No Summer Internship? No Worries. 5 Other Things To Do This Summer

There’s no doubt that internships are an integral part of the job search process.  They give you a chance to explore career options before actually having a career and they help prepare you for the professional world.  Internships are certainly an important part of your resume and many employers will value seeing that you’ve had internship experience.  BUT… that doesn’t mean that internships are the only significant thing you can be doing this summer.  If you don’t have an internship, don’t panic!  There are numerous other exciting and enriching experiences that can help develop you professionally.  Check out this list!

Volunteer Work
As Holy Cross students, we know the value of giving back to the community.  Whether it’s lending a hand at a local church or soup kitchen, or a volunteer camp counselor position, community service is sure to be a rewarding way to spend your summer (and it’s a great resume builder as well!).

Summer Job
Just because you’re not on that 9-5 corporate grind doesn’t mean that a non-professional summer job isn’t a completely valuable summer experience.  Lifeguarding, babysitting, or serving up chocolate/vanilla swirls at your local ice cream parlor are all fun and productive ways to exhibit your excellent work ethic, add some employment experience to your resume, and make some cash (woo!).

Job Shadowing/Networking
Take advantage of your time off to reach out to people in fields you’re interested in.  Summer vacation is a great opportunity to chat with/shadow people in positions you are considering to get a sense of the reality of the job.  Use Holy Cross’ Career Advisory Network  to find alumni in related industries and send them an introductory email to begin networking!  HC alumni are always incredibly willing to discuss their work with students and potentially even show them around for a day.  Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Taking classes
This might be the last thing anyone wants to think about during time off from school, but summer vacation could be a perfect opportunity to take some classes!  Whether you want to make up a missing credit for HC or you are interested in learning more about a random subject that isn’t offered on the Hill, it’s never a bad idea to expand your mind and add some additional courses to your resume.

Do you have an opportunity to travel this summer?  Take it!  Traveling is a fantastic way to gain new cultural experiences, and have a blast while doing so.  While this may not be an academic or professional way to spend your summer, exploring the world is an eye-opening and important experience that employers love to hear about.  Your travels can provide excellent talking points during interviews and definitely help to make you a well-rounded and cultured job candidate.

Clearly there are many different ways to avoid a summer slump.  While binge-watching Netflix may seem like a worthy endeavor, consider these ideas to have a productive, fulfilling, and exciting summer!

What Are Your Summer Plans? I Have No Plans And I Am ______

No matter how you filled in the blank the Center for Career Development can help you out, and, depending on how much effort you put in, the summer of 2017 could be your best summer yet! (or at least it can be your best effort at adulting)

What are your summer plans? I have no plans and I am PANIC STRICKEN.

Don’t be. Now, that is easier said than done, we know. For some panicking is a good first step to realizing you might have to put in more effort. Time keeps moving on no matter how much you procrastinate. Finals will be over and your dorm room will be packed up in a few short weeks. Sad, we know this too. But, in these few short weeks left on the Hill you can accomplish A LOT. For example, if you are panicking because you feel you do not have time to stop by our office during drop in hours (M-F 1-4pm & W 10am-12pm) with everything else you have going on we have a ton of resources available online. So plug in your headphones and watch a few videos, or evaluate your job search strategy.

What are your summer plans? I have no plans and I am ALREADY EXHAUSTED.

If you are feeling exhausted it could be because you are not setting yourself up for success. If your heart beats faster every time someone says “summer” and the image that comes to mind is your email inbox filled with “Thank you for applying, but sorry this position is filled”, take a deep breathe. First, congrats on applying to positions in the first place! Applying is a huge step in the process of landing a summer internship. Second, stop by our office or set up an appointment to meet with us and we can chat about what you have been doing and what we can change to land that dream job or internship.

What are your summer plans? I have no plans and I am OK WITH THAT FACT.

You have worked hard all year, you do deserve a break. Take time to adjust to being back at home and not having homework. BUT, remember, things lead to things. So, start doing things. The easiest thing you can do is log in to Crusader Connections and search for an internship or job. Right now there are over one hundred positions with deadlines this month alone. Your first application might be slow going. You have to get your resume in order and your cover letter tailored to the employer, but remember… things lead to things. Experience matters come this time next year when your resume could either be a skimpy double-spaced page or an impressive single-spaced, experience-filled page.

What are your summer plans? I have no plans and I am NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO TELLING MY PARENTS THAT.

Some advice if your parents are on your case about summer; do not make excuses as to why you do not have plans. Your parents want to see you succeed. More immediately they do not want to see you standing in front of the open fridge just staring at it every summer day. Why not spend your summer days riding a bike (apply by 5/5/17), or on an island (apply by 5/31/17).

ALUMNI INTERVIEW: I Was A Psychology Major, Now I …

Thinking about a career in the arts/entertainment industry? Read on for an inside look at how your Holy Cross liberal arts education can lead to working in TV and Film.

Meet Alum Mike Dussault ’99, Creative Executive at The Tannenbaum Co.(CBS)

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

We are based out of CBS Studios and develop scripted TV shows for broadcast, cable and streaming outlets.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I got my MFA in TV Production at Loyola Marymount University after graduating from Holy Cross. I interned for director Jay Roach while at LMU and that led me to my first job as an assistant at a talent agency. The entire TV and Film industries all run through the agencies and it was those connections that led to me ending up at The Tannenbaum Company where I’ve been for over 10 years. Agency jobs are long hours and low pay, but the exposure was invaluable for not only seeing what kind of company I wanted to move to, but also hearing about jobs when they opened up before anyone else. Really that year at the agency might’ve been more impactful on my career than getting my MFA.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Academics (obviously), Eucharistic Minister and ice hockey.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

Psychology. I think this major was far more helpful overall than my MFA in TV Production was because it gave me a different perspective than most regular film school grads. It was especially useful as I got into developing scripts and working with writers on character and story development. I come at story problems from a different place than many colleagues.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Reading is maybe the most important thing I do at my job and being able to read critically, to break down stories and characters, is essential. All day, every day there are scripts and pitches to read and discuss with my co-workers. You must be able to quickly take something in and give constructive notes to writers to get projects in the best place possible before we pass material up the flagpole to our studio and networks. This is my favorite part of my job and I’d never be able to do it without the critical reading skills that were honed at Holy Cross.

Also being able to work hard and being unflinching in the face of inevitable setbacks were critical things I learned in my experiences on the hill.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

There isn’t one way to do anything. Everyone has their own path. Find your passion and then find a way to immerse yourself in the companies and people who do it everyday. The more people you meet, the more people who know what your passion is, the more people who might be able to help you. Get as many new and different experiences as you can to help you stand out. Don’t get discouraged by those who find their passion or are more successful earlier than you. Stay the course and never be afraid to take big swings at big opportunities. And never ever let your failures deter you. If you’re not failing you’re not truly trying!

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience: GOVERNMENT

Full Name: Juliana Brandao
Class Year: 2017
Major: International Studies and Spanish
Shadowing Visit Site: MA State House

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

I had the wonderful experience of shadowing Christine Barber, the Massachusetts House Representative for the 34th Middlesex district. During my shadowing experience, I gained insight into Christine’s role as House Representative as well as some of the activities and events that occur within the State House. I attended several caucuses and meetings and had the opportunity to network with other people. The first event that Christine had scheduled was a presentation by the non-profit organization ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) where I met the Operations Manager and the Deputy Director of Field Operations for ABCD. I have kept in contact with both of them and now have the opportunity to do an informational interview with the Operations Manager of ABCD.

I also attended the Progressive Caucus and the Women’s Caucus, both of which Christine is involved in. The Progressive Caucus was a great experience because I got to observe how the representatives coordinate meetings and speak with one another. They were speaking about topics that particularly interest me, such as health care reform, and it was fascinating to hear how they planned and discussed practical strategies to make sure that the meeting would be efficient and their goals would be heard. During the Women’s Caucus, representatives of different organizations that advocate and support women’s rights presented on their specific organizations, explained what impact their organizations have in communities across Massachusetts, and provided important statistics about women regarding sexual victimization and racism.

I was able to speak with Christine on a more personal level during lunch and in between scheduled meetings and events. I asked her about her career path and how she landed her position as State Representative. I learned about what experiences helped her gain the skills that her position requires her to utilize every day. It was comforting to speak about both of our experiences at Holy Cross since we share this college experience in common. At the very end of the day, she took me on a tour around the State House and I got to see both the House Chamber and Senate Chamber.

Overall, it was a pleasure to meet with Christine and learn about her role as State Representative. I found the experience fulfilling and eye opening. As a female student, it was both empowering and gratifying to shadow a female alumni working for the government and playing an active role in shaping public policy.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I gained a networking opportunity to speak with employees of ABCD. I also developed a better idea of what it means to work for the government, and more specifically, the State House. This experience increased my interest in public policy. Christine’s role is relevant to my interests. She works to protect and ensure the rights of her constituents, and she is particularly active in health care, housing, and women’s rights matters. It was wonderful to learn about what bills she is trying to pass and what bills she is trying to resist, especially during a time where there is a lot of political controversy. As a senior, this experience also made me reflect on the kind of work environment that I would like to be a part of, especially as graduation gets closer and closer.  

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni host gave me advice to try to enjoy my last semester at Holy Cross and break down my next goals step by step. As an HC alum, she understands the pressure of having to keep up with classes, participate in outside activities, apply to jobs, and have at least some down time. She encouraged me to try new things and not be afraid of getting stuck somewhere that I do not like since these moments can help us grow and realize what we are really interested in. She also mentioned that the Center for Career Development has really developed since she went to Holy Cross, and based on the information that I provided her on my personal experience, she thinks it is a great resource for students. Finally, she stressed the importance of networking because it is necessary for almost any career path that you take.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would definitely recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students. It is both exciting and insightful to experience a part of an alumni’s career and see what they do on a daily basis. With respect to Christine’s role as House Representative, and I am sure this applies to other alumni as well, a lot of her work is relevant to changes that affect society, something I found quite meaningful during the visit. Most importantly, the shadowing program is great practice to put yourself out there and get over the hurdle of being shy or intimidated by the “real world.” Networking is key!

#CrusaderIntern: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Name: Elizabeth Buckley ’18
Organization: Brigham and Women’s hospital for the Genomes2People Research Program

What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer I am interned at Brigham and Women’s hospital for the Genomes2People Research Program. Genomes2People is a group that performs various clinical trial projects based around the risks and benefits that sequencing genomes for risk of illness will have on people. The project I have been working most closely with is the BabySeq Project. Genome sequencing is used to show the risk of various illnesses that a baby may have up to adulthood. The risks and benefits of knowing this uncertain information is studied among parents and pediatricians to better understand whether widespread genome sequencing should be used in the near future, for purposes such as personalized medicine.

I helped the research assistants with various tasks, such as updating online patient databases as well as editing and revising consent forms that are subsequently sent to be reviewed before being approved for use in the trial.

What was your favorite part?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to work in a job based around biology and academia. It has definitely opened my eyes to the type of work I can expect post graduation if I enter this field. I have also been able to decide whether working in a clinical trial program is what I would like to do in the future. There are many different jobs available in the lab setting, such as genetic counselor, research assistant, etc. I have been able to observe and help with various projects in each of these departments.

What surprised you?

I was surprised when I started working here that clinical research is so different from research in an actual lab. The group is small and everyone works in the same office space so everyone contributes to each overall project. Overall, I had a great experience with G2P and enjoyed the opportunity to experience working on such an interesting project and topic.

ALUMNI INTERVIEW: I Was A Computer Science Major, Now I…

Thinking about majoring in computer science? Read on for an inside look at how your Holy Cross liberal arts education can prepare you for a career as a software engineer.


Meet Regan McCooey ’16, Software Engineer at TripAdvisor.

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As part of the TripAdivsor Vacation Rentals CRM, team, I build programs that gather data and identify potential email recipients of commercial and transactional emails.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

After my sophomore and junior years at Holy Cross, I interned at a bank as a software engineer. Originally, I thought I would end up working there; however, after my second summer, I realized that software engineering in finance wasn’t the right fit for me. I began to look into software engineering roles at larger tech companies. My family friend suggested that I apply to TripAdvisor. I interviewed in October of my senior year and was offered the job. I knew it was a good fit because the people seemed very nice and the culture was exactly what I was looking for. I also wanted to do more consumer facing software that would impact real people rather than just writing programs for the back office of a bank.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I played varsity golf for two years and was on the ski team. I participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor, acted as an officer for the Math and CS Club, and was a teaching assistant for computer science.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I majored in computer science. The classes I took at Holy Cross inspired my love of programming, and helped me decide to pursue a career as a software engineer. When I took Compiler Construction, an upper level project course that involved a lot of programming, I knew that I wanted to be a software engineer.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Besides teaching me how to program, Holy Cross taught me to adapt and to teach myself the skills necessary to solve the new problems I encounter every day. The software industry is very fast paced. Things are constantly changing and you are expected to adapt and learn fast. Working in the industry is also very different than programming at school. Nevertheless, the various projects I completely in my computer science courses challenged me to face the problems in front of me head-on and to find creative solutions. My Holy Cross experience thus instilled in me the confidence to take on the new challenges I face every day at TripAdvisor.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

I would tell current students that they should never feel unqualified or unable to do a job because they don’t have all of the qualifications listed on a job advertisement. Job postings usually have an intimidating list of qualifications, especially in the software industry. If a student meets even one of those qualifications, they should apply for the job. Holy Cross students should always feel confident that they will be able to learn the specific technology required on the job. Prior to starting at TripAdvisor, I barely knew the two programming languages that I now use everyday. After a few months, I easily got the hang of it.

#CrusaderItern: Scholastic

Name: Emily Bowman ’17
Organization: Scholastic Inc (You can intern here too! Deadline to apply is April 11th APPLY HERE)

What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer I had the incredible opportunity to intern with the Corporate Communications team at Scholastic.  I was originally looking at jobs with Scholastic because I thought I would be interested in publishing and editorial positions.  When I was placed in Corporate Communications department, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect.  What I quickly realized, however, was that Corp Comm was a really exciting team to work with because their work involved collaborating with almost every department in the company.  

The team was in charge of both internal and external communication for the company – everything from running Scholastic’s social media platforms, to writing press releases for new books, to creating content for Scholastic’s Intranet and corporate blog.  As an intern, I learned how to use communications platforms such as Cision and Sprinklr to track and analyze Scholastic’s media presence.  I also used these platforms to create media lists of potential news outlets that would be interested in running stories about Scholastic’s summer reading initiatives or new book releases.  I even had the chance to sit in on social media meetings and contribute ideas about the revamping of Scholastic’s Snapchat, which was exciting.

What was your favorite part?

One of my favorite parts of the job was writing for the company blog called On Our Minds.  I wrote about a variety of topics such as the most influential books in my life or the best rainy day reads.  I loved this part of the job because it was a chance for me to write creatively and have some fun!  Another highlight of the summer was the anticipated release of the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  As an avid Potter fan myself, it was exciting to be a part of all the PR and marketing initiatives that surround a huge, international release such as that.

I had a fantastic summer with Scholastic and a great experience working in Corporate Communications. I would encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in communications or marketing to reach out to me with any further questions!

Scholastic is looking for a Communications/Social Media Intern!
Hurry the deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 11th.

The Scholastic Summer Internship Program provides an opportunity to gain experience in a variety of Scholastic businesses including weekly sessions where you get a chance to hear from SVPs, VPs and Senior Managers giving career advice and information regarding their divisions. The student who secures this 10 week, full time internship will receive a stipend. Any sophomore and junior may apply.

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

By Emily Bowman ’17

Cover letters can often seem daunting, but they don’t have to be! Check out these do’s and don’ts of cover letters to ensure you’re presenting yourself to potential employers in the best way possible.

DO include a formal heading with your name and address as well as the contact information for the person you address the letter to.

DON’T write too much. Three detailed paragraphs should take up no more than about ¾ of a page.  Brevity and concision are key!

DO spend time thinking about what traits you want to highlight about yourself. Make sure you’re engaging the reader right away and emphasizing the qualities that make you a perfect fit for the job.

DON’T use too many personal pronouns. Nix any extraneous “I think,” “I feel,” “I believe” phrases.

DO your research on the organization and make sure to include specific details about its mission/services. This will assure the employer that the cover letter is personal and that you’re knowledgeable about the position, which will go a long way in making you a competitive candidate!

DON’T make a form letter and just change the organization’s name for each different application. Employer’s will easily be able to tell it’s not a customized letter.

DO read through the job requirements and make sure you mention experiences and qualities about yourself that fit the description.

DON’T forget to convey enthusiasm for the position and use positive language and tone!

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience | EDUCATION

Full Name: Meghan Lewis
Class Year: 2018
Major: Mathematics
Shadowing Visit Site: The Peck School

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

My visit at The Peck School spanned the entire day – starting early in the morning with a full staff meeting to sitting in and watching all of Mr. Loveday’s middle school science classes. I was able to see the reality of teaching from a different perspective and all the work that goes into preparing a lecture for a day of class.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

At the beginning of this year, I started to consider a path in education using my mathematics degree. Utilizing the Alumni Job Shadowing Program through Holy Cross, I got first hand experience of what my future career would entail and further influenced me to pursue this field.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni host Mr. Tim Loveday not only answered my abundance of questions about further education to become a teacher with a bachelor’s degree not in education but he also helped me determine what kind of job I should try to secure for the summer.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

You can research all about a job as much as you want but you never get the full experience until you are right there in the action! Participating in the Alumni Job Shadowing Program will expose you to all aspects of your desired career and can help you solidify your path after graduation.

Be Ready To Work On Wall Street. Here Is How

Here are a few tips, must dos, recommendations, and a timeline too from Pam Ahearn, senior associate director for the Center for Career Development. Pam is the industry advisor for Financial Services, working within the Accounting, Finance, Consulting, Insurance and Real Estate Career Community. Pam works closely with alumni in the industry on the internship recruiting initiatives.

Q:  What should students interested in Wall Street know?

A: Financial Services is a very competitive industry.  If you want to work on Wall Street immediately following graduation, you must secure a summer analyst position your junior summer.  These summer analyst roles are incredibly competitive and Holy Cross is not a target school for the banks.

Q: How does a student secure one of these internships?

A:  Students interested in the industry can do many things to make themselves stronger candidates.

First and foremost, do well academically: GPA is the most likely the first thing the banks will look at on your resume.  Ideally your cumulative GPA will be a 3.5 or above.  Students from Holy Cross have landed successfully with a lower GPA, but you will do yourself a favor by maintaining a solid GPA.

Gain knowledge of the industry:  Develop knowledge of the industry and the specific area within the industry where you see yourself as a good fit, read the Wall Street Journal daily, have an understanding of the markets, know what is going on in current events, follow a stock, sit on a desk by shadowing an alumni (deadline for the summer program is April 18) or personal connection, and check out the Vault Guides in Crusader Connections. Be able to articulate this knowledge.

Show a demonstrated interest in finance:  Join the Finance Club, attend Finance Boot Camp through the Pre-Business Program (fall and/or spring break), act as treasurer of your club, shadow alumni, take quantitative courses at Holy Cross and do an internship where you hone your professional skill set (ideally within finance).  Be sure to tailor your resume to the industry.

Network:  Start with your peers who interned on Wall Street last summer. Ask them questions and learn more about what they did as a summer analyst. Contact young alumni at the banks to discuss your interests and goals.  Reach out to more senior alumni who have been on the job between 4-10 years.  Finally, have conversations with seasoned alumni in the industry once you have a solid understanding of your interests and skills, and you can articulate these effectively.  Please do not waste anyone’s time and always say thank you!

Attend events: Avail yourselves of opportunities both on campus and off campus. Attend the Holy Cross Finance Networking Reception in New York in December and the Holy Cross Finance Networking Reception in Boston on April 12, 2017.  Apply for *diversity initiatives (if applicable), apply for receptions and events hosted by the banks in Boston and New York, attend panels hosted by Career Development and Pre-Business. Many times these events are targeted towards first year and sophomore students. Log on to Crusader Connections daily to view opportunities.

Leadership skills and service: Get involved on campus. Work with a non-profit. Volunteer. Take on leadership roles as you progress at Holy Cross.

*Diversity on Wall Street = Women, students of color (Black, Latino/a, Native American), First Generation and students identifying within the LGBTQ community.

Q: Wow. There is a lot that goes into being successful in this industry. Do you have any other recommendations?

A: Not every student is going to be successful in their hunt for Wall Street. Definitely set that as your goal but know that there are lots of other opportunities within “finance” that might be an even better fit for you. Crusader Connections is our one stop shop for internships and full time jobs. Alumni are eager to hire Holy Cross students. Pay special attention to positions with #CHC (Crusaders Hiring Crusaders).

The trend this past fall was that the banks accelerated their recruiting efforts. Below is the timeline for the 2016-2017 academic year. I suspect that things will be accelerated again for the 2017-2018 academic year.  BE READY.


Deadlines in Crusader Connections and banks’ websites
Superdays (day-long interview at bank)
Networking events and diversity initiatives
Pam works with banks and other financial institutions to get positions posted in Crusader Connections