Landing your dream job or internship

Sarina is a junior at Marymount Manhattan College majoring in Communication Arts and minoring in Journalism.

When I entered about.me’s internship contest, I never thought in a million years that I would land the spot for the AOL Video position. I’ve enjoyed using my about.me page to show employers something other than a typical, boring resume. However, when I realized I could use my page to enter the contest, I was excited and motivated. Luckily I had amazing family, friends, and even strangers help me throughout the process. But, I also realized that without my own hard work, dedication, and patience throughout this year and the entire process, I wouldn’t be where I’m standing.

Since winning the internship, I’ve thought hard about the steps I took to make it to where I’m at today. So, I’ve decided to give out a few tips on how to land your dream job or internship.

  • Patience is a virtue – Honestly, this is a big one when it comes to finding an internship or job, especially in a big city. If you don’t land it the first time, there are plenty of other opportunities. Don’t think of not receiving something as a turn down, but motivation and preparation for bigger and better things.
  • Apply, Apply, Apply! – Keep in contact after you apply, stay on it. If it’s a position you really want, eventually they will see how enthusiastic you are about it. Even if it means stopping by once a week to check on an application status, do it!
  • Promote yourselfAbout.me, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, QR Codes, Business Cards, Blogs: all are great ways to get employers to notice you. The more positive things linked to your name that they can research, the better. Get noticed and stand in your spotlight, nothing can hide you in the shadows but yourself!

  • Get out of your comfort zone – Keep busy with what it is that you do, but in new ways. If you find yourself lacking creativity for your portfolio work, take a break. Talk to strangers; go do something new and exciting. New experiences equal new material to work with. Let something inspire you or get up and inspire yourself some way. Either way, what do you have to lose? Plus, employers will like your versatility of creative output and see your ability to solve problems through bumps in the road.
  • Always be honest with yourself and others – If you cannot uphold duties asked of you, don’t risk it. Be honest. Apply for things you love even if you’re not 100% great at it. Be enthusiastic and stick with it. If you don’t have the necessary skill set, explain how you are willing to learn and adapt. Employers will be more than willing to work with you if you’re honest and up front.

I can only give some tips, but take this last one in stride: believe in yourself. Having confidence in yourself will not only come across to others, but will get you through any obstacles you face. It’s all about believing in yourself and your dreams.

Also don’t forget to thank those who’ve helped you along the way! Without the help of about.me, Lauren Bloch, Ealz and the programming team at AOL Video, and of course my family and friends for voting, none of this would truly be possible. I wish you the best of luck in landing your dream positions.

Just remember: nothing is too far out of reach, always keep dreaming and believing!

Winning the internship of my dreams

Natalie Kyong Swope is a senior at the University of California, Davis where she majors in computer engineering and minors in technology management.

When I first created my about.me page, it was not because I thought I would win a contest. For the past two years, I’ve held a passion for technology and networking online. I am confident to say that I have explored nearly every service, social, and resourceful web page out there. I spent Saturday nights on my computer – whether I was blogging on my “Learn Techno Logic” blog, creating page templates on my Bamboo, or browsing any free software uploads I could find– I was growing. For what cause? At the time I had no idea.

After entering the about.me contest in April, I decided to check for updates. To my surprise, I had a message in the right corner of my screen from the contest update notification. I was in the top 5%! I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic! To me, that message in the corner of my screen was like my own personal coach warning me to pick up speed and go for it. So, I didn’t stop at Facebook. Or Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr or Posterous.

I started thinking of new ways to promote my about.me page and new audiences I could discover. Social networking was no longer the only option because I had promoted myself on every site. I’ve always loved the idea of QR codes and found it curious that they haven’t been used more frequently. I made a QR template (which took hours) and planned different ways of using it. My first strategy was to spray paint my code template on shirts and hand them out to my friends and sorority sisters.

While online searching for QR items, I was redirected to a site that created stamps and sold ink pads as well. The prices weren’t very high, so I ordered 1 QR stamp and 1 pad of purple to be expressed mailed to my home in Davis. I decided to print stickers too. Hundreds of stickers that I cut out and stuck in random places.

One morning, I went to Michaels and purchased cake batter, cupcake decorations and icing. I went home and made 88 cupcakes that night. The next day I found the site, http://sweetntreats.com, and immediately ordered as many custom cupcake toppers as I could afford. My custom order was a picture of my QR code centered within each topper. When I received them, I stuck them on my pre-iced treats and distributed them.

The house I lived in at UC Davis frequently hosted mixers or BBQs for our friends or chapter. I displayed my Moo.com business cards (with my about.me address included) by the speakers. Each card had a different painting or picture I made. People noticed them, and asked me if they could take some. I was more than happy to give them away and encouraged everyone to vote. I also left my stamp and stamp pad out.

Throughout my campaign, I made sure I was still sticking to my normal, college-life routine. I continued to blog, attend my classes and write articles for HackCollege.com. I tried to keep myself distracted, but the contest eventually ended and I would get nervous as the days passed and my phone remained silent.

The call finally came, and I was a nervous wreck. I talked to Jesse Chambers, the Director of Sales Operations & Monetization for AOL Tech (including TechCrunch, Engadget, TUAW and Joystiq). We ended up having a long but interesting discussion about a bunch of things. Some topics were about my passion for technology and reason for wanting the position, my experience and degree challenges, and my future plans (even though my plans are more like a rough, almost non-existent outline). When I hung up the phone, I felt great. I talked to a really nice, easygoing person and had a noteworthy discussion.

When I was informed that I, Natalie Kyong Swope, won the contest and a summer internship with TechCrunch… I still can’t find the words to express the excitement pouring over me. I was, to say the least, extremely thankful. I was proud of myself and grateful for both Jesse and Caitlin Geraghty (HR for AOL) for presenting me with the news. I actually want to let them know now that this opportunity means the world for me and I want to thank you both for treating me so nicely! I won’t let you down over the next 3 months – I promise!

Optimizing your about.me page for an internship

Ashley Mosley is the Community Manager for InternMatch, a free online internship database based in San Francisco, CA with positions all over.

By now you’ve probably heard about the Ultimate Internship contest that we’re helping about.me promote: open until April 22nd, students can enter to win one of five paid internships at companies like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, a $1k stipend and the chance to meet top industry execs like Arianna Huffington and AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong.

One of the key features of this contest is creating an about.me profile, detailing why you’re the top candidate for a summer internship position, and getting everyone in your network to vote. We want to make sure you come out on top, so we’ve profiled awesome strategies from some of our favorite winners!

1) Barack Obama – Craft the right message

One of the most vital aspects of any successful campaign is the message and President Barack Obama is no stranger to great messaging. He inspired millions of Americans to vote for him based on a campaign platform of “Hope.” In addition to a captivating campaign message, Obama used multiple platforms like email, video, cold-calling and text messaging to deliver it.

What does your about.me campaign message say about you? How are you leveraging all of your social platforms to make sure that people are inspired to vote for you? Social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest can help you spread the word about this contest. Creating a profile that reflects how/why you’re a great fit for the internship position and combining it with a compelling social campaign message is sure to make you a winner!

2) Matthew Epstein – Go viral

Since Google is ranked as the number one place to work among college students and offers tons of perks (like free food, laundry and sleep pods), it makes a lot of sense that Matthew Epstein created a viral video to land a job interview with the tech giant.

With its creative call to action, “Google, please hire me” has been viewed over 1 million times and has helped Matthew land a job interview at Google and more than 100 other companies.

Did you know that more than 700 videos are shared each minute on Twitter and more than 500 years worth of video are shared each day on Facebook? What are you waiting for? Create a video encouraging people to vote for you!

Check out 2011’s list of top viral videos to get started!

3) Jay-Z – Make it a full-time job

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man…”

Whether he’s launching a new sneaker line, buying a sports team, opening a club, promoting a computer or releasing a new song, rapper Jay-Z realizes that promoting his brand is a full-time job.

Approach your internship search and this contest with the same intensity. Maybe you have a friend who writes for the school newspaper and needs a new story? Developing a list of key resources and people that can help you is a great way to give you a leg up in this contest. After all, it takes a village!

4) Katniss Everdeen – Understand your odds and find your strength

Sure, the leading lady of the Hunger Games is fictional but we can still learn a thing or two from Katniss about winning. When Katniss volunteers to replace her sister in the Hunger Games competition, she understands her odds: to win she must stay alive.

The majority of full-time employment offers are extended to students who have completed internships. What’s your strategy to make sure that you land the internship of your dreams and ultimately, full-time employment after graduation?

One of Katniss’ many techniques to stay alive was that she identified her strength and knew how to use it. Are you an awesome singer? Belt you’re your way to an internship with a great video! Maybe writing is your talent, start a blog and share your contest journey with readers. This is the perfect opportunity for you to use your strength(s) to create a strategy for landing one of these awesome internships.

5) Michael Jordan – Don’t give up

Everyone has their favorite Michael Jordan story and mine is the “Flu Game.” In game four of the 1997 NBA finals, Jordan was sick with the flu. He played for 44 minutes, scoring 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block – ultimately winning the game and landing the 5th MVP title of his career.

Competing for an internship can be challenging but developing a strong message, leveraging your allies and staying focused is a sure way to help you become a winner.

Supporting passion, with David Freeman

My name is David Freeman and my passion is FITNESS. Freeman’s Fitness is a brand that was created one day in 2007.  I was asked what style of training is it that I do, and I responded with Freeman’s Fitness.

What is Freeman’s Fitness? Freeman’s Fitness speaks to every age group regardless of fitness level.  It’s a brand that enables people to believe again, and that “IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING”. I always tell my team members, “MIND RIGHT BODY RIGHT” and to apply that to life everyday and you will always come out on top.

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Making international connections

John Dubock is a CRM specialist always looking for the next great sales/marketing tool.

Last minute the magazine I work for challenged me, “Go to Venice, Italy, write a story on a stand up paddle event!” Sixteen jet lagged hours later, it’s dinner time and my hosts had found me. “We’re going to a surf bar on the island for dinner,  jump in!”  My first night, dining with 25 fun Italians, talk about a culture overdose.

I didn’t speak a word of Italian, but wanted to make a good impression. My seatmate had taken my about.me/moo QR enabled card and scanned it instantly. Twenty minutes into dinner he can’t stop talking about my bio page. He passed around his phone and suddenly everyone at the table knew exactly who I was and what magazine I worked for.

That weekend 140 of us paddled 6 km of the main canals of Venice for the 2nd annual Surfin’ Venice Event sponsored by RRD. At the end of the event, on a magical hot plaza my cards connected me to young, wired, intelligent Europeans.  We now talk almost daily on Facebook, a few have visited me in the USA already.  They of course have their own About.me bios!

About.me in multiple languages

My name is Ken Westin, I am the founder of a startup called GadgetTrak based in Portland, Oregon which develops security and tracking software for laptops and mobile devices. Given the nature of our business we work a lot with international partners and lately have been working with a lot of partners in Japan. Having studied in Japan and taking several years of Japanese I am keenly aware of the inter-personal dynamics of Japanese business culture. Many times business deals are closed based on the personal relationship that you develop with the client, as it is based just as much on trust as it is on your product or service.

A key component is to make sure that you don’t embarrass your potential client.  Providing a background and bio about you and your company in Japanese is a great way to show respect, as well as provide them with confidence they are understanding you and your company without the risk of something getting lost in translation. This is why I wanted a way to have both an Japanese and English version of my About.me profile. I figured out a great way to do this by creating a secondary profile and linking to it from my English profile.

This then links to another profile I setup that mirrors my English bio in Japanese which also links back to the English version. A simple solution, but highly effective. I may add additional languages in the future as our company moves into more international markets.

Another great service I am using in combination with About.me is AudioName.com which allows you to easily record you speaking your name. Particularly given the increasing globalization of business is is a great tool to allow other people to pronounce your name. This is helpful in Japan as it helps avoid your client feeling embarrassed, giving them a chance to learn how to pronounce your name before you meet them. Adding your “AudioName” to your profiles on About.me just makes sense, particularly if you are going to be adding multiple language profiles.

Every student needs awesome business cards

This is a guest post by Tara Seshan at Internmatch.

Does the “internship application blues” have you down? It’s a common frustration. After sending in file after file and pdf after pdf, most students are tired of applying to positions and ready to give up! However, don’t throw in the towel quite yet-we’ve got a solution that will help you stand out from the crowd!

While applying for internships, make yourself memorable with business cards.

Not For the Jack Donaghy’s Among Us Anymore

Dismiss those stereotypes associated with business card use, because Jack Donaghy is not the only one using business cards anymore. While many think that cards are simply for the old time business professionals among us, in reality almost everyone has been using business cards to their advantage!
“In nearly every industry-from world changing non-profits to early stage startups business cards are used regularly. Even volunteers at the Red Cross use business cards. This is not a business school thing, it is a I am no longer thinking like a student thing” says Nathan Parcells, CMO of InternMatch.

Why They Matter

Businesses know that while hiring interns, they’re coming in with very little experience. The greatest fear of any manager is completely unprofessional and untrained interns who must learn job associated basics and etiquette.

Business cards dispel those fears, because let’s face it: most students don’t have them. With your cards, you’re showing an employer that you are trained, in the know, professional, and that you “get it.” You’re ready to contribute, rather than endlessly learn basics!

Business cards also provide an opportunity for you to brand yourself (not in the cattle raising sense, y’all.) With a customized card that speaks to what you do and what you’re interested in, you’re putting forth a cohesive idea of who you are as a person and why you’re right for the job. You’re developing a carefully cultured identify-and the mere fact that you’ve taken the effort to do show displays skill and professionalism to an employer! And for more information, and an excellent example of student branding, check out Matthew Epstein’s “Google Please Hire Me” venture!

And They’re Really Fun

Let’s be honest – creating business cards is first and foremost really entertaining! Devising designs and choosing pictures and layout is fun for any student, and when it contributes to your professional development, it’s guilt free.

So spend some time visiting moo.com or sign up for about.me and receive 50 free cards. When attending career fairs, recruiting events, or simply meeting individuals, pass your cards out and take their cards, too! It’s a great opportunity to avoid the internship blues, and push your career forward!

Got questions about landing internships? Feel free to ask any of them @InternMatch on Twitter, Facebook, or email tara@internmatch.com!

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