Emily’s Summer Internship Post #4

Where am I living: This summer I am lucky enough to not have to pay for housing. I am living at home and commuting (slugging – getting into a car with strangers and riding into the city, it sounds not safe but it is safe and gets me into the city quickly) into the city everyday. It’s not as glamorous as living in a city for the summer but it’s financially responsible. Living at home is forcing me to spend lots of time with my family, which is wonderful.
What do I do for fun: For fun, I spend time exploring northern Virginia. I have been to DC sightseeing. I’ve been to Alexandria to play Top Golf. I’ve been to Nats games.  I’ve explored downtown Fredericksburg. And found new ways to have fun at home.
What restaurants am I enjoying: I have been to the restaurants around Stafford and downtown Fredericksburg. Because my lunch break is so short, I usually pack my lunch but I have been able to go to the food trucks around L’Enfant Plaza and they are wonderful.

Meghan’s Summer Internship Post #3

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My life as an intern: Intern life is really nice! We work in the park just like everyone else, but have certain activities just for us.  Every Wednesday we have intern seminars from 8am to 10am and we get to listen to representatives from different departments such as Human Resources, Environmental Health & Safety, Merchandise, Park Operations, Culinary, Zoological, etc.  The first day we had an intern meet-and-greet lunch.  There are actually three types of interns at Busch Gardens: Merchandise (that’s me!), Culinary, and Park Ops.  We all stood up and said what university we attend, which park we work at, our major, and what type of intern we are.  In our intern class there are 45 of us, and three of us are named Meghan! We as Merchandise interns had breakfast with our Director of Merchandise, where we got to make suggestions and voice our concerns about the program.  We also took a class on Strengths Based Leadership which was very interesting! I’m a relationship-builder!
Meeting other interns: The Merchandise interns are pretty close. Through interactions in the park, intern seminars, leadership classes, and get-togethers outside of work, I’ve definitely gotten to know them pretty well.  They have definitely been a shoulder to lean on when I’ve run into a problem, because we’re all in this together!
Types of social activities I participate in: Back in June there was Merchandise Team Night, where all of the Merchandise team members got to stay and play in the park after it had closed. They fed us dinner and we played a huge game of Bingo in the Festhaus.  We had a bowling night a few weeks ago with all the supervisors and management, which was a ton of fun. I’m not as bad of a bowler as I thought I was. Last week all of the Merchandise interns went and had lunch at The Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. Then we went on a scavenger hunt!
What the company has done to make me feel like part of the team: Busch Gardens places their team members in the highest regard.  There are always things going on to thank team members for their service.  Last week, The Snackin’ Wagon came to Busch and we were able to get snacks on our way in/out of work.  We got free drinks at our employee break area last weekend.  There are team member nights where we get to play in the park. We have an employee newsletter that comes out on Fridays that contains a lot of team member shout-outs. It’s something I always look forward to reading.

Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid


by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. LiveCareer.com writer.

Your cover letter shows employers how well you express yourself. It can also demonstrate that you are savvy in the ways of marketing yourself and selling your best qualifications. A good cover letter can entice the recipient to review your resume. A bad cover letter, on the other hand, can nip your chances in the bud. Here are 10 mistakes that contribute to bad cover letters. To ensure that your cover letter is effective, avoid these mistakes:

1. Sending your resume without a cover letter. Sure, there are some employers that don’t read them or place much importance on them. But since you don’t know whether the employer you’re writing to reads and values cover letters or not, you must include a letter.

2. Failing to address the letter to the specific name of the recipient. Addressing the letter to “Dear Personnel Director/HR Director,” “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam” (or worse, “Dear Sirs”) instead of a named individual are all lazy approaches that show the employer that you were not concerned enough to find out the name of the person with the hiring power. It’s not always easy to find the name of the specific hiring manager, but try to do so if at all possible. Usually, you can just call the company and ask who the hiring manager is for a given position. Tap into your personal network to learn the names of hiring managers. Let’s say a company post an opening online. You know someone who works at the company. Ask your contact to find out the name of the person hiring for that position. Also use the library, phone book, and internet to track down names of hiring managers.

The worst-case scenario is that your letter will begin “Dear Hiring Manager for [name of position]:” It’s not the best approach, but if you absolutely cannot find a name, this salutation does at least provide some specificity.

3. Telling the employer what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers. In most cases, employers are in business to make a profit. They want to know what you can do for their bottom line, not what they can do to fulfill your career dreams. Tell the employer how you can meet his or her needs and contribute to the company.

4. Leaving the ball in the employer’s court. Too many cover letters end with a line like this: “I look forward to hearing from you.” Proactive cover letters, in which the job-seeker requests an interview and promises to follow up with a phone call, are far more effective. Don’t be vague about your desire to be interviewed. Come right out and ask for an interview. Then, take your specific action a step farther and tell the recipient that you will contact him or her in a specified period of time to arrange an interview appointment. Obviously, if you say you will follow up, you have to do so. If you take this proactive approach and follow up, you will be much more likely to get interviews than if you did not follow up. This follow-up aspect is another good reason to obtain the specific name of the hiring manager. Here’s a sample closing paragraph requesting specific action and describing the writer’s planned follow-up.

“I would like to be considered for a sales position in which someone of my background could make a contribution. I will contact you soon to arrange for an interview. Should you require any additional information, I can be contacted at the phone numbers listed above”.

5. Being boring and formulaic. Don’t waste your first paragraph by writing a boring introduction. Use the first paragraph to grab the employer’s attention. Tell the employer why you are writing and summarize the reasons you are qualified for the position, expanding on your qualifications in later paragraphs. Don’t use such cliches as “Enclosed please find my resume” or “As you can see on my resume enclosed herewith.” Employers can see that your resume is enclosed; they don’t need you to tell them. Such trite phrases just waste precious space. Write a letter that will make the employer want to get to know you better.

6. Allowing typos, misspellings, or incorrect grammar/punctuation into your letter. Your letter reflects your ability to write and communicate. Be sure your document is letter-perfect before sending it out. Proofread your letter. Put it down and proof it again a few hours later with a fresh eye. Then enlist a friend to review it for errors.

7. Rehashing your resume. You can use your cover letter to highlight the aspects of your resume that are relevant to the position, but you’re wasting precious space — and the potential employer’s time — if you simply repeat your resume.

8. Failing to specifically tailor your letter to the job you’re applying for. If you’re answering an ad or online job posting, the specifics of your cover letter should be tied as closely as possible to the actual wording of the ad you’re responding to. In his book, Don’t Send a Resume, Jeffrey Fox calls the best letters written in response to want ads “Boomerang letters” because they “fly the want ad words — the copy — back to the writer of the ad.” In employing what Fox calls “a compelling sales technique,” he advises letter writers to: “Flatter the person who wrote the ad with your response letter. Echo the author’s words and intent. Your letter should be a mirror of the ad.” Fox notes that when the recipient reads such a letter, the thought process will be: “This person seems to fit the description. This person gets it.”

A particularly effective way to deploy the specifics of a want ad to your advantage is to use a two-column format in which you quote in the left-hand column specific qualifications that come right from the employer’s want ad and in the right-hand column, your attributes that meet those qualifications. The two-column format is extremely effective when you possess all the qualifications for a job, but it can even sell you when you are lacking one or more qualification. The format so clearly demonstrates that you are qualified in so many areas that the employer may overlook the areas in which you lack the exact qualifications.

9. Rambling on too long and telling the story of your life/career. Keep your letter as brief as possible. Never, never more than one page. Keeping to four or five paragraphs of no more than three sentences each is a good guideline. Using bullet points in the letter is a good way to break up blocks of text and interest the reader. Some job-seekers tend to use their cover letters to provide a narrative of their life or career. That’s not what the letter is all about; it’s a marketing tool that should focus on the qualifications that will sell you to the employer. Your letter should answer the question that the employer will be asking while reading the words you’ve written: “Why should I hire this person?” Use simple language and uncomplicated sentence structure. Ruthlessly eliminate all unnecessary words.

10. Using wimpy language. Avoid such phrases as “I feel” and “I believe.” Your statements will be much stronger without them. It’s best to either leave off the qualifier or use a stronger qualifier, such as “I am confident,” I am convinced,” or “I am positive.”

Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career.

Link to article: https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/cover-letter-mistakes?platform=hootsuite

Christopher Newport University and the CNU Center for Career Planning hold no rights on this article.

Kacie’s Summer Internship Post #4

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Where am I living and what do I do for fun: “New York City runs on the blood of young people.” Stephanie Danler (my favorite author at the moment) said this at a question and answer event at The Stand Bookstore which I attended this month, and honestly this statement has resonated so much with me this summer. I am originally from outside of NYC so I’m not a stranger to the city, but living here by myself this summer has definitely opened my eyes a lot more to the city and what it has to offer. I’ve been going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art a ton (my favorite) and also the Whitney Museum.
What restaurants am I enjoying: My favorite food is Italian so I’ve also been eating my weight in pasta (but I’m walking a lot so it’s okay right??) There’s just so much energy in the city and always something going on; I’ve been to a few concerts, as well as some book signings. Brunch is also a culture thing here and so that’s been a huge part of my weekends! Madison Setness and I actually got brunch a few weekends ago and it was awesome to meet another Captain in the city! NYC is truly the city that never sleeps and it’s been an incredible summer but I definitely miss CNU a lot and can’t wait to be back lounging on the Great Lawn with friends!


Madison’s Summer Internship Post #3

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My life as an intern/ meeting other interns: Life as an Intern at Canon is unique. I’m not fetching coffee or filing away papers; I’m getting hands-on experience that I can translate back to my studies or even to my next job. Canon has done a great job creating an environment where Interns are welcomed, utilized, and socialized. Through the Insights program I’ve been able to meet and befriend other interns, even if they are not in my department! We have a series of lunch and learn sessions where all the interns enjoy lunch over a structured lecture, which has fostered learning about the company but also friendships and familiarity with my fellow interns.
Types of social activities I participate in: In addition to the lunch and learn sessions which provide academics and friendship, we participated in a field trip to a local arboretum where we were able to use Canon camera gear and take photos that would later be submitted in an intern gallery (picture shown is one I took on our trip). The day was filled with learning, experimental photography, and memory making. Although we melted in the heat, I shared a few good laughs with my fellow interns. The company has an employee barbeque coming up which we will also be attending. And next week I’ll be attending a New York Yankee’s game with the company!
What the company has done to make me part of the team: Canon welcomed us on the first day with a Manager lunch where we were able to meet our manager and other executives. From there I was matched up with a Peer Buddy who would be my advisor for the ten weeks I’m with Canon. My Peer Buddy and co-Peer Buddy took me under their wings, inviting me to lunch and showing me the ropes. I left my first day of work feeling comfortable with the company and ready for work the next day. My whole team cracks jokes and has showed me the silly YouTube videos they get their office jokes from, so now I can actually laugh along instead of just awkwardly chuckling.

Ways to Stay Positive During a Job Search

Rejections are an unavoidable reality during a job search. You’ll talk to many companies before you find the right fit. It’s discouraging, especially when you thought you had the job and you’re surprisingly passed up without reason or feedback. It’s okay to be disappointed, but set a limit on how long you’ll sulk, and then move on.


An important part of your job search will require you to evaluate yourself. While you won’t win them all, one of the most important aspects is to recognize the possibility that there may be something you can change, and if so, be open to it.

Recruiters can all attest to the frustration that some job seekers convey in their initial contact. Hiring managers are keen at sniffing out negativity, desperation, bad attitudes, and emotional imbalance. Simply being aware of the negativity and making a concentrated effort to focus on the positive can completely turn around a job search gone bad.


Here are seven ways to stay positive during your job search:

1. Take responsibility. How often do you let others control your happiness? Happiness, bitterness, and frustration are all choices. How you decide to react to any situation in a job search is up to you.

2. Reward yourself. Celebrating the small successes along the way helps keep you focused on the overall goal. Maybe it’s not a job offer, but a second round interview is a step in the right direction. Even if you aren’t selected for the job, it means your resume is communicating the right things to a potential employer.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. Finding people who are also engaged in the job-search process and understand the challenges will help you shake the feeling of flying solo. You can help keep each other motivated and positive, too. Negativity is contagious.

4. Set goals. Take your job search seriously and search every single day. Set daily goals and track your progress so you have a good idea of where you are heading. Monitoring your progress will give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

5. Find time to do things you enjoy. Keeping your life balanced will help you stay positive and keep things in perspective. Explore a new hobby. Catch up on your reading list. Eat healthy and exercise. Stay engaged with your family and friends.

6. Consider exploring a cause you are passionate about through part-time volunteer work. Volunteering can quickly lead to possible job leads and new connections in your professional network. It’s also a great way to add structure to your days and contribute to a good cause, which in turn leads to positive feelings.

7. Focus on the long-term benefits of a job search. You meet new people in every interview and networking event you attend. Even if you don’t end up working for those people’s companies, the connections could lead to valuable, career-enhancing connections in the future, when they change companies, have other opportunities in their current company, or become a client at your future employer.

This article is by: Lindsay Olson

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing. She co-founded Hoojobs, blogs at LindsayOlson.com and is chief editor of the HooHireWire. You can follow her on Twitter at @PRJobs.

Link to article: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/03/03/ways-to-stay-positive-during-your-job-hunt

Christopher Newport University and the CNU Center for Career Planning hold no rights on this article.




Laurent’s Summer Internship Post #3

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My life as an intern/ meeting other interns: Life as an intern is interesting, especially interning for the IT department which is such a critical part of an organization. I am often interacting with other departments helping them solve issues, so even though all of the interns for MWAA were split up into their respective departments, I often get a chance to see them when I run calls.

Types of social activities I participate in: I have gained great relationships with some of my coworkers and I have been going out into the city which has been fun.

What the site has done to make you feel part of the team: I have my own office and workstation which is pretty nice. I was also given admin rights to main network for the airport, which is a clear sign that I am trusted.

Emily’s Summer Internship Post #3

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My life as an intern:  Life as an intern is very interesting, to say the least.  Some days are very busy and the days fly by.  And other days we have absolutely nothing to do and the days drag on.  Despite the variance in work day tasks, I love what I am doing at FEMA and the work I have done has made a difference.
Meeting other interns:  I have had the opportunity to meet other interns.  In my team alone there are 8 interns and we all have created friendships with each other.  Working with seven other interns makes our time in the office entertaining because we make sure to make each other laugh and we always crack jokes (including when talking to our supervisor – don’t worry it’s ok).  The Risk Management team (including our supervisors and interns) have become one big work family and I am so happy that I got placed in ICOOPS (Internal Controls Over Operations Section).
Types of social activities I participate in: FEMA as a whole has about 70 Pathways interns (that I know of).  The Pathways Program takes a vested interest in making sure that all interns at FEMA get a chance to interact with each other.  They have started planning multiple events throughout Washington, D.C. that give the interns a chance to explore and meet others.  This week they planned a tour of the US Capitol and even though I have been before, I jumped at the chance to go back because there is so much history on the Hill.
What the company has done to make me feel like part of the team: On the very first day, my supervisor made sure that all the new interns felt welcome.  He told us exactly what we were going to be doing this summer and he sat us down with the other interns working on testing to set a team goal and gave us an incentive for when we reached that goal.  The interns ended up reaching our goal of completing testing by June 30th during the second week of June and now we get Cheesecake Factory as our incentive.  Our section also finds every reason to celebrate.  I turned 21 on June 20th (a Monday) and my supervisor bought me cupcakes and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Another intern celebrated her birthday and my boss did the same.  The Risk Management section makes sure that everyone feels special and important and I love the environment that they have created for us.

Simple Tips for Impressing in Job Interviews

Job interviews are a crucial part of the job search process, as you’re responses and demeanor will be compared to other similarly qualified candidates. Take a look at Alex Malley’s tips for standing out in the interview process:

1. Knock “Tell Me About Yourself” Out of the Park

This question is typically asked at the beginning of every interview. Luckily for you, the typical response is generic and long—meaning you have the opportunity here to make yourself memorable.

Consider and practice your response before entering the room. Think of it like a book’s back-cover synopsis: You’re trying to excite and encourage the interviewer. You want her to want to learn more about you—aim to make him or her curious. (Bonus: Include something that isn’t on your resume because the element of surprise can spark additional curiosity.)

If you’re not specifically asked “Tell me about yourself” during the interview, be proactive and find a way to share your answer during the conversation.

2. Give Examples of Working Outside of Your Team

Employees who can’t (or won’t) think outside their own role cause major headaches for managers. That’s because if you make a decision without considering how it’ll affect others, you could negatively impact culture, productivity, and general operations. (And no one wants to hire that person.)

That’s why it’s so important to show that you can build relationships with people outside of your immediate department—and even outside of the business itself.

When you share a story about broad impact, you’re giving what’s called a “borderless leadership example.” Explain how actions you took in your former role positively influenced other aspects of the business. For example, you could say something like, “I was a social media manager, but instead of just interacting with customers in a way I thought was best, I built strong relationships with co-workers in marketing and public relations. This helped me ensure that I was on message, and supporting their efforts as well.”

By discussing the connections you forged, you’re highlighting your unique approach (and people skills).

3. Show Genuine Passion

Passion is more than a buzzword: It’s something interviewers can’t get enough of.

Sometimes, your excitement for a role may be overshadowed by your nerves. If you’re feeling anxious, find a topic you’re more at ease discussing, even if it’s something outside of the professional environment (like your love of running, or your work with a charity).

Discussing your life outside the office can help you feel more comfortable, and it’ll help the interviewer relate to you on a different level. Additionally, if you share what you’ve learned from those experiences (e.g., teamwork from your club sports team or people skills from your volunteering) you’ll continue on the path of selling yourself as a top candidate for the job.

4. Demonstrate Self-awareness

You’re going to be asked about your weaknesses at some point during the interview in some way or another. The best responses to this question admit an area for growth, and then go on to discuss what you’ve learned by working on it.

In order to truly “be yourself,” you have to know who you are—including strengths and weaknesses.

5. Impress With Your Personal Take on the Company

Every job applicant should research the organization before his interview. But many people stop there, and just regurgitate what they read on the website. However, someone who takes it a step further always stands out.

To do this, find the company’s overarching objectives on its website, and then think about something unique you can relate them to. Consider how societal trends might influence its strategic direction. For example, customers expect more direct relationships with brands; maybe you see an opportunity for the company to be more accessible to the public.

The interviewer doesn’t have to agree with your ideas. The fact that you’ve put the time into thinking creatively about the business will showcase your unique perspective and prove you’re not like everyone else.


Information from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-secret-to-standing-out-in-interviews-is-almost-too-obvious?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:%20Trending%20Content&utm_content=576a063a04d3011202692d07&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook

Christopher Newport University and the CNU Center for Career Planning hold no rights on this article.

Meghan’s Summer Internship Post #2

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My Typical Day/ My Responsibilities: I serve as a Facility Supervisor in France, which means that I am responsible for three shops: Griffon Gifts, La Belle Maison, and Lorikeet Glen. A typical opening shift begins with me checking into the Merchandise office, where I pick up paperwork and my radio. Once I get into the park, I check my email for any updates in regards to merchandise or general park information. I print our daily schedule and see what our budget and per cap numbers are. We use those for reference throughout the day. I also set up the break schedule.
I check in with my team members and discuss any cash handling or attendance infractions as needed. I make sure that our cabanas are cleaned and ready to be rented. I then prepare the wine bar in LaBelle Maison. Throughout the day, I delegate cleaning and stocking tasks to my team members, alleviate guest issues, and provide assistance to my team members as needed.
It is never a boring day in the park, but I absolutely love it! No day is ever the same.
The Workplace Culture/Environment at my Internship: I absolutely love working at Busch Gardens. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help each other out. I personally love helping people so walking through the park and being able to answer questions from guests makes me happy! My team members are great as well. I’m getting to know them better each day. They were super helpful in my transition to working for Busch Gardens and for that I am super grateful! One of my favorite things to do as a supervisor is to nominate my team members for Team Member of the Week. Their picture and a shout-out gets put in our team member newsletter on Fridays! One of the other cool things is that I get to work with two other Paul VI grads who also go to CNU!
What am I using from my classes and experiences at CNU: Having a leadership role in the CNU Orchestra as well as Alpha Phi Omega, my co-ed national service fraternity has definitely prepared me to hold a leadership role at Busch Gardens.  At the beginning of the day we delegate duties to our team members and follow up throughout the day. If it is not being completed, we have to facilitate a discussion with the team member and determine what the problem is. When planning for our chapter of Alpha Phi Omega’s 20th Anniversary this spring, lots of pieces needed to come together in order for the event to be a success. I learned a lot about leading a team through that process. On the non-administrative side of things, I always care about my team members and want to make sure they have everything they need to be successful. I consider us to be the France family, just like how the CNU Orchestra is one!