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The Travelers Companies, Inc. Makes $50,000 Grant to Augsburg University 

 

EDGE Scholars

Minneapolis – The Travelers Companies, Inc. has provided Augsburg University with $50,000 to support the Travelers EDGE Scholars Program at Augsburg University.

 

Augsburg University has been participating in the Travelers EDGE Scholars Program since its creation in 2007. In the twelve years Augsburg University has participated in the Travelers EDGE Scholars Program, over 100 students have graduated from Augsburg University as EDGE Scholars.

 

EDGE Scholars benefit from a broad range of support services provided by The Travelers Companies, Inc., including: generous scholarship support, career and business advice, internships and job shadowing, and professional development workshops.

 

Travelers EDGE (Empowering Dreams for Graduation and Employment) provides a unique, holistic approach to education for underrepresented students. Through partnerships with colleges, universities and community-based organizations, Travelers EDGE increases access to higher education and provides students with opportunities to excel. The program helps students progress through middle and high school curriculum in preparation for post-secondary education, building a strong pipeline of future leaders to colleges and beyond. By increasing the number of students who complete post-secondary education, The Travelers Companies, Inc. helps communities to be successful in meeting their own demand for a skilled workforce, sustained economies and improved quality of life.

 

Current EDGE Scholar and Augsburg junior, Samantha Lopez, who just completed a summer internship at The Travelers Companies, Inc. said this about the program: “Travelers has opened so many doors for me. The financial assistance from my Travelers scholarship helps me to cover my academic expenses so I am able to focus on academics and participate in different leadership opportunities on campus. For my internship, Travelers offered me the opportunity to explore different work environments–both human resources and operations–so now I have a better idea of what kind of career I want to pursue after graduation. It was amazing to learn first-hand what goes on inside a corporation and find out I can do the work. Travelers has provided me with the support, skills and confidence I need to pursue a business career.”

 

The Travelers Companies, Inc. and Augsburg University have formed a longstanding partnership around their shared commitment to educating underrepresented students. Augsburg University is one of the most diverse colleges in the state of Minnesota. Augsburg University’s mission is to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers and responsible leaders.

The Importance of Self-care

self care

 

Due to COVID-19 we know many of you have lost your summer opportunity whether that was a job, internship, research, or volunteer experience. We know this loss is difficult and complicated because it may have put you in financial hardship, interrupted progress towards your academic goals, disrupted your career advancement, and just left you with nothing to do this summer. That is a lot. 

We recommend taking some time to focus on self-care. Loss of a job or internship is stressful because of the loss of income and also because of the loss of sense of purpose and progress towards career and academic goals. Here are our top 10 favorite ways to practice self-care this summer:

  1. Create a gratitude list and jot down a list of things you are grateful for.
  2. Get out into nature for a short walk, bike ride, or find a quiet place to sit and let your mind wander.
  3. Meditate – Taking a few minutes to clear your mind of various stressors can be a great way to help you improve your focus and mental health. 
  4. Read your favorite book, watch your favorite movie, or listen to your favorite album, or podcast.  
  5. Dedicate time to a hobby (or find a new one) like drawing, dancing, writing, cooking – anything you can enjoy doing without feeling stressed. 
  6. Get enough sleep – Studies show getting quality sleep on a regular basis can help improve all sorts of issues, from your blood sugar to your workouts. 
  7. Watch a funny video – laughter can increase serotonin levels.
  8. Text or call a friend, family member, or loved one to have a conversation. 
  9. Exercise – Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better.
  10. Spend an hour technology free.  

 We encourage you to visit the Center for Wellness and Counseling’s site for additional self-care resources.

The Strommen Career and Internship Center is here to support you no matter the reason you lost a summer opportunity and we encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out the resources available on our Community Moodle site.

Setting Up Your LinkedIn for Success

 

LinkedIn for Success

LinkedIn is the largest business-oriented networking website geared specifically towards professionals. It has over 500 million members, in over 200 countries. According to Rycraft (2018), “A professionally written LinkedIn profile allows you to create an online professional brand which can help open doors to opportunities and networks that you may not have been aware of without the help of social media.” (para. 1). 

LinkedIn offers students opportunities for professional networking, connecting, and job searching. In addition, companies use LinkedIn for recruiting and sharing company information with prospective employees. Use the Strommen Career and Internship Center’s LinkedIn Profile Checklist to get started: 

  • Photo: It doesn’t have to be fancy. Take the photo in front of a plain background, wear a nice shirt, and don’t forget to smile!
  • Headline: Tell people what you’re excited about now and the cool things you want to do in the future.
  • Summary: Describe what motivates you, what you’re skilled at, and what’s next.
  • Experience: List the jobs you’ve held (even if they were part-time), along with what you accomplished at each. Be sure to include photos and videos from your work!
  • Organizations: Have you joined any clubs or participated in any activities at Augsburg University or external of Augsburg? Describe what you did with each organization.
  • Education: Starting with college, list all the educational experiences you’ve had – including summer programs.
  • Volunteer Experience and Causes: Even if you weren’t paid for a job, list it! Employers and graduate admissions officers often see volunteer experience as just as valuable as paid work.
  •  Skills and Experience: Add at least five key skills – and then your connections can endorse you for the things you’re best at.
  • Honors and Awards: If you earned an honor/award in or out of school, share it!
  • Courses: List the classes that show off the skills and interests you’re most excited about.
  • Projects: Whether you led a team assignment in school or built an app on your own, talk about what you did and how you did it.
  • Recommendations: Ask managers, professors, or classmates who’ve worked with you closely to write a professional recommendation on your behalf. This gives extra credibility to your strengths and skills. 

Whether you’re creating your LinkedIn profile for the first time or updating your LinkedIn profile, the Strommen Team is here to help! Schedule an appointment with a career coach in Handshake or email careers@augsburg.edu. A recording of the wildly successful “Setting Up Your LInkedIn for Success” webinar is also available for viewing on our Strommen Career and Internship Center Moodle Community Site.

Learn and Develop Skills with Coursera

 

Coursera Skill Development

It is important to continue to learn and develop skills even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Wondering where to start? Enroll in a free online course or training module through Coursera. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has partnered with Coursera to provide free career-focused, online learning resources to Minnesotans.

Coursera offers 3,800 courses and training modules from over 200 top business and universities, including more than 60 courses from the University of Minnesota. These learning opportunities are aimed at preparing people for in-demand jobs. 

For example, students can earn certificates from Google, IBM, and Cisco in such areas as architecture, IT support and SAS programming to prepare for entry-level technology jobs. There’s also room for personal interests, including languages, arts and humanities. Coursera’s most popular course, called the Science of Well-Being, is taught by a professor at Yale University.  

The Coursera platform can be used on mobile phones and is available in multiple languages. For those without internet access at home, the courses can be downloaded and accessed offline. 

If you are a Minnesota resident and have interest in using Coursera, you must register before September 30, 2020 and will have access to the platform through March 31,2021 and they will be available for a fee after that. Enroll at https://www.careerforcemn.com/coursera

 For more information, please review the following resources: Connecting You With Career-Focused Learning Opportunities and Out of work? Looking for a better job? The state will pay for online classes

If you are interested in other job training or career exploration opportunities or want to learn more about what training or education pathways are right for you, schedule an appointment with a Career Coach in Handshake or email careers@augsburg.edu.  

New Major & Career Exploration Planning Tool for Students

focus2career

The Strommen Center for Meaningful work is committed to helping you identify the paths that will help you find work that is meaningful to you – work that sustains and fuels you – and that aligns with who you are, your needs, and your situation. It is for these reasons we are proud to present FOCUS 2 CAREER! 

FOCUS 2 CAREER is a career & education planning system that guides you through a reliable, intuitive career & education decision making model to help you choose majors offered at Augsburg, explore occupations & make informed career decisions. 

You also have access to five reliable and valid research based self-assessments.  Your assessment results are matched to occupations and supporting majors at Augsburg.

To access FOCUS 2 CAREER and create an account, please visit https://moodle.augsburg.edu/moodlecommunity/course/view.php?id=1095.  

For more information on FOCUS 2 Career view this overview:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2y7g7otuvnuaw82/Focus%202%20Video.mp4?dl=0 

We also encourage you to schedule a Major & Career Exploration appointment with a career coach in Handshake.

Don’t Have a Job? Build Professional Skills and Knowledge Anyway!

 

Build Skills and Knowledge

It is important to build your skills and knowledge even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Learn how to code, write short stories, or join a professional network. Whatever you decide to do this summer it will be important that you are able to articulate what you did, learned, and developed to future employers. When they look at your resume they may ask you “what did you do during the 2020 COVID-19 summer?”, be sure to have an answer ready for them. 

Here are the Strommen Career & Internship Center’s top recommendations for self-directed and directed learning this summer:

Self-directed

  • Read – history, biographies, local authors, or check out Business Insider’s list of 100 books everyone should read in their lifetime. You could even consider starting a virtual book club. 
  • Focused Reading – Research and read the books and journals suggested that everyone in your profession should read, ask faculty members for their recommendations.
  • Explore your creative side – through photography, writing, sewing, knitting, website design, painting, baking, cooking, music, etc. 
  • Start a blog or podcast – Improve your oral and written communication skills, explore topics of interest, partner with a friend or try it out on your own 

Directed

  • Volunteer – Consider volunteering virtually with Catchafire. Catchafire strengthens the social good sector by matching professionals who want to donate their time with nonprofits who need their skills.
  • Upgrade to a trial month of LinkedIn Premium and enjoy 30 days of free learning courses 
  • Meetup.com – Join a local group to meet people, try something new, or do more of what you love. 
  • Look for free webinars and MOOCs 

If you have questions or need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Strommen team. You can always make an appointment with our coaches on Handshake and you can also email careers@augsburg.edu

Network to Find a Job or Internship

Networking

Networking is the ongoing process of building professional connections. Career professionals report that up to 75 percent of job openings are never advertised, therefore, networking is a crucial element to job searching.

Plain and simple, the purpose of networking is to build relationships, connect with people in your field of interest, and an effective way to find job and internship opportunities. Networking can happen in a casual environment, a professional setting or at formally-structured networking events.

Opportunities to Network include:

  • Social media – We suggest creating a LinkedIn profile to seek out individuals you are connected to who are in positions or companies you are interested in exploring. 
  • Informational interviews
  • Job Shadowing 
  • Chamber of Commerce events
  • Professional organization meetings and conferences
  • Classroom speakers
  • Current employers, supervisors, and colleagues
  • Job and internship fairs
  • Mentoring groups (on-campus or community-based)

Networking Tips:

  • The more you network, the better your chances of hearing about job openings.
  • Present yourself professionally in appearance, language, and interactions.
  • Prepare a personal introduction or elevator pitch which includes your name, major, year in school, interest areas, and general career goals.
  • Develop a list of general questions to ask about an individual’s job, career path, and place of employment.
  • Maintain an organized list of contacts.
  • Send a thank you note to those who provide information and referrals within 24 hours. 

Check out our events page in Handshake to find and register for upcoming opportunities to network. 

Persistence Pays Off When Searching for a Job

Student Spotlight: Kristy Ornelas ‘20

As my senior year came to an end, I began submitting job applications to several employers around Minneapolis. Some were promising with good pay and good hours. Suddenly, the hiring freezes began and post-graduate life was not so promising. Hopelessness began to settle in, nevertheless, I persisted. Handshake was the first place I looked for any opportunities I could apply to and I found an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Kristy OrnelasMississippi Park Connection. It was a perfect fit for me; a combination of community work and environmental stewardship.

 

I knew my cover letter and resume had to be close to perfect if I wanted a good shot at the position, so I reached out to the Strommen Center for guidance. My desire to work with Mississippi Park Connection only increased as Kate, a Career Specialist at the Strommen Center, and I discussed my cover letter and were able to identify the true nature of my application for the position—a sense of vocation. She looked closely at my resume, as well, and helped improve it. I truly believe that due to her help, Mississippi Park Connection asked to interview me. Once again, Kate spent hours helping prepare for an interview that could potentially determine the next chapter of my life. So, I interviewed and got the job! With the help of Kate, my resume and cover letter were intact. Thanks to the Strommen Center, I was prepared to go after the job I wanted. Thanks to my persistence, my future was not hopeless. I can honestly say that post-graduate life is looking promising.

 

Written by: Kristy Ornelas

Augsburg Student Employment in the COVID-19 Era

Augsburg University COVID-19

At the end of March 2020, Minnesota saw a precipitous decline in job posts resulting in a 30% decrease in new job postings from the week of March 22-28, 2020 compared to the previous week and a 25% decrease in new job postings compared to the same time-frame last year 1. At the same time Minnesota saw the unemployment rate steadily increase and jump to 8.1% in April 2020 2

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy and on the individuals who make up the workforce. Augsburg University students have not been immune to the consequences of the pandemic. The Strommen Center conducted a student employment survey of day undergraduate students from April 29 through May 11, 2020. The purpose of the survey was to understand how COVID-19 has impacted student employment and experiential learning opportunities for the spring semester and the summer. 151 students completed the survey. 

“Currently, I don’t have any money to provide for myself and my parents cannot provide for me as they pay bills, food, basic needs, and my brothers rent. If the career center could help me get a job ( as I am currently unemployed) that would be very helpful.”

-Augsburg Student

 

Of the students that responded:

  1. 54% lost a job, internship, or other volunteer experience during the spring semester because of COVID-19
  2. Only 17% of those that lost a spring opportunity were able to secure a new opportunity
  3. 46% lost a summer job, internship, or other volunteer experience because of COVID-19
  4. 61% are now seeking a job, internship, or other opportunity this summer
  5. Loss of income was selected as a stressor by the most students followed by lack of quiet and secluded space to do work and participate in Zoom meetings and classes
  6. Lack of quiet space and increased responsibilities at home were stressors selected by the most students that might prevent them from securing a job, internship, or other opportunity this summer
  7. Mental and emotional well-being programs were selected by many students when asked what programs and services would be most helpful this summer.

In addition to this information students also said they would like self directed ways to engage this summer (44.3%) as well as Zoom or virtual opportunities (46.3%). Only 9.4% said they did not want to engage at all.

The majority of students (51.4%) said they want to engage in programming and resources just when they want to. 

“I think overall I’m unsure about my summer employment since that may be cutback more now due parents being laid off and not being able to afford childcare. As well as the impact of how social distancing can affect students in a variety of ways. “

“My internship for this summer was shortened due to Covid and my spring internship was canceled at start of Covid. I am able to work at augsburg library but my original plans are no longer a thing.”

-Augsburg Students

The information students shared in this survey is helping the Strommen Center craft resources, programs, and services this summer. The Strommen Center is in operation all summer and is offering virtual career coaching appointments, workshops, virtual career fairs, and online resources. Students can visit Handshake to make appointments and register for events.

 

1 COVID-19 Job Market Impact April 3, 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.realtimetalent.org/2020/04/03/covid19-april-3-2020/

State and National Employment and Unemployment. (2020, May 21). Retrieved from https://mn.gov/deed/data/current-econ-highlights/state-national-employment.jsp

 

Best Practices – Job & Internship Search

best practices job and internship searches

Job searching involves using a variety of resources to find employment and internships. Many students do not realize they need to do more in their job search than just applying online. In fact, most positions are found using other strategies.

Here are 4 tips to help you develop an effective job and internship search plan: 

  • Identify your talents, interests, and skills – Many job searchers make the mistake of not focusing their career goals, and that is what can make job and internship searching extremely overwhelming. Before you begin your search, you need to have an idea of the kind of position you would like to have. If you have not already, spend time thinking about how your strengths, interests, skills, and values relate to work environments. Have an idea of possible position titles or career fields you might want to pursue. If you struggle with thinking about this, a career coach can assist you with this step. 

 

  • Resume – Make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailored to the position you are applying to. Your resume should be easy to scan quickly, while simultaneously containing enough pertinent information that will reveal essential details about you and your skills. Our office can assist you with a resume review. Make an appointment with a career coach on Handshake or take advantage of our virtual resume drop-in hours. Mondays & Wednesdays from 10am-1pm. No appointment needed! Use the following Zoom link to utilize our virtual resume drop-in service. https://augsburg.zoom.us/j/97875997042 

 

  • Take advantage of networking Networking involves connecting with people who work in a field you are wanting to learn more about or break into. It is the most effective way to learn more about job and internship positions and obtain them. We recommend talking to everyone about your job search or career path. Your odds of finding a job or internship increases with the more people you tell. There is also value in requesting informational interviews once you have done your research on different companies and identified jobs and/or internships of interest. Use social media to find connections. We suggest creating a LinkedIn profile to seek out individuals you are connected to who are in positions or companies that you are interested in exploring. Be aware of fake job offers that seem too good to be true. Scammers are trying to take advantage of the pandemic and trick people into responding to fake job offers. Always check the organization’s website for legitimacy. You could also consider reaching out to the organization’s Human Resources department to double check they’re still hiring.  

 

  1. Interview preparation- Preparation is key! We recommend researching the company and the people you are interviewing with. Do not be afraid to ask questions about interview logistics such as dress code, parking, etc. Practice the STAR model of answering interview questions to ensure you provide concrete examples of how you meet the organization’s needs and to prove that you will be successful in that position. We encourage you to complete a “mock interview” (practice) with a career coach.  Set up an appointment in Handshake.

The Strommen Center would like to acknowledge that the job and internship search process has its unique stressors and we want you to know we are here to support you. We encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out our new resources listed on our Community Moodle Site.