Double-dipping for internships

August 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

During this hot summer with its relentless heat waves, you may think of double-dipping in terms of large ice cream cones. But The New York Times identified a new meaning for double-dipping—taking multiple internships at one time.  In its recent Education supplement, writer Cecilia Capuzzi Simon explored the question of how many internships should a student undertake.  Here are what some of your colleagues at other colleges and career insiders in the industry are thinking:

  • Columbia College in Chicago:  The goal of any intern should be to “make yourself shine” and absorb as much as possible about the field, says Jennifer Halperin, internship coordinator at Columbia. Students are idealistic and professionally naïve, and may think doubled up is doable, she says. But a student who is worried about rushing off to the next internship, or who is behind on class assignments because of a demanding schedule, can’t be the person a supervisor “turns to in a pinch” or trusts with additional responsibility. “You end up impressing nobody,” she says.
  • Pace University:  “We wouldn’t approve two,” says Maxine Sugarman, director of career services at Pace. “Students should be going to class.”
  • CM Communications:  “The more you can learn, the better,” says Meghan Fitzgerald, an account executive at the Boston public relations firm, who recently hired an intern who was doing two at once (but only after the student cleared it with her). Still, she says, a long list of internships, especially from different fields, can suggest that an applicant is professionally adrift, or indiscriminately taking on internships to appear impressive.
  • Lauren Berger:  Known as the self-titled “Intern Queen” who completed 15 internships, Lauren now feels that 15 is “ridiculous.”  She says, “It’s not a matter of how many internships, but the quality.” She believes students can obtain what they need—professional direction, first-hand knowledge of their field and solid references—in two workplace forays over the course of a college career.
  • Conde Nast Publications:  Double-dipping is not allowed at this company. “It’s important to focus, and part of the benefit is building relationships,” says Jacqueline Ladner, associate photo editor for Teen Vogue, who hires four interns a semester (from some 200 applicants)  in her department alone. “We take internships very seriously.”

Ensuring a successful summer internship

July 30, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Your students who are doing summer internships have heard your wise advice over and over again about how to succeed. They might “hear” a fresh voice from a reputable business source. Consider forwarding the following tips by writer Trudy Steinfeld at Forbes to your students to remind them how to succeed in their internships while there is still time:

  1. Learn everything you can about your employer and the business sector in which they operate. Focus on topics such as the organization’s strategic direction, emerging growth areas, new products or clients as well as issues and trends affecting the broader industry.
  2. Always do more.  Since many organizations hire new employees from among their college interns, fight against the tendency to just do what you’ve been asked and let your employer see how much you are capable of.
  3. Find a mentor.  Even if you have been assigned a formal mentor for the summer, identify other key people who can shed light on the organization, share their career story, give you tips for how to excel in your own career, provide honest feedback and help you navigate workplace challenges.
  4. Play nice with others.  Even though you might be used to competing on a variety of levels with your peers, this summer needs to be about being viewed as a valued team member.  That means getting along well with your colleagues – at all levels in the organization. By all means, show initiative. Volunteer for assignments and work independently when the situation calls for it. Remember to always be respectful and thank others for their help. Share credit with your team members as appropriate.
  5. Be genuinely engaged with your work and show it.  Organizations want to hire staff that are interested and excited about their work and projects.  They know through both research and experience that enthusiasm is contagious and can greatly add to productivity.
  6. Deliver, deliver, deliver.  When you are given an assignment, make sure you exceed expectations and meet or beat the deadline for the project.  If you do this consistently you will demonstrate the  “wow factor” hiring managers are looking for.
  7. Ask for feedback.  Many formal internship programs have a review cycle. However if they don’t, or if it’s only scheduled to occur at the conclusion of the internship, ask for feedback along the way. Always make appropriate adjustments based on what is shared with you or the opportunity and value of the feedback is lost.
  8. Use social media for good.  Check with your supervisor to see if the company actively engages in the use of social media and what their policies are for interns and other employees. Ask if you could blog or tweet about your experience.  Make sure your posts are positive and creative and always consistent with the organization’s policies and practices.

Advising students to start looking for fall internships

July 23, 2012 at 11:09 am | Posted in Advising interns, Intern Advice, Intern Support | Leave a comment

Your students may be on vacation, but Internships. com works 24/7, offering 56,472 internship opportunities in nearly 23,000 companies in over 8,500 cities. Why not send email reminders to your students to study the Web site and start to put together a list of potential fall internships?  If a student is unsure about what area to pursue, you might suggest the Internship Predictor as a helpful tool to zero in on an industry. You could encourage your students to look now by sharing the following tips from Doug Stites in the Lansing State Journal on how to search for a fall internship:

Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg,500 cities. Why not send email reminders to your students to study the Web site and start to put together a list of potential fall internships?  If a student is unsure about what area to pursue, you might suggest the Internship Predictor as a helpful tool to zero in on an industry. You could encourage your students to look now by sharing the following tips from Doug Stites in the Lansing State Journal on how to search for a fall internship:

  • If this is your first internship, be open to an unpaid experience: After getting one internship under your belt, you’ll be a more desirable candidate for a more competitive, paid internship that often includes more responsibility. Look into the option of earning college credit through an internship as well.
  •  Use your network, on and offline: Utilize your network of personal, professional and academic circles as an internship resource. They may know something that might be a good fit and if you don’t ask, you might not hear about it.
  • Customize your resume and cover letter for each company: Companies expect the same level of professionalism from internship candidates as they do for any other position.
  • Attend events to network with employers: Job and internship fairs through your local college offer ideal opportunities to make a positive first impression. Attend networking events and take the initiative to meet new employers and connect with professionals in your field of interest. Dress to impress, regardless if the event requires professional dress or not and bring extra copies of your resume. Students should also consider printing their own business cards, which is an affordable way to easily share contact information with recruiters if they aren’t accepting resumes at events.

As a career services professional, you could add a few of your own suggestions, including the following:

  • Consider time and place:  Decide how many hours you want to put into your fall internship and where you want to do your internship. If you have transportation issues, you could consider taking an internship on campus in a department that is relevant to your career interests. A virtual internship may be a good choice, allowing you to stay on campus but “work” anywhere in the country.
  • Visit your campus career center either online or in person:  A career center is always adding new internships to its growing list of companies. Make an appointment and find out the latest opportunities and how to apply for them. Before you come, update your resume with summer activities and cover letter to demonstrate your professionalism. Talking to other students who have taken internships could also be helpful because they might be able to recommend an internship to you.

Turning summer internships into jobs

July 17, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released disheartening employment statistics for June. Only 90,000 new jobs were added to the economy, which causes concern for new graduates or for those looking to change careers. On average, it takes about six months for college graduates to land their first job, according to a study released last month by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in New Jersey. However, the following suggestions might help your summer interns to turn their internships into jobs:

  • Los Angeles Times:  Think long-term. “Don’t think of your internship as short-term but imagine that you are a full-time employee at the company,” recommended Peter Handal, chief executive of Dale Carnegie Training. “Demonstrate that you really see yourself fitting in with the corporate culture and also that you are capable of handling the workload.”
  • Volunteer. “If you work at a company that puts on a lot of events or after-hour benefits, volunteer to work at them,” Handal said. “They might cut into your free time, but volunteering demonstrates you are interested and eager to learn.”
  • Share ideas. “If you have an idea or input, think it through, and then speak up,” said Matthew Proman, founder of the National Association of Professional Women. “You never know: You could have a valuable idea no one else has thought of, but at the very least, you will seem involved and a good critical thinker.”
  • Dress right. Wear clothes that fit with your work environment. “Dressing unprofessionally is one of the biggest blunders that interns make,” Proman observed. “If you’re in doubt, err on the more conservative side.”
  • Exceed expectations. “You have a brief amount of time to show what you’re made of,” Proman said. “Come early, stay late and take on extra projects. The objective is to blow them away.”
  • Huffington Post:  Whether they tell you or not, employers are monitoring their employees’ behavior on the job by weeding through emails, checking phone logs, and even perusing Facebook pages. An employee who handles interns at the Boston branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration says that DEA interns aren’t treated any differently than employees, and that means they’re subject to the same background and reference checks before they even start at work. He says there’s a disclaimer on DEA computers informing interns, just like all employees, that their behavior on the machines can be monitored. Boston Globe High School Sports Editor Bob Holmes, on the other hand, says the Globe doesn’t really monitor interns or employees. Holmes suggests his interns practice common sense when it comes to engaging in personal activity on the job. And when it’s busy in the office, he says, interns should focus on the assignment at hand, rather than getting distracted by g-chat, emails, or the like.

Working with students who don’t like their summer internships

July 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Educators cringe when they read articles about Diana Wang, a graduate student from Ohio, who is suing Harper’s Bazaar after her dream internship with the fashion magazine turned into a nightmare.  Other students around the country are threatening similar actions because they’re unhappy with their internships. As a career professional, you might be able to prevent such actions, which can hurt your career center’s reputation, by finding out if you have any dissatisfied students and resolving the issues before they escalate to the level of media fodder.  The following red flags indicate remedial work is necessary on your part:

  • Bored with internship:  If a student complains of boredom with his internship, contact the supervisor to find out how the student is doing. If he/she is failing to perform the assignments, “bored” may mean that the work is too difficult, and you may have to arrange additional help for your intern. Or ‘bored” may mean the work is too easy, and you might have to suggest that your student ask for more challenging assignments.  “Bored” may also mean that the internship is agreeable, but the co-workers aren’t. If that’s the case, you might have to counsel your intern on how to adjust to working with different kinds of people.
  • Difficult supervisor:  Talk with your student to find out what the problems are in order to determine if they are personal issues, such as the boss isn’t friendly (or too friendly) or are they related to assignments, including unrealistic deadlines or lack of guidance in performing the job. To improve the work relationship, your student may have to be proactive, asking the boss for feedback on completed assignments, thanking the boss for guidance, asking for more projects. The student could also volunteer to stay late to work on time-sensitive projects or come in for an extra day on a rush job, which may result in a better work relationship.
  • Menial work:  This is a tough category unless the internship description and duties have been thoroughly outlined ahead of time, which will save everyone confusion and grief. Both you and the intern have grounds to complain if the supervisor is not following the pre-ordained script. But if the intern and supervisor didn’t discuss the assignments and schedule on the first day, they should sit down—and you might have to join them to save the internship—and come up with a detailed plan of activities.  However, if the intern is a freshman or sophomore, he/she might not be able to perform skilled duties and might be asked to go for coffee. If the company is small, everyone might “pitch in” to do menial jobs, and your intern should, too.
  • Bad company:  When your intern complains that it’s a “bad company,” you’ll have to do some detective work to find out what that means. Your student may find the corporate culture is not compatible with his/her personality.  Talk at the lunch table may be about children, families, stock options, or a sports team, which may hold no interest to a student intern. The company politics may be creating a bad feeling in your intern if the company supports Obama over Romney or vice versa. Or the student may find that the other employees are miserable with the hiring practices, such as raises, benefits, hours, etc. and feel the company is a terrible place to work. Your intern may have every reason to leave the internship.
  • Change internships:  After a few weeks in an internship, some students feel they have made a mistake and want to change internships.  They’ve heard from a friend about a better internship in a different company. It’s your job to help sort out their feelings not only to help them, but also to protect yourself from gaining the reputation of someone whose interns quit.  However,  if you’re convinced that the internship will not work, you might want to recommend that your student still take a summer internship by researching options on Internships.com, which has nearly 63,000 internship listings in over 22,000 companies in 9,000 cities. Instead of telling the intern supervisor that your intern didn’t like the company, you simply say it wasn’t a good fit.

Reminding student interns how to act outside of the office

June 26, 2012 at 8:21 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

It may be summertime, but the living shouldn’t be easy for your summer interns—either inside or outside of the office. In its ongoing series, Don’t Eff This Up:  The Complete Guide to Wall Street Internships, New York magazine offers valuable suggestions that you might want to pass on to your student interns—whatever their fields.  In Part 4 writer Kevin Roose says that “in addition to learning where to live, how to dress, and how to act on the job, you’re also going to have to learn how to spend your nights and weekends.”  Here are some pointers from Kevin’s article:

  • Be a joiner: If you’re lucky, your bank will have an intramural basketball team, or a running club, or some other form of athletic bonding activity. Do these things. They are a great way to impress people with your youthful vigor. If you’re a glutton for punishment, sign up for a Tough Mudder with your boss. (A Tough Mudder, for those new to the concept, is a hardcore, boot-camp-like endurance event in which you’re made to climb walls, plunge into ice-cold water, run through trenches filled with fire, and oh God I need a nap.)
  • Don’t be the ringleader: In every summer analyst class, one guy (it’s always a guy) steps up as the unofficial social chair. He signs group e-mails “party on,” organizes beer pong and trips to 230 Fifth, and keeps a photo of his frat brothers at his desk. He also doesn’t get an offer. Don’t be that guy.
  • Bro out when necessary: That said, building solid relationships with your fellow grunts is crucial. They will cover for you when you have a “dentist appointment” (read: free happy hour at Turtle Bay) or “out-of-town wedding” (read: your ex is in town for the night). So buy them a round every now and then. Just don’t “ice” anyone, ever, please.
  • Ace the booze cruise: Odds are, your firm will at some point treat you and your fellow summer analysts to an open-bar cruise around Manhattan. It’s a staple of Wall Street intern life, and by all means, feel free to drink. But don’t have too many. Here’s a good test: When the D.J. plays that “We Are Young” song, do you start tearing up while earnestly contemplating the carefree hours of your fleeting youth? You’ve had too many.
  • What if my boss hits on me? This is an actual Serious Thing That Sometimes Happens, and it is definitely out of our league, advice-wise. We’d suggest talking to a trusted mentor, going to HR, or trying to transfer groups. As we said yesterday, it’s not 1992 anymore — and it shouldn’t be for your boss, either.
  • Don’t lead with your job: When meeting non-finance people at bars around the city, don’t tell them where you work right away. It makes you sound insecure and desperate to impress. Instead, increase your mystique by holding off the reveal as long as possible.

Sharing words of encouragement with your student interns

June 22, 2012 at 9:34 am | Posted in Intern Advice | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Summer temperatures are climbing to over 90 degrees in much of the country, and the unemployment rate is still hovering at around 8%. While some of their classmates are at the beach, your student interns are struggling to master their assignments.  They could benefit from some words of encouragement spoken by commencement speakers in the last few weeks. Though your students always appreciate your words of support, the following excerpts from speeches by well-known success stories might be inspirational:

  • Condoleeza Rice, Former Secretary of State, Southern Methodist University:  “Find and follow your passion. Now, I don’t mean just any old thing that interests you, or your career. I mean something you really believe is a unique calling to you—in other words, something that you can’t live without.”
  • Neil Gaiman, Author, University of the Arts:  “Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.”
  • Michael Lewis, Author, Princeton University:  “People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck, especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. . . recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck, and with luck comes obligation.”
  • Aaron Sorkin, Writer & Producer, Syracuse University:  To get where you’re going, you have to be good, and to be good where you’re going, you have to be damned good. Every once in a while, you’ll succeed. Most of the time you’ll fail, and most of the time the circumstances will be well beyond your control.”
  • Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman:  “You are the emblems of the sense of possibility that will define our new age. Now, in the past, it’s always older generations standing up on high, trying to teach the next generation the ways of the world, trying to make sure they follow in their footsteps. Well, graduate, I’ll admit, I think it’s different today. You’re quite simply teaching us.”
  • Peter Dinklage, Actor, Bennington College:  “Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it. What did Beckett say? ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’”
  • Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, Bard College:  “I believe in my heart of hearts that it is better to have your ship sunk at sea than have it rot in the harbor.”

Tracking International Trends In Internships

February 16, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Even the internship world is global in 2012. This year, encourage your students to think internationally about their futures. One way to broaden their horizons is to point out all the changes going on worldwide in internship trends. Consider sending email blasts to students on a regular basis to educate them about the positive developments concerning internships.

The following news items might stimulate conversations with your colleagues as well as prospective interns:

  • New internship rules:  England’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says 100 companies have agreed to new rules for internships in a bid to tackle the “who you know” culture he admits he benefited from, according to Sky News. Supermarkets including Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s; banks including Barclays, HSBC and Santander; and other well-known brands including Coca Cola, Nestle, BP and Shell are taking part. They have pledged to advertise internships fairly instead of relying on networks of contacts. Mr. Clegg told Sky News he was “delighted” so many firms have agreed to sign up as he believes it could improve social mobility.
  • Government initiatives:   The Irish government has pledged to provide up to 200 internships through the Government’s JobBridge initiative,  initially offering 126 such posts through its JobBridge internship scheme, with 13 people already engaged with the initiative and more vacancies planned. JobBridge is a new national scheme that will enable organisations to provide unemployed individuals with work experience placements for a six- or nine-month period. Among the internships are games development administration assistant and coordinator positions at county, club and second and third level.
  • International student-run organizations:  Denver University’s chapter of AIESEC, which started at DU last fall, sent nine of its members to a national conference in San Francisco over winter break to work with other AIESEC members from around the country. AIESEC, which does not stand for anything, is an international student-run organization that promotes internships abroad and works to provide local students with internship opportunities abroad as well as to connect international students with students in Denver. The conference was the largest conference in AIESEC U.S. history, with over 400 people attending from all over the U.S. and the world.
  • Global fashion internships:  Fashion Future has announced the first winner of its new international mentoring initiative, with another nine internships to be claimed within the next two weeks. As reported previously on ragtrader.com.au, the International Mentor Program launched this year and offers 20 global fashion opportunities across New York, London, Milan and Paris, to those in Australia who work within the fashion industry. Included in the program are 10 international internships at brands such as Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Herve Leger, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tom Ford and Viktor & Rolf. Internships are for a minimum of three months.

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.

Helping student interns document their success at their internships

November 28, 2011 at 11:29 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

A recent business story in The New York Times featured a profile of the CEO of Manischewitz. Part of his success story included his internship that turned into a job with a group of cheese producers and the rest is history. Another positive story revolves around a woman who interned at Rolls-Royce and was recruited to stay on and promoted to project manager. To leverage internships into jobs, your interns need to make sure that they receive proper documentation for their hard work.

Such tangible proof of performance will strengthen their resumes and help them transition internships into jobs or better internships.

  • Ensure that the intern supervisor fills out the final evaluation form, which you may have to provide. Both you and each student should receive a copy of the final evaluation form. If the intern has performed well, he /she should ask the supervisor to write a letter of recommendation, complimenting the student on his/her work, on the company letterhead.
  • Collect documentation. If the intern supervisor has sent you weekly evaluations that are positive, you might want to make copies of those evaluations and present them in a folder to your student intern, so he/she can use them to get other internships or positions.
  • Advise interns to obtain fresh copies of every item on which they have worked. Your student intern may have contributed to a report or document that will not be finalized until after the internship is over. When that report or document appears, encourage your interns to request a copy and leave a forwarding address.
  • Suggest that your students ask other employees with whom they’ve worked to also write recommendation letters. If your intern has been part of a team, perhaps the team leader would be willing to write a recommendation for the intern. Or if your student has moved around to different departments, the intern might ask various department heads to write recommendations.
  • Offer to help your student intern collate these materials into a professional presentation. You might have a handsome school binder or folder that you could give to the intern. Recommend that your student intern also include information, such as annual reports, newsletters, etc. about the company to demonstrate interest in the company.
  • Remind your students to update their resumes with the achievements from their internships. They may need to have some help in reorganizing the resume, such as understanding which older items to delete in order to make space for the newer material. If they utilize LinkedIn, they might want to add new contacts from their internships to facilitate networking.
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