Feedback from the Frontlines

October 28, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Feedback from the Frontlines | Leave a comment
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In response to last month’s article about the growing trend of people using internships to make a career change, Jean A. Spahr from the College of DuPage weighs in on why she isn’t seeing this taking off.

“Employers I’ve spoken with aren’t interested in experienced or unemployed folks doing internships. I agree with them because, even if the internships are non-credit bearing, they are work-integrated learning experiences that are appropriately connected to an academic program of study. I’ve heard the term “returnship” connected to experienced and unemployed people trying to build skills on the job in order to return to the workforce. The experienced and unemployed can re-career at non-profits legally, however it’s simply volunteer work…while for-profits can’t utilize volunteers. How is a “returnship” viewed under the FLSA if it’s an unpaid experience?”

Are you seeing a similar trend on your campus? What does this mean for alumni re-entering the work force or making career changes? Throw your feedback into the mix at educatorcare@internships.com.

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.

Firms Assess Young Interns’ Potential

September 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Views on the News | Leave a comment
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As companies are starting to rely more heavily on their interns to make full-time hires, some are targeting and tracking students as early as freshman year. These days, undergraduates are exposed to corporate presentations and meet-and-greets within weeks of arriving on campus.

The shift to intern-to-hire recruiting hasn’t been lost on would-be college students, particularly as the recession has lingered. Career Center Offices have seen a recent rise in prospective students and their parents inquiring about which firms recruit and hire interns. Katie Kennealy, associate director of the career center at Illinois, says she has seen a 15% increase in such inquiries in the past year.”Most freshman don’t know where anything is on campus, says David McMahon, associate director of experiential education at Texas A&M, “but they’ve figured out they need a good résumé, and they need to get to a career fair” early on.

According to Monica Wilson, acting co-director of career services at Dartmouth College. “Internship recruiting will largely replace entry-level recruiting in the next few years.” Are you seeing a significant increase in students inquiring about internship opportunities on your campus? Email us at educatorcare@internships.com and put your feedback in the mix.

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.

Q. Our Career Center still has students who want internships this summer, but we don’t have enough available. What can we do?

May 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Posted in career center, Finding internships | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. You’re not alone—many Career Centers nationwide are experiencing increased demand from both undergraduate and graduate students. More students than ever before recognize the importance of multiple internships starting in the summer of their freshmen year, driving up the number of requests. Since summer jobs may be hard to find in this recessionary period, more students are seeking internships as an alternative. Recent graduates who don’t have jobs also want internships. Suggest that your students do some independent research to locate internships:

  • Internships.com was created to fill this growing need. Refer your students to the site to explore the nearly 20,000 internships available. New entries come in every day, so ask your students to check the site daily until they find internships that interest them.
  • The newest tool for finding internships is Internship Seeker, an iPhone app that provides mobile access to thousands of available internship listings on Internships.com. Your students can download this FREE app to search internships while on the go.
  • Students can use their LinkedIn connections to help get internships. Once your students find an internship program that interests them, they can do a “people search” and check if a hiring manager or HR staff members of that company are on LinkedIn. The goal is to have a mutual connection with the “insider” of the company, so students can even ask him/her for an introduction to the intern manager. 
  • If you have time (or have interns working in your office), you may want to hold an informal Internship Mini-Fair for students who have not gotten a summer internship and still want one. You’ll earn points with your students for your efforts and impress potential internship managers, too. Invite local businesses or campus departments to attend, ensuring them that you’ll help them develop an internship program if they don’t have one.
  • Instead of developing internships one by one, try working with a local business group, such as the Chamber of Commerce. For example, the Jones County Junior College and the Laurel Main Street Association partnered to create internships with downtown businesses in Laurel, Mississippi. The college, located 11 miles from downtown, benefits from new internships for its students and downtown businesses expect to enjoy a boost in business.  

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