Category: General

Learn More about Viking Connect

Think about LinkedIn, but just for Lawrence students. Viking Connect is a great platform that connects Lawrentians with Lawrence alumni who want to share their experiences and connect with you.

Viking Connect is a great place to discover career and internship opportunities posted by Lawrence graduates who are willing to act as a referral for you to use in the recruiting process, which could significantly boost your chances of getting hired.

In addition, the platform provides Pathways, which are personalized experiences that guide you through each step of your professional journey to help you achieve your next big step. This platform can also assist you in navigating the job-search process, learning about informative interviews, and finding a good mentor.

Finally, Viking Connect allows you to join organizations, share stories, and connect with other students and alumni.

Viking Connect is a great way to meet other students and start creating a network outside of school that you can use in the future. Access Viking Connect or create an account here.

If you would like to learn more about Viking Connect, please feel free to schedule an appointment with me!

AI – Efficiency Tools to improve your chances of getting hired

A big part of job searching and applying for jobs is being able to use the resources you have available to your advantage. Over the last few years, I’ve learned about and used many different types of software to try to make this process easier. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have grown in popularity in recent years due to their ability to provide valuable assistance in a wide range of tasks. Here are four free AI tools that I have previously used to help you stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of landing your dream job:

  1. Quillbot: This AI tool allows users to rewrite sentences in a more fluent, efficient way that sounds more professional. This can be especially helpful when writing a resume or cover letter, as it can help you present yourself in a more polished and sophisticated manner. Visit Quillbot’s webpage.
  2. Canva: Canva is an excellent tool for creating visually appealing marketing materials, such as LinkedIn header images or social media posts. By using Canva to create a professional-looking header image, you can make a strong first impression on potential employers and showcase your personal brand. Visit Canva’s webpage.
  3. VMock: This software is specifically designed for Lawrence students looking to create a resume from scratch or improve their current resume. VMock provides a score on how your resume compares to other Lawrence students’ resumes and offers feedback on areas for improvement. Visit VMock’s webpage (sign in with your Lawrence Email)
  4. ChatGPT: ChatGPT is a strong artificial intelligence platform that allows users to interact with it as if it were a person. By submitting your CV to ChatGPT, you can request a summary of your previous experiences or suggestions on how to improve your wording. ChatGPT may also assist you on ways to better highlight your skills and accomplishments, as well as how to tailor your CV to a certain position or industry. Visit ChatGPT’s webpage.

Whether I needed to rewrite my resume in a more professional manner, generate a visually appealing LinkedIn header image, or obtain feedback on my resume, I discovered how much these AI tools had helped me, and my hope is that after you read this article you will be able to benefit from them as well.

Don’t hesitate to reach out or schedule an appointment with me if you have any questions about any of these powerful resources, or if you need help with your process of looking for a job or an internship.

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

Career Highlight: Working in Insurance

Many people believe that working in the insurance industry is dull and uninteresting, but speaking with those who work in it can reveal many reasons why insurance is so important and how it can be fascinating and rewarding. Some of these reasons include the following:

• The ability to help people and businesses in managing risks and recovering from unexpected events

• The opportunity for career growth and development through training and professional development programs

• Competitive salaries and benefits, including health insurance and retirement savings plans

• The satisfaction of knowing that by providing insurance services, you are making a difference in the lives of individuals and communities

The insurance industry is divided into two different sectors:

Employee Benefits and Property and Casualty.

Working in the employee benefits sector entails delivering healthcare and other benefits to employees of firms and organizations (vision, dental, health benefits). On the other hand, working in the property and casualty insurance sector entails providing coverage for risks linked with individuals’ and businesses’ property and assets (auto insurance, property, cyber security, …). The primary distinction between the two is the sort of coverage offered. Both require excellent customer service and technological knowledge.

There are a few different ways to get involved in the insurance industry:

  • Work for an insurance carrier  (Allstate, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, Travelers, USAA…)
  • Work for an insurance broker (Aon, M3 Insurance, Gallagher)

Insurance is incredibly important because it protects people and businesses from financial loss and uncertainty. Working in the insurance industry allows insurance professionals to make a difference in their clients’ and communities’ lives. If you are interested in learning more about working in insurance, feel free to reach out to me or schedule an appointment.

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

Put your language skills to use for the NSA!

If you want to put your language skills to use and serve your country, perhaps the National Security Agency (NSA) is for you!  The NSA works closely with the rest of the Intelligence Community to protect the United States from foreign threats and adversaries. NSA has both offensive and defensive missions. The offense collects, analyzes, and reports intelligence information derived from foreign signals to assist United States policymakers and military commanders in making well-informed decisions that protect U.S. security. The defense prevents adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information. The NSA also protects and defends U.S. government IT systems against cyber threats.

Foreign language proficiency is vital to NSA’s mission.  NSA language analysts are at the front line of national defense. They analyze foreign communications to uncover potential threats. They are the first to determine the relevance of collected intelligence, and they put the intelligence into context for our nation’s leaders.

There are a few different opportunities for Lawrence students and new graduates to get experience with the NSA. 

In the NSA Summer Language Program Internship, you will spend 12 weeks working as a language analyst at NSA.  Proficiency in Chinese, Russian, and Farsi, are in high demand, but other languages will be considered.  The application period is usually from September 1 through October 31 each year. 

In the NSA Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op) for Language, students will alternate semesters between college and working at NSA as a language analyst.  Students can apply for the Co-Op Program starting halfway through their year or during their sophomore year.  Application period is open from September 1 to October 31 and from February 1 to March 31 each year and is for Chinese and Russian students.  

Finally, the Language Analysis Development Program (LADP) is a full-time development program for new-hires and involves rotational tours in a variety of offices, coursework to build foundational knowledge, and quality mentoring. The Language Development Program builds linguistic knowledge for entry-level language analysts and train them in analytic skills and the latest technologies available to the Intelligence Community. Participants will work on a wide range of subjects and learn techniques used to evaluate foreign communications. Combined with geopolitical and cultural expertise, they will use these skills to understand both overtly stated meaning and subtly implied intent as they translate and transcribe foreign communications and report critical information to U.S. government customers.  The LADP application is posted every other month.  It is recommended that students apply 9-12 months prior to graduation.  

For more information on these programs and to apply, visit

The US Government Accountability Office

The federal government is full agencies that go by well-known acronyms, like the FBI, CIA and DOD.  However, have you heard of the GOA?  GOA stands for the Government Accountability Office.  While not a sexy name, the GAO is an important part of the federal government.  As part of the legislative branch, the “GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”  Their work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is required by public law.  The Government Accountability Office is commonly known as the “congressional watchdog”.  When significant amounts of taxpayer money are found to be wasted or inappropriately spent, often the GAO is the first agency to notice.

For students looking for government internships, the GAO should be considered.  For the last two years, the GAO has ranked number one in the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work rankings among mid-size federal agencies.

In addition to internships, the GAO offers a Professional Development Program for recent graduates that focuses on developing entry-level staff knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet GAO’s mission through work experiences, training, and ongoing coaching and feedback throughout a two-year program. Staff are generally rotated among GAO’s mission teams or placed in staff offices. 

David Trimble from the Lawrence class of 1982 (Philosophy) currently works at the GAO and says working for the GAO is “in many ways it is the perfect fit for anyone that appreciates a liberal arts education.”

For more information, click here for details on GAO internships and here for more about the GAO Professional Development Program.

Internships and Fellowships with the U.S. State Department

For the many Lawrence students interested in our growing International Relations program, getting field experience is a very helpful complement to what is being taught in the classroom. If one is seeking that experience in Government, the U.S. State Department is the place to look.

The Department of State has numerous options available to students looking for hands-on experience in the world of international affairs. But the wide array of options can be dizzying to look through and understand. Luckily, the State Department recently added a page to their web site that groups all of their fellowships and internships in one place, two of which have already been written about on this blog (here and here.)

The State Department Internships/Fellowships page is divided into three sections.

The Programs section provides brief overviews of how the internship process works and a summary of the Pathways Program and Foreign Service Fellowships. The more robust Internships section is for current college students and provides a great deal of detail on the Pathways, Department of State, Foreign Service and Virtual Federal Service internships. The Fellowships section is for graduates and some current students and provides details on long-running programs like the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program, the William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship as well as newer programs like the Colin Powell Leadership Program.

Details on both internships and fellowships include descriptions of the positions/programs, eligibility requirements, compensation and benefit information, the application timeline, deadlines and more.

Be sure to bookmark the U.S. Department of State Internships / Fellowships webpage and refer back to it when looking for field experience in International Relations!