Tracking trends to help your students

December 22, 2011 at 11:54 am | Posted in Job market | 3 Comments
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The U.S. is experiencing three jobs crises at once, according to Harvard labor economist Lawrence Katz. The first jobs crisis is the one driven by the steep drop in aggregate demand of goods and services. The second one—long-term unemployment—grows out of the first. The third crisis flows from the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution. As a career services professional, you can help advise your students on how to navigate these trends and maximize their education to compete in the changing employment picture.

Here are several trends to track:

  • Consulting:  Consulting is among the most popular career choices. Pulin Sanghvi, a former McKinsey consultant who runs the career office at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says, “It’s especially useful if you don’t know exactly what you want to do.”  The top consulting firms hire people from nearly every type of graduate school, ranging from law schools to medical school, public-policy schools or other non-business schools. After they are hired, consultants parachute into big companies, often meeting with top executives who are decades older. Companies also tend to outsource corporate strategy issues to bright young consultants.
  • Externships:  Many schools are developing these programs. At MIT the Externship Program, started in 1997, matches students with MIT alums for a one-month work experience over Independent Activities Period in January. Students apply through the Alumni Association website, and externship sponsors review the applicants for compatibility with the position. The sponsors then send back a list of qualified students to generate matches.  This year, a record number of 294 MIT students will be participating in the Externship Program. Last year, a student who took an Externship at Bank of America in January received a summer internship and now has a full-time job offer.
  • Partnerships:  Robert W. Goldfarb, a New York management consultant, interviewed 85 recent college graduates about their success in finding jobs, according to a NYT’s article. Only 5 had found jobs in their career fields. Managers who used to favor new graduates with fresh ideas now choose older employees who make fewer missteps than recent grads. Goldfarb’s solution is to encourage partnerships between recent grads and the companies they hope will employ them. He suggests that corporations invest in training and developing young professionals even if there isn’t an immediate opening. They could be hired as salaried trainees and given 3-6 months to prove their value in various assignments.
  • Global opportunities:  Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging, is offering two new internships to undergraduates or recent graduates looking to kick start their career with an innovative manufacturing company. The food packaging company, which has sites across the world, is offering the paid placements during 2012 with flexible start dates and working periods. The successful applicants will work with the central innovation team on two key projects, gaining a greater understanding of today’s manufacturing industry and developing new skills. For more international internship opportunities, browse through the thousands listed on Internships.com.

Finding paid internships for your students

December 20, 2011 at 8:07 am | Posted in Finding internships, Job market | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

As the recession drags on, more and more financially strapped students want and need to have paid internships. Fortunately, more and more organizations are finding funds to pay interns. Although the compensation might be small, a paid internship boosts student morale as well as income.

The following tips offer new directions for paid internships:

  • Sponsorships at nonprofits:  Traditionally, nonprofit organizations have not offered many paid internships. But that’s changing. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, has received support from the Tucker Foundation since 1997, funding between 3 and 5 interns each year. Summerfield Johnston, whose family operates the Tucker Foundation, believes the fund supports work that benefits both the institution and the intern. Through their research, programming, writing, and other activities, the interns’ work benefits not only the museum, but each student’s life work as well. When exploring paid internships in nonprofit organizations, look for sponsorships that fund internships.
  • Paid internships with low number of applicants:  If students haven’t selected a major, you might guide them into fields where internships are paid, and they can sample potential concentrations based on their qualifications. Cal State Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and concentrations in the College of Business and Economics have a large number of paid internships that are available and a low number of applicants. These  areas of study have a low number of applicants because they do not require students to complete an internship to graduate. There are currently 22 interns in engineering, three in accounting and four in finance. Engineering, accounting and finance seem to have the highest paying internships.
  • International internship sites:  With a shortage of experienced IT workers in New Zealand and the competition to recruit them increasing, Sky City Entertainment Group is hoping its new internship program will help it secure young IT talent while providing interns with much needed real world experience. The internship will involve a year-long, paid position in the Sky City IT team, with candidates being provided internal and external training in system management, system support and delivery, and systems integration. Sky City has 5 locations across Australia and New Zealand. Employment by Sky City at the end of the internship is not guaranteed, but the work experience will benefit the interns in securing IT jobs in the future.

Internships.com search:  There are now over 56,000 internships in nearly 30,000 companies in 7,500 cities listed on the site. Instruct your students to enter Paid under Compensation when searching for an internship and see what comes up. For example, InfoScroll in New Jersey offers 18 part-time, paid entry level Account Manager Internships with Residual Income. This virtual internship requires fewer than 10 hours per week. Interns assist in setting up local restaurants and other businesses with Free Advertising on InfoScroll. In Redmond, Washington, a paid Journalism Intern will perform multiple tasks for a condominium association, including writing a monthly newsletter that goes out to 770 homeowners.  Tell your students that the word is out:  Paid is in.

Should December graduates go for internships or jobs or both?

December 15, 2011 at 8:59 am | Posted in Graduation | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Some of your students are finishing up classes and internships and looking forward to December graduation. Yet they’re anxious about finding a job in January in a weak market. Many of them face a dilemma—should they be sending out their resumes for internships or for jobs or for both simultaneously?  If they have internships, should they continue them if possible?  As a career services professional, you might find the following points helpful in advising your students:

  • Remind your students that the two most important elements in their future are career success and professional reputation.  It’s tempting for your students to cover all the bases by sending out resumes to the places where they want to work to advance their careers, but with the added insurance of also applying for internships in desirable companies just in case the jobs don’t come through in this weak economy. Advise your students to be careful not to damage their professional reputations by accepting an internship and then dropping it if they get a job offer in another firm. And they may not want to spin their wheels working in a company outside of their area of interest, which would be irrelevant to their career success.
  • Recommend that your students decide which is the more promising avenue and go for it. If they know what job they want and with what firm, concentrate on getting that position. However, if their only opportunities are in fields not related to their career goals or in geographical locations that do not interest them, they should consider going the internship route. They might begin by applying for internships in their target company or at least in the city that they’ve selected as their new home base. Then, they can plan to transition the internship into the job that they really want. At least they’ll be in a company that could be a viable part of their career future.
  • Encourage your December graduates to be selective. They may be in an unpaid internship now and want to turn it into a job, but the company says there are no openings at this time. Do they take a full-time job in another company that doesn’t interest them but offers a paid position?  They should consider what will make them more qualified in their field. It’s better to stay in a great internship and take a part-time job for financial support while waiting for the right job opening in the company. They may miss some other full-time job offers, but they’ll be building their skills. Assure them that employers value their internship experience. Statistics prove that an internship is the surest way to get hired.
  • Advise your students to network and maintain connection with their internship personnel. If the company cannot continue their internship, they shouldn’t give up or take it personally. Company policy may limit the length of internships and other interns may already be signed up. However, students should keep in touch with supervisors at their past internships because one never knows when an opening will occur.  They should check in several times a year through email, phone calls, or holiday greetings to make sure that the internship supervisors remember them and will be interested in talking to a former intern or giving a reference when a job opens up.

Advising students on how to create resumes that land internships

December 12, 2011 at 8:35 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Resumes are more important than ever before in getting internships. The competition is fierce not only from students seeking multiple internships but from unemployed persons who want internships as a way to get a foot in the door and update their aging resumes. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows unemployment still hovering at 9%. The Internet has also made resume submission easy, resulting in an overwhelming deluge of resumes for every posting. But the average amount of time spent on reading a resume is only 12 seconds.

So how can you help the students lined up at your Career Center for Spring and Summer internships create resumes that will compete in this tight market? Here are a few tips to share with them:

  • Maximize the Summary of Qualifications, the area right under your name and contact information, by highlighting your soft skills to showcase a more in-depth profile of yourself and create a bond with the reader. These skills, such as leadership, communication, problem solving, and team building, should relate to skills listed as desirable in a targeted internship posting. The language in the Summary should align with the same language in the internship listing, incorporating key words that match.
  • Emphasize positive personal traits. Since this Summary is the first item a reader sees, make sure to present a positive image of someone who would make a great intern. Some examples are “dynamic, decisive, energetic, focused, highly ethical, team player, innovative, creative, accurate, high-performance, results-driven, solutions-oriented, and detail-oriented.” Look for distinguishing factors that will make your resume capture the reader’s attention. Do you speak several languages, travel internationally, hold important campus offices, or have won special scholarships or honors?
  • Utilize powerful language, such as “keen problem solving, negotiating, and decision-making skills” or “expertise in customer relations and new market development.” Other phrases could include “high achiever and honors student with outstanding presentation and communication skills.”  Introduce each resume bullet with a strong, active verb, including “Spearhead, orchestrate, lead, manage, analyze, improve, increase, achieve, initiate,” etc. Keep the resume to nouns and verbs, deleting articles, such as “the, a, an.”
  • Develop entries in Additional Information to stimulate the reader’s interest in meeting you. This section, informally called talking points, can contain items that don’t fit anywhere else in your resume, but reflect good character or drive. Entries can range from hiking the Appalachian Trail, playing in a band, winning marathons, raising funds for charities, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or other groups, or starting a small business, which could be anything from a lawn mowing service to computer repair.
  • Maintain a professional image in both your Summary and Additional Information. Keep your entries short and refrain from mentioning personal items, such as marital status or religious affiliations.  If you belong to any professional organizations on campus, such as the student chapter of Public Relations Society of America, be sure to list them. For hobbies, list only unusual ones rather than the mundane ones like reading or traveling. Try to market yourself as a multi-faceted person with much value to bring to a Spring or Summer internship.
  • Click on Student Resources in internships.com and find out more about how to market yourself. You’ll find articles on how to write a resume, resume examples, editing resumes, and proofing resumes, which will help you refine your resume.

Taking advantage of international internships

December 5, 2011 at 8:30 am | Posted in Finding internships | Leave a comment
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

American campuses are desirable places, according to the cover story in the Education section of a recent New York Times, especially to the Chinese. The number of Chinese undergraduates in the U.S. has tripled in the past three years to 40,000.  One Chinese student chose to attend the University of Delaware 7,000 miles from home.  Meanwhile, more and more American students are leaving campus and heading to foreign countries for internships. Why not utilize the offerings at your campus to find internships abroad for your students?

Here’s how some campuses are helping American students go 7,000 miles from home for global opportunities:

  • University of Missouri:   Highlights for China Internships Summer 2012 include work in a Chinese or international company. Live and work in dynamic and exciting Chinese cities (Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Shanghai, or Chongqing). Possibility to earn one-to-three credit hours from your internship. Open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Dartmouth:  Since 2005, eight of the 21 Dartmouth alumni who interned at the American University in Kuwait (AUK) through the Dartmouth College-American University of Kuwait Project have received national fellowships and post-graduate scholarships to study Arab culture, media and linguistics in North Africa and the Middle East. Internships at AUK are 10 weeks long and are offered during Fall and Spring terms.
  • Syracuse University Florence (SUF) Founded in 1959 and one of the oldest study abroad programs in Italy, SUF has been consistently ranked as one of the best American study abroad programs, providing distinguished academic curricula, combined with an outstanding support for cultural immersion. The SUF faculty members are internationally renowned scholars, and the staff is dedicated to meeting the needs of today’s students and helping them immerse themselves in the Italian culture.
  • Lehigh University:  The Lee Iacocca International Internship program offers individual corporate, non-profit, and civic internships. Expenses paid, including travel, accommodations, and stipend for meals in-country. Examples of Summer 2012 internships are Pestana Hotels & Resorts, Portugal – Marketing & Tourism;  Bracalente Manufacturing Group, China – Project Engineer Intern; VIVA Group, India – Construction Process Analyst Intern; Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation, Kazakhstan – Alumni Program Intern.
  • Internships.com:  Recommend that your students go to Internships.com and browse through hundreds of international internships. The site also gives helpful information to students, such as long- and short-term benefits, language requirements, resources, and help with applications. The deadlines for international Summer 2012 internships are fast approaching, so explore new global opportunities with your students.

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