Notes from the Field: 5 Tips for Conducting Site Visits

November 2, 2010 at 7:45 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Notes from the Field | Leave a comment
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Maintaining a strong internship program involves several components including employer partnerships, committed interns, and meticulous organization. Having great employers often creates great quality internships. One of the best ways we maintain and strengthen employer relationships is by conducting site visits. These visits demonstrate that your career service office values and invests in the employers, as well as ensures that certain criteria are met. Here are five things to consider when conducting site visits:

1.       Timing and scheduling
Depending on the distance from the campus, site visits can be time intensive. Consider down times in your academic calendar to conduct these visits. Also consider scheduling multiple site visits with employers in close proximity. This is often my strategy as I conduct site visits in the summer and cluster my visits within a certain geographic area on each day.

2.       Selecting sites to visit
Visiting all sites within one academic year may be an unattainable goal, but consider sites with areas of student-interest as well as those with potential for improvement. Review past interns’ evaluations for red flags where interns have voiced specific concerns. For example, my colleague visited a site where a past intern had expressed discontent with her experience. She brought up that conversation tactfully and allowed an opportunity to discuss how interns can take initiative and get outside their comfort zones. This feedback was invaluable in communicating to future interns how to troubleshoot and tackle common challenges.

3.       Thinking creatively about site visits
My visits are often individual meetings with site supervisors. However one particular site visit occurred because I needed to take some marketing photos, so I visited on a day a particular company was holding a special event. I took advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the site through the event and met the site supervisor afterwards, which led to a lively discussion about internships.

4.       Reminding sites of important program dates
Being there in person reinforces the importance of deadlines such as a mid-semester meetings between supervisors and interns. Discussion about participation in future program cycles and updating position descriptions is also relevant. On my visits, I bring a one-page handout with important program dates to leave with them.

5.       Being a valuable resource
I am always surprised when site supervisors with years of experience in their field will ask for advice about internships. Sites often look to the internship coordinator as an expert and resource in understanding how to best work with interns. I have been asked about how to better recruit interns, how to communicate appropriate workplace behavior, and other best practices. In my experience, good site supervisors will want to work with you in order to maintain the quality of the internship experience for both the interns and the employer.

Final tip: I have four things I always bring when I go on the road:

  • Camera for taking photos of events and sites
  • One-page handout with important school program dates to leave with them
  • A list of site-specific concerns, questions, and stories from campus students and colleagues
  • Resources for employers from our career office on internships and intern programs

 Sarah Yoo is the Internship Coordinator at Pomona College, a selective liberal arts college located in the greater Los Angeles area. She obtained her graduate degree at California State University, Long Beach in Counseling with an emphasis on Student Development in Higher Education and obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego in Sociology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and family, and cooking.

N + 1 or N – 1 …where do you fit in?

October 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Practice What We Preach | Leave a comment
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N + 1 represents the idea that we always have the ability to add one more thing to our list. N – 1, then is that we can always take one thing off our lists.

You know what N + 1 looks like, right? You start the day with a to-do list and even when you’re really productive, your list always ends up longer at the end of the day. The way our lives work, N + 1 is usually the default:  there’s always one more thing to do.

But what if you switch things around:  each morning, take one thing off of your to-do list. What would happen if you eliminated one thing on your list? What if eliminating one task allowed you to perform above and beyond on everything else?

As career center folks – and parents and spouses and best friends and pet owners and… — you always have an infinite list of things to do. Look at your list for today:  pick one thing to cross off. Really. Try it. It may not be much…but you may notice a shift as you move from the default N + 1 to a more deliberate N – 1.

Email us at educatorcare@internships.com and let us know what you deleted from your to-do list.

Feeling lucky?

September 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ever feel overwhelmed with choices?  Whether it’s in the cereal aisle in the grocery store, the War and Peace-length menus at restaurants, or the seemingly infinite cable TV stations, there is never a shortage of options. Luckily, the makers of Dice for Change recognize that more options isn’t always better.  They’ve created a wonderfully simple way to decide what step you’ll take to be healthier, kinder, or more environmentally aware each day.  While these “Dice for Change” aren’t available in stores yet, they are great reminders of how focusing on just one thing each day can be much more effective than getting bogged down in all of the options.  No word on whether they’ll have a “Cereal Aisle” version in the future, though.

Practice What We Preach

September 21, 2010 at 10:29 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Practice What We Preach | Leave a comment
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We’re almost a month into the new school semester—are you back to your usual routine yet?  How about the part of the routine where you eat lunch at your desk or skip it all together?  Yeah…us, too.  Taking 30 minutes to an hour to decompress and relax is important: leading experts say that 10 minutes of actual relaxation equals 1 extra hour of sleep.  While that extra hour of sleep may be a bit tougher to get, 10 minutes seems doable. Initially, set goals: two times a week, block out time on your calendar to go for a walk, grab lunch with colleagues, or just find a quiet place to enjoy your PB&J. Gradually build up so that—as often as you can—you’re taking at least 30 minutes a day to decompress, relax, and recharge.  So as lunch time approaches today, take some of the excellent advice that you’re always giving to your students:  set aside time to relax and recharge because it will make you more productive, healthier, and happier. You know you’re right.

Freshmen looking for career advice now

September 21, 2010 at 10:23 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Views on the News | Leave a comment
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As college freshmen nationwide are exploring their campuses — finding dining halls, laundry rooms, bookstores and gyms — officials at many schools say the newbies are increasingly finding their way to career centers. Once considered the place for panicked seniors to look for jobs ahead of graduation, college career offices are reporting dramatic hikes in use by first-year students looking for the earliest possible jump on the employment market.

Career centers are starting to hold events specifically for first year students with creative attendance incentives such as food and raffles that are designed to get freshmen in the habit of using their career center as a resource. Businesses are also interested in establishing relationships with freshmen to help identify top job and internship candidates as early as possible. Reaching out to freshmen builds a company’s name recognition and familiarizes them with the variety of jobs available. Along with career centers’ and business’ increased focus on freshmen, freshmen are becoming more actively engaged in the process, perhaps concerned by the 9.6% unemployment rate and stories of recent graduates.

Notes from the Field: Pomona College’s Internship Orientation

September 15, 2010 at 10:02 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Notes from the Field, Notes from the Field, Pomona College's Internship Orientation | Leave a comment
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One of the exciting aspects about the start of fall semester is the launch of our internship program. About 80 students per semester commit to a semester-long internship in the industry and employer of their choice across the Greater Los Angeles area. The program kicks-offs with a ‘New Hire Orientation’ required for all students in the program to attend prior to beginning their internships. The one-hour long workshop offers helpful tips on how students can make the most of their internship.

The workshop covers general housekeeping items such as:

  • reporting their internship hours
  • transportation resources
  • important program dates

As necessary as these logistic components are, we place emphasis on helping interns maximize their experience in a professional workplace setting. Specifically:

  • how to prepare for and anticipate the first day
  • the first few weeks
  • some overall tips

In detail, I discuss what interns can do to prepare and anticipate their first day such as planning for their commute, proper attire, and bringing a notebook and pen.  In the first few weeks, I emphasize the importance of gaining familiarity of the internship site by meeting the staff, attending orientation, and receiving direction on projects and assignments. Some overall tips include how interns can show initiative and enthusiasm, two of the most desired qualities by internship supervisors. I had led a game of Family Feud with our interns to have them guess various ways that interns can show initiative and this made them proactive in the learning process. Other tips shared are how to effectively network by using conducting informational interviews and displaying strong communication skills. In the presentation, I make sure to acknowledge that interns may have varying levels of experience in the workplace but that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of these tips.

Two changes that I’m planning for this year are around more actively engaging students in the class and tapping into the expertise of past interns. 

In previous semesters, the workshops were more of a lecture-style format and I realized that interns need to be engaged rather than talked to. For this reason, I will incorporate some role playing in the workshop, an idea that came from a book, Learning From Experience: A Resource Book By and For Co-Op/Internship Professionals (http://www.mosaiceyepublishing.com/lfe.htm) by Scott Weighart. One exercise that I am planning is around how to help interns recognize where and how to take initiative. For this, they will get into pairs and role play various scenarios where they need to take initiative. The goal is for interns to practice their ability to communicate, problem-solve, and think on their feet using real situations.

As another way to both engage students and convey information to them in different ways, I also plan to bring in past interns to discuss common pitfalls and struggles as well as to share their experiences. I find that students respond well to what their peers have to share, as it is more relatable.

If you are considering offering this type of course, my advice is to make sure this workshop is engaging, interactive, and meaningful. The content also needs to be relevant to the unique needs and experiences of your students. I hope these tips are helpful for your career center in orienting students to the workplace.

Have you offered a similar program at your school?  If so, what have you learned?  What are you planning for this year?  Send your stories, plans, and take-aways to mbusse@internships.com.

By Sarah Yoo

Sarah Yoo is the Internship Coordinator at Pomona College, a selective liberal arts college located in the greater Los Angeles area. She obtained her graduate degree at California State University, Long Beach in Counseling with an emphasis in Student Development in Higher Education and obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego in Sociology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and family, and cooking.

Internships.com at NACE 2010

June 8, 2010 at 11:00 am | Posted in NACE Conference | Leave a comment
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Internships.com made a splash at NACE 2010. To kickoff the conference, Robin Richards, Chairman and CEO of internships.com, introduced Keynote Speaker, Keith Ferrazzi, author, Never Eat Alone, and founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight. Keith gave an inspiring speech about the power of relationships and networks.

Spring 2010 Survey of Career Center Professionals” Released

The following morning, the results from the “Spring 2010 Survey of Career Center Professionals” were released during the Data and Danish breakfast. A spirited discussion by attendees followed the presentation of the results by Kenneth C. Green, Ph.D. Download a summary of the survey here.

Survey Sweepstakes Winner Announced

Participants of the “Spring 2010 Survey” were entered into a drawing to support the activities of their career center. The winner of the $1000 grant for their career center is Mark Brostoff, the Associate Dean and Director, Weston Career Center, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Pictured here from left to right are Shari Kern, Weston Career Center Associate Director for Technology; Sarah Decker, Weston Career Center Business Development Specialist; Mark Brostoff, our survey winner;  and Mason Gates of internships.com.

The entire team at internships.com would like to express how welcome we felt by everyone attending NACE and are happy to have been a part of it. It was exciting to meet the many faces that move this industry, catch up with old friends and develop new relationships.

The internships.com booth at NACE 2010.

Alumni: a rich and natural resource for students seeking internships

April 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Posted in alumni, career center, networking | 3 Comments
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by Jane Finkle

We all know that building a network is one of the key ways professionals discover work opportunities. Networking is a skill that students can develop and master as they seek out internships. Most college Career Offices maintain an online alumni career network. This dynamic resource helps students to explore their personal career interests with the guidance of alums. Students can also connect with alums who participate in college panels and programs. 

I have had many positive experiences working with students who take the initiative to contact alums and find this action often leads them to an exciting internship opportunity. Here are three cases that illustrate the power of alumni in supporting student career development. In each instance the relationship bloomed into internship possibilities. Please note that all three cases are women because of my career counseling experience at a women’s college!

First Case Study – Meeting alumni at career conferences

Susan attended a career conference in New York City, sponsored by her career office and featuring alums in a variety of professions. The alums were volunteers who were intent upon sharing their work experience and answering student questions. Susan was especially impressed by the work of one of the alumna in financial services. She engaged this alum in conversation asking her question about her career. The alumna was so impressed with Susan’s approach and personality, she arranged for Susan to interview for an internship at her firm.

Second Case Study – Alumni networking through college career center

Through her career office, Linda secured an externship (one week job shadowing program) with an alumna working at a high profile women’s magazine. Even though Linda followed this alumna for a week only, she volunteered to help on a project and conducted an informational interview to find out more about the alumna’s career background and accomplishments. The alumna was impressed by Linda’s initiative and genuine interest that she created a summer internship at the magazine for Linda.

Third Case Study – Online alumni career network

Joan was specifically interested in finding a summer internship related to City Planning. I suggested she use our online alumnae career network to see if she could find an alumna in the field to talk with about her summer goals. Joan located an alumna in the city planning field in California. Emailing this alum, Linda included a brief introduction and asked the alumna if she would be willing to talk with her via phone about her career. Joan also invited the alum to offer any suggestions for summer internships. The alumna agreed and provided Joan with substantial information on the best way to find a summer internship related to City Planning and also volunteered to circulate Linda’s resume at her organization.

It has been my experience that many students shy away from approaching or contacting alums. They worry about imposing upon alums or are not sure about the best way to take advantage of alum’s expertise. When they express their angst about connecting with alum, I see it as counseling moment; an opportunity to not only alleviate their fears but also teach and provide guidance. Suggestions such as how to write an appropriate email or make a phone call to the alum are usually helpful, along with aiding them in forming questions that would engage the alum and also provide the student with valuable information.

Alumni are indeed a rich and natural resource for students. They remember their own college experience, both the triumphs and failures and these memories inspire them to reach out and support students from their alma mater. When we teach students to connect with alums during their internship search they experience firsthand the power of networking and sometimes end up with a great summer internship.

Guest blogging opportunites – Write about your summer internship!

February 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Guest blogging opportunity | Comments Off
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On this blog forum, you’re invited to share your expertise. We welcome your blog submissions. Submit your thoughts and experiences in supporting students finding and preparing for internships. Share your new or innovative ideas, plus proven techniques and strategies for success.

Right now we are accepting submissions that answer this question:
How are you preparing students differently this year for summer internships? Please include information that answers the following questions:
(1) What information and training is needed this year more than in past years?
(2) What new or innovative approaches have you utilized?
(3) When do you recommend students begin searching for summer internships?
(4) If students get a late start, what is the single best thing to do to catch up with the pack?

To have your blog submission considered for publishing, please send your submission to blog@internships.com.

Please include with your submission, your full name, title, school and the URL to your career center website page or school website plus your brief bio. Each published blog will include author name and link to read your bio which will include a website link to your school.

Blog submissions should be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 600 words.

Any blog submissions published will be promoted via social media and may be featured in the monthly internships.com newsletter. If you’d like to get the newsletter, sign up for an account on internships.com, by clicking here.

The twitter account which promotes the published blog submissions is:
Twitter.com/hirededucation. If you use twitter, follow us and get all the latest updates from this blog and other items of interest.

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