Career Services and InternshipsParents and Families
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The Career Services and Internships Office advises students and provides resources on the types of planning and preparation required to help students meet their career goals. This includes internships, job seeking, labor market resources, individual career counseling, workshops and employer contacts via career fairs, panels, computer technology, and presentations. We give students the tools, resources and opportunities to make sound career decisions, plan for their career and find internships and jobs.
Feel free to contact us at any time with your questions or concerns. You may call the Director, Mike Hagarty, at 507-457-6695 or send an email to email@example.com.
Help your student choose a major
Discover the possibilities! The link on the right, “What Can I do With This Major?” offers information on what your student can do with his or her future degree. The downloadable PDFs suggest areas of work within each major, employers that typically hire each major, as well as strategies for success. Check out the links for additional information.
This timeline can help enhance your student’s experience at Saint Mary’s in a variety of ways. Not only can it keep your student on track to graduate in four years, but following these suggestions can improve the process of choosing a major and increase the likelihood of your student obtaining a job in his or her field after graduation.
Help your student with:
From Here to Career
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota strives to build confidence in students and prepare them for meaningful careers after graduation. The Career Services and Internships Office is a major player in helping undergraduate students on the Winona Campus successfully search for postgraduate opportunities.
Director of Career Services and Internships Michael Hagarty often says, “We take you from here, to career.” Whether he says this to prospective students and their families or graduating seniors, there’s a sigh of relief and sense of comfort knowing the high level of attention and support Saint Mary’s students receive. Students are encouraged to take part in internships because they act as the stepping stones from the classroom to career.
“Students who do internships get hired sooner and get paid more than students who don’t do internships,” Hagarty says “This is the number one reason to do an internship.” Another reason, he says, is that employers look for “good employees,” not just “good students.”
One student who has benefited from internships is Emily Ahart ’17, an Accounting and Finance double major. Ahart has completed three internships and has worked various other jobs throughout her time at Saint Mary’s. She has interned for Winona Knitcraft Corporation as an accounting intern, Clifton Larson Allen in Austin as a public accounting auditing intern, and Home Federal Savings Bank in Rochester as a credit analyst intern. Ahart is excited to enter the working world and the sky seems to be the limit. She already has a job offer, a full year before graduation.
Internships provide students with valuable work experience and the opportunity to foster relationships and network. Saint Mary’s vast alumni network of more than 42,000 serves as a resource for internship opportunities and connections. The surrounding communities are another great source of internships. A plethora of businesses offer students valuable experiences in Winona, Rochester, La Crosse, and elsewhere.
Winona is a convenient hot spot for internships throughout the school year. It is also rich with possibilities throughout the summer. For example, Emily Loof ’18, a Literature with Writing Emphasis and Public Relations double major, has an internship with Winona’s annual Great River Shakespeare Festival. Also staying amid the bluffs for the summer is Bill Arvinius ’17, an Accounting major who is part of Saint Mary’s Polish exchange student program and interning with Wells Fargo.
Summer is also an excellent time for scientific research and field work. Maetzin Cruz-Reyes ’17 has had the opportunity to investigate many of the directions she can take her Biochemistry major, including cell biology, molecular biology, and inorganic chemistry. Last summer Cruz-Reyes studied cell biology at the Hormel Institute, concentrating on cancer cell research.
This summer she is taking a different approach to cancer from a molecular biology perspective at the Gundersen Medical Foundation/Kabara Cancer Research Institute. Cruz-Reyes is also working on a three semester-long research project focused on inorganic chemistry, under the direction of Saint Mary’s associate professor Brett Bodsgard, Ph.D.
With the support of her professors—and her own drive and passion for science—the internships she has obtained have enriched her time at Saint Mary’s and have provided her with “lots of hands-on experience and helped me decide what path to follow for graduate school.” After graduate school, Cruz-Reyes plans to become a scientific researcher.
Hagarty says that one of the things he loves most about students’ internships and career-exploration opportunities is hearing the stories that come from the experiences. Internships, he points out, provide real-world learning, exploration of interests and abilities, and the opportunity to cultivate relationships and network before graduation.
For more information about internships available to Saint Mary’s students, visit the Career Services Office.
Helpful hints for discovering a career you’ll love!
Exploring careers and choosing a major is a very individual process. To help you in this process, here is a checklist of activities to consider and participate in. Some may be more applicable than others, but all can help you clarify your options and make the right choice.
- Learn about yourself, your interests and abilities by using self-assessment tools.
- Review Saint Mary’s course catalog. The catalog shows which majors are offered at SMUMN.
- Register for the one-credit course Career Exploration (PD101) offered the second eight weeks of each semester.
- Research occupations that interest you and learn of new occupations to consider. Use the resource library in Career Services and/or the school library. The Career Services website links to other sites with career information.
- Talk to faculty about specific majors.
- Talk to students in majors that interest you.
- Take classes that spark your interest.
- Interview and/or job shadow professionals working in the occupation(s) you are considering. Learn what the professionals majored in, if they went to college, and what advice they could offer you in terms of courses to take and skills to develop.
- Participate in a field exploration experience or internship.
Research… industries, employers and salaries
Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It contains information on a variety of careers, including salary averages, market outlook and descriptions.
Spotlight on Careers
Spotlight on Careers is a collaborative service for students maintained by the Liberal Arts College Network (LACN). It spotlights career fields popular among liberal arts students, providing online informational guides. Spotlight makes available the best information from a wide range of career fields. This ever growing library of web links facilitates the career development process for students.
The important elements of networking can be summed up in four simple steps:
- Contact the person
- Follow up after your meeting
- Take the suggested action steps
- Follow up with the contact regularly
Networking comes in many forms – everything from meeting an old friend for a cup of coffee to asking how she likes law school, to having your best friend’s father put in a good word for you at his company, to meeting with an alum from Saint Mary’s to learn more about a career in social work.
The Wall Street Journal reported two years ago that 94% of successful job seekers claimed that networking made all the difference for them. Networking is a powerful way of building professional relationships. It is a process of actively fostering contacts and creating ways to disseminate information. There are two basic goals to networking – greater visibility and increased information.
Many people hesitate to contact others for fear of imposing or asking for help. The reality is that most people are happy to do something for someone else if asked. The mistakes most candidates make is not preparing sufficiently for each meeting.
Where to find people to network with
There are many ways to identify networking contacts. Here are some places to find folks who know something about a field, an organization or a school you are considering:
- Career Services and the Alumni office can provide networking lists
- Your own extended family
- Your friend’s parents and other family members
- Your professors, advisors, coaches, and tutors
- Your former bosses and your friend’s and family member’s bosses
- Members of clubs, religious groups, and other organizations to which you belong
Common networking errors
Problems occur when a job-seeker only goes through the motions of contacting others. It is not enough to just meet someone and conduct a 15-minute interview or ask others for a lead or to pass along their resume. Whether you are approaching a colleague, a friend, a family member or a stranger, how you present your purpose will make the difference between a satisfying or unsatisfying experience. Come prepared.
Networking contacts can tell you what it’s really like (from their perspective) to work in a given field or organization. They can help you understand the skills and education needed to get into and be successful in a particular field. They can give you “insider” information on an organization, such as who is in charge, what it takes to succeed in a particular position, how to customize your cover letter and resume to get noticed, and how to market yourself effectively. Every once in a while, the person with whom you are talking will offer to help move your application along. Whether that happens or not, the information you can gather is essential in helping you sort out your options and present yourself more effectively.
Thank the contact and make plans to meet again. Keep the contact aware of your future career moves and ask about their plans. This process of nurturing contacts will sustain and enhance your career.
The informational interview is a “dynamic conversation with a purpose.” The purpose is to gain knowledge about an area of work or field of interest by talking with a person doing that work. As with any worthwhile endeavor, this technique requires some work on your part, but the benefits are outstanding. Developing this technique will expand your base of knowledge and sharpen various transferable skills which will be beneficial throughout your career.
- Gain self-confidence, since it is a comparatively low-stress situation
- Obtain current job market information
- Meet new and interesting people
- Make a network of contacts which may be helpful in the future
- Find out about jobs or career paths you did not know existed
- Enhance your communication skills
- Improve your social skills
- Learn how to manage a focused conversation
- Observe various work environments
- Learn which skills are necessary for particular occupations
- Refine your decision-making skills
Reasons Why the Informational Interview is Underutilized
- Hesitance to initiate contact with busy or “important” people
- Reluctance to ask other people for advice
- Lack of understanding regarding the amount of information needed to make meaningful, well thought-out decisions
Arranging the Interview
There are many sources available to help you pinpoint people to interview. Start with people resources: family, friends, acquaintances, faculty, alumni contacts, people who you have heard about through local events and the local news media, etc. In addition, there are written materials such as employer lists, Chamber of Commerce directories, newspaper articles, directories from various professional associations, etc. Once you have determined who you would like to interview, write them a short note explaining your desire to talk with them about their job and career choice. Indicate that you will follow up with a phone call in order to arrange a possible meeting time.
Questions to Ask
There are four basic questions you can use as a starting point:
- How did you become interested in this field of work?
- What do you like about this job?
- What are the negative aspects of this type of work?
- Could you suggest the names of a few other people who are also in this occupation with whom I might talk to?
Certainly there are many other questions which you could ask. Make sure you ask those questions which will get you the information you need. Other questions might include:
- Does this job go by any other titles in other organizations?
- What are the most important skills for this occupation?
- How would you describe your typical day?
- What personal attributes are important for this job?
- What are some current trends or controversies in this field?
- What are some suggested ways to enter this field?
- What other occupations are closely related to this type of work?
- Can you recommend any relevant magazines, journals, or other publication which I should read?
In order to make the best use of the information you gather, it is important to evaluate it by asking yourself questions such as:
- What did I learn from this interview (both positive and negative)?
- How does what I learned fit with my interests, abilities, goals, values, etc.?
- What additional information do I need?
Be sure to write a short thank-you note to the person you interviewed in a timely manner, that is, within two days. In addition, record the name, place of business, address, phone number and any highlights of your conversation for future reference. Remember, you are establishing a professional network!
Choosing a Major
Answer the question: What can I do with this major?
Career Services and Internships can assist you in determining the best major or career to suit your interests, values and abilities. Understanding personal interests, values and abilities through self-assessment is the first step to finding a “good fit.” The second step is to explore and research careers you are interested in.
Important points to remember when choosing your major:
•Choose something you enjoy
•Explore your options before deciding
•Gain experience outside of your major through other classes and departments, activities, and internships
•Most occupations and jobs are open to a wide variety of majors
Following is a wide choice of resources and events that are geared to helping you discover your academic path and college major.
The first step in the process of choosing a major is self-assessment. Career Services & Internships offers self-assessments to help students identify areas of strength and interest. Before you can decide what you want to do, it helps to have a more comprehensive understanding of who you are – your interests, abilities and values. Contact Mike Hagarty at (507) 457-6695 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment to talk about whether a career assessment is right for you.
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Occupational Outlook Handbook
Earnings statistics and summary statements on all occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.