DEFINE YOUR CHARACTER
The first C is character. “Character is who you are when nobody’s watching you and when everybody’s watching you”, says Croneberger. She also invites our interns to ask themselves: Who am I? And more importantly, what am I? The most important lesson of this question: Don’t answer with your name or your occupation. Truly think about what you really are and find a clear answer. This will help you with finding your identity in a business world.
FOCUS ON GOOD COMMUNICATION
Jen’s second C is communication. The way we communicate with each other vastly defines the result of our work. The Tedx speaker demonstrated this by letting one of our interns sit at a table, facing the wall, paper and pencil in front of her. Another one was given the task of telling her what to draw. However, she was only allowed to let her know which direction she could take with the pencil, there was no other information given. In the end, we found out what should have been drawn: a simple heart. The drawing on the paper didn’t resemble this in the tiniest bit. “What do we learn from this?”, Jen asked. We all started listing the elements of communication that had been missing during this encounter, such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and obviously the connotation of a heart shape that is in everybody’s mind. But since we have all these elements when talking in person, we take them for granted. This is one of the reasons why so many text messages, e-mails and memos come across in a different way than anticipated by the sender.
BAD MOMENTS, NOT BAD DAYS
Lastly, Jen Croneberger talks about choice, her third C. There are things within our control, while some are out of our reach. But it is our choice how we handle them. When Jen went to check out at a grocery store one day, the woman in front of her dropped her bag and spilled her possessions all over the floor. As Jen kneeled down to help the woman pick up her belongings, said woman let out a deep sigh and said: “It’s a Monday.” Jen’s reply? “Yes, yesterday was Sunday, and tomorrow is Tuesday!” Moral of the story: There are no bad days, just bad moments. Don’t let the bad moments define your entire day. Another thing that relates to this is failure. Jen posed this question to us: Is failure good or bad? Her take on ‘failure’ is this: “When I walk, and I fall, I am five feet and eleven inches closer to where I want to be.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM BUSINESS PSYCHOLOGY I
As I watched everybody leaving the conference room, I could see the effects of Jen’s talk in many faces. She provokes thinking. Define yourself first to be able to make a mark in this competitive business world and don’t be afraid to fail once in a while. It will only take you closer to where you want to be.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM BUSINESS PSYCHOLOGY II
It’s the return of Jen Croneberger, our inspirational speaker for Business Psychology II. In Week Two of our New York program, Jen outlined her first 3 C’s of Leadership, leaving the 2 remaining ones for this week. As a small recap, the first 3 were Character, Communication and Choice. This week, we will continue with Courage and Confidence.
BE COURAGEOUS: FACE YOUR PROBLEMS
We started out the night with Croneberger’s fourth C of Leadership, Courage. Jen’s interpretation of courage relates to being vulnerable. Courage means being brave enough to admit your fears and to actually tackle them on a daily basis, says Croneberger. She asks our interns to name one thing that scares them right now. One intern raises her hand: “Conflict”, she says, “I try to avoid it”. The business coach has a clear response to that. “Bring courage to every conflict”, says Jen. By shying away from confrontation, you might end up blowing a small issue out of proportion, hence turning it into a real problem. Instead, be courageous enough to address an issue in a clear, concise way. But Jen Croneberger has yet another message: Enter every room with your best self. This is Jen Croneberger’s L.I.G.H.T. principle. Love, Integrity, Gratitude, Honor, Truth.
HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF
Finally, Jen’s 5th C is Confidence. She introduces it with a saying. “If the why is strong enough, the how doesn’t matter”. This powerful statement can be applied to professional life as well as your personal life. Jen’s example regards her running career. The Sports Psychologist has a bucket list with 127 bullet points. One of them: Run a 5K. “I have no idea why I wrote that on there, I used to be a girl who couldn’t run a single mile”, she said. But she did run that 5K and proceeded to finish more than 60 more races, including a half marathon, to this day. If the WHY is strong enough, the HOW doesn’t matter. Be confident in yourself and don’t be afraid to showcase your confidence to others. Lastly, Jen gave her listeners one minute to write down their strengths on a sheet of paper, a rather simple task. However, it turned out to be harder than anticipated, because we tend to focus much more on our weaknesses than on our strengths. One of Croneberger’s clients, a professional athlete, once asked her for advice on how to motivate himself before every game. She made him do the same thing, writing down his strengths. This sheet of paper is now laminated and he looks at it before every game.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM BUSINESS PSYCHOLOGY II
Tackle your problems head-on and work on improving the situation. Confront people when you’d like to tackle an issue. Bring everything you have to the table, especially in professional settings. Be confident in yourself and make yourself truly aware of all your strengths, every single day.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM 'COMPANY & MARKET ANALYSIS'
On Thursday in Week Three, we hosted two Future Leaders Series seminars back-to-back: Company Analysis and Market Analysis.
WHY DO WE DO A COMPANY & MARKET ANALYSIS?
As an intern, analyzing your company and the market they find themselves in is crucial to your performance in the workplace. But what does it entail? It’s very simple.
Josh, CI’s Head of Admissions and local coach for this seminar, asked our interns to jot down the hard facts about their company, including the number of employees and their geographical reach. After that, our interns were asked to write down one sentence about their company’s mission, following a certain structure.
ADD SENTENCE STRUCTURE
For a magazine, this could be, “my company provides informative articles to a wide audience and makes money by selling ad space to prospective clients.”
This simple description helps you as an intern to understand your company’s bigger goals.
As I outline in my post ‘Making a lasting impression’, looking at the bigger picture will help you understand why you are given the tasks that you’re working on right now, even if they aren’t shiny and polished, but seem rather bland and trivial.
Every business must make money to be able to pay its employees, but if you’re just a small fish in the pond, it is easy to forget looking at the bigger picture. Depending on the size of your host company, there are so many ties that connect each step to the next one.
CALCULATE YOUR COMPANY’S MARKET SIZE
Next, we asked interns to calculate the size of their company’s potential market. For this, you need three numbers; the number of potential clients, the number of transactions those clients make to your company annually and the size of each transaction.
By multiplying these three numbers, you have a rough estimate of the market size your company is ready to hit or is already taking their fair share of.
As a follow-up, we asked our audience to evaluate how successfully their companies make use of their respective markets. Even though this task seems like juggling around a lot of numbers, it has a direct effect on each move that is made within your company and how they reach out to their clients.
Getting a grasp of their success makes it easier for you to understand their goals and how and why they’d like to attain them.
SWOT ANALYSIS: A PROVEN CLASSIC
Next, our interns had a go at SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) that a company faces everyday.
Strengths and Weaknesses are considered internal, meaning that they exist within the company. An example for a strength could be a strong client base: A weakness could be a small team.
A SWOT Analysis looks like a fourfold table, connecting strengths and weaknesses to opportunities and threats. Opportunities and Threats come from the outside, they are factors that influence a company’s success from within their market or other markets. They are often related to a firm’s competitors.
In the table, there are several elements to think about: What are your company’s weaknesses that could turn into opportunities? A small team as a weakness means that a company has been expanding and hasn’t hired more employees yet.
This is a clear opportunity for hiring. Which of its strengths that are likely to become threats? A common strength-turned-threat is a company that is so established that it becomes stuck in their ways and will likely be overshadowed by a dynamic start-up that isn’t afraid to make rapid changes to their business model and marketing strategies.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Towards the end of Thursday’s event, Local Coach Josh invited the audience to keep on thinking about the Company and Market Analysis.
“You should do this kind of analysis for every company that invites you to interview”, Josh advised interns. When your interviewer asks you about your knowledge of the company, they will be beyond impressed when you present your analysis of the business and their market environment. Nevertheless, a SWOT analysis can be conducted for any company at any point of time. Especially as an intern, it is important to bring your wider understanding of business opportunities and marketing strategies to your superiors’ attention.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM ‘COMPANY & MARKET ANALYSIS’
Analyzing your company and the market they operate in will help you understand the bigger picture. Each employee contributes to a company’s success every day, and you as an intern are no exception to that. Also consider conducting a SWOT analysis for every company that invites you to interview.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM FLS UNIT 4: MONEY MATTERS
On Thursday in Week 5, we challenged interns to think about finance. Money Matters is all about your personal balance sheet, outlining your own income and expenses.
By making calculated estimations, we raise awareness towards the fact that money really does matter. You need money to pay for rent and food. A company needs to make money to pay its employees.
YOUR PERSONAL BREAKEVEN POINT
In order to estimate how long it will take our interns to see a return on investment, we asked them to build a balance sheet with all their expenses and incomes.
Assuming that the average graduate starting salary is $36,000 and using simple multiplication and division, we then calculated the number of years it will take for them to get to their personal breakeven point after college.
Some of our interns were shocked at the number of years it will take them to see a return on their investment. Others managed not to pile up too much debt during their college years, giving them a smaller target to walk away debt-free.
NON-DISCRETIONARY VS DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
According to the Federal Reserve, college students in the US spend an average of $25,000 a year on studying, $7,500 of which are discretionary. Since these numbers sound abstract, let’s break it down.
Non-discretionary spending is the money you spend first and foremost on your tuition, but also includes your rent and college books. For most students, this is a fixed number that is not under their control.
Discretionary spending is harder to determine, since it is characterized by expenses that are at your own discretion. This includes food, your car, clothing, cosmetics, your phone and your contracts for Wi-Fi or TV. Determining these numbers isn’t easy, but making yourself aware of where your money goes every month is essential.
On the other side of the balance sheet is your income, divided by personal income, investments, and borrowing. In other words, the debt that you stack up every year by going to college.
When we calculated our final numbers, we subtracted income from expenses and multiplied the result by the number of years our interns go to college. This is the final debt you’re going to have once you graduate from university. Based on the average entry salary, we then figured out how long it’ll take our interns to see a return on investment in their education.
MONEY MATTERS: IT GETS COMPLICATED
Believe it or not, this was the easy part of Thursday’s seminar. The next step was to estimate our interns’ host companies’ expenditure. If a company’s numbers aren’t public, this is where estimations need to be made.
An exercise like this raises financial awareness by helping us see how much money a company makes annually and how they manage their budget.
You might think that you don’t have to consider your company’s revenue yet. And you’re right, you probably won’t be asked to build a commercial balance sheet for your company during an eight-week internship.
However, making yourself aware of the bigger picture helps you understand the decisions your superiors make every day. There might have been budget cuts affecting salaries, or maybe your managers decided to spend more money on marketing all of a sudden. There is a reason for each of these decisions. Looking behind the curtain allows us to reflect on these reasons.
When it comes to a company’s expenditure, there are three main factors to consider: employees and their salaries, infrastructure, meaning office space and technology, and overhead expenses like insurance and taxes.
Our interns did their best to estimate their companies’ spending and income. We found that while many companies bring in a big revenue, they spend a large chunk of that to get there in the first place.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM MONEY MATTERS
Money really does matter. Calculating your personal income and expenses as well as building a commercial balance sheet will raise your awareness towards finances and how they contribute to decisions being made in- and outside the office.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM 'ACING THE INTERVIEW'
Thursday in week 4 brought mock interviews. Being invited to an interview means that your CV has already made a lasting impression on the recruiter or HR manager. Now it’s time to build on that with your communication skills in person. Edith Cooper, HR Chief for Goldman Sachs, calls this “bringing your resume to life”.
‘TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF’
The most commonly asked interview question in the world is ‘tell me about yourself’.
Even though it sounds rather simple, this question can be intimidating. Your answer could range anywhere from stating your college degree and aspirations to telling your interviewer about the latest concert you’ve been to and leisure activities. It is important to truly prepare yourself for this question.
“The best way to answer this question is in a past-present-future format”, said Josh, General Manager and local coach for ‘Acing the Interview’.
This means that you can prepare an elevator pitch with the following content.
Your past is your college degree and any relevant job experiences, your present is what you’re doing right now and your future are your aspirations, the goals you would like to attain within the next five years.
By sticking to this format, you’ll be able to give a clear, concise answer and avoid stuttering or rambling about irrelevant topics.
Especially with your past experience, make your message as clear as possible. According to Cooper, this will demonstrate that you have the skills, judgment and drive to the job.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?
The classic questions about your greatest strengths and weaknesses have been asked and replied to so many times that it is hard to find an original answer by now.
Naturally, it is way easier to outline your strengths, since you’ve been preparing for that. Analyzing your own greatest weakness is a different story.
It would be counterproductive to reply with something along the lines of: “I’m too much of a perfectionist”, or “I work too hard”. Instead, try to really identify your own weakness, but also describe to your interviewer how you’re planning to overcome it.
For example, if your greatest weakness is avoiding attention to detail, talk about how you’ve started to double-check every task that you’ve been given and that you’re more aware of the importance of details.
Your interviewer knows that you are a human and nobody’s perfect, so it’s okay – and could maybe even work in your favor - if you have a certain weakness that you’re working to overcome.
PRACTICE TIME: MOCK INTERVIEWS
Next, we conducted mock interviews to practice for the real-life scenario.
To add an extra ounce of pressure, we put two chairs in the middle of the room and formed a circle around them with the rest of the chairs.
Our interviewer was Zakhir, intern in Banking and Finance, our interviewee Mike, both interns in Technology and Engineering here in New York City. The set-up: Mike was invited to interview for a Programmer’s position, Zakhir impersonated an HR manager at the company.
When asked about his strengths, our interviewee started to get nervous: “I’m good with computers”, was his answer.
After the interview, we evaluated. “It is always best to make your answer as specific as possible. If you’d like to work as a programmer, being good with computers is a given. State your exact programming skills and the work experience you have in this industry so far”, said Josh.
Afterwards, we called Nadia and Katie to the stage; both intern at the same marketing company here in New York. To demonstrate how different an interview can go if you’re truly prepared, Katie pretended to interview for her current host company.
When asked what she knows about the company, her answer was clear, detailed and truly showed how informed she is about her company’s goals and place in the market.
Overall, their interview had great flow and it was obvious that both have a great passion for their industry.
HOW TO ACE ANY INTERVIEW
Every interview is different. You might be asked out to lunch by your potential employer or they will conduct a group interview, where you’ll end up sitting in a conference room with 10 more interviewees, all of you trying to make a good impression.
No matter the situation, there are a few proven tips you can always stick to.
Make sure to print out your resume five times. You never know how many people might interview you and it can come across as unprepared if you only show up with one copy of your CV, resulting in your interviewers having to hand it around to get a glance at it.
Dress to impress. Even though it depends on the kind of position you’re interviewing for, you’ll almost never be overdressed. Even if your interviewer is dressed super casual, dressing in business attire will show the effort you’ve made for this interview.
Don’t let tough questions throw you off. Unfortunately, not all interviews are a walk in the park. Sometimes, you’ll be asked tough questions for the sole purpose of testing your reaction to a stressful situation. This is the time to shine. If you need a moment to think about it, say so, but try not to show that you’re a nervous wreck by now.
Actively ask questions. An interview is never a one-way street, it is always a way for you to get to know the company and the people you might be working with in the future. Furthermore, asking targeted questions proves that you’ve done your research beforehand and you’ve been listening to every word your interviewer said. Hence, you’re truly passionate about landing a position with them.
After the interview, make sure to follow-up with a thank-you e-mail. If your interviewer is on LinkedIn, connect with them there as well. By reaching out to your interviewer after meeting with them, you are already setting yourself apart from a number of people who haven’t done so. These little things might determine if you’ll get the position or not.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM ‘ACING THE INTERVIEW’
Be prepared, be confident and show your passion for the company. Prepare an elevator pitch that you can use to answer open-end questions. Dress accordingly, bring several copies of your resume and ask targeted questions. Do show that you aren’t perfect, but demonstrate your willingness to work on any weaknesses you might have. Bring your SWOT analysis for extra bonus points. Follow up after the interview to say thank you. Happy Interviewing!
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE GRADUATE PANEL
On Tuesday in Week Five, it was time for one of our most anticipated seminars: the Graduate Q&A Panel, featuring young professionals who have already managed to make a name for themselves in their respective companies. Three of four panelists are CI alumni.
This was the chance to learn from them, find out how they secured their positions and how they navigated the early steps in their careers. In this post, I will outline the key lessons our graduates gave our interns.
Veronika Kelemen is an Account Executive at Wunderman and works mainly on the USTA account. However, her experience also includes the accounts of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks and Vodafone. She liaises between clients and creative teams to deliver TV, print and digital advertising strategies.
Jessica McBride is a Digital Media Coordinator at The Durst Organization. She manages social media profiles and SEO campaigns, using comparative analytics to refine our digital practices over time.
Mihir Deshpande is an Analyst for a Venture Capital and Private Equity firm. His company specializes in assessing startups, evaluating their worth and recommending investments.
Sebastian Tanner is an Event Director at TechDay HQ, a company specializing in events for start-ups. Until today, TechDay HQ has hosted over 50,000 people at their events in New York, Los Angeles and London. Sebastian heads up strategic partnerships with universities, consulates, investors and influencers.
HOW TO TURN AN INTERNSHIP INTO A JOB
Right out of the gate, Joanna, currently interning at a Marketing Company here in New York, asked one of the most burning questions of anyone who is trying to enter the job market: “How did you make the jump from being an intern to securing a full-time position?” Jessica answered the question simply, with one of her most important tips: “Make sure everybody knows your face and your name. When I interned, I started talking to people in all different departments to see where my career could take me. Networking is key.”
What she meant by that: Don’t let your current status as an intern fool you into thinking you won’t be noticed. Instead, put yourself out there, introduce yourself to influential people inside and outside your company and make a good impression with all of them.
However, Jessica also remembers the daily struggle of being an intern: “When I first started, it was me and three other interns, of course I was intimidated”, she said.
The lesson to learn from this is not to be thrown off by competition. Instead, make use of it by demonstrating your skills as a team player or standing out with your continued effort.
THE ART OF DOING SOMETHING YOU DON’T LOVE
Next, our panelists described their struggles when they started dipping their toes into the water on the job market. All of them had to work their way through menial tasks before. Jessica is very familiar with that situation: “During my internship, I remember how some of us were doing really exciting stuff, while others were sitting in front of a computer all day, punching in boring data. And I could slowly observe the second group of interns throwing in the towel one by one”.
Her lesson: Don’t give up! Just because you aren’t being given the most exciting assignments right now, doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Work your way through them and prepare to shine when more exciting tasks are thrown your way.
Also try looking at it from your supervisor’s eyes: They might want to test you with a simple task, to see how well you’re doing on it. If you succeed, you’ll be given more responsibility at a later date. If you slack and don’t give 100%, your supervisor might think you don’t have what it takes to complete more demanding projects.
Sebastian gave our interns hope: “It’s about being engaged. If you’re not doing something you love right now, try reaching out to other departments. There might be someone in marketing who can assign more meaningful tasks to you”, he told our interns.
ENTERING THE JOB MARKET STRAIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE
Lexi, also interning in New York, came forward with this question: “Has one of you ever considered taking time off to go travelling?” Veronika, who is American, but attended a university in the UK, sees it this way: “I feel like here in America, there is a lot of pressure to start working right after college, but not everybody works on that timeline and that’s fine.”
Her message is to listen to yourself and not putting too much pressure on yourself. On the other hand, Veronika advised our interns not to turn down a great job opportunity just because it might not feel like the right timing.
After a 60-minute panel, we wrapped things up and moved to the networking section of the evening, enabling interns get to know panelists better in a more relaxed environment. Joanna’s networking led to four connections in marketing from the Graduate Panel; three in London, one in New York.
If you feel like you’re not engaged enough at your internship, don’t hesitate to reach out to other departments to see if they have more tasks for you.
Make connections with as many people as possible. Realize that you sometimes have to work your way through menial tasks to be able to climb the career ladder.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM CV SURGERY
At this event, we pull apart your entire CV and put the parts back together, hoping to make an improvement. The CV Surgery started out with a few quick exercises, after which interns learned the key contents of a CV and how to collate them onto one page. Crucial for anyone early in their career.
In this post, you will learn how to create a CV that’s going to be so good it can’t be ignored.
COMPETITION INCREASES EVERY YEAR
Alex, Head of Marketing at CI and local coach for this seminar, made interns aware of the current situation on the graduate market. A quick run through the statistics:
According to the National Post-Secondary Education Cooperative, roughly 2.7 million students graduate with a Bachelors or Master’s degree in the US each year; 370,000 in the UK.
These numbers are high, when you consider that all will be looking for a job, sooner rather than later. Numbers are soaring annually. Competition is out there and like horses at a race, they’re ready to break out of their boxes and enter the job market. Race with them!
GRADUATES ARE HUNGRY FOR JOBS
Even though graduate hiring appetite is increasing in both the US and the UK, the graduate market remains saturated. Also keep in mind that many job roles won’t even be posted online for you to see, they are rather filled internally or by people who have already worked for the organization.
These are just a few of the reasons why it’s crucial for you to have a perfectly polished CV that highlights your education, work experience and most importantly, your skills.
CI GIVES YOU A HEADSTART
If you’re already on the program or you’re considering joining it, you are in a better position than many of your peers. You will have relevant work experience on your resume after finishing this program, next to elevated skills due to our bi-weekly career seminars.
More than 50% of recruiters warn that graduates with no work experience have little or even no chance of receiving a job offer for their organizations’ graduate programs.
This number has been confirmed by the Iowa State University’ Engineering Career Services. They conducted a survey on their Bachelor graduates and found that 80 percent of their students who had done at least one internship had received a job offer after graduation, compared to only 50% of those who hadn’t.
The real-world experience you’ll have in your pocket as a CI alum gives you a head start when entering the job market alongside millions of other graduates. Let’s get to it and create a CV that is so good it can’t be ignored, as Steve Martin would say.
HOW TO BUILD THE PERFECT CV
Alex put two CVs up on the screen and interns rated them on a scale of 1 to 5, taking style, format and content into consideration. It’s always interesting to be in the other seat. Next, he presented tips to really make your CV stand out. Here is what your CV should do:
Your CV should present all your relevant skills and accomplishments.
You should tell a concise story of your educational and corporate background.
Show a little bit of character: List a few of your hobbies, especially if they are relevant to your field. If you’re a Software Engineer and you enjoy writing code in your spare time, mention it briefly.
Tailor your CV to your chosen field: You might end up with a few different versions of a CV, depending on where you’d like to apply.
List all dates in reverse chronological order, meaning that your most recent work experience should be on top.
Include an objective in your CV, stating what kind of position you’re looking for and what your background is in one clear and concise sentence.
Proof-read! Sometimes we get so caught up in the writing part that we forget to double-check our CV before printing it. Especially with autocorrect on laptops, mistakes happen ever so easily. Print out your CV, leave it for an hour and then come back to it. Typos and spelling errors will pop out immediately.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Since it is always good to know what NOT to do, here are a few don’ts to keep in mind when (re)writing your CV:
- Don’t just create a wordy list of every single achievement of yours, get rid of fluff.
- Don’t exceed one page in length. Believe me, it is possible to fit everything onto one page.
- Don’t list work experience without explaining what you actually achieved there.
- Don’t play around with fonts or colors (unless you’re a designer). Instead, keep it clean and simple, with fonts like Arial or Cambria, making headers stand out in bold.
MARKET YOUR CV
Finally, Alex called on interns to market their CV wherever possible. After spending a reasonable amount of time on your resume, make sure that the world gets to see it.
I like to differentiate between two types of CV marketing: active and passive. Active Marketing involves directly reaching out to recruiters and potentially valuable contacts. Don’t be afraid to contact people you don’t know via LinkedIn and pick up the phone. Try to offer value where you can.
Passive Marketing is easier (but generally less effective). Focus on the usual suspects like Xing, Glassdoor, Monster and LinkedIn and post your CV there for people to find it. LinkedIn is generally a great way to avoid having your CV disappear in a black hole of hundreds of other submitted resumes.
Keep a few copies of your CV in your bag or at least have it backed up in several clouds and on your phone. This ensures that you can pull it up at any given moment; you never know when you might accidentally bump into a recruiter at a networking event.
Step 1: Create a rock-solid CV. Step 2: Put your CV to work for you. Step 3: Never give up.
Stay on top of the job search by reaching out to potential employers everywhere you go, attend networking events on the regular and most importantly: Be yourself and stay positive!
Job offers are just around the corner if you follow our tips for a well-rounded CV.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM EXECUTIVE PANEL Q&A
The Executive Panel was the highlight of week 6 for our New York program. The goal was to expand on the Graduate Panel with topics including hiring, decision-making in the workplace and commercial strategy. Interns were exposed to experienced professionals and could ask any question; an invaluable opportunity for anyone looking to enter the job market.
What makes a good leader? What are HR managers looking for when hiring new recruits? Our panelists answered both.
We had three panelists at our Executive panel this year: Brian, Veronique, and Guy.
Brian is the Director for Agent Development at a real-estate brokerage based in New York. Brian trains and coaches real-estate agents, he oversees the Rental Department, and he recruits new and experienced talent.
Veronique is an Agent for a well-known insurance company. Veronique provides strategies for business owners, professionals and families to build and preserve their wealth.
Guy has a vast background in digital, advertising and social media. Guy founded a Marketing Consultancy for Tech Start-ups and serves as the General Manager at a Programmatic Tech Company.
All three of our panelists are also involved in the hiring process at their respective companies.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE IN APPLICANTS?
Inevitably, one of the first questions our interns asked was what exactly they are looking for in young jobseekers who apply for a role at their firm.
Veronique didn’t hesitate to emphasize networking as a key skill that is crucial today. The first thought that popped into my head: ‘Networking? Isn’t that an activity, not a skill?’ Veronique thinks otherwise. “Networking has become such an essential part of the hiring process that I consider it an actual skill. Learn it!”
Brian and Guy agreed with her and advised our interns to attend as many networking events as possible. This is part of the learning-by-doing approach, so they say. If you’d like to get a few tips, go ahead and read my Six Steps to Successful Networking.
What else are employers looking for in applicants? “Enthusiasm. A passion for the industry and ideally, the company you’re interviewing with”, said Brian, who recruits regularly.
WHAT WAS THE WORST MISTAKE YOU EVER MADE ON THE JOB?
Nadia, one of our fashion interns in New York, asked this question. Guy was quick to answer, claiming “They aren’t mistakes, they’re learning experiences”. He shared an amusing learning experience, too, but we won’t share twice!
FINDING A JOB IN THE US AS AN INTERNATIONAL
Louise, an intern from South Africa, raised her hand and asked our panel about the difficulty of finding a job in the States as an international citizen. Veronique, who has lived in Israel, Japan and Belgium before she moved to the States 18 years ago, encouraged our international students to pursue a job in their dream country: “If you really want to come to the US, nothing will stop you.” She also mentioned that travelling adds an extra ounce of experience to your CV. Having lived on five different continents, Veronique settled in New York, for now, and is building on her work experience here.
INTERNS: WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Having answered everyone’s questions, our panelists turned the questions to the audience. Veronique asked interns: “Why are you here?” Despite sounding more philosophical than intended, answers varied. Olivia, interning at a real-estate tech start-up, spoke up. “I’m definitely here in New York for the experience. Being able to present my best self at the company I’m interning at right now is my everyday goal.”
We scheduled a networking session after the panel to give interns a chance to get to know our panelists one-on-one. All of our panelists are also served as great examples of stepping off the usual ‘school-college-career’ pipeline. For instance, Brian used to be a drummer in a band!
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM GRADUATE PANEL Q&A
Network! Show your enthusiasm for your industry. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities; it’s OK to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it, and don’t make the same mistake again. If you’re not a US citizen, but you want to work in the United States, fight for it. Pursue your dreams, no matter how big or small.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM CAREER PLANNING
With the end of the Global Explorer Program firmly in sight, it’s time to focus on career planning. The Career Planning Session is very interactive, this is an event where interns are given time and ideas to concern themselves with their future.
To start off the session, interns were handed a feedback sheet and asked to appraise their internship performance.
Here’s a breakdown of the categories:
Curiosity, Initiative & Agility – Do you dedicate time to projects that go beyond your usual workload? Did you expand your industry knowledge during your internship?
Tenacity, Drive & Self-Efficacy – Do you see tasks through even when they got tough? Do you ask for guidance when stuck, do you take initiative when required?
Intelligence, detail-oriented & evidence-based decision making – Are your decisions driven by logic, do you interpret data without missing any details?
Communication, Poise & Integrity – Did you communicate with your coworkers and peers in a clear and deliberate manner? Did you keep your poise, even in difficult situations?
Collaboration, emotional intelligence & personal influence – Were you a team player? Do you recognize other people’s strengths and act upon them?
Empathy, ownership and maturity – Do you take your responsibilities seriously, do you find solutions for problems instead of dwelling on them?
Once prepared, we asked interns to look to the future. What are their goals, what skillsets have they acquired to achieve those goals and where do they see themselves in the future?
If you’re serious about your future goals, get started straight away.
Robert C Pozen, senior lecturer at MIT Sloane School of Management and former executive chairman of MFS Investment Management, strongly emphasizes the importance of transferable knowledge.
This entails what you learned during your education, which you can now take to the real world. Nevertheless, university education may provide you with relevant knowledge to take to your first job, but you will go through a life-long learning process regardless.
Work on constantly improving your skills and taking as much relevant experience from each job you take on as possible. An internship can turn into an entry-level position, and then you can go from there.
FACTORS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL
However, Pozen also warns that it isn’t always possible to plan your career.
Factors beyond your control shape your job options. For example; global economic trends, technological changes or political elections.
Look at this as an opportunity. Especially technological change provides us with an ever-evolving range of industries that we can’t even think of today. Your job might not exist yet, but it will in five to ten years.
SET SMART GOALS
To stay on top of the job search and avoid getting side-tracked, try following the SMART scheme:
Specific: Make your goal as clear and specific as possible.
Measurable: Come up with clear criteria to measure your success
Attainable: Your goal shouldn’t be impossible to achieve. Relevant: The goal should be relevant to you, so that you stay motivated to achieve it.
Time-bound: Set a specific timeframe by which you’d like to achieve your goal.
As an example: “I’m looking for an entry-level position (attainable) with a marketing company (relevant) within the first six months after graduation (time-bound), to be able to enter the workforce and improve my skillset (measurable).”
This scheme will help you stay on track when you’re defining your career goals. Finding these boundaries and specifying your goals as much as possible is crucial in order for you to be able to focus on them.
Having dreams is great, but if your goals are impossible to reach or you didn’t set a deadline for them, it’s going to be very hard to keep up with the fight for them.
To be able to plan your career, you first need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Appraise yourself. Focus on transferable knowledge, keep on working on your skillset and set SMART goals.
Do realize that some factors are beyond your control and your job might not even exist, but give it your best shot.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE HOST COMPANY MIXER
One of the most highly-anticipated events for both interns and supervisors is CI’s Host Company Mixer. This is a great chance for interns to thank their supervisors for taking them in for eight weeks, and vice versa.
The Host Company Mixer has always proven to be an invaluable networking opportunity. With so many firms from different industries attending, our interns are exposed to professionals from a number of different career fields. At the end of the night, every intern should end up with a stack of business cards in their pockets and new connections made.
Since this Mixer is one of the last chances to see the interns on the program, we were determined to come up with a very enjoyable event. When working with interns for eight weeks, you get attached and as part of the CI team, I was willing to give it my all to let them have a lasting memory to take away.
Founder and CEO of a start-up (and host company) and supervisor to Joanna and Meghan, said to me at the mixer: “I feel like a mother to my interns. When Joanna and Meghan first started interning for me, I gave my best to improve their skillsets and industry knowledge and I think I’ve succeeded. Now they are ready to enter the world of real work.”
CHECK-IN: INDUSTRY KEY
Upon arrival, we handed our guests an industry key outlining the color that matches their industry and attached a colored sticker to their name tag.
Orange stood for Banking & Finance, Consulting & Professional Services and Law & Politics, Green represented Media, Entertainment & Journalism, Marketing, Advertising & PR and Start-Ups & Entrepreneurship. The color Pink indicated Art, Fashion & Design and Technology & Engineering. Lastly, Yellow was for professionals within Charities, NFPs and NGOs.
When explaining the industry key, one of our interns joked: “This is better than Tinder!”. That wasn’t really our intention, but it does relate. We wanted our guests to be able to find people from the same industry easily, making conversation a piece of cake.
NETWORKING AT ITS BEST
Our set-up worked, because as I moved from our check-in area to the actual event location after about half an hour, the conversation was lively.
I went ahead and joined the conversation. Brian, consultant at a real estate tech firm and his intern Olivia were one of the first ones to write on our thank you wall. Brian couldn’t stop praising Olivia: “We’re devastated to see her go, if she didn’t have another internship lined up inLondon, we would have definitely kept her”, he told me.
Interns and supervisors had a very enjoyable summer and all are determined to stay in touch and maintain the relationships built over the past 8 weeks. Our Host Company Mixer had a great turnout; we’re happy that we got the chance to speak to everyone before they started to leave New York.
Hosting a networking event that covers several industries is useful in the sense that professionals who wouldn’t normally meet each other get to start a conversation.