Be it writing a paper for school, building a presentation for a class, or researching a topic for a project at work, a good research strategy is necessary to find good information fast. Luckily we don’t have to flip through a twenty volume collection of encyclopedias, but even internet research can take a while to find the right quality and quantity of relevant info.
Slideshare is a social platform for sharing presentations on various topics. The beauty of the site is that you can browse a variety of shared presentations and compile your own to suit the specific scope of your project. Topics like social media, SEO, and tutorials/lessons are common topics with a ton of material.
Slideshare is also a great tool to build your personal brand. If you have something to say about a topic or have put together a presentation you are particularly proud of, post it on Slideshare! The presentation can be embedded in blogs and social media platforms, and are safely stored online for later use. Check out Slideshare’s Blog for the latest updates and use examples and scroll through the presentation for an overview of Slideshare.
One of the most difficult aspects of working at an internship, especially if it’s your first, is the fact that you have to filter out a myriad of distractions that incessantly threaten your focus. Luckily for many of us, 80% to 90% of these distractions stem from the mother of all Catch-22s, our computers. Social networking sites, video portals, and bookmarking services are the bane of any curious intern’s concentration. It’s important to come to terms with and get a grip on our weakness and take some preparatory measures.
Keep track of your daily activities– Whenever you hop off the task you’re currently working on to check out a status update, drill down a tweet, or follow a link in an email, take a note of how long you spend doing so. There are time management applications such as RescueTime or TimeSnapper that keep a record of your computer activity and allow you to track just how much time you are wasting.
When knowing isn’t enough- If knowing that you’re wasting 1.5 to 2 hours on Facebook on a daily basis isn’t enough to motivate a change, consider a url blocker that keeps you from visiting those sites during certain hours. CNet offers a wide variety of blockers meant for protecting kids from exposed genitalia which can handily be applied to blocking the sites that suck up most of your productive day.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize- Last but quite the opposite of least, make sure you prioritize any task that is assigned to you and make sure that you move through your prioritized list in an organized, logical way. It can be a real pain for those of us used to doing things on the fly, but will utimately help you avoid embarassing incidents of forgotting an important task or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Getting used to a working routine can take a lot of time, and sometimes takes several internships to fully grasp. Don’t beat yourself and focus on what’s important: you’re there to learn. The rest will come on its own, or I will stumble across the same situation and blog about it. Good day.
Okay, time be straight up. I’ve been pretty fortunate to have experienced a variety of internships doing a number of different things. Every experience is different, from the amount and quality of work that comes out of you to the pay and the people you work with. It’s not uncommon to get lucky and fall into an internship that expects a lot less out of you than you could offer, and it’s easy to get into a comfortable groove where you do the minimum necessary and just coast.
Many of us have also made it in life by achieving clearly defined goals set by our teachers or other superiors. We feel good about getting good grades, and about the fact that we are above the “status quo” and met or surpassed expectations. Life is not really like this if you really want to make it.
When people say that they enjoy their work because its challenging, that’s not because they work along predefined guidelines to produce a product that measures up to a predetermined standard. Once you are really working, the sky is the limit with the quality of your work and the effort you put into it. To really succeed, you have to pour yourself into a project and really THINK about what is going on. It’s not just about meeting a set of criteria that determine a pass/fail. You have to push your project or assignment ot the point where you are really delivering something of value to your company. And there are tons of people pursuing the same or similar goals as you are. Imagine the hardest you ever schemed while trying to win a game or navigate a social challenge and stretch it out for days at end, then you have the experience of working a “challenging job”
I don’t mean to be discouraging in this post, actually just the opposite. I want to encourage everyone to push themselves to do their best now, so that it’s not such a shock once you hit the real world. There are hundreds of millions of people who are not as well off as you who would happily take your position in society and continue to fight their way up. Get on top of your game now so that you can hit the ground running when you git the job market and really make something out of yourself.
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that intern pay is not nearly stellar, if you’re lucky enough to be getting any at all. Trying to squeeze the most out of your limited budget takes a little creativity, but with a few simple adjustments you can step away from that ramen diet and enjoy yourself every now and again.
Shopping- Grocery shopping can quickly add up if you’re not savvy and careful about what you buy and when. Shop sales, and keep an eye on circulars to stock up on essentials when they come on sale. Non-perishables are perfect for hoarding, and if there happens to be a good deal on meat or vegetables, considering cooking up a big batch of soup or sauce and freezing it in portions for later. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as thawing out some home made soup for a hearty meal without all the work required for cooking.
Cooking– Can be a royal pain in the ass, and will quickly frustrate you if you don’t make things easy for yourself. Set aside a day on the weekend or an afternoon after work to cook up a big batch for portioning and freezing. Soups, stews, and sauces make great portionable meals that just require pasta or rice for a complete meal. Salads of all sorts, smoothies, and wraps are also great. You can toss items in an oven and go about your business while they cook, an invaluable kitchen tool. Also, items like couscous, grits, and oatmeal just require hot water and make a good side dish or breakfast.
Eating Out- Eating out for evey meal can quickly eat through your weekly budget, and make you fat. Take a step back and add up how much you”re spending on eating out, and you’ll be shocked at how much you’re blowing on subs a week. Try to make eating out a reward or something special. For the rest of the days, make yourself a big salad or sandwich at home to bring in. If you hit a sale at a grocery store, you can stock up on frozen dinners super cheap, which make a good alternative to eating out. When you do go out, make it worth it and find a good eat through one of many review sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, or your local newspaper.
If you avoid eating out and familiarize yourself with your kitchen, you can save a ton of money. Not only are you lining your pockets, but your gut will thank you as well.
As we work our way into the month of June, many of us prospective career makers are just starting or slowly getting settled into summer internships. It’s usually an awkward process, where many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the working world and unsure about how to behave and take part in the bustle around us. Relax. The people you work with are just older versions of you, who know exactly how it is to start work with little to no experience in a professional environment. All you need to do is listen and learn, and things will come on their own. In the mean time, here are a few ground rules to keep you out of trouble and get you involved with your coworkers.
1. Clean up your Facebook page. IMMEDIATELY. Your drunk photos and weed pics from last night’s revelry aren’t going to score any points with your coworkers. You’re lucky you have an internship in the first place with that garbage still on your page. Make sure your privacy settings are adjusted to limit your exposure, and follow this Mashable guide for some helpful tips.
2. When you see people taking coffee breaks together or congregating at a certain time of day, join them. Walk over and introduce yourself if you don’t know everyone, and stick around for the conversation. You’ll learn a wealth of useful info about the office.
3. Never take lunch alone. There’s no better way to get to know the office and improve your status in the team than by consistently taking lunch with your co-workers and taking part in conversations about current projects. Try to mix it up and ask people you haven’t been with for a restaurant recommendation as an opportunity to join them and learn more about people you don’t yet know.
4. Ask when you don’t know. If you’re unsure about something, go to a coworker who doesn’t look particularly stressed and see if they can help you with your problem. Try to find someone who knows the ropes and can help you on a routine basis with your questions. Invite criticism and be sure to thank them for their help. Don’t get defensive when you’re corrected, you’re there to learn.
5. Always make sure you have something to do. If you run out of assigned tasks, ask those around you if you can help. If there’s absolutely nothing for you to do, don’t let yourself be tempted to spend hours on YouTube or Hulu catching up on the latest episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Read up about the company, read blogs or news releases relevant to your field, and check with those around you if you can help again. Check out Technorati’s Top 100 list for a good place to start.
Now once again, relax. Interns are there to learn and everyone who has a clue knows that. Bring what you can to the table and stay engaged, and you’ll be golden.
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