#NES

Tag: #NES

Step-by-Step Guide For An Impactful Summer

Step 1: Find out your goal

For those of you who have jobs or internships for the summer, it may be your goal to excel in those positions. However, what if you don’t have one of those opportunities and still want a high-impact summer? Here is our list of goals you can have:

  • Learn a new skill
  • Volunteer
  • Create your own “resident” experience
  • Prepare for graduate school applications or job search

There are so many other goals you can have for your summer as well! But this was our list of suggestions to just get you thinking. 

Step 2: Figure out the steps to achieve that goal

We suggest writing out your plan for the summer. Whether it is easier to break it up by day, week or month is up to you! If you are learning a new skill or expanding your knowledge on a subject, you may take some free online courses or even courses at a community college nearby. If you are volunteering, research where you would like to spend your time and reach out to find times that fit in your schedule. If you want to create your own resident experience, research where you would like to stay for the summer, the funding that Lawrence or the community can provide, who you would like to study with, or where you would like to work. If you’re looking to prepare for graduate school or a job search, figure out which schools or which fields you are interested in a form a plan for creating your application materials. 

Step 3: Execute! 

Stick to your plan! If you end up falling behind that is totally okay, just be sure you have a chance to recharge and get back in there. Always keep in mind that even the tiniest amount of progress can make a huge impact on your career and your goals and ensure you have a high-impact summer.

Step 4: Keep track of your progress

Be sure to take note of all of the progress you are making. You can do this by journaling, keeping a calendar, or just reviewing all of the materials you’ve gathered throughout the summer. If you’re volunteering be sure to log your hours. Also, if you are working with other people, you can even ask them how you have progressed throughout the summer. 

Step 5: Enjoy the benefits!

If you have an internship, there is a really good chance you have earned college credit for completing your position! Not having to take one extra class during your time at Lawrence is a really great benefit. Those of you who learned new skills, be ready to excel in your classes relating to those skills or apply them all throughout the school year. The same goes for those of you who created your own residency! If you got a head start on job or graduate school applications, be ready to send those in and enjoy the downtime after getting such a good head start. 

Credible Non-Profit Job Boards

NationalNonProfits.org

Nationalnonprofits.org is fully free and easy to use. You can search by a specific organization and geographical location in order to find the opportunity that is right for you. This website sadly does not give many internship options, however, they do have a few. Most of the opportunities found on this job board are full-time job positions, so it might be best to use this site for post-graduation. You can apply for each opportunity directly through the website.

Foundationlist.org

Foundationlist.org is great for those looking for specific foundation jobs. Sadly, this website does not feature any internship search tools and is mainly for those finding part-time and full-time non-profit work. Each opportunity has a “How To Apply” section, where it lists the requirements and also whether to apply through the Foundationlist website or if you will be redirected to the company website. 

Check out our previous review of Idealist.org, which is another great tool for those interested in working in the non-profit industry. Foundationlist also has a list of other nonprofit job boards here

Fighting Displacement: Three resettlement NGO’s that support the most vulnerable populations

You can see – and feel – the despair and fear on the faces of over 4 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s advancing army.  Sadly, this is only the latest of many refugee crises our planet has faced in recent years.  From Afghanistan to Sudan, millions have been displaced as they flee war, poverty and oppression. 

Organizations, including the UN, struggle to process the massive waves of people searching for safety and an opportunity to live life with dignity, leading to a greater need for integrative services in countries offering asylum. If you have been exploring the NGO career path, here are three of the best known resettlement agencies:

International Rescue Committee (IRC) 

If you’ve ever spent a considerable amount of time on YouTube, you might have come across a heart-wrenching ad from the IRC. The IRC helps displaced people within countries in crisis. Provisions in crisis areas include shelter, cash assistance, food and water. Programs elevating long-term growth in-country include access to education, minority empowerment (working on policy with local governments), health programs treating preventable diseases and ensuring access to reproductive health. 

In situations like Ukraine where safety is not guaranteed, many find themselves leaving their home-countries entirely. IRC offers resettlement services helping refugees in their transition to the United States, where they receive assistance in a variety of areas including medical, housing, education, legal services, employment and more. 

World Relief

World Relief is a Christian organization founded in 1940 to provide recovery aid after World War II. Since then, World Relief has joined President Kennedy’s “Food for Peace” committee, responded to earthquake disaster areas, and provided aid to thousands of refugees. As of 2015, World Relief has worked in over 100 countries, has partnered with 6,000 churches, and has recruited over 95,000 volunteers. 

Much like the IRC, there are departments supporting refugees including immigration services, youth support, case management, education, and employment.

Refugees International 

Refugees International is an advocacy group founded in 1979 in response to the crises in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Their main functions are to “investigate displacement crises, create policy solutions and advocate for change”. Their Refugee Advocacy Lab dedicates resources to working with US representatives on creating supportive policies for refugees among other efforts.  The four main issues this organization focuses on is climate displacement, Covid-19, access to employment, and minority empowerment in over 40 countries. 

If you are wondering about NGO work and want to see if this work is for you? World Relief, Refugees International and IRC all offer internships available to undergraduates and graduates. Learn more about these organizations by clicking on their websites posted below:

https://www.refugeesinternational.org/

https://www.rescue.org/

https://worldrelief.org/

Tips for Preparing for your Non-Profit Career

Volunteer:

One of the best things you can do to bulk up your resume for a future career in Non-Profit work is volunteering. Volunteering is also a great way to figure out what causes you are passionate about and want to seek when you are applying for your future careers. Here at Lawrence, it is very easy to get involved with the Appleton community through volunteering. Lawrence’s GivePulse page has hundreds of opportunities for students to sign up for to get you started.

Ask your local community:

Also going along the lines of volunteering, asking around your local community to see what their needs are is also beneficial. You can hear about the local non-profits that they know, or even ones that offer remote internships or funded ones. Word of mouth is a great way to find out opportunities and exactly what your local community needs in a non-profit worker.

Search for summer internships:

Another great way to get your foot in the door of non-profit work is through summer internships! Lawrence’s Handshake page has a bunch of non-profit internships listed all throughout the year, and you can also check out websites such as Indeed.com and Internships.com to find others as well. Internships are a great way to get an in-depth experience of what it is like to work in a particular field.

Find causes you are passionate about:

The causes of a non-profit company could range anywhere from arts and music to diversity and inclusion. The possibilities really are endless on what kind of non-profit you see yourself working in, however, how do you choose just one? Through your volunteer work, asking your local community, and pursuing job and internship openings you should get a good idea on where exactly you want to end up. Try to find the cause that you are the most passionate about, and use that cause as a keyword when conducting your latest job or internship search.

Tips for Talking About Your Volunteer and Service Experience

Tip 1: Think about it like any other job

The mindset that most people get tripped up on while thinking about their volunteer experience is “Well, I didn’t get paid for it so it doesn’t matter”. Because of this they end up not talking about the enriching experiences they had while volunteering, which is a really big misconception! To get out of this mindset we recommend thinking and talking about your volunteer experience as any job. For example, if you were talking about a part-time retail job you once worked at you may mention in an interview “My experience in retail allowed me to gain organization and collaboration skills”.You could say almost the exact same things for volunteer experience as well! Let’s say you are a volunteer at Riverview Gardens here in Appleton. You work with others to winterize gardens and take inventory of plants. If you wanted to talk about your volunteer experience while at Riverview Gardens you could say, “My experience at Riverview Gardens allowed me to gain organization and collaboration skills.” Thinking about your volunteer experience like your job experience makes it easier to translate during an interview. 

Tip 2: Relate your volunteer and service experience to your career field

If you happened to volunteer in the particular career field you would like to end up in, you’re in luck! You can use this experience as a core interview response for, most likely, quite a few questions. If you are planning on pursuing a career in theatre arts, it might be helpful to mention your volunteer experience at a non-profit theatre, traveling theatre, etc. For example, employers may ask you the question “What drew you to apply for this position?” In terms of the theatre arts example, you can answer “I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in theatre, however, my experience volunteering at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee really solidified my motives…” Using your passion as a segway into talking about an experience is very moving for the employer and shows how dedicated you would be to the position that you are applying to. 

Tip 3: Describe the success you had 

Even though sometimes we are plagued with dreaded questions like “Tell me about a time you failed” in an interview, employers really do like to hear about your successes as well. If during your volunteer or service experience you had a leadership position, headed a project, or even just got positive reinforcement from colleagues, feel free to mention this during your interview. An example of this is when an employer asks you a question about your collaboration skills, such as “Tell me about a time you worked as a group, how did it turn out?” A possible start to your answer could be, “During my time with Habitat for Humanity I was a group leader for the volunteers…” This answer would show how your volunteer experience put you in a leadership position and how you handled that position.

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.