During summer 2021, I worked at Blackboard, a leading EdTech company and the creators of HuskyCT. As an intern under the community and retention marketing team, I worked on a variety of interesting and impactful products, had conversations with everyone from a former intern to the Chief Marketing Officer, and even flew down to the Reston headquarters to attend our flagship user conference. You can read more at my LinkedIn blog – but let’s back up for a second. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do all this without three key experiences. This blog will be about the things I did at UConn to land this internship. Without any further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Find your niche and dive right in.
During my sophomore year, on a whim, I decided to apply for the position of Social Coordinator for my dorm’s Hall Council. For those who are not familiar, each of the 18 residential areas on campus has a Hall Council that plans programming and events to engage the community. Through this role, I was able to make lasting friendships and connections that helped me eventually become a Resident Assistant (RA) the following semester. Although I had to leave my role as an RA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wished to still be involved in residential leadership and education. So, my senior year, I returned as the Vice President of the Residence Hall Association. This organization is the governing body of all 18 Hall Councils on campus and is the UConn chapter of the largest student-run organization in the world, the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH).
I personally think that my continuous dedication to residential advocacy and community engagement was what made my candidacy stand out to recruiters at Blackboard, which made me a perfect fit into community and retention marketing.
I want to emphasize that your involvement at UConn doesn’t have to just consist of just major-related organizations. My best advice would be to become an active member of one of those, but also remember to get involved in a club that explores your other interests and passions, whether it be crossword puzzles, gaming, or even skydiving. (We do have those clubs.) Employers like to see how you’re building competencies and transferable skills in many areas, and a certain interest or hobby can even lead to a more personal connection with a recruiter.
2. Revise your resume. Then polish it. Then make it sparkle.
Your resume is never done. Repeat after me: your resume is never done. Yes, even after you get your resume critiqued at the Center for Career Development and they say it looks good. (Our services are great, it’s just good to get as many opinions as you can.)
My dedication to continuously revising this document to make it as polished as possible was a key factor in getting my foot in the door at Blackboard. I did not have any internal connections to advocate on my behalf, so this one-pager was the only representation of my abilities that the company had before they decided to reach out to me.
One of the best tips I’ve received was to have multiple versions of your resume that are tailored to different roles you are applying for. Another tip I can give is to make Google your best friend. If the action verb you are using sounds too plain, search for synonyms. I recommend finding a list of powerful resume words. Finally, your bullet points should not describe things you did. They should describe things you accomplished. It’s important to highlight the results of your hard work and how it was valuable to that organization.
3. Find the hidden gems and opportunities that people typically overlook.
Read UConn Daily Digest. Read your department’s weekly newsletter. Take a closer look at that sign that you pass by every day. If your professor or TA casually mentions their friend that works at X company, strike up a conversation with them after class.
UConn is a large state school and Research I (RI) university. There are hundreds of professors who wish students would stop by their office hours more often. There are also hundreds of seats open at free lectures, seminars, and workshops that are offered by world-renowned educators every day.
When I took the time to explore these frequently overlooked activities, I got to have one-on-one chats with people who gave me great insights. I also got to put some pretty unique experiences on my resume that I used as talking points during interviews. So, look a bit closer! You never know if attending one information session will turn into a long-term opportunity for growth.