Summer is slowly coming to an end and the new school year is around the corner!  Many of you are getting ready to look for part-time or on-campus jobs as well as internships.  Here’s a short tutorial on how to breakdown a job description to develop a great resume that will get you results!

Congratulations!  You are almost finished with the semester.  Some of you will be graduating and starting the next step in your career journey and others of you are getting ready for summer internships or other adventures.  Wherever you are in your journey, check out this roadmap with tips on how to navigate the job or internship search and links to key resources to help you launch your career!  If you would like to get even more details on how to manage the job search process as a new graduate, check out our Graduated, Now What?  Webex workshop for specific tips on resumes, job search, and networking.


New Grad Tool Kit! (1)

By Allison Jones, Editor at Idealist.orgidealist

Q: How would a student get started on their internship search within the nonprofit sector?

  • Be clear about the kind of work you’d like to do: One thing people tend to underestimate is the sheer size and diversity of the nonprofit sector. On the one hand this is exciting as there really is a place for everyone! On the other hand, this means there is no single path to landing an internship or building a career in this sector. Of course, you don’t have to have it all figured out, but there is a huge difference between “I want a nonprofit internship” and “I want to intern at an education-focused nonprofit in Cleveland where I can put my writing, research, and social media skills to work.”
  • Reach out to current interns: If you have a particular organization or industry in mind, find a few interns who are already there. Ask them about their experiences, what they’re learning, what their next steps are, and how they landed the opportunity.
  • Ask your network for introductions and guidance: Does your career center know about nonprofit internships? How about your alumni office…can they introduce you to grads who are hiring at nonprofits? Or outside of school—are there nonprofits you volunteer with or that your family and friends support? Let people know you’re looking for opportunities, you’ll be surprised by the advice and support you might receive.
  • Hop online: Idealist.org has over 13,000 (!!!) internships listed by nonprofits, government agencies, and social enterprises from around the world.

Q: When interviewing for a nonprofit internship, how can a student set themselves apart?

  • Do research about the organization before you arrive: In addition to understanding their mission, has the organization been in the news recently? Who are the organization’s leaders and what have they accomplished? Good research helps you craft better answers and questions and gives you a sense of how you might fit in.
  • Emphasize what you can contribute AND what you hope to learn. Yes, an internship is a learning experience, but hiring someone is a big deal. It can’t be all about what you want.
  • Ask smart questions: What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this internship? What are some of the characteristics of past successful interns? Do you have any concerns about my qualifications as a potential intern? Here is a list of job interview questions: http://idealistcareers.org/175-questions-to-ask-during-a-job-interview/
  • Prepare for common questions: Why this internship? What are your strengths and weaknesses? I recommend Jenny Blake’s interview spreadsheet, which helps you gather information to common interview questions.
  • Be nice and professional. Seems obvious, but I’m putting it here anyway.

Q: I’ve heard that many internships within the nonprofit sector are unpaid.  Is this true?  What might be the value of having an unpaid internship for a nonprofit organization?

  • It’s called the job-seeker catch 22: You need experience to get a job but how can you get experience if you can’t land a job? Internships give you a leg up in terms of getting the experience you need to land better jobs in the future. However, there is a big debate in the nonprofit sector about the ethics around unpaid internships, specifically how they exclude people who can’t afford to take on an unpaid opportunity and how it can be hypocritical to support social change yet not pay people for their labor.

Q: What makes an intern different from a volunteer in the nonprofit world?

  • Legally? You can learn about that here from the Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm and here http://form1023.org/what-are-employees-interns-volunteers
  • In terms of your career: How volunteer opportunities and internship opportunities look vary from org to org. Internships tend to be a bit more structured in terms of duties, title, support, and time than volunteer opportunities. The article I reference above from Nonprofit Quarterly also explores the difference between an intern and volunteer in terms of how they work within a nonprofit.

Q: What skills could a student focus on developing in their classes or activities that might be valuable to showcase on their resumes when seeking an internship in the nonprofit sector?

Two things:

  1.  A commitment or interest in the social sector, demonstrated through volunteering or praxis. Yes, courses are important, but getting hands-on experience is always best. 
  2.  The ability to start and complete a project that has compelling and successful results. You want to demonstrate that you’re a high achiever and can get things done.

Q: What are some tips that will help them have a successful internship with a nonprofit organization?

  • Make sure you get tangible accomplishments under your belt. You want to show future employers you can be successful so work with your manager on setting clear goals. Here’s how to keep track of your accomplishments at work http://idealistcareers.org/are-you-keeping-track-of-your-accomplishments-at-work/
  • Set personal goals. Outside of what you need to do on the job, are there skills you want to learn? People you want to meet? Leverage the internship to help you get there.
  • Learn how to manage your manager. Best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, not just for internships but for work in general. This is likely the most important relationship you’ll have at work so getting a good sense of his/her needs and how you’ll best work together is key.

Good luck!

Allison Jones is the editor of IdealistCareers.org, a publication of Idealist.org that shares tips and tricks for people who want social impact careers. Join Idealist Careers on Twitter @IdealistCareers or on Facebook at facebook.com/IdealistCareers.

Upcoming Connect Event!  Allison’s colleague, Kara Montermoso, HR Manager at Idealist.org, will be on campus on Tuesday, March 18. Come join us at the Student Union, in the Umunhum Room at 12pm for a workshop on building a career in the nonprofit sector. Stick around for the Nonprofit and Public Service Forumto take place in the Ballroom from 2pm-4pm.  This is a great opportunity to network and learn about interning or working with organizations and agencies right here in the bay area.



Contribution by:  Tam Pham 

For those who don’t know me that well, I am an extremely punctual person. Or at least I try to be. I used to always be late to everything: Boy Scout meetings, school, hangouts, badminton practices, events… I’ll always walk into the room late with my head down, usually with a bag of tacos in my hand, and try to avoid eye contact with everyone. It wasn’t until these last few years, I’ve made being on time one of my biggest priorities. But on the day of my recent job interview, disaster was ready to be unleashed.
A key component of being on time is preparation.
Before I sleep and when I wake up every morning, I spend ten minutes planning out my whole day or recapping on my whole day. So the night before, I hung my suit’s hanger on my door handle, placed my wallet, keys, watch, and chap stick on the table ready to be picked up the next morning. I set multiple alarms on my charging phone and even set up a back up alarm to wake me up at 8:00am. I planned that I would leave the house at 8:45am to go to Jamba Juice for breakfast and depart from Jamba Juice at 9:00am to arrive in Palo Alto at 10:00am and spend the remaining time before 10:30am to review my notes and interview questions. Sounds clear and simple, how hard can that be?
Everything was going according to plan until…
I hit freeway traffic. On my Google maps, it calculated that it’ll take 52 minutes to get from Jamba Juice to EPRI, so I thought since it was only 9:00am, that’ll be perfect! Once I entered the freeway, I was hitting bumper to bumper traffic for at least an hour… As time went on, the more nervous I became. The time struck 10:00am and I still had 10 more miles to exit the freeway. So I’m thinking to myself, calm down, everything will be okay.
I exit the freeway at 10:20 and I’m fumbling though my phone so I can memorize the directions ahead of time. At this point, I hit one of the worse feelings in my life, the feeling of being rushed. I park all the way in the back of 3240 Hillview Avenue, put on my coat that I left hanging in the back seat and scurry inside the building. 10:29am. I’m thinking to myself, things could be worse. And it was. It turns out, I was in the wrong building, the wrong address actually. The location was actually 3420 Hillview Avenue instead of 3240 Hillview Avenue…
Going to be tad late.
I email the HR coordinator on my way to the car saying I was going to be a tad late (calling would have been more effective). I start up my engine and speed a half mile across the traffic light to arrive at the entrance to the parking lot. The HR coordinator told me how EPRI and SAP shared some sort of sign so I assumed by pulling into SAP’s parking lot would make me secure. To my luck, visitor parking was full and at this point, I called Denise to tell her about my situation. She told me I could park anywhere I could find so I scurried in and out of the parking garages but it was absolutely packed… Zoomed in and out twice and of both garages and could not find an empty space until I spotted an employee walking out to her car. I think I could have seriously killed somebody by how reckless I was driving. I rushed to where she parked and sprinted inside SAP. 10:38am.
Not bad, this could be worse right?
Me: “Hi, I’m here to talk to Denise”
Receptionist: “Who?”
Me: “Denise, the HR Coordinator from EPRI?”
Other Receptionist: “You mean EPRI? That’s next door buddy you got the wrong place..”
Just imagine me in a suit with the wind blowing across my face sprinting next door for this interview. Luckily, the distance wasn’t that far from both buildings except the fact that I had to sprint uphill. I slow down to catch my breath before I walk in the door because at this point, I was completely out of breath. 10:45am? At least I showed up, I thought to myself.
Me: “Hi, (gasps for air) I’m here to see Denise!!!”
Receptionist: “Oh okay, and your name?”
Me: “Pham, Tam Pham.” (Imagine the most slick way to say this line, and that’s how I said it.) (Not really, I just said my name)
Denise came in to the front and escorted me to the meeting room.
Me: “I’m so sorry, asjdfklajsdk;fjasdjfjlk”
I begin to explain my situation and Denise cut me off and explained,
“It’s okay, a lot of our employees get lost the first time they come up here. Do you need any water or anything?”
I was touched about how caring she was despite the fact that I wasted her time.  After an hour of interviewing with three different people including Denise, I got a call a week later telling me that they want to offer me a job. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Even if I didn’t receive the job, a lot can be learned from this experience.
  • Take 101N in the morning instead of 280N.
  • Get the right address down.
  • Keep the HR Coordinator’s phone number handy in your contacts list.
  • Always look at the bright side of things.
  • If the worst can happen, it definitely will happen.
  • Make the best out of every situation.

About Tam:

 My name is Tam Pham and I’m currently a freshman in a wonderful college known as San Jose State University. I’m studying Business Management and plan to pursue a minor in Sociology. At the end of the day, I believe in equality and social justice. I hope to go into a field where I’m able to change lives and make a difference either through service, projects, administration, or maybe education. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with my career but I believe that I’m pretty good at making money, listening to other people’s stories/perspectives and interacting with them, and I possess a strong motive to ultimately benefit the world in a positive way. I also have a strong infatuation for Taco Bell but I am restricted in applying for their Marketing internships because they are stationed in Irvine… (Yes I checked).  You can check out what Tam is up to on his blog: mrtampham.blogspot.com

By Anita Manuel, Career Development Program Manager

12daysofchristmasAs we come to the close of another semester and year, many students feel exhausted and stressed.  We want to remind you to take time this holiday season to RELAX and RECONNECT with yourself, your family and friends.  We definitely want you to find career success, but you can’t pursue your passions or get inspired for your job search if you are caught up in the details and pressures of daily life.  So, be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of wellness.

Here are some ideas or activities that you can do each day on the 12 days leading up to Christmas to help you find inspiration and energy for the next year!

1.   Make time for self-reflection

Life goes by so fast sometimes that we don’t even know what it is that we want or why we are working so hard towards a specific goal.  Take the time to reflect on the past semester or year and appreciate all that you’ve accomplished as well as want you want to change for next year.  Here are some sample questions to get you started.

 2.      Exercise

Chances are that when you are super busy, the first thing that you stop doing for yourself is exercise.  Nothing will clear your mind and make you feel better faster than breaking a sweat.  Research shows that all it takes is 30 minutes of physical activity to reap the benefits of exercise.  Here are the top 7 benefits of exercise as outlined by the Mayo Clinic to get you excited about taking a walk or hitting the gym.

 3.      Do what you love

This sounds so simple…but when was the last time that you felt free to do what you love?  It could be reading a good book, going to the movies, or walking your dog.  Whatever that “favorite thing” is, do it!  This is a time to recall what brings you joy and you deserve to reconnect with those passions.

 4.      Meet up with friends

What better time to get together with friends (old and new) than over the holidays.  Go to coffee, have a party, share stories and LAUGH! By the way, laughter is also good for your health.

 5.      Spend time with family

You’ve worked hard and no one appreciates you more than those you consider family.  Spend some time with your loved ones to re-energize and let them take care of you.  Also, listen to what they have to say about your accomplishments or what they appreciate about you…it’s good for your soul but also reminds you of what you do well.

6.      Reconnect with your spirit

Regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs, we all have a way to feel inner peace.  Give yourself time to practice whatever it is that helps you connect with your inner spirit and find peacefulness.  Not sure how to get centered?  Try meditation, prayer, yoga or even just taking time to breath deeply. 

 7.      Give something back

This is a time of thanks and giving.  Studies show that much of what makes us happy actually stems from doing something meaningful.  Remember all those who have helped you out along your journey this last year and think of ways to give something back.  It can be as simple as sending someone a thank you note or a sentiment of appreciation. Check out these ideas of how to increase your own happiness through giving back.

 8.      Try something new

Life is only as interesting as you make it, so get out of your comfort zone and try something new.  Not only will you learn a new skill or find a new hobby but you’ll also have fun doing it.  Learning new things helps you stay curious, creative, and builds self-confidence– all of which are key attributes to overall life satisfaction and success.

 9.      Make a music mix

If you find yourself in a funk, listening to your favorite song or band will surely change your mood.  Now that you have some time for yourself, put together a mix of your favorite jams so that when you need that extra boost, it’s ready and at your fingertips! Need a little inspiration, check out this list of top songs for 2013

 10.  Take a nap

Because sleep is amazing and you probably didn’t get enough of it this semester.

 11.  Eat a good meal

Because good food is amazing and what makes the tummy happy, makes the soul happy.

 12Practice Gratitude

Because you made it through another year!  You’ve experienced various accomplishments and challenges which have helped you grow.  Take time to appreciate the journey you have taken this last year and value each experience as a part of living a full life.   Practicing gratitude will give you a new perspective, which will set you up for a positive start to 2014!   

Wishing you all the best this holiday season! The career center team is here to support you during the winter break.  Feel free to drop by during our winter drop-in hours Tuesday/Wednesday 1:30pm-3:30 pm (12/17/13-1/22/14, office closed 12/24/13-1/2/14) @ the Career Center (Admin. Building, 154).

anita_manuel[1]Anita has been a career professional in higher education for the past 12 years.  She is dedicated to helping clients create meaningful lives and provides advising on career related topics.  She also specializes in development of creative programs to support career education.

By Pin Tsan, Graduate Counseling Intern

going globalHave you ever thought about pursuing a career abroad? Are you an international student looking for information on employers in the US who have sponsored H1B visas in the past? If you find that you have an interest in pursuing a global career then you will find a market with many opportunities.  Most companies have a global presence and seek employees who have travel, language, and cross-cultural experience.  In order to support students in expanding their job and internship options, The SJSU Career Center is excited to introduce access to Going Global, an employment resource to enhance your search for both international and domestic jobs and internships.

Here are some details about how Going Global can help launch your international career:  

 What is Going Global?

Going Global is a career and employment resource that features country-specific information on careers and employment to help you on your job search. Going Global boasts more than one million individual users, and is used around the world by university career centers, educational and institutional organizations, libraries, corporate HR departments, and government agencies.going global homepage

How can Going global help me in my job search?

 Going Global has a database of 16 million worldwide job and internship listings that are updated daily in English and the native language where the employer is located. In addition, the website also provides the following:

  • 450,000 key employer profiles in 196 countries
  • 36 country career guides (updated by local researchers)
  • 44 US city career guides.
  • work permit & visa regulations
  • location-specific cost of living & financial considerations
  • professional & networking groups
  • employment outlook & industry trends
  • country-specific resume/CV guidelines & examples
  • country-specific interview & cultural advice

How can Going Global help international students?

Going Global offers an H1B information database searchable by job title, occupation area, company name, location, and wage rate. For example, let’s say you’re an international student looking for a computer engineering position in Atlanta, Georgia. You can use Going Globals’ database to identify which employers in the area have submitted the greatest number of  H1B visa petitions.  You can also determine which companies may be in need of non-US resident employees.

 How do I get started?

Current students and registered alumni can access Going Global through their SpartaJobs account.  Once you have logged into Spartajobs, you will see two icons on the top left of your screen. The “Going Global” icon will give you information on international jobs, and the “USA Career Guides” will get you started on domestic information and opportunities.

These are just a few tips on using this new resource for your international job search.  Once you have a chance to identify some opportunities, feel free to visit us to discuss your job or internship search plan. We can help you develop a timeline to keep you on track and meet any required deadlines or applications.

Pin Tsan is a graduate counseling intern. He spent 10 years studying, working, and enjoying life in 3 international locales. He is in the process of finishing his M.A. in Counselor Education at SJSU, and hopes to continue working with international and domestic students in the future.


By Anita Manuel, Program Manager/Career Consultant

Welcome back Spartans!  It’s an exciting time as we start a new school year.  We know that you have a lot to manage when you return to campus, so I’d like to outline some easy career strategies that will help keep you organized and on track with your career goals.


Students hang out in Village Park

How many times have you heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know; or rather, WHO knows YOU?

We encourage you to meet new people, make new friends and have fun! (Just don’t post any embarrassing photos or inappropriate comments on Facebook. That can actually hurt your job search). You can absolutely translate your personal connections to professional connections.  Be sure to create a LinkedIn account to build your “virtual resume” and list your professional accomplishments (this can include courses, class projects and awards).  Invite the new people you meet through class projects and on-campus activities to your professional network.  Also, don’t forget to get to know your professors and other mentors on campus.  When it’s time to apply for internships, jobs or graduate programs, these connections can act as references and provide advice related to a specific industry or field or study.

As it relates to exploring future positions, take time to develop a list of the top 5 companies that you are most interested in working for.  Start to follow these companies through social media.  Most companies now share strategic information via Twitter, Facebook (fan pages), and LinkedIn profiles.  A well prepared candidate, who has some inside knowledge of an organization, always makes a great impression.


mobileChances are that you cannot live without your iPhone or Blackberry.  Regardless of what mobile device you use, more and more of us are organizing our lives with “killer apps” that help us get things done.  You may use certain apps or sites to find restaurant reviews or movie times but there are also some great online tools that can help you manage your career as well.  Here’s a list of our top 10 apps & online tools:

  1. SpartaJobs Search Agent (free tool only available to SJSU students and alumni).  You can set up your job search agent to search for specific jobs or internships by major, field or specific employer.  Once your search agent is saved you can set it up to run the search as often as you would like and email results directly to you. *Remember, employers who post on SpartaJobs are specifically interested in SJSU candidates.
  2.  Webshops Can’t come to a live presentation? No problem!  Our virtual workshops are thorough and cover various career topics from resume writing to job search tips.  The best part is that you can watch them whenever you want (2am or at lunch, it’s up to you).
  3.  Indeed.com (mobile app) This search site is considered one of the most robust and user friendly sites for job search and has both domestic and international postings. 
  4. LinkedIn Mobile (mobile app)Easily add people that you meet to your network and conduct research on companies, professionals and groups on the go.
  5. TweetmyJobs Many job leads are now posted through Twitter.  This app allows you to set up specific search criteria for Tweets that relate to jobs that match your interests and sends you updates via email or mobile updates.
  6. Jobs with Friends (social app)Allows you to link up your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to see where they work and help you determine potential referrals for jobs or who in your personal network could help introduce you to new connections.
  7. ResumeBear (mobile app) If you ever wondered what happened to your resume once you submitted it, this app will help you find the answer.  This mobile resume tracking service updates you on who viewed your resume and when.
  8. StudentFreelance.com Online job site for students seeking part-time or project based jobs (great for getting professional experience and building your resume)
  9. MyFirstJob.com  Job site for students/new grads seeking internship and entry level positions
  10. BrazenCareerist.com Career site for Gen Y focused on career tips, resources and virtual job fairs targeted to new professionals in the marketplace.


We know that you have busy schedules and that getting off campus to interview or meet with employers can be challenging—so we bring the employers to you.  We will be hosting two on-campus job fairs this semester, numerous employer information sessions and on-campus interview programs to help you land your next job or internship.

Accounting/Finance Job & Internship Fair:

Thursday (9/12) 1:00-4:00 p.m. Student Union, Ballroom (Tower card or career center membership card required)

Fall 2013 Job & Internship Fair (@ Event Center)

Wednesday (10/2) noon-2:00 p.m.* (SJSU students & registered alumni with early bird pass only – Tower card or career center membership card required)
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Open to all SJSU students & registered alumni – Tower card or career center membership card required)

 Employer Information Sessions

Check out our event calendar for all workshops, info sessions and on campus activities.

I hope that these tips will help simplify your job and internship search process.  If you ever get stuck along the way, don’t hesitate to visit us at the Career Center.  Wishing you all a great semester and we look forward to helping you on your career journey!

anita_manuel[1]Anita has been a career professional in higher education for the past 12 years.  She is dedicated to helping clients create meaningful lives and provides advising on career related topics.  She also specializes in development of creative programs to support career education.


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