How to Set Great Internship or Job Goals

Goals are critical to succeeding at your internship or entry-level job for several reasons.

  1. They help you focus on what matters and avoid spending time on fruitless endeavors.
  2. They enable you to track your progress and ensure you’re having the impact you want to have.
  3. They help you align expectations with your manager and stay on the same page.
  4. They allow you to document and demonstrate your effort and impact at the company, which can help you get a raise, promotion, or recommendation.

What Makes a Good Internship or Entry-Level Goal?

First, all goals should be several things:

  1. In your direct control.
    There’s no point in holding yourself accountable for things you can’t control. For example, if you’re in a social media marketing role, you should create a goal around growing the number of engaged followers by 50% instead of a goal to increase the revenue you get from each social media follower.
  2. Measurable.
    Avoid vague goals like “Grow our brand awareness.”. You’ll never know when you achieve vague goals. The easiest way to make goals measurable is to ensure there are numbers attached to them.
  3. Ambitious.
    Your goals should push you. They shouldn’t be easily accomplished. Goals don’t exist to make you feel accomplished. They exist to help you accomplish great things.

In addition, internship goals should have a specific focus on learning. That learning focus can be on you learning whether you want to pursue a career similar to the internship, learning a specific skill, or learning to succeed in a particular professional environment.

Good entry-level job goals aren’t so different in that there should be an emphasis on learning. However, learning cannot be the only goal as your impact is critical to your ability to maintain your career.

How to Choose Your Goals

Setting the best, achievable goals for your internship or entry-level job largely depends on knowing what you want, what you’re capable of, what your role will enable you to reasonably do, and what the company is trying to do. When setting your goals, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions.

First, ask yourself why you accepted this internship or job. This should help you figure out what you should try and learn from it. Understanding your own personal motivation for taking the job should help you set a good personal learning goal.

Second, consider what the company is trying to do. Your goals should benefit you and the company. If your goals don’t align with the company’s goals, then your efforts likely won’t have any impact on the company’s success and you won’t be able to demonstrate your value to the company.

Third, ask yourself what type of impact you’d like to have on the company. What would you be most proud of achieving?

Fourth, examine the responsibilities of the role you have at the company and determine what your role will enable you to achieve. If you’re a sales intern, you probably won’t be super successful at helping the company achieve their engineering-related goals.

Setting the Scope of Your Goals

If you’re a summer intern, you probably shouldn’t have a yearly goal. Instead, you should set a goal for your summer internship.

Entry-level employees should start by trying to set 5 year goals. If you have absolutely no idea where you’d like to be in 5 years and what you’d like to be doing, that’s totally fine; start with 1 year goals instead. From those 1 year goals work backwards into quarterly and monthly goals. Some companies set quarterly goals and some set monthly goals. The scope of your goals should match with your company’s scope.

Internship Goal Examples

  1. Grow Twitter followers by 25% by the end of summer.

    Social Media Marketing Intern

  2. Demo 5 new accounts each week.

    Sales Intern

  3. Write 10 new articles each month.

    Content Marketing Intern

  4. Learn Ruby on Rails and deploy 1 new feature by the end of summer.

    Software Engineering Intern

  5. Have coffee with 1 full-time employee each week.

    Anyone

Entry-Level Job Goal Examples

  1. Create 2 new icons and add them to the icon font each month.

    Visual Designer

  2. Reduce expenses each quarter by 5%.

    Financial Analyst

  3. Retain 80% of part-time volunteers each quarter.

    Non-Profit Volunteer Coordinator

  4. Shadow a different person in their role at the company each month.

    Anyone

Tracking Your Progress

Once you have your goals set, you’ll need to be diligent about tracking your progress. A good rule of thumb is to check in on your status one time dimension below the scope of your goals. For example, you should check on your progress towards any yearly goals every quarter. You should check on any quarterly goals every month. You should check on any monthly goals every week.

Keep track of your progress somewhere digital (a spreadsheet or Google doc are good options). It’s not only important to know whether or not you’re making good progress, but at what rate you’re making progress. This can help you tie the progress to specific actions you took.

Assessing Your Impact

The final, and perhaps the most critical part, of effectively using goals in your internship or entry-level job is to ensure that you take time to reflect on the goals you set. You may have achieved them, or you may not have. Regardless, you should take time to think about:

  1. Did this goal actually measure the impact that you had? Was it a good goal?
  2. Why did you or did you not meet your goal?
  3. Was this goal effective in motivating you?
  4. Should you use this goal again?

Now that you know why goals are a critical part of any internship or entry-level job and how to set good ones, go use your new knowledge! Your manager will be impressed. We promise.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What Is Supply Chain Management?

If you’ve ever heard of supply chain management, you might be wondering exactly what it is and how it fits into other areas of business. To find out the answer, we recently sat down with Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky. She’s the president of Process & Strategy Solutions, and she gave us some great insights into supply chains and how they impact the economy.

Here’s what she had to say about working in supply chain management.

What exactly is supply chain management?

Supply chain management is not a new concept. But it’s definitely a concept that has changed in recent years. At its core, it boils down to satisfying customer demands and finding the most efficient ways to get a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For example, when you buy a phone, a supply chain is responsible for manufacturing that phone and for all of the steps involved in getting it delivered to you.

In recent years, supply chains have become more complex, and this has led to new challenges. “Companies used to think they had basically one supply chain,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. “Now, because there is such an abundance of supply, we create supply chains to satisfy what customers value.”

What this means is that companies require more processes in order to serve their customers better. The good news? With increased demands come increased opportunities for employment and career development.

What types of jobs are involved in supply chain management?

Supply chain management includes everything from data analysis to transportation management. The key to finding a role that’s a good fit is knowing where your interests lie. You then have to develop skill sets to match them.

Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky recommends doing this by identifying what you’re passionate about. “What do you find yourself coming back to?” she asks. Whether that’s working with data, developing processes, or working closely with other people, supply chain management involves all sorts of career options that could work for you.

Is supply chain management a cross-functional industry?

Because a supply chain has so many moving pieces, working in supply chain management absolutely involves some degree of cross-functionality. Although there is some variation depending on the role you pick — for example, a data analyst will likely have a less cross-functional position than a transportation manager — most roles in the industry do rely on team-oriented processes to deliver results.

Is supply chain management a good field for recent grads?

“Globalization has opened up more competition, leading to increased supply chain requirements,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. As a result, there are now increased demands that can’t be met by the existing older workforce. “Baby boomers are leaving the workforce and few are being trained to take their places. On top of that, many were or are in legacy jobs that need to be updated for today’s realities,” she emphasizes. Because of these gaps, there is an immediate need for fresh talent to enter the field, not only to fill existing positions but also to help create new ones.

Working in supply chain management is an exciting chance to learn about the processes that power a consumer-driven economy. It’s also a great opportunity to participate in a field that is rapidly changing and evolving to serve a new generation of consumers. If turning that opportunity into action sounds like an exciting prospect, then supply chain management might just be for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

Top 10 Things You Should Look For In a Company

Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, finding a great position goes way beyond the job description. From company culture to opportunities for growth, there are several things you should keep in mind when deciding between potential employers.

Here are the top things to look for in a company.

1. Do the company’s values align with yours?

One of the most important things to consider when researching potential employers is how their values align with yours. This is because working for a company is about a lot more than just the hours you put in each day. It’s about knowing that the company values some of the same things you do (like honesty, integrity and hard work) and understanding how those values match up with your own. Whether it’s finding a company with a model you admire or one that takes environmental action seriously and donates money to prevent global warming, you should feel that you and your potential employer stand for the same things and that you can build a lasting relationship.

2. Does the company culture fit your personality?

Many employers list cultural fit as the most important thing they look for when interviewing candidates, and you should put this at the top of your list too. For example, if you’re more comfortable in a relaxed environment than a conservative one, then a company with a corporate culture might not be a great fit for you. Before you sign that offer letter, take the time to assess how you’d fit in at the company and how the company culture would fit you.

3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?

Whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers so it’s important to make sure that they’re people you’d like to work with. This goes hand-in-hand with cultural fit and it’s something you should be aware of when considering a new opportunity. The average American spends around one-third of each weekday at work, so having co-workers you get along with is a key part of being happy at your job.

4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?

Having the chance to learn new things is important in any position, but it’s especially important during the early stages of your career. For that reason, finding an internship or full-time job that allows you to learn as much as possible is key to the development of your career.

5. Is there room for growth within the company?

In addition to offering you opportunities to learn about the industry, a great company should also offer opportunities for advancement within the organization. This is even more important in the case of internships and entry-level jobs because the opportunity for a promotion (or a full-time job) is a great incentive to learn as much as possible and prove your commitment to the team. The exception to this is if you’re not looking for a long-term opportunity but are looking to gain experience for a year or two before going to grad school.

6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?

Feeling appreciated is an important part of any life experience, but it’s especially important in your working life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be company-sponsored happy hours or free weekly lunches, it does mean that your employer should make you feel valued by offering positive feedback and supporting your efforts to learn and improve.

7. Does the company offer security and stability?

One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is a secure and stable environment. This doesn’t just mean a regular paycheck (although that’s part of it), but also a proven history of steady success and a sense of job security. Although it’s unrealistic to expect smooth sailing all the time, a solid track record is a great indication that the company can provide you with the type of environment you need to succeed.

8. Does the company set you up for success?

Although a lot of your professional success will depend on you, there are several things an employer can do to set you for a great outcome. This includes everything from in-depth training to goal setting and regular feedback, factors that are especially important as your begin your career.

9. Will your role teach your transferrable skills?

In addition to offering training for your current role, a great company will set you up for future success by teaching you transferrable skills that you can use in your next position. When applying for a job, ask yourself what you can learn from the role and don’t be afraid to discuss training opportunities and skill building during your interview.

10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?

Being challenged to learn and to grow is one of the key markers of a great company. In fact, getting out of your company zone is one of the best ways to learn new skills and to find out who you are as a professional. Look for companies that make you feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer the support you need to turn those challenges into wins.

Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or your fifth, finding a company that will provide you with great opportunities requires some research. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Much Should I be Paid at an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

3 Ways To Be More Productive At Work

Whether you’re just starting your first internship or you’re already settled into a full-time job, being productive is something that should be at the top of your mind. Why? Because productivity not only makes you a better employee, it also ensures that you can be successful in your role and advance in your career.

Here are three things you can do to be more productive at work.

1. Have a consistent morning routine

If you’ve ever read about the daily routines of successful entrepreneurs, then you know that most of them have very specific things they do every morning, from answering their emails right when they wake up to making sure that they take the time to exercise. Although you might not consider yourself an entrepreneur like Michael Dell (yet) having a morning routine is important even when you’re just starting out. A good way to create your routine is by figuring out the things that are most important in your day and then prioritizing them accordingly. For example, if you know that creating a to-do list and answering emails first thing in the morning will make your more productive throughout the day, make these tasks part of your morning routine and tackle them before you move on to anything else.

2. Focus on one thing at a time

While multitasking might seem like a great thing in theory, studies have consistently shown that it doesn’t work. What does work is focusing your attention on specific tasks by dividing up up your day into blocks of time. For example, if you’re a social media manager whose day involves creating social media posts, analyzing campaign performance and attending meetings, blocking off time to work on each of those tasks will ensure that you’re able to focus on each one individually and accomplish them effectively. A quick way to do this is by closing out all the tabs and programs you have open on your computer, leaving open only the ones you need for the task at hand.

3. Take breaks and know when to unplug

Taking breaks might seem counterintuitive to productivity, especially during a busy day when you have a lot to do, but they’re actually a great way to recharge your body and reset your mind. A good rule of thumb is to take a 5-10 minute break every hour to stretch your legs and look away from your computer screen. Methods like the Pomodoro Technique can come in handy here, since they’ll help you stay mindful of the passing hours and remind you to take breaks when you need them. Even more important is the idea of totally unplugging once you leave for the day. Although it may be tempting to keep checking your email, doing so will only keep you in work mode longer, making it harder to relax and making you more tired in the meantime. To truly be productive, it’s important to have some time offline every night to focus on other things and recharge for the following day.

Being productive is a great way to be successful in your role and to show your manager that you’re enthusiastic about your job. By following these steps, you’ll be able to get all your work done and still find time to have fun.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Negotiate a Job Offer and find answers to common interview questions such as What Motivates You?

How To Become A Confident Public Speaker

Confidence is a key part of being successful in almost any situation, and it’s especially important when it comes to your professional life. One of the areas where confidence really matters is public speaking. Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid of public speaking (including seasoned professionals). If you’re among them, don’t worry. With a little bit of practice and preparation, you can conquer your fears and learn how to deliver a powerful and engaging speech.

Here are five tips for becoming a confident public speaker.

1. Have a positive attitude.

Being able to get your message across effectively starts with having a positive attitude. Although this may seem difficult if you’re feeling nervous, it’s actually not as hard as it sounds. The key is to know your goal and to tell yourself that you can do it. For example, if your goal is to present a new strategy to the entire company, reminding yourself that you have the knowledge and the skills to deliver a great speech is crucial to your success. This will help boost your confidence and ensure that you stay positive as you get closer to giving your presentation.

2. Picture a successful outcome.

If you’ve ever heard of athletes who prepare for big games by visualizing success, there’s a good reason for that: it works! The best way to apply this tactic to public speaking is by picturing yourself giving a speech. Picture yourself feeling confident and delivering a speech that you feel good about. Then focus on what part of your visualization makes you feel the most successful. Is it being prepared and knowledgeable about the material? Or maybe it’s the way the audience engages with your speech, smiling and nodding in all the right places. Whatever it is, focus on this feeling of success and keep repeating the visualization until you’re able to convince yourself that the real speech will go just as well.

Pro Tip: Although this exercise should be a positive one, don’t be afraid to do a similar visualization where you picture the worst case scenario. Why? Because this will help prepare you for any curve balls. Although you’re unlikely to encounter any real embarrassment or problems during the speech, seeing it play out in your imagination (and knowing that you can get past it) is a great way to remind yourself that you can handle whatever comes your way.

3. Know what you want to communicate.

Along with building confidence, knowing what you want to communicate is a key component of successful public speaking. The best way to do this is by coming up with a list of 2-3 bullet points that you consider to be the key takeaways of your speech. Then craft your speech with these in mind and practice it several times to ensure that you’re emphasizing these points as effectively as possible.

4. Clear your mind

Once you have you have your speech prepared and you’ve visualized a successful outcome, the next step is being able to clear your mind right before your speech. There are several ways to do this but the most effective is to practice some deep breathing. This works best if done right before the speech. Spend a few minutes breathing in and out slowly and focusing on your breath. This will help clear your mind of any remaining anxiety and will ensure that your mind and body are relaxed as you prepare to start your speech.

5. Connect with the audience.

Along with being calm and prepared, one of the keys to giving a successful speech is being able to connect with your audience. The best way to do this is by making regular eye contact during your speech and by asking questions designed to engage your listeners.

Pro Tip: A great way to practice connecting with your audience is by rehearsing your speech in front of friends. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the delivery and able to focus on engaging with your audience.

Public speaking is a great skill to have in any professional context and it’s especially impressive for recent grads who are just establishing themselves in their careers. By following these tips and growing your self-confidence, you’ll be able to become a confident public speaker and to impress current and future employers along the way.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Thank You Note After An Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as What Gets You Up in the Morning?

Here’s How To Make A Great First Impression At An Entry-Level Job

You’ve worked hard to earn your degree and even hard to lock down that first job after college. You should recognize and celebrate the successes you’ve had, but don’t underestimate the importance of starting your first entry-level job off on the right foot.

Here are 5 actionable tips to help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams in your first entry-level job:

Prepare for your first day. 

When given a start date for your new job, it can be extremely tempting to relax and passively wait for that date to come before you start getting familiar with your new job. That’s not a good idea. You should spend an hour or so each day getting more familiar with the company, the role, and the people you’re likely to work with. Here are some tips for getting on top of the job before it begins:

  1. Ask your hiring manager for any guides or information to ponder before you start.
  2. Get familiar with the industry you’re working in and your company’s place in it. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Do some additional research into the professional history (best to avoid personal history) of the other team members you’ll be working with. Where have they worked? What have they done?
  4. Ask the company to help you get in touch with previous entry-level hires in your role. They will have fantastic advice for you on succeeding at the company.
  5. Get coffee with your coworkers before you start.

Show up early and prepared.

There are going to be a lot of moving pieces on your first day. There will be new people to meet, new processes to learn, routines to establish, and the list goes on. Arrive early and create structure for yourself to make it less overwhelming. Here are some suggestions for creating helpful structure on your first day:

  1. Write everything down. It doesn’t matter where. What’s important is that writing things down helps you retain them.
  2. Start a to-do list and be diligent about checking items off as they happen. This will help you when your boss asks what you’ve done lately.
  3. Take breaks to reflect. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to make any additional notes.
  4. Create a routine. Get lunch at the same time every day. Create structure in your daily agenda.

Be a humble sponge.

Recognize that there’s going to be a lot for you to learn and that your coworkers have a lot to teach. Be patient, respectful, humble, and curious. If you don’t know or understand something, ask for some guidance and help, listen intently, write it down, and take it to heart.

You might find yourself not agreeing with the way certain parts of the company or processes are run. That’s fine. However, it’s always a good idea to attempt to understand why the current processes exist before attempting to change them. You want to work in a place where your voice is heard and respected. Your fellow employees will listen and respect you only if you’re willing to listen and respect them first.

Set goals.

If you remember one thing from this list, let this be it. Nothing is more important than setting good goals for yourself. Ideally, you’re creating these goals with your manager so that you’re both on the same page with respect to the expectations for you in your role. Only once you know what you’re working towards and how you’ll be evaluating your success can you truly start making progress in your job. Good goals will help you push yourself to learn new things, meet new people, tackle new challenges, and get the absolute most from any job.

Learn to Set Good Job Goals

Be introspective.

Truly knowing yourself and attempting to understand what you find challenging and rewarding about your job will pay dividends. The better you know yourself, the easier it is for you to set great goals for yourself and achieve them. You’ll get more meaningful results faster in almost every aspect of your work.

So being introspective is important. Great. Now how do you do it?

  1. Consider what you’re hoping to get out of your first job. Are you assessing whether or not you want to continue a career in marketing? Or are you trying to figure out whether or not the industry is interesting to you? Why are you here?
  2. Ask yourself, how do you feel at work? Are you upbeat and happy? Or are you distracted and bitter?
  3. Dig into what you’ve actually learned each day. Is what you’re learning what you want to be learning?

Start using these actionable tips.

Sometimes success in a new job comes naturally and sometimes it requires a great deal of effort. Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, these tips should help you start taking control of the situation and ensure you make the most of your first job after college.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is Consulting?

Being a consultant is an exciting opportunity to learn the ins and outs of running a business in an effective and profitable way. Regardless of your major, if you’re a creative problem-solver who is interested in different types of business models, then being a consultant might just be for you.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about working in consulting.

What is consulting?

Consulting is a fairly broad term that can have a variety of meanings depending on the industry it refers to. For example, you can work as a marketing consultant helping companies create and optimize their marketing campaigns or as a software consultant, designing software systems for an organization. However, although the term has many applications, it’s generally used to refer to management or strategy consulting, the practice of helping companies increase their efficiency and profits by addressing the major operational or strategic challenges they’re facing.

What do consultants do?

Consulting roles can vary greatly depending on the type of consulting firm you work for and the companies you work with. For example, if you work for one of the large management consulting companies (such as McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group) you’ll be following a fairly structured career path, starting off as a junior consultant and moving up to a senior consultant role within two to three years. Working at one of the larger consulting firms also means that you’re more likely to be a generalist in your early years since you typically only become specialized in a particular vertical, industry or type of work after working in consulting for several years. At smaller consultancies or boutique firms, you’ll generally focus on a particular industry from the beginning (such as healthcare or technology) and work exclusively within that industry.

What are the challenges of working in consulting?

Being a consultant is an exciting career path but it does have its share of challenges. One of the main ones is traveling. Although many other careers require travel (e.g. sales), few are as travel-intensive as consulting. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear of consultants who travel four out of five days of each work week, meaning that your non-travel time will usually be limited to weekends. Additional challenges include long hours (12-hour days are standard) and working closely with a new team every few months. Although these factors might take a little getting used to, most consultants adapt to them fairly quickly and are able to thrive in their roles.

What are some of the benefits of working in consulting?

One of the main benefits of being a consultant is having the opportunity to learn about multiple industries and business models. In fact, this knowledge will serve you well throughout your consulting career (and beyond), allowing you to quickly spot operational and managerial problems and come up with creative solutions to solve them. And although travel can be a challenging part of the job, it can also be an exciting one, giving you the opportunity to see new parts of the country (and helping you build up some frequent flyer miles in the process!). Consulting will also improve your presentation skills, teaching you how to build impressive presentation decks and communicate your point effectively to any type of audience.

What is a typical consultant salary?

One of the other benefits of being a consultant is the high earning potential. In fact, consulting is one of the most lucrative professions around and it offers great salaries for recent graduates. Entry-level salaries for management consultants typically start at $63,000 (including bonuses), though this can vary depending on the size of the firm you work for. Consulting salaries increase significantly with each year of additional experience and can go up to $250,000 for a project leader or even $500,000 and above for a partner.

Although consulting is certainly a challenging field, it’s also an exciting one that presents many opportunities for recent grads. The best way to find out if being a consultant is a good fit for you is to intern at a consulting firm and get a hands-on feel for the role and the culture of the industry.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Handle Back-to-Back Interviews and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About Yourself.

How to Become a Consultant

If you’re interested in consulting, then you probably already know that it’s an exciting and challenging field with a lot of opportunities to learn about different industries and business processes. But you might be wondering about the best way to get started. Should you submit applications to all the major consulting firms and hope for the best? Or is there something else you can do to increase your chances of landing a job in this industry?

Here are some of the key things you need to know about becoming a consultant.

1. Understand the different types of consulting jobs and identify your area of interest

Consulting is a broad term that can have many different applications. In order to get started in the field, it’s important to first identify what type of consultant you want to be by learning about the different types of consulting and the roles associated with them. For example, if you’re interested in a specific industry such as marketing, technology or healthcare, you might want to work for a boutique firm that specializes in that particular industry. On the other hand, if you’re interested in business operations and management at a more general level, you might want to go into management consulting, working for a larger firm such as McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what type of consulting would be a good fit for you, spend some time doing research on the various types and getting a sense of which one most closely aligns with your interests.

2. Know what recruiters look for

Regardless of what type of consulting you choose to pursue, it’s important to know what recruiters look for when assessing candidates. For example, since consulting requires the ability to address problems effectively (and often creatively), recruiters look for candidates with strong problem-solving abilities and also those with a basic level of business knowledge. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to be a business or finance major to succeed in the recruitment process. It just means that you need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of how businesses operate and an interest in the technical and operational problems that you’ll encounter in the position.

Pro Tip: Building up your business knowledge and technical skills can be done in a number of ways. While taking a business management or accounting class is a great idea, you can also supplement this knowledge with reading materials specific to the industry itself. For example, magazines like The Economist can give you a general sense of business and finance trends impacting relevant industries.

3. Understand what a case interview is and how to prepare for one

Case interviews are designed to test your ability to understand and solve problems effectively and they are a big part of the recruitment process for management consulting jobs. During a case interview, you’ll be presented with a series of business or logic problems and asked to come up with solutions. Common questions you’ll encounter can include things such as “How many wheelchair users are there in the U.S. this year?” or “How do we increase the revenue for Company X by 15% in this calendar year?” In order to succeed in a case interview, it’s important to ask relevant questions and to show the thought process behind your proposed solution. This is because hiring managers are primarily interested in how you approach problems and being able to demonstrate a cohesive problem-solving process will go a long way towards impressing them.

Pro Tip: Acing your case interview is all about practice so make sure to spend some time learning about common case interview questions and thinking through your answers. A number of resources can come in handy here including books such as Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation and sites like Case Interview.

4. Take an internship at a consulting firm

Few things are as effective at building relevant skills as internships. In fact, having internship experience will not only give you hands-on experience of what it’s like to work in consulting, but it will also help you decide whether a consulting role is right for you. The best way to find a consulting internship that fits your interests is by researching opportunities at several firms and then either applying on WayUp or reaching out to their recruitment team to find out more about the roles and the requirements.

5. Build your network

Having a strong professional network is important in every industry but it’s especially important in a field like consulting, which relies heavily on teamwork and collaboration. Luckily, networking is essentially built into the consulting industry with firms sponsoring social events to help consultants get to know one another and build relationships both within and outside of their firms.

Pro Tip: One of the most effective ways to build your network is by reaching out to alumni from your school. You can do this by attending career fairs that your school offers or even by looking through your school’s alumni network on LinkedIn to identify those who are working in the industry. Added bonus: Many alumni are actively involved in recruitment efforts at their alma maters so connecting with them before the recruitment process starts will put your on their radar at the right time.

Working as a consultant can be both challenging and exciting, giving you the opportunity to learn a lot about how businesses function and how you can help them succeed. The best way to find out if being a consultant is right for you is by interning at a consulting firm and getting a feel for what the industry is all about.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Thank You Note After an Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Strengths?

How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Congratulations, you got an offer! That’s great news and here’s more: negotiating the details of an offer is part of the process of getting hired. One important thing to remember is that entry-level jobs are not always open for salary negotiation but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with an employer to make sure you get a combination of salary and benefits that will work for you.

In order to make the process as easy and effective as possible, here are some things to remember as you negotiate.

Do your research.

Do you know the going salary for an entry-level job in customer service? What about for a computer science major with several internships under her belt? If you’re not sure of the answers, it’s time to do some research. Luckily, there are several sites that can help make the process both quick and easy. To get a better idea of the average salary for a specific job or industry, head over to Glassdoor. In addition to providing detailed salary information for entry-level roles, Glassdoor also has a breakdown of how salaries vary by city. This is great news for graduates who are looking to relocate or those who are comparing several different jobs at once.

After you’ve gotten a good grasp of the salary range for your dream job, dig a little deeper by finding out more about the company you’re negotiating with. Our company pages are a great resource for this type of information, and they can offer you fantastic insight into your potential employer.

Know your value.

Whether you’re coming to the negotiation straight from a well-paid internship or starting from scratch without much professional experience, you don’t need to tell potential employers what you earned at previous part-time jobs. Not even if they ask directly. Instead, use your research to come up with a salary that’s within the range for an entry-level job in your chosen field, and tell the hiring manager that you’re looking for a salary within that range.

The conversation will usually go something like this:

Hiring Manager: “Let’s talk a little bit about the salary for this position.”

You: “Great! Based on my experience and skillset, I’m looking for a salary in the $35,000-$40,000 range. I think that I would be a great fit for the role and would love to discuss compensation if that salary is in line with what you had in mind.”

Be confident but not cagey. Employers appreciate you coming to the table informed and enthusiastic, but they’re likely to be put off if you’re too aggressive or hesitant during the negotiation process.

Don’t get discouraged if the offer is lower than you expect.

If you do receive an offer that’s lower than you expected, your first impulse might be to panic. Don’t. While salary negotiation isn’t possible with some entry-level roles (like investment banking or consulting), a lower often doesn’t always mean that your potential employer. This is where your research will come in handy. In addition to giving you the confidence to negotiate effectively, it will also give you the opportunity to see what other perks the job might offer. For example, if you’re looking for a role that allows for great work-life balance or you really like the company culture, those benefits are likely to also play a role in your decision. Think about the offer as a whole and see how you can work with the employer to make it fit your needs.

Be grateful, not entitled.

One of the most important aspects of negotiating a job offer is saying thank you as soon as you receive it. Receiving an offer is a great sign that an employer sees your potential and believes that you would be a good fit for the role. Here’s how to show your excitement and keep the conversation going:

“Thank you for the offer, I’m really excited about the prospect of joining the team! I appreciate the current offer of $35,000 but based on my skills and experience, I was expecting an offer in the $40,000 range. Can we look at a salary of $40,000 for this position?”

Negotiating a job offer can feel a little intimidating, especially if it’s your first one. The best way to maximize results is to go into the process flexible and informed. And if you need a little extra boost of confidence, remember that the person on the other side of the table wants to work with you and they’re invested in helping you succeed.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Do I Get a Job in Another City or State? and find answers to common interview questions such as Would You Work Holidays And/Or Weekends?

What Is a Financial Analyst?

Being a financial analyst is one of the most popular career paths in finance. This is largely because analysts can work in a range of industries and also because the field has some great benefits, including a high earning potential. If you’re a business or finance major, a financial analyst role is definitely worth considering. Even if you’re not currently majoring in a related discipline, you might be interested in finding out more about this role and deciding whether it could be a good fit for you.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about being a financial analyst.

What is a financial analyst?

A financial analyst is someone who makes business recommendations for an organization based on analyses they carry out on factors like market trends, the financial status of a company (or companies) and the predicted outcomes of a certain type of deal. Analysts typically have academic backgrounds as business, finance or accounting majors and are numbers-driven individuals who are comfortable interpreting data and making recommendations based on that data.

What do financial analysts do?

Financial analysts are primarily responsible for creating financial models that can predict the outcome of certain business decisions. In order to do this properly, they need to aggregate a large amount of financial data while also taking in account factors like financial market trends and past transactions of a similar nature. Because the role can be quite different depending on where an analyst works — for example an analyst at an investment bank will be much more focused on assisting with deals and mergers that one working for an insurance company — the industry an analyst chooses to go into defines their day-to-day responsibilities. Overall however, analysts play a significant part in providing decision-makers with the information they need to increase revenue and manage assets successfully.

What are the challenges of being a financial analyst?

Finance is a very data-driven industry and one of the challenges of working as an analyst in being able to analyze and interpret financial statements, market trends and microeconomic conditions in order to offer recommendations on potential business deals and decisions. In addition to the technical challenges involved in aggregating and interpreting this complex data, one of the other challenges analysts face is the fast pace of the finance industry. Fortunately, by knowing what to expect and getting the right training, these challenges can be overcome.

What are the benefits of being a financial analyst?

Although working as a financial analyst does present some challenges, it’s also a career path filled with opportunities, particularly when it comes to having your pick of industries. This is because financial analysts play a necessary part in almost every area of business so whether you’re passionate about music or interested in technology, you’re likely to find an opportunity that’s right for you. In addition to having flexibility when it comes to industries, you’ll be playing a crucial role in pulling together the information required to make these decisions and to develop new strategies. In addition to learning new skills like how to create models in Excel and participating in exciting business processes, being an analyst will also offer you the opportunity to develop a strong professional network, an asset which you can continue to nurture throughout your career.

What is a typical financial analyst salary?

Entry-level financial analyst salaries start at $55,500 (including bonuses and commission). For analysts working in investment banking and asset management, starting salaries can be much higher, typically between $100-$125,000. Irrespective of what field you choose to go into, being a financial analyst is a lucrative career with more senior analysts earning anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000.

Although being a financial analyst comes with certain challenges, it’s also a great opportunity to work in an exciting field and play a key role in the decision-making processes of an organization. If being a financial analyst sounds like it might be for you, consider taking on a summer internship and getting a hands-on feel for the position.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as the Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?