Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Tag: college

How I Successfully Cold Emailed My Way Into Two Publishing Internships

‘Twas the summer of 2016, and I was desperate for an internship somehow related to publishing. After my searches for internships showed that there were no relevant ones in St. Louis, where I would live for the summer, I had to figure out how to get the professional experience I desired. I had a list of publishers and literary magazines in St. Louis, so I started cold emailing. Not all of my cold emails were successful; most recipients never acknowledged my emails, in fact. But two were successful.

I emailed Amphorae Publishing and Open Books Press/Brick Mantel Books, introduced myself, and asked whether they needed an editorial intern for the summer. Both publishers responded that yes, they could use an intern.

Now, I’m not suggesting that I know some special secret about cold emails. I don’t—I just got lucky. But if my emails succeeded, maybe they’ll work as helpful templates for writing your own cold emails. Continue reading

Your Career Column: How to Rock an Interview

I’m not going to lie to you: Interviews are scary.

Even worse, interviews don’t get easier. In fact, based on my experiences, they only get harder as the stakes get higher. Interviewing for my first job at a movie theater in high school was nerve-wracking to be sure, but there wasn’t quite as much at stake as there was when I interviewed via Skype for my first editorial internship and managed to get diagnosed with pneumonia hours prior to the call. And once you get into interviews for actual jobs—not just internships—you better be ready to sweat it out and try to not get sick in the hours before it.

I’ve interviewed various ways for internships and jobs in the past few years, from Skype conversations to phone calls to emails to driving four hours round-trip for an in-office interview.  Read my interview tips in my column with The Sower: “Your Career Column: How to Rock an Interview.”

Your Career Column: What Do I Put on My Resume?

Oh, how I wish there was an easy, cookie-cutter answer to the question, “What do I put on my resume?” I can tell you for certain to include your name, contact info, education and relevant work experience, but beyond that, you’re going to have to do some Googling.

That’s because what to include on your resume varies by what type of job you’re applying for and what industry it’s in. It’s like how you use different writing style guides for papers in different academic departments: English papers use MLA, history papers require Chicago and psychology papers work with APA. Similarly, various career fields will want you to highlight or emphasize particular aspects of your professional development.

And just like each professor has different requirements on a class syllabus about attendance, participation, late assignments, etc., each employer has slightly different requirements and job descriptions. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to crafting your resume—figure out what each employer is looking for and tailor your resume to those expectations.

Read my tips for creating a customized resume in my latest Your Career Column for The Sower, “What Do I Put on My Resume?”

Your Career Column: Building Your Personal Professional Website

First of all, what is a personal professional website? It’s basically a website about your professional goals and accomplishments. This could include a portfolio of your work, whether that’s descriptions of your teaching philosophies and classroom experiences, links to articles or poetry you’ve written, descriptions of career-related projects you’ve developed and completed, or collections of your artwork or photography. Your personal professional site could also double as a blog if you want to write regularly about a certain topic.

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough to show off, your personal professional website can just be a more detailed version of your resume or LinkedIn profile. For example, when I created my first professional website, I made pages for each section you’d put on a resume: skills, education, work experiences and more. On each page, I went into detail about projects I’d worked on, what I learned from my classes, etc. I also included links to samples of my work, such as blog posts I’d written and social media accounts I had started. My goal was to show future employers what I was passionate about and show them how my education and experiences made me a great candidate to work with. Continue reading

Do I Need a Blog as a College Student?

No.

Okay, that seems a bit simplistic. One word and the entire article is done. But let me explain.

Some career paths are more geared toward blogs and personal websites than others. For example, I knew that I wanted to get into book publishing. A common skill required of entry-level positions in publishing is writing reviews of manuscripts, a.k.a. reading a book/story/collection of poems and submitting a written evaluation of it. Naturally, then, a way to prove to potential publishing employers that you know how to write book reviews is to have a blog where you write book reviews. Thus, having a book review blog seems essential to the college student looking to break into the publishing world. Continue reading

Why You Should Make a LinkedIn Profile Before Your Resume

Everyone who has applied for a job—or even started the application process—knows that every company asks for your resume. Resumes are important; they have all the information about you and your work experience that a potential employer needs to know. But although resumes are a very important part of applying for jobs and internships, you shouldn’t try to create one without first filling out your LinkedIn profile. Here’s why. Continue reading

Why Studying Abroad Is Great for Your Future Career

If I’m being honest, classroom time was one of the least valuable experiences I had while studying abroad.

I know, I know; that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s true: It’s the experiences that take you outside the classroom that make studying abroad…well, studying abroad. You can take classes anywhere in the world, but it’s going out and exploring new place that you’re in that makes studying abroad such a rewarding experience.

But that also means that the experiences you have outside the classroom while you’re studying abroad are hard to quantify. It’s easy to show how your internship or classes line up with specific skills employers are looking for, such as proofreading, implementing a nutrition plan or entering data into a spreadsheet. Figuring out how to include study abroad on your resume is harder because the skills you develop while studying abroad are soft skills. Continue reading

How to Include Study Abroad on Your Resume and Use It in Interviews

Studying abroad is a great way to develop soft skills that employers are looking for in entry-level candidates, such as adaptability, oral communication, and problem-solving. Although you improve these skills by studying and traveling abroad, it’s hard to know exactly how to include them on your resume or how to talk about them in job interviews.

You don’t want to oversell your experience and act like studying abroad was more important than any internships or previous work experience you’ve had. But you also don’t want to underplay the significance of your experience, because studying abroad does make you a more desirable job candidate and a better employee.  Here’s how to include study abroad on your resume and talk about it with potential employers. Continue reading

Your Career Column: Don’t Wish Away Your College Years

At this time last year, I slumped in my chair across from my wonderful advisor, Dr. Haley, complaining that I just wasn’t feeling college—I wanted to be in the workforce already. I didn’t like my classes, I didn’t like living on campus and I desperately wanted to start my career.

I had just come off of a semester abroad in Europe with a flexible schedule and plenty of time to wander, followed by a summer of four (four!!!) internships in publishing. I was used to getting up early, working in the office for one of my internships, going to a coffee shop to work on the other three internships and hanging out with my boyfriend nearly every day. I felt productive and professional over the summer; I dressed up for work, I worked on projects that I genuinely enjoyed and I ultimately chose which internships and opportunities to accept.

And then I was thrown back into my final year at Concordia.

Read more of my latest career advice column for The Sower about my regrettable case of senioritis and why I’m urging you not to wish wish away your college years.

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