Networking to build relationships with potential intern sites

September 26, 2011 at 8:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Both President Obama’s recent speech on job creation and new private programs to generate jobs could have positive results for career centers.  If there are new jobs created by the federal government and by businesses that receive tax incentives to hire more people, career counselors may discover fresh internship opportunities that could lead to jobs for student interns.

Here are a few tips on how to maximize future job growth:

  • Government Internships:  Some internship sites are worth the visit. Washington, DC is one of those, where you want to network with government officials to ensure that your students get the plum internships with federal agencies. Your representative or senator in DC might guide you to the right office. The University of the District of Columbia just announced the inaugural class of the Congressional Internship Program, a new program designed to give students experience working on Capitol Hill with the nation’s elected officials. The Congressional Internship Program (CIP) is the product of a joint effort between the University’s Office of Government Relations, faculty of the School of Urban Affairs, Social Sciences, Social Work, and the Members of Congress who have agreed to employ University students for one or two semester internships.
  • International internships:  Build connections abroad to help fill the increasing student demand. Western Washington University in Bellingham has established an internship program for education students not only state-side but also in Kenya. Kris Slentz, part of WWU’s special education department, is taking student interns to Kenya this winter to work in rural schools in an area known as Kasigau, in the southern part of the country near Tanzania. “It’s really great for anyone who ends up teaching in a school with a lot of diversity – language diversity or culture diversity – or low-income schools where you don’t’ have a lot of instructional materials,” said Slentz, who will be traveling to Kenya for the fourth time. If your school has a satellite university, you might start with the faculty and career center people in the overseas program for promising leads.
  • Networking boards:  Maximize your boards. Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School will graduate its first class of full-time MBAs at the end of this school year, according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report.  So when it came to lining up potential employers for the soon-to-grads, the school took no chances — it leveraged the university’s prestigious medical reputation to stack Carey’s corporate advisory board with representatives from companies like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck, Quest Diagnostics, and GE Healthcare. “(The Hopkins) name was enough to get us conversations and meetings with employers until our business school is wider known,” says Patrick Madsen, Carey’s director of programs, education and career services. Many companies represented on the board offered Carey students summer internships and are considering candidates for full-time spots this fall, the school reports.

Helping interns transition from campus to workplace

September 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The recent Labor statistics just came in, showing unemployment still at a flat 9.1%. On a positive note other statistics show that internships play a critical role in the job search. NACE found that employers will get approximately 40 percent of their new college hires for 2011 from their internship and co-op programs. Those student interns who become new employees have learned how to transition successfully from campus to workplace.

Here are a few tips to pass onto your current interns to maximize their chances of becoming part of that 40%:

  • Cell phone and email etiquette:  Your student interns may think that they should demonstrate ability to multitask by going to meetings, answering cell phone calls, and texting simultaneously. Neuroscientists report that humans can barely attend to more than one stimulus at a time and have extreme difficulty undertaking multiple tasks concurrently. Emphasize to your students that paying attention to your computer or electronic gadget while talking to someone is rude, regardless of the industry. As one business owner explained to his intern in his first hour on the job: “In a professional environment it’s never a good idea to ignore your clients, boss or anyone else when you’re having a conversation. Doing so says your time is more valuable than their time.”
  • Reality checks:  Rowan University journalism professor and internship coordinator Kathryn Quigley made a 4-minute movie about an aspiring journalism intern who doesn’t have any clips — he does, however, have a poem about death that he’d like to send to editors. Prof. Quigley says that she loves her students and they do well at their internships, but sometimes their questions before starting an internship just make her shake her head. She created the video to be funny, not mean, as well as to make a few points. “An internship is supposed to expand your world and teach you new things. Intern work is about learning, not showing off. Lower your expectations. You can do it – have a little confidence.” Your Career Center may not have such a video, but you could assign a mentor to each intern and set up an intern online chat room to encourage reality checks, helping interns transition more smoothly from campus to workplace.
  • Time Management:  You can support student efforts by providing them with a semester calendar and directions to fill in important dates such as class times and holidays as well as study hours.  They’ve probably already worked out their internship schedule to be compatible with class requirements. Let them know it would not be helpful to their future careers to keep changing the internship hours.  If necessary, suggest that your students delete activities and concentrate on their internships. If they’re having difficulties keeping a part-time job along with the internship, suggest financial aid options for them. Establish a set time for your interns to report their progress on their internships, whether it’s a weekly report or an online diary.

Organizing a Fall Internship and Fellowship Open House

September 12, 2011 at 11:34 am | Posted in Advising interns | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Students are coming to your office in droves by now since many schools have already started fall classes.  You only have so many hours a day to answer a wide range of questions about internships, so it might be time to plan a Fall Internship and Fellowship Open House, which allows you to handle questions, allay concerns, and dispel rumors all at one time. Here are some tips to help you organize a successful event:

  • Attendance:  Invite students ranging from freshmen to graduate students and consider holding both a day session and an evening session to accommodate varying student schedules. Contact speakers and advertise the Open House on campus, using online services, faculty and student endorsements, student newspaper and fliers. Request students to sign up in advance, so you’ll know how to plan for space and light refreshments. Give students the opportunity to submit resumes in advance with the understanding that their resumes will be critiqued and then returned at the Open House.
  • Content:  Design your program in two parts—a general session that addresses issues relevant to all students followed by round-table discussions focusing on specific interest areas. The general session might feature several summer interns from different disciplines relating their own experiences as well as an intern supervisor from a company explaining what he/she is looking for in an intern and how internships can lead to jobs. You could cite colleagues on what fields are growing. According to Martin Kral, career services director at Western Illinois University, engineering and health care are “hot” fields.
    In addition, Kral said supply chain management, accounting, finance, speech pathology, special education and bilingual education have promising futures.
  • Round-table discussions:  Invite students to sign up for different small groups, which could be divided by major, type of internship (virtual, year-round, paid or unpaid, etc.),  experience or academic level, or geographical interests (global internships). Select former interns who have related experiences to act as moderators for each round-table discussion. You also might want to include a Career Center staff member to help guide the discussion. Provide hand-outs that are relevant to each topic, ensuring that all students receive accurate information, dispelling misconceptions.
  • Mock interviews and resume critiques:  Hold mock interviews in a separate session, offering several different interview styles. While some students might volunteer to participate, remember that other students would be uncomfortable. You might have a video of mock interviews that students could take home to review in the privacy of their rooms. Your own Career Center interns could handle the resume critiques or you might enlist some alumni to help, so you won’t be overwhelmed with a high volume of resumes. Take advantage of the opportunity to give the students samples of effective resumes, so they can learn how to improve their own.
  • Application process:  Direct students to your own Career Center Web site, where you’ll list all internships with deadlines and requirements as well as sample resumes and cover letters. Urge students to apply for numerous internships. Amber Ferguson, an intern at College Lifestyles, applied for 22 internships and only heard back from five.  Let students know the upcoming dates of internship recruitment fairs on campus. Suggest students browse through Internships.com to see the wide range of internships and sign up for LinkedIn. Some universities offer mentorships, where experienced interns work with prospective interns.

Directing students to fall virtual internships

September 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Advising interns, Finding internships | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Many students are feeling the economic crunch and are working part-time to cover college costs. They worry about how they’ll be able to take fall internships with such a busy schedule. Other students, especially seniors, are concerned over getting a job upon graduation and want to take more internships this fall to add value to their academic degrees.  There are also students at rural schools located far from many businesses, who want internships.  The answer for all of them?

  • Virtual internships:  Virtual internships, which can be undertaken from anywhere with a broadband Internet connection, enable students to sample different fields while still going to classes and working. The most common virtual internships are in information technology, software development, research, sales, marketing, blogging, and social media. Companies want self-reliant, self-starters who are comfortable with web conferences, emails, and phone calls.
  • Questions students should ask:  How much mentoring and feedback will I receive? Who is my key point of contact and how often do we make contact? What is the type of work and what are the expectations? Will I receive payment or college credit?  Will I get a letter of reference? How many hours a week are involved and for how long a period? Could I view the work of former virtual interns? You might want to direct students to read Eye of the Intern blog (July 13) on Internships.com to learn about the virtual internship experience of Jacinda Green, an incoming senior at University of Alabama.
  • Pros and cons:  The positive benefits usually outweigh the negatives. Students can work remotely at their own pace at any location, ranging from dorm room, to home, to local coffee shop. If the project poses too many challenges, they can seek help on campus in figuring out the problem. They don’t have to worry about transportation costs or wardrobe expenses. The downside of virtual internships is that student interns rarely meet their boss or colleagues, reducing networking opportunities. However, since more and more full-time employees or consultants work remotely, a successful virtual internship experience might be an excellent way to illustrate the ability to work independently.
  • Growing volume of opportunities:  If you go to Internships.com, click on Internships search, type in Marketing, and check Virtual, you’ll find over 2,000 virtual marketing internships. Here are 2 examples:  Inshelf.com is looking for a qualified intern to join our marketing/advertising team. Our marketing department produces quality work for our company based out of the New York/New Jersey area, and seeks an intern who can participate in various stages of print and online marketing campaigns. Unpaid but with college credit. As a 1stGiG marketing intern, you will have the opportunity to create a customized marketing plan for your campus, while developing crucial leadership skills in an energetic and entrepreneurial environment. You will have the freedom to develop your own marketing plan, with support from 1stGiG.com! Part time and paid. This is just a tiny sample of what’s available in the booming field of virtual internships.

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