Finding resources to support fall internship requests

August 25, 2011 at 7:49 am | Posted in Intern Support | Leave a comment
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Susan Sandberg

Memories of summer vacations are fading fast as your campus springs to life again. Your office may be one of the first stops for returning students who are anxious about obtaining the perfect fall internship. Over the summer Internships.com has built its internship offerings to nearly 47,000 postings from over 22,000 companies in 1,800 cities. By directing your students to these listings, you’ll be able to help them better understand the broad scope of the internship marketplace. For support in managing your growing volume of internship requests, consider these other resources:

  • Community support:  An anonymous donor who wanted to improve the Baltimore community by having students work in area nonprofits donated $1.25 million to fund the new Johns Hopkins Community Impact Internships program run by the university’s Center for Social Concern. The student program paired 25 students with 25 Baltimore nonprofit, community-based organizations. Each student received a $5,000 stipend. At the end of this summer, the inaugural program had proved successful. You might be able to encourage similar community support in your own city.
  • Professional support:  Nathan Shelby of the Jackson-based law firm Rainey, Kizer, Reviere and Bell was recognized for his leadership efforts this summer during the inaugural year of the Law Student Judicial Internship Program. He with the help of colleagues placed 44 law students under the supervision of 43 judges across the state of Tennessee. Shelby is the chairman of the Membership & Law School Outreach Committee and the Judicial Internship Program.
  • Alumni support:  Ottawa developer Wes Nicol has donated $1 million to Carleton University to help support business-minded students to develop as entrepreneurs. The donations will create the Nicol Entrepreneurial Institute which will oversee paid internships and be open to undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties. Lawyer and businessman Nicol, a 1954 Carleton graduate, said he hopes the institute will reward hard work and creativity. It’s a good time to check with your alumni office on campus about potential alumni gifts to support internships.
  • University support:  Area business owners have the opportunity to participate this fall in a new internship program that will match University of Houston-Victoria business students with employers in their chosen major. The School of Business Administration is partnering with the university’s Career Services Office to administer the venture. Career Services has placed hundreds of UHV students in local jobs, but this is the university’s first paid internship program. Full-time and part-time internships may take place throughout the year, but most are expected to last for one semester.
  • Document support:  Students need resumes, cover letters, and references to apply for internships. As a busy educator, you could receive document support from Internships.com programs, such as QuickBuild Cover Letter or resume samples as well as informative hand-outs to educate your students about internship responsibilities. To learn more about these resources, go to Internships.com and review Educator Quick Guide, Useful Sample Documents, and Premium Educator Resources for more help.

Making sure students follow best practices in saying good-bye to summer internships

August 23, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | 1 Comment

Susan Sandberg

A recent study published by Rutgers University calculated the value of an internship. Students who completed internships during the course of their degrees earned a median salary $6,680 higher than those who did not. But first the student intern must secure an actual job offer. “Landing an internship and completing it successfully isn’t enough, in and of itself, to convert the experience into a job offer,” says Mercy Eyadiel, executive director of employer relations at Wake Forest University. “How students end their internship is often the difference between a successful experience and a less fruitful one.”

Eyadiel offers 5 tips to consider before saying good-bye:

1. Know where you stand – Be proactive and request feedback from your manager and co-workers. Make it easy for them by providing bullet points about what you’ve learned and highlighting your key accomplishments. Send this information in advance and request time to discuss in person. This will demonstrate your initiative and how serious you are about ongoing career development.

2. Communicate your interest – Don’t assume that your manager knows you are interested in working for the organization. Let them know! Share specifics about what you liked and how you can add value to their organization.

3. Stay connected – Use LinkedIn to stay in touch with former colleagues and managers. Be sure to update your professional experiences and “get recommended.” Be discerning with your Facebook interactions since most people use this as a social rather than a professional network.

4. Help make introductions – Now that you are familiar with what your employer cares about, find ways to help them make connections. If they are interested in a particular area of research and you know a faculty member who happens to be an expert, find out if there is mutual interest to be connected.

5. Show appreciation – Send a handwritten thank you note to your manager and other colleagues who were helpful during your experience. Handwritten notes will help you stand out over email.

Other best practices that could turn your students’ internship experiences into potential job offers include students asking if they could continue as virtual interns either doing special projects or performing their current assignments from their computers when they return to campus in the fall.  Suggest that your students upgrade their resumes, adding the internship experience and sending the revised resume to the company HR or personnel officer with a request to be kept on file for future opportunities.

Remind your students to collect relevant samples of the work performed as interns and assemble professional portfolios, which are also good places to showcase letters of recommendation from internship supervisors or professors. The portfolio will help to stimulate conversation during an interview. You might want to provide your students with a good-looking binder from your college in order to accommodate the materials from multiple internships.

Reminding students to thank everyone who helped them during their internships

August 17, 2011 at 7:47 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Susan Sandberg

Reminding your students to thank everyone who helped them during their internships benefits you, too, if you want to keep company doors open when it’s time to place new interns.  The competition for those coveted spaces has really grown, so those thank-you letters are important for both your students and your career center. Here’s how to make sure the students follow through:

  • Email, typed/computer generated, or hand-written thank-you notes? Students are used to texting, but when it comes to creating thank-you notes, they should take the time to do a hand-written or typed message to the appropriate person. The recipient will be impressed that your student took the time to do a more traditional thank-you. Also, emails are easy to erase while an actual letter is a reminder of the student’s internship, which can benefit the student who wants to maintain contact at the internship company.
  • Remember that students are very busy, especially at the end of the summer and may forget about thank-you notes as they prepare for the coming semester. To help them complete their thank-you messages on time, set a deadline a week or two before the internship ends. And remind your students that you’ll be sending your own thank-you letters to the appropriate intern supervisors, too.
  • Enclose sample thank-you letters in each student intern’s package of informative materials. Include various versions, ranging from formal letters for internship supervisors to informal notes or even verbal thank-you scripts for other employees who have been helpful during the internship. Encourage your students to customize their messages based on the samples.
  • Consider providing your student interns with note cards or letterhead engraved with the school’s name. Then, you can be assured that the student is using appropriate stationery for the thank-you messages. Having the school name in front of the company personnel is also a tangible reminder of the professional relationship that exists between your career center and the company.
  • Collaborate with your student interns on the list of people who deserve thank-you messages. Prepare a form for them with three columns—one for names, a second for type of thank-you, and third for dates. Review the list with each student, dividing the names into formal letters, informal notes, and verbal thanks. Then, add due dates beside each name and ask your student to check off each date upon completion.
  • Impress upon your students that these seemingly simple courtesies are an important way of networking. For example, the secretary who has been helpful and deserves a thank-you note may have a brother who works in a company where your student intern may want to apply for a job and needs an employee to put in a good word for him/her. If the student perceives a thank-you as a way to continue a relationship that could lead to new opportunities rather than a closure to a former experience, he/she will need few reminders about thanking everyone.

Advising students on cover letters

August 15, 2011 at 11:49 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment

Susan Sandberg

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its latest data.  The number of unemployed persons (13.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.1 percent) changed little in July. Job gains occurred in health care, retail trade, manufacturing, and mining while government employment continued to trend down. These figures can be depressing for students hoping their summer internship turn into jobs. Though you can’t change the statistics, you can suggest a positive activity:  Creating great cover letters to help students get interviews for jobs or fall internships.

  • Students could go to Internships.com for Cover Letter Tips, There are also Sample Cover letters for a refresher course. You could also personalize your own suggestions, sending the following information to your students via email along with messages encouraging perseverance.
  • Use the same heading for your cover letter as the one in your resume (name and contact information) to create continuity between the two documents. Keep your cover letter to one page and not more than four paragraphs.
  • Focus on the company’s objectives, not your own. For example, in Paragraph #1 you might begin with the following sentence:  Recognizing (organization) as a leader in the (industry), I was pleased to find an internship posting for your company on Internships.com. My experience in computer technology may be of value as you engage in a search for an intern who offers diverse computer skills.
  • State why the organization will benefit from choosing you as an intern in Paragraph #2. (Organization) will benefit from a Dean’s List student and excellent communicator with demonstrated success in (input parts of the desired internship position’s description). Several notable achievements that speak directly to your needs are the following:  (Select three bulleted statements from your resume that are most applicable to the specific position and copy them into your cover letter).
  • Point out in Paragraph #3 why the timing is right for you to be an intern with that company. Having just finished my (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) year, I am in a position to invest (name time required by position, such as three months) in this internship. I’ve also completed the Intern Certification Program on Internships.com, so I can add more value to your company in exchange for this career-related experience.
  • Close the cover letter in Paragraph #4 with a proactive ending. While my enclosed resume outlines my career progression, there is more to share. I will contact you next week to discuss the internship opportunity. I look forward to learning about the next steps in the selection process.
  • Customize each cover letter for every application. Read the posting on Internships.com for the responsibilities and requirements. Then, check the company website to make sure that you have the correct kind of industry for your opening sentence. Then, wait for your phone to ring!

Wise advice for students from Commencement speakers

August 4, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Susan Sandberg

Your students are focused on internships, career tracks, finances, and classes, not to mention finishing up summer vacations. However, it might be a good time to help them see beyond the moment. In the last few months, distinguished men and women have been delivering insightful Commencement speeches at your own school and others nationwide. Your students might benefit from the following wise advice:

  • Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, Barnard College:  “Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That’s the only way, when that day comes, you’ll even have a decision to make.”
  • Daniel F. Akerson, Chief executive, General Motors:  “Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Don’t be afraid of new ideas; be afraid of old ones. Be faithful to your family and friends. You’ll get the same in return. Tell the truth and always play by the rules.”
  • Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize winning novelist, Rutgers University:  “I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter. But I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough. Personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that’s more than a barren life; it is a trivial one. It’s looking good instead of doing good.”
  • Steve Blank, Technology entrepreneur, Philadelphia University:  “I learned that in Silicon Valley honest failure is a badge of experience. All of you will fail at some time in your career, or in love or in life. No one ever sets out to fail. But being afraid to fail means you’ll be afraid to try.”
  • Steve Ballmer, Chief executive, Microsoft, University of Southern California:  “People think passion is something that has to manifest itself in some kind of explosive and emotional format. It’s not. It’s the thing that you find in your life that you can care about, that you can cling to, that you can invest yourself in, heart, body and soul. Finding passion is kind of your job now.”
  • Kenneth T. Jackson, Historian, Wagner College:  “Along the road, be gracious, gentle, and polite.”

Helping students turn internships into permanent positions

August 2, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment

Susan Sandberg

Your students are almost through with their summer internships and may be feeling tired or disillusioned with their assignments. You can improve morale by sharing stories with them about interns who successfully turned their internships into permanent positions and also by giving them suggestions on how they can do the same.

  • Internship:  A recent article in The Baltimore Sun reported on how a 22-year-old from Loyola University Maryland earned a full-time position as an assistant to House Speaker John Boehner after making a good impression as an intern. She took an unpaid internship in fall 2010 and watched while Republicans retook the House on Election Night.
  • Permanent job:  When she learned that a permanent position in Boehner’s office was available in December, she took the job, balancing it with the 5 classes that she still needed for graduation in May 2011. She studied on the train, crammed for tests, and survived on 4 hours of sleep a night, graduating with honors on time.  Her perseverance was motivated by her desire for the job. She explains, “I wanted it.”
  • Networking:  Before she got the internship, she took a summer job in the House cloakroom in 2009, where she could make connections with congressmen and see how the place worked behind the scenes. She also maximized her family network, including her uncle who rose from Senate parking lot attendant to presidential advisor. However, if she had not done her job well, she would not have been brought back, according to Boehner’s director of administrative operations.
  • Shared philosophy:  It helps for an intern to share a similar philosophy with the company or organization in which he or she is interning. The young woman who won the fulltime paid position in John Boehner’s office is partial to the Republican Party. She also exhibits enthusiasm. Her professor at Loyola says that “she’s still got the wonder of it all.”  Her support of her boss is evident in her quote, “I certainly feel that he’s driving by a moral compass. It makes me excited to be a part of it.”
  • Appreciation:  Remind your students to tell their intern supervisors how much they learned at their internships, how much they respect the company, and to thank everyone who helped them at the internship. Employers like to hire people whom they know fit in to the corporate culture, enjoy working with the company, and will get along with the personnel. Sometimes the human interaction or chemistry can be as important as skills. During the internship is the perfect time to express interest in getting a permanent position with the company, so urge your interns to speak up now.

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