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 Cover Letter Mistakes You Never Knew You Were Making

One of the keys to landing an awesome job is starting off on the right foot with the recruiter. Writing a strong resume and filling out your WayUp profile are the best ways to get started, but if you want to really stand out, a cover letter can be a great way to demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization. That said, few things are as annoying to recruiters as a poorly written cover letter. So, what can you do to ensure that yours make a good impression? Here are the top three cover letter mistakes and tips on what you can do to fix them.

1. Focusing too much on yourself and your resume.

Although it’s great to list one or two key accomplishments that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, your cover letter shouldn’t rehash your resume. In fact, it should focus on the things that you can bring to the table and only mention the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. Instead of summarizing your achievements, go beyond your resume and make your experiences personal to the job.

Pro Tip: Quantifying achievements with metrics is a wonderful way to demonstrate the impact you’ve had at previous jobs and to help hiring managers envision you as a member of their team.

2. Making it longer than a page.

Another common cover letter mistake a lot of college students and recent grads make is to write a letter that’s far too long. Although this might be tempting (after all, you want to show the hiring manager that you’ve done a lot of cool things and could do a wonderful job for them), it’s important to remember that employers are often quite busy and often don’t have time to read a two-page letter. Instead of telling them your whole life story, focus on conveying your enthusiasm for the role and highlighting 2-3 key things that define your work and your personality.

Pro Tip: Knowing how to structure your cover letter will go a long way toward ensuring that you get it right. We recommend keeping it to three paragraphs with the first paragraph mentioning why you’re applying for the position, the second paragraph explaining your interest in the role and the industry and the third paragraph discussing your qualifications. This is a great way to ensure that you’re hitting on all the right points without going overboard on the length.

3. Not checking for typos and grammar mistakes.

Of all the mistakes you can make on your cover letter, not proofreading for typos is probably the worst. This signifies a lack of attention and also a lack of care, two things that are unlikely to impress recruiters. The best way to avoid this is by making sure to read through your letter at least three times and asking a friend or family member to take a look at it too.

Pro Tip: Here’s a proofreading tip you may not have heard before: Reading backwards is an excellent way to catch spelling mistakes that you might otherwise gloss over. The best way to do it is by going through the letter word by word (starting with your signature) and working your way to the top.

While a strong cover letter can help you get noticed by employers, a weak one might hurt your chances of getting hired. By knowing what mistakes to look out for — and what to do if they pop up — you’ll be able to write the kind of cover letter that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Become a Financial Analyst and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

What Is a Psychology Major and Is it Right for Me?

Are you fascinated by human behavior and interested in figuring out what makes people tick? Are you passionate about helping others and helping them work through difficult situations? If you answered yes to these questions, a psychology major might just be for you.

What is a psychology major?

Psychology is the study of human behavior at both the individual and group level. As a psychology major, you’ll learn about the various factors that affect mental health (such as cultural and environmental factors), and about the different dynamics that can impact the psychology of a particular group. You’ll also dive deep into the world of psychological disorders and learn about common mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

In psychology classes, you’ll learn the basics of cognitive function and then go on to study advanced theories about what drives particular types of behaviors. Covering physiology, statistics and experimental psychology, this major will give some solid insights into the inner workings of the human brain.

Is it right for me?

Psychology is an exciting field with plenty of career opportunities for those interested in helping people and learning more about the nuances of human interaction.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether a psychology major is right for you:

  • Am I excited to do in-depth research on mental health and human relationships?
  • Am I open-minded? Am I able to be objective about the things I’m learning and able to adjust my views accordingly?
  • Do I handle feedback well? Will I be able to deal with constructive feedback from my professors and classmates?
  • Am I willing to devote a lot of time to reading and understanding clinical research in the field?

What can I do with a psychology degree?

A psychology major can be applied to a broad range of fields including social work and teaching. Popular career paths for psychology majors include:

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Professor
  • Career counselor
  • Non-profit aid worker
  • Guidance counselor
  • Teacher

What do people who major in psychology earn?

The earning potential for psychology majors depends a lot on the types of career paths they choose. For example, entry-level social workers earn approximately $40,000 per year while clinical psychologists with advanced degrees can earn as much as $110,000. No matter what career path you choose, a psychology major will help you develop a broad range of skills that can help you be successful in any role.

What Are the Different Types of Graduate Degrees?

With 2.4 million jobs predicted to require graduate degrees by 2024, application rates for grad schools have increased significantly in recent years. If you’re thinking of going to grad school, you might be wondering about the different types of degrees available and how each one lines up with your specific interests. For example, what can you expect from an MBA program and how can you decide whether it’s right for you.

Here are the most common types of graduate degrees.

Master’s Degree (M.A., M.S., M.F.A, MBA)

The most common type of graduate degree is a master’s degree. Typically consisting of one to two years of study, master’s programs cover a wide variety of specialties including arts and humanities (M.A. or MFA), science and technology (M.S.) and business (MBA). These programs generally combine structured coursework with independent study and often require you to submit a thesis in order to complete the program’s requirements.

Good to Know: In recent years, MBA programs have increased in popularity due to their reputation for helping candidates develop skills that will help them advance in their careers and earn higher salaries. In fact, MBA graduates typically earn 45 percent more than candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)

Another common graduate degree is a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). Spanning a wide variety of subjects such as psychology, history, computer science and engineering, doctoral degrees are designed to expand your understanding of a specific subject by building on the knowledge gained during a master’s program. These degrees are also a requirement for anyone wishing to become a professor or to have a research career in academia.

Good to Know: Although many of those who complete a Ph.D. go on to work in higher education, this is not the only available career path. Industries like management consulting, investment banking and tech are constantly looking for candidates with a specialized academic background.

Juris Doctor Degree (J.D.)

For those who are interested in a career in law, going to law school and getting a juris doctor degree (J.D.) is a great first step toward a legal career. A three-year program with a focus on both general legal principles and specific types of case law, a juris doctor degree prepares you to work in all aspects of the legal field and advocate on behalf of others.

Good to Know: Not all lawyers become practicing attorneys. Other career paths include finance and business, with many non-practicing lawyers focusing on entrepreneurship.

Doctor of Medicine Degree (M.D.)

One of the most prestigious types of graduate degrees is a doctor of medicine degree (M.D.). A four-year program combining coursework with clinical practice, medical school expands on the knowledge gained during an undergraduate education and develops the skills needed for a career as a physician.

Good to Know: In addition to earning an M.D. degree, physicians are required to complete a residency program lasting three to four years to gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree (D.D.S.)

Similar to an M.D. program, a D.D.S. program is a requirement for those who wish to become dentists. Structured as a four-year program combining clinical practice and academic study, dental school teaches dental anatomy and patient care and prepares aspiring dentists for a career as clinicians.

Good to Know: Like medicine, dentistry has a high earning potential, particularly for more specialized areas like oral surgery. These areas often require additional postgraduate study but they also open up additional career opportunities.

Choosing a grad school program can be one of the most important decisions of your career. By knowing what each program entails, you’ll be able to pick a program that’s right for you.

Next, learn more about grad school such as How to Pick an MBA Program and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get the Job You Really Want.

Cover Letter Guides

Before writing a cover letter, it’s important to understand how it can help or hurt you. In the internship application process a cover letter is your first impression. It’s an opportunity to tell a perspective employer why you’re the perfect fit for their internship and their office and just as importantly, a cover letter is an opportunity to tell an employer you don’t care about their position, by writing a sloppy or template cover letter. Some valuable cover letter topics include, explaining why a position interests you, what you bring to the table, how you would be a great fit, or something unique about you that makes you different from the hundreds of other candidates. The ultimate goal of your cover letter is to get the reader excited to meet you for an interview to learn more.

To summarize the points above, ingredients needed to make a successful cover letter are:

Header with contact information:

Including a header with your contact information on the cover letter makes you look professional and ensures your information will be easy to find. You should also consider including this header on all documents you’re submitting when applying, it demonstrates your professionalism and acts as an opportunity to brand yourself to the perspective employer.

Who is your audience?

Try to find the person who is in charge of intern hiring and address your cover letter and resume to them. Statistics show you have a better chance of being hired if you know who’s doing the hiring and if you recognize them, so take some time to research who will be reviewing your submitted materials and write to them specifically.

The hook:

The person reviewing applicant cover letters and resumes will most likely be going through more than you can imagine, so it’s extremely important to hook ‘em with the first line of your cover letter. Start your cover letter with a statement that will catch the reader’s eye, you can try an interesting or entertaining fact that relates you to the company. Always try your hardest to avoid the typical salutations used in writing, because chances are, your reader has already come across many and is sick of seeing them.

What I do and what I can do for you:

Employers want to know what you can bring to the table, so why beat around the bush, give them what they want! It’s rare for a hiring manager to read an entire cover letter from start to finish, so try using bullet points and bolded text to help identify the important information they’ll be searching for.

Finish strong, let your confidence shine:

Let the company know why you want to work for them and that you really believe you would be a good fit with their team, their company culture, and company community. Also, adding a signature will personalize your cover letter and help you stand out with a sense of professionalism.

What Is Grad School?

Whether you’re just starting college or about to graduate, you might be wondering whether you should go to grad school. This could be especially true if you’re considering a career in law or medicine, fields that require significant postgraduate education.

Before you decide, here are some of the key things you need to know about grad school.

What is grad school?

Grad school (or graduate school) is any form of postgraduate education that focuses on one particular area of study. Depending on the subject you choose, this can be anything from business to law or even the humanities. Designed to deepen your understanding of your chosen subject and turn you into a specialist in your field, grad school can vary in length from two years for a master’s degree to seven years for a Ph.D. and usually includes a combination of coursework and independent study.

How is grad school different from college?

While college gives you a broad overview of several subjects and helps you identify which subject you’re truly passionate about, grad school allows you to become an expert in that subject and to explore it in detail. Depending on the program you choose, grad school also has a different structure than college, generally consisting of classes, independent study and a final project such as a thesis or dissertation.

What types of grad school programs are there?

Grad school programs vary depending on the academic subject and the type of degree. Popular programs include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs for medical students, Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs for law students, Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) programs for business students and a broad range of master’s and Ph.D. programs in subjects including psychology, biochemistry and history.

What should I consider when deciding whether to go to grad school?

Deciding whether to go to grad school comes down to two things: 1) Your desire to continue your course of study and 2) Your career goals. For example, if you’re passionate about law, going to law school to pursue a Juris Doctor degree is a must if you want to become a lawyer. The same goes for those wishing to me doctors who must attend medical school and get a Doctor of Medicine degree in order to practice. For others, such as creative writers or computer programmers, a graduate degree is not required in order to advance in the field though some may choose to do it in order to develop their skills and knowledge.

Pro Tip: Beyond your career goals, two other important factors to consider are time and cost. Since grad school typically requires a minimum two-year commitment in addition to tuition costs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how this degree can help you before entering into a graduate program.

A great way to boost your knowledge and expand your career options, grad school can be a powerful way to develop new skills. By knowing what to expect and what factors to consider, you’ll be able to decide if grad school is right for you.

Are Online Ph.D. Programs Worth It?

With more than 28 percent of students currently taking an online course, online education is becoming increasingly more popular every year. This includes everything from undergraduate programs to graduate master’s and Ph.D. programs. If you’re thinking of doing an online doctoral program, you may be wondering whether it’s worth the time and money.

Here are some things you need to know about online Ph.D. programs.

Many top universities offer online Ph.D. programs

When online education first began in the mid-1990s, online programs were not as popular as they are now. In fact, although the level of education was comparable to campus-based programs, online degrees were often talked about as something that anyone could get if they were willing to pay for them. Twenty years later, many top-tier schools offer both undergraduate and graduate online programs in a variety of subjects, making it easy to find a program that fits your interests without having to relocate.

Online programs offers students more freedom and flexibility

Another reason many students choose to pursue an online Ph.D. program is the flexibility. Since online programs are structured to fit around your schedule, you’ll be able to decide when you want to complete your coursework and schedule one-on-one time with your professors. This is a great way to adapt the program to fit your needs while still maximizing your time with faculty.

Online programs are more affordable than campus-based programs

In addition to the freedom to design your own schedule, online programs also tend to be more affordable than campus-based programs which can cost between $40,000 and $120,000 depending on the degree. In comparison, online Ph.D. programs can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $70,000, with the average being around $35,000.

Employers recognize online Ph.D. degrees

As online education has continued to expand and top-tier schools have created their own programs, online degrees (especially doctoral degrees) have become increasingly more valued by employers across all industries. This includes science-focused industries like biochemistry and arts-focused fields like design. This means that employers are considering all Ph.D.-holding candidates as being equally competitive when it comes to making hiring decision, which is great news for graduates of online programs.

With registration for online programs increasing at the rate of 4 percent per year, online learning is becoming increasingly popular and respected by employers. If you’re considering getting your doctorate and want to have a flexible schedule, an online Ph.D. program could be the right choice for you.

Next, learn more about grad school such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Tell Me About a Time You Failed.

What is a Journalism Major and is it Right for Me?

Have you always been a natural writer? Do you love being persistent when talking to people? If you enjoy getting to the truth of a matter as well as putting in the work to research, write and edit stories about issues around the globe, the world of journalism may be for you.

What is a journalism major?

Majoring in journalism is a fast-paced endeavor, where you’ll be quickly learning the ins and outs of how to write a variety of different types of stories on many different topics. You’ll often be sent out into the field to work on your own, and you’ll have to come back with polished articles on quick, hard deadlines.

Is it right for me?

If the idea of getting to research, write and edit stories sounds great to you, here are several key questions to consider before you commit to majoring in journalism.

  • Do I feel confident in my basic writing, research and editing skills?
  • Am I someone who likes to spend lots of time fact-checking my work and making sure every detail is correct?
  • Do I like reaching out to people (often through cold calls or emails) to interview them for a story? Am I persistent in following up with people to get what I want?
  • Am I okay with not everyone liking a story I publish? How do I react to backlash?
  • Am I able to handle and incorporate criticism and feedback from my professors and peers? Do I have a thick skin when it comes to my writing?
  • Am I okay doing lots of my research, writing and editing by myself?
  • Am I good at multitasking and working on multiple stories on a variety of topics at once?
  • Will I dedicate myself to getting internships and jobs through college that will further my level of experience?

What can I do with a journalism degree?

Often people say that journalism is a dying field, but that can’t be further from the truth. While traditional print journalism might not be in the same place it was several decades ago, it is still relevant. Additionally, digital journalism has become more and more prevalent, and there are many different jobs out there for people with a journalism degree.

There are also many people with journalism degrees who work on the opposite side of the industry in public relations roles, pitching ideas and stories to journalists on behalf of clients.

Some potential career options include becoming a journalist, blogger, social media manager, broadcast journalist, communications manager, publicist, marketing manager, advertising copywriter, multimedia reporter, photographer and editor.

What do journalists earn?

Journalism is a field where salaries vary greatly based on where you’re located, what your official title is and the type of company you work for (for instance, a bootstrapped media startup versus and established magazine brand). Starting salaries typically run between $25,000 to $40,000 depending on those factors.

Many journalists also choose to go the freelance route, which affects your income from month to month. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a comfortable living; it just means that your salary won’t be consistent every single month, and some months may be tighter financially than others.

If you do choose to pursue a career in journalism rather than something like public relations or marketing, you’ll most likely be on the lower end of the salary spectrum, around $35,000 to $40,000 per year.

 

Next, learn more about this college major such as Accounting and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 10 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter.

Types of Internships for Communications Majors

With their ability to communicate effectively in almost any situation, communications majors are some of the most sought after candidates in all sorts of professional fields. With so many opportunities available, you might be wondering how to find a job that’s a good fit for you. The best way to do that is through an internship where you can get exposure to a specific field or position.

Here are some of the best internships for communications majors:

Marketing intern

As a marketing intern, you’ll assist the marketing team with projects and find out how marketers help brands connect with their audience. During your internship, you’ll be taking on a number of tasks such as collaborating on blog post ideas, developing social media strategy and writing email copy. As a result, you’ll be gaining lots of hands-on experience and also getting exposed to all of the different elements involved in crafting a successful marketing campaign.

Editorial intern

From sharpening your SEO skills to shadowing an editorial meeting, an editorial internship can be a great and enriching experience. Depending on the type of company you intern with, you could be writing blog or news articles, learning how to research and fact-check news stories, or learning the ins and outs of copy editing and AP style.

Public relations intern

As a public relations intern, you’ll assist the PR team with campaign strategy, pitches and handling client relationships. You’ll also likely get to attend publicity events including sporting events and product launches. Best of all, you’ll learn the basics of writing a press release and assisting in the development of a full-scale PR campaign.

Content marketing intern

Content marketing internships give you direct exposure to drafting content for the company website, as well as copy for ads and blog posts. In addition, you’re likely to also get hands-on experience with other things such as managing social media accounts. Best of all, you’ll get to sit in meetings where ideas for new content are developed.

Social media intern

As a social media intern, you’ll engage your company’s followers, commenters and readers, while also attempting to grow the community. From coming up with funny memes to post on Instagram to crafting a great Snapchat story, a social media internship is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about engagement and about how to use social media as a powerful tool for business.

Copywriting Intern

As a copywriting intern, you’ll be trained in researching, drafting and editing copy for all types of content including blog posts, news articles and email campaigns. You’ll also learn how to match your writing style to a specific brand and fine-tune your copywriting skills. This internship is a great opportunity to get a feel for what’s required to thrive as a full-time copywriter.

Broadcast intern

A broadcast internship is a wonderful opportunity to learn the ins and out of working for a TV or radio station. From shadowing staff to fact-checking, researching and assisting with different aspects of production, you’ll be getting exposure to the whole world of broadcasting. Best of all, internship experience in broadcasting is essential and valued when it comes to applying for full-time jobs in the field after graduation.

In addition to the critical skills communications majors develop during college, they also benefit from the more specialized hands-on experience that can only result from an internship. By taking on one or more internships during your time in college, you’ll be able to learn more about your options and find a career path that’s right for you.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Communications Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In an Internship.

What is an Arts Major and is it Right for Me?

Did you love art class as a kid? Do you use every inch of paper to doodle? Do you love visiting interesting museums and exhibits? Do you look at the design of a website or graphic and wonder how it was made? If so, becoming an arts major in college may be right up your alley.

What is an arts major?

An arts major in an interdisciplinary major, weaving together multiple academic subjects like art history, painting, sculpture and photography. Additional areas of study include subjects like the business of visual arts and art therapy.

Is it right for me?

Before you start majoring in the visual arts, there are several important considerations to think about. Arts major don’t necessarily create art all the time, and there could be financial ramifications as well.

Here are several key questions to ask yourself before you officially declare yourself an arts major:

  • Am I prepared for the financial costs of being an arts major, including paying for art supplies or traveling to museums or exhibits and paying fees for those?
  • Am I okay with taking academic classes as well as art classes?
  • Do I have a thick skin? Am I able to take and incorporate constructive criticism I receive from professors and peers?
  • Am I prepared to spend much of my course of academic study alone working on my art?
  • Do I enjoy spending a great deal of time visiting museums and exhibits and looking for inspiration elsewhere?

What can I do with an arts degree?

Just because you major in visual arts doesn’t necessarily mean you have to become a “starving artist,” creating your own exhibits and selling pieces. While that’s definitely a valid career option, there are other ways to make your arts degree applicable.

Some potential career paths include:

  • art professor
  • art therapist
  • graphic designer
  • advertising executive
  • art critic
  • fashion designer
  • textile designer
  • museum, gallery or exhibit curator
  • art educator
  • gallery owner
  • filmmaker
  • photographer
  • photojournalist

What do artists earn?

Pursuing a career in visual arts isn’t necessarily known to be lucrative, and salaries vary wildly depending on where you live, what you do and how much work you take on at any given time.

“Fine artists” like painters, sculptors and illustrators usually make starting salaries around $40,000-$60,000 if they have steady work, whereas people in other art-related careers may make more or less depending on the type of work and how consistent it is (for example, the average annual salary for a graphic designer is $41,000 a year while the average salary for a museum curator is $53,000).

Next, learn more about this college major such as Computer Science and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Letter of Recommendation.