10 Ways Summer Can Help You In Your Career

How to be productive this summer

By Emilee Smith G’16

School is out for summer, yippee! But just because classes are finished and the sun is shining doesn’t mean you should take a three-month break from productivity. These summer months are a great time to get ahead for the coming academic year and gain experiences for your future career. Here’s 10 ways you can be productive this summer:

  1. Work in your field. Whether it’s a paying job, internship or volunteer opportunity, working in your field is the best thing you can do for your career.
  2. Didn’t get a job or internship in your field? No worries! Use your free time to brush up on skills related to your intended profession. If you are a writer, write. If you’re an artist, make art. If you’re a history major? Read and visit museums. No matter what your field is, there are always ways for you to improve upon your knowledge and add to your portfolio.
  3. Revise your resume. Hopefully this past year you spent some time getting feedback from professors and career counselors on ways to improve your resume. Take time over the summer to make this document even stronger.
  4. Set up informational interviews. Politely reach out to people in your industry and ask if you can have informational interviews with them. This is a great way to make connections and also learn more about companies you think you might be interested in.
  5. Volunteering with places you care about is a great way to build connections with organizations as well as the individuals who work for them. Also, volunteer experience always looks great to future employers.
  6. Utilize LinkedIn. Aside from updating your profile, use LinkedIn to find alumni and other people in your industry.
  7. Read your textbooks. If you will be returning for the 2016-2017 academic year, start reading your textbooks early. This is a great way to get ahead and be prepared for your fall courses. It will also make your homework load more manageable when you return.
  8. Make a 5-year plan. If you still have multiple years of college left, spend time figuring out when you will be taking your required courses. If you have already done this, work on determining where you think you would like to begin your career and how you plan on developing past initial employment.
  9. Start a blog. Blogging is a great way to improve your writing and social media skills and also looks great on a resume. Employers love seeing that you are able to create and deliver content on a regular basis, so start a blog about something you love!
  10. If you can afford to, spend time traveling. Doing so will not only broaden your knowledge but can also help you determine where you would like to be geographically after graduation.

Even if you didn’t get your dream job this summer, there is no reason to fret! There are still plenty of things that you can do to prepare for this coming year and ultimately your future career.

Career Services is open all summer! Don’t wait until the fall to get career help. You can meet with a career counselor over the phone or via Skype to discuss career-related topics. To set up an appointment, call 315-443-3616!

The Internship Application Rollercoaster

vsBy Vanessa Salman ’17

It’s that time of year again — that’s right, it’s summer internship season.

You’ve perfected your resume after going to Career Services’ drop-in hours, made your cover letter a window into your professional soul, and submitted your application. A week later, you still haven’t heard back and you’re as antsy as could be. The worst starts to go through your head: do they hate me? Did they hire someone better than me? Did they even see my application?

I’m gonna stop you now – stop thinking this.

Take a breath. A deep, cleansing, mindful breath. This process is scary and competitive, but if you don’t get that coveted position at that fancy magazine or don’t intern with a notable Member of Congress, that is okay. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future, but for now, focus on finding something else for this summer.

Easier said than done, I know. But you have to keep a positive attitude and your head held high in these types of situations. The search, the application, and the wait time are all extremely nerve-wracking, however the reward of the experience is worth the temporary insanity – I promise! As cliche as this may sound, everything happens for a reason, so maybe not getting that internship will lead you to an experience you didn’t expect.

I say this all from personal experience. I went through this process just like everyone else, and let me tell you — it was emotionally draining. Applying to internships, especially those with larger organizations, make you feel like a number. You constantly refresh your email and just hope that there’s something about you that stands out among the hundreds or thousands of other numbers in the applicant pool. If you don’t get that internship you’ve been vying for, explore other options.

I applied to quite a few internships this summer, ranging from consulting firms, to various federal agencies, to congressional offices, and didn’t receive any good news. After encountering many dead ends, I decided to explore other options other than internships for the summer. I am so glad I did this, as I received a job opportunity for something that I hope to do post-graduation. As bummed as I am that I won’t be interning in Washington, DC with the rest of my friends this summer, I am happy with the way things have turned out, and it’s all because my summer didn’t go according to plan.

There are so many ways to find other job or internship opportunities (no, I’m not just saying that). LinkedIn, Indeed, and are just a few means of finding opportunities online. Play around with the keywords you use to find more results.  Also, Syracuse students have an advantage because we have access to OrangeLink, which gives you access to job and internship postings, in addition to an employer directory. How cool is that?

Instead of sulking, it’s best to spring into action, and search for something else to do with your summer. You won’t regret it.

Need help with making the most of your summer? Call our office to schedule a phone, Skype, or in-person appointment, at 315-443-3616!

Assembling Your Portfolio

Building a portfolio

By Emilee Smith G’16

Portfolios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are digital and display designs and videos while others are presented on paper, featuring art projects or written music compositions. Looking past the differing displays and varying content, there are several pieces that every portfolio should contain.

Whether you are an art major or aspiring teacher, start thinking about how you can fill these categories and begin collecting materials. Some essential pieces include:

  1. Your resume. The resume acts as a summary and is a great way to introduce potential employers to your work and accomplishments. It sets up the experience of looking through the rest of your portfolio.
  2. Examples of your work. No matter what your major is, you already possess examples of your work. These can be projects completed in school, work produced for an internship or job or even work that you have done on your own! Your field of study will most likely dictate the format of these examples. (After all, it makes sense that an aspiring video producer would have a digital portfolio, right?)
  3. If you have certifications related to your field then you should definitely include them in your portfolio. Not sure what certificates you should pursue? Ask your professors or schedule a meeting with a career counselor!
  4. Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation act as great vouchers for your skill sets and work ethic. Reach out to employers and professors, both past and present, and ask them (politely) if they wouldn’t mind writing a letter for you.
  5. Awards and Publications. When it comes to awards and publications related to your field then you should absolutely showcase them in your portfolio. This will help employers recognize just how fantastic you are!

While no two portfolios look the same, all of the strongest will contain these five categories. By gradually collecting and assembling these pieces, you will ensure that you have a spectacular showcase by graduation.

So if you haven’t already, get started right away! Opportunities can arise at any moment and you may need a portfolio sooner than you think.

How to Research Companies for #SUCareerWeek

By Magnolia Salas ’12

Explore your options during Spring Career Week
Explore your options during Spring Career Week

Syracuse University Career Week is next week! Be sure to leave a good impression on recruiters by doing your research before you step foot in Goldstein Auditorium for any of the fairs.

No matter what fair you plan on attending, take a look at what companies will be on campus recruiting. Knowing what companies will be present will help you know which companies you want to approach.

Once you have your target companies, take a look at their available positions (you can do that right through OrangeLink by clicking on the company you’re interested in). We provide an overview of the company, their available positions, and even their website to help you prepare. Once you’ve figured out what positions they are hiring for and if those positions match your skills and interests, it’s time to dig a bit further into the company by:

Visiting their website
It’s a good idea to visit the company’s website and to get to know the culture of the company to know if it aligns with where you would like to work. Want more research ideas? Check out our researching companies’ page on our website. We provide links to Vault, WetFeet, and GlassDoor which can all aid in your getting a better understanding of a company.

Looking through their social media
You can get a good idea of their culture by reading their blog, as well as checking out their Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook pages. Not sure what to keep an eye out for? See what articles they post, if they provide any advice and insights into their company or their staff and what makes a good candidate. Sometimes companies even host Twitter chats where you can get even more insight.

Reaching out to alumni and contacts in the company
Feeling bold? If you know someone who works at the company of your choice or will be on campus recruiting, reach out to them and ask them some questions about the company to gain more insights. You can even do a LinkedIn search via the Alumni tool and research alumni who work in the industry or company, as well.

As you do your research, write down questions you have about the company, opportunity, or industry to ask the recruiter during the fair or in a follow-up e-mail. In addition, continue building rapport with a company by attending an information session if they host one.

Good luck with your research and we hope to see you at the Career Fair on February 3 taking place in Goldstein Auditorium (Schine) from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.!

Sophomore Surge: Part 1!


By Christina Faulkner, Career Advisor, G ’16


Sophomores! Congrats on making it through your first year! Although you might be thinking graduation is far away, you’ve seen how fast the first year went. These next three years will fly by too and you might wonder, where’d all that time go? When you get to that point and cross the stage with degree in hand or pose with family in front of the big S, you’ll feel much more at ease if you’ve got a job or grad school waiting or know you’ve set yourself up well for post-graduate success.

*Hint to non-sophomores – you can do all of these things too. 😉

Here is a quick and easy list of things you can start doing NOW to prepare yourself for that day:


Volunteering can be one of the best ways to add experience to your repertoire or get your foot in the door. Find organizations that have values that align with yours or do something related to your career interests. Experience does not need to be paid to be valuable to a future employer. Check out for opportunities or the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service.

Internships and Co-ops

Internships are great ways to gain experience and to better understand if a career or field might be a good fit for you. Internships can be for-credit, not-for-credit, paid or unpaid. You can complete an internship during the semester or over winter or summer breaks.

Part-Time Jobs

Develop customer service, IT, management, or many other skills here on campus or in the Syracuse area. Part-time jobs show you can prioritize and manage your time well.

Club/Organization Involvement (especially leadership positions)

Check out the list of Student Orgs to see the huge selection of ways to get involved on campus. Executive board or chair positions give you leadership experience and being a member shows interests outside of schoolwork.

Professional Associations

Students often receive discounted prices for association memberships, and you can sometimes attend conferences for free if you volunteer. Professional associations give you access to important people in your field as well as learning and scholarship opportunities. Some are listed on our website.

Undergraduate Research

Ask your professors about research you might be able to help out with. This experience can be extremely helpful if you’re interested in grad school, but looks great on a resume either way.

Enjoy your sophomore year and check back in a month for part two of the sophomore surge!


Looking Ahead: Majors, Workshops, & Fairs

By Magnolia Salas

Spring break is around the corner and we are sure you are looking forward to a week-long rest. But as you get ready to pause, don’t pause in your job or internship search. Take the time next week to build new relationships, discuss your career aspirations with friends and family and reflect on your career journey. In addition, mark your calendar with these events taking place in the coming weeks.

Major Dilemma 15 Minute Drop-Ins
March 24, March 25, March 26, & March 27, 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., 235 Schine
Not sure about your major? Come to us about choosing it, switching it, or what to do with it once you’re out of school!

Career Crash Course
March 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., 304ABC Schine
A one-day crash course on career essentials such as resumes, interviewing, networking, and job search resources. Workshops will be led by employers including GE, Macy’s, and JPMorgan Chase.  You can attend, one, multiple, or all sessions to gain knowledge about landing your next internship or full-time job. RSVP in OrangeLink.

SEC & ACC Virtual Career Fair
April 1 – 3, online via CareerEco
Attend this virtual career fair from anywhere and connect with more than 45 employers hiring in engineering, business, IT, sales, accounting, science, human resources, and many more. To RSVP and to view the full-time and internship opportunities and employers participating, please visit this link.

Keep an eye on your emails for updates on these events. Enjoy your spring break and we’ll see you back on the blog in two weeks!

The Lessons I Learned At My Summer Internship

By Erica Clapp, Career Services’ Student Assistant, ’14

Howdy! I’m Erica Clapp, a junior majoring in Advertising and minoring in Policy Studies. This past summer, I interned at Penske’s Corporate HQ in Green Hills, PA. I learned a ton at my internship and tried to capture some of that in this blog post. I hope it’s helpful for those of you who are interning now or are planning to in the future!

At first, I was surprised by the amount of freedom I was given. I realized that, with no one standing over my shoulder, it was up to me to get things done. Lesson: You’re only as good as your work ethic.

However, you should strike a balance between work and play. Get to know the people in your office, because you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. Connections of some kind will probably emerge and may work to your advantage. (Note: you should always stay professional while at work).

Initially, I had the urge to ask many questions, but I realized that my colleagues were full-time professionals and very busy. Lesson: Learn how to accomplish things yourself. Be aware of the resources to which you have access. You can find the answer to almost anything if you try hard enough. Keep in mind that the solution doesn’t have to be perfect. Simply getting the job done and producing results is the most important thing.

On the first day, I realized that taking meticulous notes like I do in lectures here at SU wouldn’t work because there was simply too much to learn. Lesson: Just jump in and you’ll figure things out. Don’t worry about knowing every detail beforehand. You’ll naturally ask questions and pick things up as you go.

I’m used to going from class to class here at school, so this next lesson took a lot of self-discipline. Lesson: Focus on one thing at a time. There will be many things and people competing for your attention, which you can’t always control, but you should try to limit distractions.

One of the most valuable assets I gained is learning to communicate properly, which is the key to getting what you need. Lesson: Don’t assume people know things. However, it never hurts to ask. You have no idea how someone will respond to a question, and the worst he or she say is “no.” Also, you should be aware of different contexts. Something may not occur to you in the same way it does to other people, so try to have an open mind.

I didn’t do any envelope-stuffing or coffee runs, but some tasks did seem monotonous after a while. Granted, this is part of almost every job, but something that can make these tasks more bearable is if you have a clear understanding of the overall goal. Most projects are intricate and involve many steps that can make it hard to remember what you’re really trying to accomplish.

Last and certainly not least, take ownership for your actions. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on; your honesty will be appreciated.


Summer in the City…the City of Syracuse, that is!

By Alyssa Austin ’13

During mid-semester last year, I decided to browse OrangeLink in an attempt to find possible internships for the summer. I filled out each selection box as specifically as I could and not before long, a unique looking name called “Terakeet” was presented as the best possible suggestion given my previous answers. A Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) Company located right in downtown Syracuse was looking for interns, and I wasted no time in sending an email to the person named, as well as a copy of my resume.  Short of two weeks, I received my first email response and after a few more email conversations and one in-person interview, I was awarded an intern position. Now I encourage every SU student to use OrangeLink to find internships and possible jobs for the future.

I’m not much of a “city-person,” so I was happy to find that downtown Syracuse is the perfect balance of bustling city life while maintaining intimate settings for hanging out with friends or grabbing lunch – something I did on a regular basis with other interns. Within our hour break, we got to see a lot of downtown Syracuse, relishing in our memories of being there during freshmen orientation. On more than one occasion I, as well as other interns, ran into Terakeet employees on the weekends, illustrating the intimacy one can achieve in the city. It was not only comforting to recognize other individuals, but an enjoyable experience.

Not only did my internship teach me the art of doing specialized research through social media, forms of professional writing and dynamic investigative reporting, but they also made the summer worthwhile and most importantly, taught me how to be successful after college in whatever I choose to pursue. Sometimes arriving early allowed me to talk with other employees about their experiences, for example, how they decided to enter the workforce over graduate school or how they simultaneously decided to do them both. I gained not only skills I will utilize in the workforce, but valuable advice on life after undergraduate studies and I have my internship to thank.

There are so many avenues to pursue while in college – it can be a tad overwhelming, but thankfully, we SU students have exceptional assistance at our disposal. I could not be more grateful for OrangeLink and Career Services.

Check out Mac Cummings, CEO of Terakeet, when he speaks at the Tech Garden on Tuesday, September 25th at 6:00p.m.!

Ready, Set, Go…To The Career Expo!

By Shannon Feeney

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to connect with employers!

If you’re looking for an internship or full-time job, hoping to expand your network, or exploring different opportunities for life after college, don’t miss our Spring 2012 Career Expo!  The Expo is Wednesday, February 8 in Goldstein Auditorium (Schine) from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is open to ALL students and alumni.

This semester, we have more than 60 employers attending to recruit SU’s finest!  Career Services is welcoming more than 30 new employers to the Spring Expo including: Aflac, Agro-Farma (Chobani), Citizen Schools, FlexTrade Systems, The Hershey Company, Intern Sushi, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, Omnicom Media Group, Parsons, Vanguard, and MORE!  And new this year, we’ve asked employers to identify key majors and interests that would be a good fit for their positions so you find the best opportunities for you. Curious about what positions they’re recruiting for? Log in to OrangeLink for a full list!

Not sure if you’re ready for the Career Expo?  Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

1)      Do your research.  Check out the companies and opportunities available on OrangeLink so you can target companies of interest and prepare a resume tailored to their positions.

2)      Update your resume.  Stop by Career Services for drop-in hours or for Resumania on February 7 (9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Schine Suite 235) to have your resume reviewed by our career counseling staff and employer experts.

Have your resume reviewed by employer experts!

3)      Practice your elevator pitch.  This 30-second introduction makes a HUGE difference in an employer’s first impression of you.  Eye contact, a firm handshake, stating your name, as well as 3-4 skills and traits that make you a good candidate are a great place to start. Practice this introduction with your friends to get comfortable with what you’re saying.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, February 8!

A special thank you to the Spring Career Expo Platinum Sponsors: General Electric, Macy’s/Bloomingdale’s, and JPMorgan Chase; and our Orange Sponsors: Iberdrola USA and the New York Army National Guard.

A TV Junkie's Success Story: Turning an Internship into a Job in LA

In light of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, I’ll put it this way, I’m the 1%. But unlike the target of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I realize how lucky I am – I got a job in my industry while still studying at Syracuse. It’s rare in television to have this happen because unfortunately the TV model isn’t built to allow students, even the very bright ones – and there are a lot of them at this University – the opportunity to intern, prove themselves, leave for six months to wrap up a degree, and then return to a job. It’s because in Hollywood, most of the entry-level jobs are ones that need to be filled in a day’s time. Unless they’re giving you the corporate jet, you ain’t making that kind of commute in time.

Andrew Graham, Newhouse '12

However, despite the TV model, this feat can be pulled off, and it’s not about accepting internships but rather vetting them. A lot of students are in the habit of just getting an internship for the sake of having a professional company to put onto their LinkedIn profile or a resume. And while having a few internships on your resume is important, it’s not nearly as important as making sure you’re lining yourself up for a quality internship in which you’ll have the opportunity to be an integral part of the day-to-day operations. That last part really is the secret to nabbing the job: don’t take any internship in which you’re completely expendable. I’m saying this from experience; I’ve been there and it was my fault for not fully investigating the company, its culture, and seeing where I might fit in.

I’m writing this of course from the perspective that you’re a bright All-American go-getter who’s got chutzpah and is ready to pull yourself up by your own boot straps, and since you’re reading this on the SU Career Services blog, then chances are that you probably fit that criteria. I say this because if you’re not ready to throw yourself 150% into every project, then obviously it doesn’t matter what company you’re at, it’ll never work out.

Some of this involves being at the right place at the right time, but it’s more about knowing what to look for. So, to give you somewhere to start, below are three things I’ve learned to look for through my experience in both good and bad internships.

1) Is this the right environment? When you go in for your interview, look around at the other interns. Are there a lot of them or a few? Are they just hanging around on Facebook or hard at work? How about the guy/girl who interviews you, what does their mood seem like? Ask a lot of questions about what you’ll be expected to do. Remember, you’re going to work here.

2) Is their growth in this company? Look at their development slate and see who they’re talking to and what they’ve sold. Talk to the interviewer about their projects; if they’re not developing or selling much, then there’s probably not a lot of room to grow and likely the company isn’t worth your time as an intern.

3) Be aware of company mandates. MTV is a great company, has a strong brand, lots of growth and largely happy interns. Seems like the perfect place, right? Maybe not. No Viacom company will hire without a degree. I actually heard a story about someone interviewing for a SVP position that was turned down because he didn’t have a degree. Is a company like this worth your time then as an intern? You make the call.

If you are able to land an internship at a company that has growth + genuinely needs you in order to operate day-to-day, then you stand a large chance of scoring a job. It’s harder than it sounds, but simpler than people make it out to be. Be selective about where you work and then give that company that’s given you a shot your all. Best of luck!

Andrew Graham currently works for Bogner Entertainment Inc., a production company with an overall deal at FremantleMedia. Follow him on Twitter @MistaGraham.

By the way, Bogner Entertainment Inc. is looking for interns for the spring! Interested parties can visit them online at and send resumes and cover letters to