2007 July - Career Fuel2007 July - Career Fuel

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Issue:  July 2007
In This Issue:



Enter “My Portal”
Lazy Days of Summer? Not.
Internship = Investment in Your Future
Don’t Be a Prisoner of Procrastination
Resource Corner

Enter “My Portal”

Just when you were beginning to wonder how you were going to fill those days until school starts again in September-have we got a new website feature for you. The folks at www.njnextstop.org, the Internet site for all your career-prep needs, have launched "My Portal," a new option on the homepage menu bar that leads to all kinds of amazing possibilities for students and counselors. Students can sign up to use the NJ Next Stop Portal to create a "My Career Builder" Portfolio-your own career and college information organizer. Create and save your work, like a work and community service resume or college essay, or take a look at some career assessment tools to help you make career decisions, collect and organize career information from the Focus Industries on njnextstop.org or from other websites. Your portal space will automatically link with NJ Next Stop as you browse it and enable you to collect and store links of interest. You will also be able to work virtually with your school counselor on career planning and to develop your high school career plan of study. Counselors can sign up with the NJ Next Stop Portal space to extend your reach and availability to the students you support. You'll be able to work with students as they conduct career research at NJ Next Stop and other websites and share documents, recommend links and provide valuable feedback and more. And, create your own career information organizer with sample lesson plans, tips and related documents and links to help you better assist your students.

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Lazy Days of Summer? Not.

Many students consider summer break just that-a pause from the demands of day-to-day schoolwork and a chance to kick back and just veg. Hey, we get that. Vacation helps restore the mind, body and soul-and that killer tan. But do you really need more than two months of chill time? How about a little R&R and then an adventure that's a bit more constructive-like sailing on a summer internship? Summer is a great time to explore your career options and get some real-world experience in a job that you might be considering once you graduate from high school and/or college. So you think passing up a week or two at the beach for on-the-job training might qualify you for Overachievers Anonymous? Not likely. With a little time management, you can do it all. In the end, it will help you have it all. Career Fuel stopped by the offices of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission (SETC) in Trenton this July to check in with Pamela Yuen, a 2005 graduate of Parsippany High School who will be a junior this fall at Rutgers University's Douglass College. Pam, a political science major and double minor in women's and gender studies and music, is an internship specialist, having spent the past two summers interning with the Department of Defense at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, one week this past January shadowing a lobbyist with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association in Trenton and who is currently serving a seven-week stint interning with the SETC before moving on to a four-week intern gig with the West Windsor mayor's office. Pam has also managed to attend a one-week seminar on Women in International Policy in Washington D.C. this summer and will intern in the fall with the Center for American Women in Politics. Somewhere she manages to squeeze in playing and teaching four musical instruments and playing softball. Whew! That's some schedule. And all worth it, says Pam, who is 19. "Since I'm going into government and politics, I wanted to get a diverse background and a wide experience of what government is like at the different levels-federal, state and local," she explains. "The internships have given me a good idea of what the workforce is all about and what I can actually do and how I go about doing it." Pam's advice to all you aspiring interns out there is to:

  • Go for it! You can't lose when you take a risk and learn from your experience. It's always positive.
  • Ask lots of questions! If you're unsure, then keep asking. The only way you can learn is to ask questions, observe and take in the most from your environment.
  • Work your networks. I found my internships through word of mouth and through the alumnae network at Douglass. Talk to people who know about the jobs that interest you and make those important connections.

And remember, it's still not too late to score an internship this summer-or to line one up for the school year or next summer. You've got nothing to lose and all kinds of skills to gain.

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Internship = Investment in Your Future

An internship can be an interesting, challenging and very rewarding way to learn about a particular business or industry. Here's a look at the top 5 reasons to get an internship:

  • Be More Competitive. In addition to your degree, employers and colleges look for the amount of related work experience you have had in the career field you are pursuing.
  • Test Drive Career Options. As a student, you have enough flexibility in your schedule to explore different career options, which will help you discover whether you are pursuing a field that is right for you.
  • Gain Real World Experience. Obtaining an internship will give you the opportunity to see what it is like to work in a specific career. You will get exposure to the work environment and interact with professionals. You will develop and strengthen skills.
  • Build a Network. Building a network within the organization can open many doors for you. Depending upon your performance, your supervisor can write you a quality letter of recommendation or serve as a great reference.
  • Open Doors to Future Employment. When employers have a position available, the first candidates they consider are past interns who performed well. They prefer to hire a candidate who is already familiar with the organization's products, services, clients and company culture. As a past intern, that would be you!

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Don’t Be a Prisoner of Procrastination

Success need not be a struggle-but more than likely, it will be a juggle. Students are often judged on their school workload and their extracurricular activities-everything from sports, community service and hobbies to part-time jobs and internships. Deadlines are an important part of your life and become even more so when you are working full-time at a career. Did you know that the word "deadline" originated during the Civil War in a prisoner-of-war camp in Andersonville, Georgia? There was a line drawn in the dirt around a wire fence that surrounded the camp. If a prisoner crossed the line, he was shot dead on the spot with no warning. Yikes! No wonder deadlines strike fear into all of us. And yet, it's important to learn that meeting them-meaning getting your work done well and on time-is critical to success. Many bosses won't tolerate late work and if it happens too often-you got it, think Donald Trump: "You're Fired!" One of the most useful strategies for maintaining a healthy and manageable workflow is to focus on "do" dates, not "due" dates. After all, due dates mark the end of the assignment and have nothing to do with the actions you must take to get there. Do dates, on the other hand, are the specific days or times when you schedule and plan to complete certain tasks. Do dates are all about the action. So set mini-deadlines throughout your work cycle that will help you get the work done before that scary due date. Take an inventory of the things you need to do and schedule specific days when you'll do them.

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Resource Corner

  • To begin planning your future with the help of the NJ Next Stop Portal, sign up at www.njnextstop.org/PortalLogin.asp.
  • Take a trip to the Rutgers University: Douglass College homepage at www.douglass.rutgers.edu.
  • Curious about the Picatinny Arsenal? Visit www.pica.army.mil.
  • Find out more about the New Jersey Business and Industry Association at www.njbia.org.
  • The New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission has valuable information to help New Jersey's workers, students and job seekers meet the knowledge and skill needs of the business community at www.njsetc.net.
  • Research internships that are right for you in Peterson's Internships guide, which lists nearly 50,000 paid and unpaid internships. Find out more at www.petersons.com/books/internships.asp.
  • Check out www.jerseyintern.com, to find internships locally or statewide.
  • Read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination by Michelle Tullier for lots of useful ways to prioritize your tasks and simplify your schedule.
  • Like our trivia about where the word "deadline" originated? Bone up on similar trivia in Why Do We Say That? by Graham Donaldson and Sue Setterfield.
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