Internship Search

Tag: Internship Search

Virtual Student Federal Service Internship

by Jonathan Hogan

Among the internships offered by the Department of State, the most accessible in terms of acceptance rate while also granting interns valuable insight into a career in the State Department is The Virtual Student Federal Service internship.

The Virtual Student Federal Service Program is best summed up in an advertisement posted by the federal government. It states: “1: State & other U.S. agencies post unclassified projects that might leverage talent. 2: U.S. college, masters, Ph.D. & post-doc students apply to three projects. 3: … and that’s it! Selected interns work virtually for agencies Sept-May.” To apply, interns (which must be U.S. citizens) simply go through the U.S. federal jobs platform USAJOBS, and, after creating an account, submit a “resume, transcript & short responses” (“How It Works”). To make things even easier, the Career Center has already released an article on how to create a USAJOBS account—just click this link. Here, It is worth noting that federal agencies other than the Department of State participate in the program, however, it seems that the Department of State is particularly active in the program.

If the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship has piqued your interest, you might be wondering what the experience is actually like. In general, interns work between September and May for roughly 10 hours a week. Furthermore, interns can work anywhere in the world. The internship is not paid, however, many interns receive credit for their work—something which feels particularly likely at Lawrence. It is difficult to discuss specifics, as the program is based around a nearly unending array of projects posted by the State Department; however, at the moment of writing, one project is already posted to the website which would see students work as research assistants on the Afghanistan Lessons Learned Project to examine “the goals, policies, strategies, and programs implemented” during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan (Virtual Student Federal Service). Given that the application deadline for this coming year is in July, more programs are likely to be posted shortly. If you determine that the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship is right for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with our government advisor, Ty Collins, for help with the application process here.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

“How It Works.” U.S. Department of State, https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/virtual-student-federal-service/how-it-works/. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Virtual Student Federal Service. https://vsfs.state.gov/projects. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

It’s time to practice for your interview! While knowing what experiences you have had in the past is very important, knowing how to answer behavioral questions can make the difference between being hired or not. Behavioral questions are designed to learn how you would respond to a specific workplace situation, and how you solve problems to achieve a successful outcome. Here is a list of possible behavioral questions that they could ask you divided into different sections.

Teamwork

With teamwork behavioral questions, interviewers get a sense of whether or not you like working on a team, how well you work in groups, and what role you tend to take on a team project (leader, mediator, follower..). These questions also show whether you are easy to get along with, which is important in almost any work environment.

  • Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours
  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague

Client-facing skills

Client-facing skills behavioral questions give interviewers a way to see how you react to different kind of clients. What would happen if the client is frustrated, or if there a large number of clients waiting and how you can handle that pressure.

  • Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service
  • Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  • When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?

Ability to adapt

The ability to adapt is a very important soft skill that is required in any job. The way you answer these questions will give a sense of how you are able to adapt in a new working space and how flexible you are to change and adjust to new situations.

  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure

Time management skills

Time management is another very important skill to have. When one of these questions is asked, make sure you are clear about how you managed your time carefully, what tools did you use and why did those tools help.

  • Describe a long term project you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities

Communication skills

The ability to communicate is closely evaluated in a job interview. Some recruiters will not ask questions directly related to communication in the interview but just see how the candidate is able to communicate during the interview. However, other recruiters might ask you behavioral questions that show the candidate’s communication skills with a real life example.

  • Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit
  • Tell me about a time you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle the situation?

Motivation and values

Motivation and values behavioral questions are asked to see what values and what kind of personality the candidate has. It is important to always be honest and show how your personality could be an asset for the company. 

  • Tell me about a time you saw a problem and took the initiative to solve it rather than waiting for someone else to do it
  • Tell me about your proudest accomplishment in work or school
  • Tell me about a mistake you’ve made. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a challenging situation you overcame at work
  • Tell me five things that you are NOT

How to prepare to answer behavioral questions

Read the job description carefully. Make a list of the top skills or qualifications it calls for. Think of a story that demonstrates your ability in each area. Following the STAR technique, write your stories down, including the situation, task, action and result. Then, practice saying them out loud several times. Your answers should only take about 1 ½ to 3 minutes. In order to make a good impression, telling stories that are related to each one of these questions is crucial. Telling stories is the best way to be remembered by the recruiter.

Practice is the best way to succeed at behavioral interviews. If you would like to practice doing behavioral interviews, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (oliver.decroock@lawrence.edu) or Grace Kutney (grace.kutney@lawrence.edu).

Oliver De Croock ’24, Student-Athlete at Lawrence University majoring in Economics and Career Peer Educator. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Idealist.org Review for #NES Community

Idealist.org is great for students who may not have their teaching certification yet, looking for non-profit work or mission-driven experiences. In the #NES Community, you can find relevant education and non-profit work easily through their search engine, and many of their opportunities are entry-level! Not only do they have jobs and internships but they also have relevant volunteer and graduate programs listed. This site is definitely a good catch-all source for those looking for relevant NES experience. Thankfully, the site is also well organized.

Their site is very easy to navigate, especially for students who are used to searching on Handshake. You just type in keywords for the field you are interested in, the area you are looking around, and then select if you are looking for “Jobs”, “Internships”, “Volunteer”, “Organizations” “Mutual Aid Groups” or “Grad Programs. There are also many other filters that can be used to apply to your search, such as “Job Function”, “Issue Areas”, “Education Level” and so much more! You can really curate the search to exactly what you are looking for, which is very helpful in narrowing down the thousands of search results. Once you find an opportunity you are interested in, then you can apply directly on their site, or it will direct you to the company site where you can apply. Depending on your specific field of interest, for those in the NES Community, we suggest using keywords such as “education”, “teaching”, “non-profit”, “social”, “fundraising” and “giving” to help kick-start your search. 

Idealist.org also has many resources listed on the bottom of its website. They have career resources and also grad resources for applying to grad school. They have hundreds of articles aimed at helping you find the perfect opportunity to apply to next!

Overall, Idealist.org is a very useful tool for searching for jobs, internships, and other opportunities. Those in the NES community should definitely check out what Idealist has to offer since they have thousands of opportunities and also many resources for applying and maintaining your opportunity. 

Career Planning Guide Links

Career Planning Guide (links will take you to the CLC website)
Chapter 1 – Resumes
Chapter 2 – Cover Letters
Chapter 3 – Portfolios and Personal Websites
Chapter 4 – Managing Your Image
Chapter 5 – Etiquette
Chapter 6 – Networking/Making Connections
Chapter 7 – Job and Internship Search
Chapter 8 – Other Letters
Chapter 9 – Interviews
Chapter 10 – Components of a Job Offer
Chapter 11 – Graduate School