Success Story | John Thomason, Business and Marketing Education

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John Thomason
Senior | Business and Marketing Education
ShopNBC | Customer Relationship Marketing and Online Programming Intern

How did you learn about your internship position?
The University of Minnesota’s Job and Internship Fair.
What are your key responsibilities?
Basically I help the Marketing and Programming departments with whatever tasks they have to do. Primarily I have been doing research. Most of the areas I have been researching I am familiar with due to my classes here at the U.
What steps did you take in the application process?
After joining numerous internship-search websites and attending many career fairs, I put together a list of potential positions I was interested with. For most of these positions I was able to meet recruiters and talk to them about the position and the company offering it. From there I applied for 15 to 20 internships and made sure to send thank you emails to the recruiters I met. This is when I started using Career services to have them check over my resume as I searching.
Once I applied to all my target internships, I was forced to wait for responses back from my potential employers. However during this time I was constantly looking for new opportunities at act as back-ups in case these positions didn’t work out. Eventually towards Spring Break I heard back from employers and started setting up interviews with them during Spring Break. To practice for these interviews, I went to Career Services for mock interviews.
During Spring Break I had an interview each day, Monday through Thursday, three of which were on site and one was a phone interview. They all went well and I made sure to said a thank-you email to each person I met. From that point on I waited for responses back and continued searching for new opportunities. Then one day I heard back from ShopNBC to do a second interview with them, which I did on the phone. I talked with three of their top management in separate interviews and all of them went well. Finally, hours after my third interview, I got a call from ShopNBC’s Human Resources department saying I had gotten the position! I was very excited that day.
How did you help yourself stand out from all the other applicants?
The first thing I did was adhere to a strict image of professionalism. Before every interview I made sure I dressed up in a suit and tie and that I looked good. I also made sure to arrive on time to any meeting I had and that I had everything I needed with me. I brought a briefcase with me at all times that had my resume and other important papers and items in it. I also used Fed-Ex to make my my own business cards that I gave to every single living thing I met, saw, or even glanced at. Having such cards is important as it gets your name out there as well as they make you look professional. Finally, I had Career Services look at resume so that it looked professionally up to date and organized.
The second thing I did was I made sure employers knew I was enthusiastic about the position I was applying for. This wasn’t difficult for me as the positions I was applying for were ones I had researched and wanted because they looked like so much fun. Employers really like seeing excited applicants and they remember those types of people. Smiling and asking lots of questions goes a long way.
What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?
Having access to all the different resources to that I needed to succeed was really helpful. This includes Career Services, who helped me prepare for my interviews, looked over my resume, and provided me with dates and information on upcoming career fairs.
My parents were also a great deal of help. They often would email me links to internships that they thought would interest me. They even helped update my wardrobe for my interviews! My Dad gave me a DVD called “Getting that Job” by a college education group called Standard Deviants. I recommend everyone see this video as it gives very important tips to secure a job and it’s presented in a humorous way. Most importantly, my parents gave me advice and encouragement during my job search, which really helped me.
The final resource I found helpful was the internet. As well as provide me information of the different companies I was applying to, I found many websites and articles that gave me excellent advice on how to do a job search, what to look for, and of course find internships.
What have you learned this far from your internship experience that you have found to be the most valuable for your professional development?
Being prepared is crucial. Having a plan to do something as well as the knowledge and skills to support that plan is vital in any professional setting.
Do you have any tips to share with others about your experience?
1. Apply for multiple positions. A bare minimum number is 15 or so. The more the better. It will take a lot of time to fill them out but you need to do it.
2. Research! Not only should you look at the companies you are applying to but also look at websites and articles that deal with job searching.
3. Use the Career Services here on campus. they are free, here to help you, and do a great job. Did I mention they were free?
4. Everything about you should be professional. This includes not only your attire but also your resume, other paperwork, business cards, brief case, attitude, walk, etc.
5. Go to the University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair. It’s free and they even drive you there.
6. Respond with a thank you note to each person you meet/interview with.
7. Be on time. Arrive within 10 minutes of any meetings/interviews you have. If you don’t know where you are supposed to go, drive there beforehand.
8. Don’t be cheap. Spend the money to make businesses cards, have paper for your resumes, attend career fairs, and upgrade your wardrobe. It is worth it.
9. Have a plan.
10. Don’t worry. You will find a job.