#InternsofNU Spotlight: Chicago Sun-Times


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Photo of blog author, Colin, on assignment in North Lawndale, Chicago.By Colin Boyle

Colin is a junior in the Medill School of Journalism majoring in Journalism and minoring in Spanish language.

Describe your summer internship.

I spent the summer working as a photo intern at the Chicago Sun-Times. My responsibilities included photographing, creating video stories and doing reporting while covering various events from protests to press conferences to breaking news.

Explain how you learned about the opportunity. What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I had begun to apply for internships across the country, looking specifically for jobs that fit my field of work: photojournalism. I found the application for the Chicago Sun-Times on their website, applied and reached out to their photo editor with my application. I also spent a lot of time working with my NCA adviser and speaking with Medill faculty about my internship options and that aided in my search tremendously.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

This internship lead me to countless incredible experiences reporting and documenting my hometown: Chicago. That being said, what I enjoyed the most about my experience with the Sun-Times: the feeling of responsibility and trust in me to report on such big issues and events in Chicago such as protests, breaking news and other important events that define day-to-day life in such an incredible and dynamic city.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

This internship taught me the power of what trust can do for your work ethic. I have never had such a positive experience at a job where so much trust is placed in me that I can just go out on an assignment and come back three hours later with a fully written story, a photo gallery and a video for the story all at the same time. The trust that my editors had in me at the Sun-Times really pushed me to put my 110% into everything that I did, and I know I will take this work ethic with me wherever I end up next.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Keep trying and spread your options out. I applied to multiple internships and had a rough go around at first, but one shouldn’t let that bring them down. In fact, you just have to keep on trying because you are applying for an internship for a reason: because you are driven to do so. And with that drive, you will find an internship that works best for you!


#InternsofNU SIGP Spotlight: The Missouri Review


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Photo of Sloane, author of this blog post.By Sloane Scott

Sloane is a junior in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences majoring in English Creative Writing, Poetry and minoring in Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Describe your summer internship.

During my time with The Missouri Review, I had the opportunity to evaluate poetry manuscripts, and ultimately helped choose the review’s Winter feature. I also conducted an interview with the author JM Holmes, which appeared on the TMR website and SoundCloud in August 2018. In addition, I honed my copyediting, proofreading, and general editorial skills.

Explain how you learned about the opportunity. What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I learned about the internship by directly reaching out to the Associate Editor of TMR, Dr. Evelyn Somers Rogers, and asking about opportunities. I grew up reading the review, and it still serves as inspiration for my writing. Thus, working at the review was a natural fit.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

I most enjoyed getting to know the intricacies of a literary journal. I learned how TMR is run, and what makes it one of the best literary journals in the country.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

The ability to learn what kind of material a prominent literary journal accepts and rejects was invaluable. I have a sharper eye for what kind of poetry my peers are writing, and what I want my own poetry to look, feel, and sound like.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Say yes to every project opportunity at your internship that you can–you’re only there for a few months, and every skill you can learn is worth it.

As a 2018 Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP) recipient, how did SIGP impact your summer?

SIGP impacted my summer by giving me the ability to go to my internship during the day. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my internship without it.

Staying connected with your network


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By Taylor Kinn, NCA Assistant Director of Student Career Advising, serving students enrolled in the Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions MinorBy Taylor Kinn, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students enrolled in the Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions Minor

In simplified, less intimidating terms, networking is about building and maintaining relationships. Think of your network as your community helping you to take the next step on your career journey. Whether you are just beginning to create connections, or you feel you have identified a target industry and have strong contacts, it is important to nurture these relationships. Here are a few considerations to help you stay in touch with and make the most of your network:

You can choose your network.

Whether you planned a networking interaction or came upon it organically, take time to reflect on how it went. You will not connect with everyone in the same way, and that is okay. If the contact seems very interested in helping you, or you are excited to speak with them again, they may be someone you want to stay in touch with in the future. If the opposite is true or you found little in common, your thank you note may be the last time you intentionally connect. It is difficult to maintain meaningful relationships with everyone you meet, so it is a good idea to be strategic about which relationships you focus on building.

Relationships are two-sided.

Networking is not all about taking from the connections you make. Those in your network also want to learn from and about you. While as a student it may feel as though you don’t have much to offer a professional, your insights can be valuable. Having questions to ask is not the only reason to connect – you may feel you hit a point where you have nothing left to ask a contact. Other reasons to reach out could be to send: good luck/congratulatory messages; a “thank you” for advice given; a request to meet in person; a note about hoping to see them at a campus event; follow up to helping them with a project or something else discussed; seasonal or holiday greetings; suggested articles or books; or an update on your progress or where you have secured a position.

Get to know your network.

As mentioned above, there are many ways and reasons to connect with your network. Remembering details they share about their family, interests and overall life outside of work can be just as beneficial as the career insights shared. Paying attention shows you care about them. While your interactions will likely begin with a career focus, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of building a more personal connection. Connecting on a more personal level through common hobbies or other similar experiences is another way for them to remember you. Taking notes during (if possible) or after your conversations will help you remember what was discussed.

Every relationship is unique. 

There is no magical formula when it comes to the number of times or methods used to contact those in your network. You will connect with each person in a different way and for different reasons. Keep track of your network including what was discussed and frequency of conversations so you can be reminded of when to check in and learn the tone of each relationship.

I wish you the best as you start or continue to build your community!  Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your career adviser via Handshake for support in navigating the networking process.

Advice from a Career Ambassador: Tips for Assessing Your Offer Letter & Considering Negotiation

Photo of blog author, Luke BurnsBy Luke Burns, NCA Career Ambassador

My name is Luke Burns, and I’m a senior studying mechanical engineering. I have been a Career Ambassador for the last two quarters, and I had the privilege of interviewing Larry Jackson from NCA about assessing and negotiating an offer letter. Larry provides career advising for students in Weinberg and McCormick and is a great resource for career help.

Question 1: So, I just received an offer letter for a full-time position from a company I interviewed with, what should my first step be?

The first step should be to thank the recruiter for the offer and make sure you show excitement for the company considering you. Review the offer letter to see if it is consistent with the position you applied for including the job description, title, and compensation if it was listed on the job posting or was explicitly discussed.

Question 2: If the recruiter gave me a strict deadline for my response, but I am still waiting to hear back from other companies, how do I ask for more time without losing my offer?

Typically, you don’t want to ask for more time unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s important to consider what the top organization is that you want to work for from your applications. Ask yourself “what is it about this offer letter that is of concern that might prevent me from taking the offer?” You should also reach out to the company that has your top interest to see where they are in the decision-making process and if that decision can be expedited.

Question 3: What are the most common things to negotiate for within a job offer?

There isn’t anything that is most common, but you should ask yourself what is missing from the offer that is preventing you from taking it. For example, that might be the starting salary, advancement opportunities, and benefit offers and packages. All of these things can be examined to see if this is a position you want to take. There is also location and travel, but it is most important to see what is missing from the offer from your own perspective.

Question 4: If I want to negotiate for a more competitive salary, a better bonus, or other forms of compensation, how do I ask without sounding rude or ungrateful?

The first step is to make sure you are being respectful in your tone and do research and see what the salary range is for that position in the organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salary.com, and Glassdoor are all good resources to look at similar positions. Do research before providing the request. It’s better to have the conversation directly (either in person or via phone) than over email, as it shows professionalism and confidence and can give the person opportunity to reflect and prepare questions, more ground will be covered, and there is a more open discussion.

Question 5: What can I negotiate for from an internship offer?

Consider what your goals are for the internship and what you want to be exposed to and what the position is offering. There may be gaps in compensation, scope, location, relocation help, and signing bonus, so make sure to ask questions to see if there is flexibility from the employer. Reflect on what you are hoping to gain from the internship experience, as the internship is as much about your education as it is about aiding the organization you are working for.

Final Notes:

For any negotiation, it is important to remember to request and not demand. It is a discussion and a dialogue, so make sure to provide justification and rationale for your requests. The employer is inviting you to join their organization and a request allows for more consideration, rather than a demand which can shut down negotiation. Some employers are more flexible, and you will need to figure out what is most important to you from the employment opportunity.

Compensation and offer packages will vary greatly by field and organization. Be cognizant that every offer will not look the same and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others

Also, keep in mind that salary in particular is simply non-negotiable for certain roles. This is often true when employers hire a “class” of new employees and want to be equitable in their hiring. There could still be flexibility in signing bonuses, relocation expenses or other benefits even if base salary in non-negotiable.

Log into Handshake to book an appointment with any career adviser or counselor or to view related resources!

Is this position a good fit for me?


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By Taylor Kinn, NCA Assistant Director of Student Career Advising, serving students enrolled in the Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions MinorBy Taylor Kinn, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students enrolled in the Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions Minor

You may have heard the term “fit” from friends, family, employers or even your career adviser or counselor at NCA. Finding “the right fit” applies to your needs, expectations, interest and alignment with an employer and role. While there are somewhat intangible components to fit, there are ways to reflect upon and assess your level of fit with an employer prior to applying, during the interview process and before accepting an offer:

Get a sense of the culture.

Just like fit, culture is a bit ambiguous. Many factors make up an employer’s culture, such as: work environment; the way work is approached; interaction between colleagues; office traditions and much more. Researching the organization is necessary to get an initial sense of how to tailor your materials, but talking to those at the company or getting to experience it first-hand (while shadowing or interviewing) will be best to help you imagine yourself working there. If you have the chance, meeting your potential supervisor or colleagues can be really helpful – you may like a company, but not the team you would be a part of, or vice versa.

Determine your needs.

It is important to know what it is you are looking for in a role and future employer. Creating a list of important factors that will impact your decision can help you to assess various options. This list could include things like: work-life balance; size of company; benefits offered; flexibility in work schedules; professional development and resources; relationship with your supervisor and much more. Talk with your career adviser if you need help assessing what you are looking for, and what questions to ask to find your fit.

Consider values or mission. 

Through research, networking, and on-site interactions you will hopefully get a sense of an organization’s mission and values, as well as see them in action. Consider how you align with the organization and how the organization enacts its mission and values. Talk with your career counselor to reflect more on your personal values.

Take time to reflect. 

Reflection should happen prior to applying, throughout the interview process and before deciding on an offer. While fit is partially about an employer selecting you, it is also about you selecting your next employer. Your opinion of an employer may change the more you learn about them, and that is okay.

Understand you can’t control everything. 

While there are ways to ensure you are communicating your fit with a company, it is not possible to control all aspects of the process. For example, you will never be able to control the candidate pool and what others bring to the table. Focus on what you can control such as what you share, what you learn about the organization and how you prepare for the process.

I wish you the best as you continue the internship or job search for your best “fit”. Remember, there are many opportunities and your first internship or full-time role is simply a step towards your next “perfect fit.” Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your career adviser via Handshake for support in your search process.

#InternsofNU Spotlight: Curology


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By Patricia Tang

Patricia is a third-year dual-degree in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the Bienen School of Music majoring in MMSS, economics, and viola performance, and pursuing an IMC certificate.

Photo of blog author, Patricia, at her Curology internship.Describe your summer internship.

At Curology, I was a general marketing intern, meaning that I was lucky enough to touch many different areas of marketing as well as many diverse projects. My work was mainly in three areas: user acquisition, product development, and brand marketing. Some of the things I was able to do at Curology included deriving insights from consumer research and creating Excel dashboards, creating and monitoring paid acquisition channels, and developing relationships with influencers for marketing campaigns.

Explain how you learned about the opportunity. What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I found this internship through AngelList, a job directory used exclusively by startups. I used AngelList only because I wanted to work at a startup last summer. Startups offer unique opportunities: easy access to senior management, novel business ideas, and more opportunities to take ownership of projects. I also found out about my current company through ads on the Internet, which is funny because that’s what I worked on!

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

I really enjoyed working at Curology because of the culture: people are very friendly and accessible. I had so many chats about life and about my career without having to look for them; sometimes I sat at the kitchen table and these sorts of talks would just happen because people came by and we started chatting! Additionally, people are really passionate about the company’s product and I feel that’s rare. I also appreciated the ability to take ownership of projects and the ability to present my findings to senior staff: I didn’t expect to find an internship where my work would be seen and reviewed by the VPs and CEO of the company.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

Through my internship, I learned how to apply my quantitative skill-set I’ve acquired at Northwestern to real life marketing problems, which was so valuable as someone looking to go into marketing but also looking to continue with quantitative work. I was also able to build a knowledge base of product development best practices from the ground up through my work. Additionally, I clarified my passion for this kind of work: marketing now seems like something I’d like to do full-time.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

What helped me most was developing relationships with everyone at the company, not just my manager and senior staff. I met the most interesting people here and it happened so easily because there were so many connections to be made.



5 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before an Interview


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Photo of Laura Droste, NCA career adviser and author of this blog post.By Laura Droste, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

We’ve all been there before – whether it’s the night before the interview, the morning of, or minutes before, nerves start to work overtime. And don’t get me wrong, nerves are not necessarily a bad sign! It means that you care about the interview and have excitement for the opportunity. However, you do not want your nerves to get in the way of your interview performance. Below are my favorite ways for calming interview jitters, but I have also included links below with many more suggestions. Find what works best for you!

1. Write down all of your swirling thoughts and then envision yourself as a successful interviewee

When thoughts start to get negative and fear of failing sneaks in, writing it out can be very therapeutic. It takes those thoughts from your mind out onto paper. Symbolically, you can even throw out the paper. Then start to envision what it would look like if you were to interview successfully. What would you say? How would you feel? Once you are in a positive mindset, practice your answers to interview questions to really picture yourself in the interview as your best self.

2. Exercise

Be intentional about waking up early and get those endorphins going! I have found running to be a positive stress-reliever, but there is always going for a walk, doing yoga, or a class at the gym. Quite a few of the materials I found suggest going on a walk, which you could easily do at any point before your interview.

3. Eat a banana

Several websites suggest that bananas naturally calm nerves base on its nutrients. I am not entirely convinced, but eating breakfast is always the right way to start your day. Even if you normally do not eat breakfast, make sure to eat something before your interview (whatever time it takes place), so that your stomach is not growling.

4. Limit caffeine intake

On the flipside, make sure not to drink too much caffeine, even if you did not sleep well the night before. Caffeine can enhance your nerves and increase your heartrate.

5. Use resources/apps such as Breathe or Calm

Get to the general location of the interview early and find a quiet spot, whether that is a coffee shop or a nearby park or even in your car. Then take a minute to center yourself. Both the Breathe resource and Calm app take you through guided meditation and calming exercises. Breathe was actually created for Northwestern students!

One of my favorite parts of my job as an adviser is helping students prepare for interviews and giving them pep talks! Nevertheless, sometimes nerves can sneak up on you when you aren’t expecting it, so knowing strategies and planning out how you will relax before an interview is always best practice.


Psychology Today
The Muse
Financial Post

How to Prepare Yourself for a Career in Marketing


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Photo of blog author, SavannahSavannah Christensen, marketing & communications intern for NCA, shares what she’s learned about career prep at NCA and how she has been working toward her own career goals in marketing.

As a marketing intern at NCA for about a year and a half now, I’ve picked up a few tips for preparing yourself for the job search, specifically for a career in marketing. Here are some of the best things you can do to jumpstart your career and gain some ever-important transferable skills during your time here at Northwestern:

Get involved on campus

There are many different ways to gain marketing experience on campus. Most student groups have marketing manager positions, including student organizations, residence halls, Greek life, etc. There are also marketing-specific opportunities with Form & Function Marketing and Student Affairs Marketing. While your classes are obviously important, extracurricular pursuits can provide hands-on learning that you won’t get in a lecture hall. They are also where you can pick up critical transferable skills like problem solving, creativity, initiative, and leadership.

Make the most of your summers

Internships are a vital part of the job search process, and are one of the best ways to demonstrate experience on a resume, but as NCA career advisor Laura Myers explained to me last year, there are other valuable summer experiences besides internships. Studying abroad, volunteering, working a part-time job, etc. can all also be great ways to spend your summer and work toward your career goals. My summer internships have all helped me learn specific marketing skills, but other experiences I’ve had like working in retail and volunteering at the Humane Society have also taught me many additional transferable skills like communication, organization, teamwork, and resilience.

Build your personal brand

Building a personal brand and an online presence is essential to a career in the marketing industry. One of the best ways to get started is with LinkedIn. As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn can help you connect with other marketing professionals, build industry knowledge, and showcase your skills and experience. Make sure to also log in to Handshake, Northwestern’s career platform, where, like LinkedIn, you can also build a profile and search for job and internship opportunities. And if you’re unsure how to optimize your profiles, you can always ask for help! Which brings me to my next recommendation…

Utilize NCA’s resources

There are so many amazing resources that Northwestern Career Advancement has to offer students. Our website has a vast array of information on everything from the basic stuff like resumes, cover letters, and networking, to guidance on making career decisions, learning about yourself, and more. Additionally, NCA hosts numerous career events like employer information sessions, industry workshops, and career fairs, where you can build your network and your career knowledge. And most importantly, we have fantastic career counseling and advising staff that are here to offer help and answer any and all of your career-related questions.

Take advantage of your Northwestern connection

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about one of the most significant assets at your disposal as a Northwestern student: the Northwestern Alumni network. I have learned a lot of valuable information, and even secured an internship, by reaching out to alumni. Some great ways to build connections with alumni include Our Northwestern, the mock interview program, and NEXT, Northwestern’s job shadowing program.


Turn chatting into networking over winter break   


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Laura is an associate director of student career advisingBy Laura Myers, associate director of student career advising, serving students in the School of Communication and Bienen School of Music

Wherever your travels take you, be on the lookout for informal opportunities to network. Networking is all about learning from others, helping them get to know you, and following up to build relationships over time. Sounds easy enough, right? Here are some tips for networking over winter break:

1. Identify informal networking opportunities: Some of the best networking opportunities happen organically, when you don’t even realize you’re networking.

Airplanes: Flying somewhere? You never know who you may be sitting next to. Make small talk and see what you can learn about your travel buddy’s career.

Holiday Parties: Put down that hot chocolate and go introduce yourself to someone new! Don’t be afraid to take the initiative.

Family, Friends, & Neighbors: When catching up with family, friends, and neighbors, update them on your academic and career interests. Let them know what you’re studying, and what types of opportunities you find interesting.

2. Be curious and ask a lot of questions: This shows that you’re genuinely interested. People typically enjoy talking about themselves, and you can learn a lot from their responses.

Sample questions to ask:
What type of work do you do?
What is your background? What has your career path been?
What does a typical day or week look like? What are your major responsibilities?
What do you enjoy most about your job? What’s most challenging?
What sorts of internship or entry level opportunities exist in your industry?
What can I do while I’m at Northwestern to prepare myself for a career in the industry?
What do you wish you had known while you were still in college?
Is there anyone else you’d recommend that I connect with to learn more about the industry?

Questions for you to reflect on:
You should also be prepared to answer questions about yourself. Reflect on how your experiences both in and out of the classroom have shaped your academic and career interests. It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, but you can still practice articulating your interests, skills, and goals.

3. Follow up and follow through: A key goal of networking is to build relationships over time, and one conversation isn’t enough. Be sure to follow up with anyone you meet or speak with. Ask for their business card or email so you can send them a thank you note, and consider connecting with them on LinkedIn. If you told them you’d email your resume, make sure you follow through. Periodically follow up with them by sending interesting articles you’ve read that they may enjoy, updates on your progress at Northwestern, holiday greetings, or additional questions.

4. Use your resources and leverage the alumni network: In addition to the people you’ll see over winter break, the Northwestern alumni network is a great resource for networking opportunities. Check out the alumni network through Our NorthwesternLinkedIn, and the Northwestern Mentorship Program. You can search for alumni who live in a particular city, work for a certain organization, or studied the same thing as you. One of the easiest ways to initiate a conversation and start building a relationship is to ask for an informational interview. Remember to ask some of the questions listed above in #2.

Your NCA career adviser is available now through December 21 to speak with you about networking or other career-related topics. Appointments are offered in person or via Skype/phone. To schedule an appointment, log into Handshake. NCA will be closed for winter recess from December 22 through January 1, before reopening on January 2. Let us know how we can help! ​


Advice from a Career Ambassador: Making the most of your job search this winter break


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Photo of Career Ambassador Phoebe, author of this blog postBy Phoebe Glowacki, NCA Career Ambassador

While industries like consulting and finance have set recruitment periods, many industries hire on an as-needed basis – nonprofit, policy, and arts and culture, to name a few. It can be stressful searching for jobs and internships in industries with a less structured recruiting process. In this blog post, we’ll outline some of the steps you can take during winter break to turn the job and internship search from a source of stress into an opportunity for self-exploration. You don’t need to be constantly scouring LinkedIn or Handshake in search of positions during break, but it will be worthwhile to make time to explore the career paths available to you.

Narrow the search

Searching Handshake can be a great way to find position openings, but with so many job listings, it helps to have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. At a recent nonprofit career panel, Allison Park from Planned Parenthood emphasized that when hiring interns, she wants to know that applicants are passionate about Planned Parenthood’s cause. Take winter break as an opportunity to explore the causes you’re passionate about and consider what work environment you thrive in. If you’re still unsure, you can always make an appointment with an NCA career counselor/adviser who can help you with this process.


Connecting with Northwestern alumni who work in your field of interest can be a great way to learn about potential career paths and form valuable connections. Search for alumni from your major or industry on LinkedIn, then look up their email through the OurNorthwestern alumni directory. More often than not, alumni are happy to set up an informational interview and share their experience with you. Check out NCA’s Career Guide (PDF) for advice on requesting informational interviews from alumni.

NCA and the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) both offer programs dedicated to connecting undergrads with alumni. NEXT, a one day alumni job shadowing program, will be taking applications until Thursday, December 6, 2018. For a longer-term option, make a profile through the Mentorship Program to be paired with a Northwestern alum in your field of interest.


When you begin to narrow down some organizations you’re interested in, get a sense for how they are anchoring their work. Go to their website, search for them on Glassdoor, and connect with alumni who have worked there. If you hear that the organization is undergoing radical changes, especially in the case of a non-profit, it may be a red flag that they are lacking stability. Find out where the organization has been, and where they hope to go.

Get prepared & get excited

While you’re completing your exploratory research, keep track of which organizations you are interested in. After an informational interview, write a note about how it went and what you learned. Be sure to reconnect with your interviewees by writing them a personal thank you note that sums up your conversation and what you learned from them. By keeping your research in order, you can feel prepared and even excited when it comes time to begin the application process.

Aim for growth, not perfection

Don’t forget that every application, internship, and job brings an opportunity to grow and learn about yourself. Take note of how the experience challenges you or allows you to use your skills in new ways. All this information can help you as you develop your professional identity and create your career path.