Setting up January internships for your students

October 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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You probably have a line of students outside your door, wanting to talk about spring and summer internships. You might find that some students would be happy to have January internships, especially if they have heavy class loads next semester. And late Fall is the perfect time to line up those internships for students who have the month off.  January internships are growing in popularity because students aren’t under stress from classes. They can enjoy working full-time and earning credits in a condensed period. However, some students may need to have placements in specific geographic locations, depending on their January living arrangements.

Since many companies aren’t familiar with January internships, it’s your role to introduce them to the benefits. A student can give full concentration and complete a project in one month. Also, budget-conscious companies may appreciate the extra help without having to hire a new employee. Since the internship is on a short timeline, the internship supervisor will not be burdened with several months of overseeing an intern.  To set up January internships, you can work with an established internship site or you can approach new ones. A company with which you already work may be more open to January internships. However, it’s also a good way to get your foot in the door with a desirable company because the short internship is less likely to be as intimidating as a longer one.

Next, review the skills of students who want a January internship. You’ll have a smaller group than during the rest of the year since many students want that month off for recreation or relaxing. Understand the skills that your January interns have and match those skills to the prospective company. Then, design a month-long program that works for both your intern and the company, present it to both parties, and have an agreement in place before Thanksgiving.

 

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.

Internships Aren’t Just for the Young

September 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Views on the News | 1 Comment
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Internships are no longer being used simply as an experience-builder for college students. This article in Money Talks News references a new survey of 2500 employers showing 23 percent of them are seeing more applications from “experienced workers” (those with 10-plus years experience) and “mature workers” (those over 50 years old) that have been laid off, or are seeking mid-life career changes applying for internships and entry-level positions.

The difficult job market has reshaped internships into a way for experienced workers to explore new opportunities. With doubt about an economic recovery employers are apprehensive to add to their payrolls and are planning to hire more interns than in previous years. Internships can serve as job interviews and often lead to full time positions. Of the companies surveyed 52 percent of them said they are more likely to hire interns as full-time employees.

As the age group applying for internships skews older, we are hearing more comments back from campus career advisors that an increasing number of alumni are seeking internships to help them transition to new careers. Anne Orange at the University of South Carolina noted “Alumni who are out of work or even students about to graduate who think they will have a hard time finding full-time employment come to the Career Center to ask if they can obtain an internship post-graduation.”

Are you seeing similar trends in your career center? Let us know what’s going on at your campus: send an email to educatorcare@internships.com.

Q. Our career center is overwhelmed with students wanting internships. Any suggestions on how to streamline the process?

August 5, 2010 at 10:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Many career centers around the country are experiencing the same overload as more and more students want multiple internship experiences. Historically, career centers have been able to spend individual time with each student, but many centers are now developing more efficient ways to deal with their larger numbers and still maintain quality service. Here are a few tips that might work for you: 

  • Group orientation sessions:  Utilizing the same format for freshmen orientation sessions, invite all students who intend to apply for internships to attend an orientation meeting early in the semester. Supply each student with an internship handbook, outlining the procedure. Introduce your staff and ask a former intern or two to discuss his/her experience. Also, provide a timetable with deadlines, so your office isn’t swamped at the last minute with students who want internships.

You may even want to distribute a list of companies with whom you work and the individual requirements, so students can evaluate their own readiness for each internship. If you’re planning an Internship Fair on campus, you could alert  students to be aware of the date, so they can put it on their calendars. 

  • Online applications:  Develop an online application with all the details that you need in order to enroll a student as a potential intern. Use your career center Web site to structure the internship process. You might want to include a sample resume, and then ask the student to customize the resume for himself/herself. You could also suggest that the student access the QuickBuild Resume on internships.com. for more help. Consider adding a Q & A section about internships on your Web site or start an Intern Coach blog.
  • Mentoring programs:  Students really appreciate connecting with other students who have had internship experiences already. Using the list of former and current interns, set up a mentoring system, matching potential interns with experienced ones. You might also find that current interns could benefit from linking up with former interns, especially if both share internship experience at the same company.
  • Career Center interns:  Increase the number of interns that you use in your own career center to help reduce your own workload. Many students are more comfortable taking their first internships on campus than in a strange environment, which means you should have an excellent pool of candidates. They also value the opportunity to have an “insider’s view” of available internships for future opportunities.  A well-trained intern can serve as the initial point of contact for students who are applying for internships.

Q. Students are lining up for fall internships. Any hot industries to suggest?

August 3, 2010 at 11:35 am | Posted in Finding internships | 1 Comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Hot is the operative word after a summer of record-breaking heat in much of the country as well as the world.  Some fields of special interest are Global Warming, Sustainability, and on a lighter (and cooler) note, Scuba Diving. Internships.com has recently added thousands of new internships for your students, so please browse the new offerings after you check out the following: 

  • Global Warming:  Greenpeace, the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions, is seeking unpaid interns for research, general administrative support, assistance with various projects, including organizational skills trainings, events or activities in the field, logistics, and other duties. Must be open to working with multiple campaigns and departments as needed: Global Warming, Forests, Oceans, Nukes, Research, Development, Communications, and Actions. Greenpeace has over 80 internships around the country listed on internships.com for positions ranging from Global Warming to Grassroots Organizing.
  • Sustainability:  Fairfood International is a non-profit campaign and lobby organization, which encourages the food and beverage industry to increase the level of sustainability of its products. Fairfood has divided the world into nine regions. Each of these has a small lobby office that actively approaches all food companies that have their international head office located in that region. The Lobby Department of Fairfood is currently recruiting interns for the position of Assistant Lobbyist Sustainability Food Companies. These interns help the lobbyist in stimulating food and beverage brand owners to increase the levels of sustainability and transparency associated with their companies. The deadline for these unpaid internships is Aug. 19. At least one internship is a virtual one, which may work well for a student during the fall term.
  • Scuba Diving:  The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the world leader in diver training education, is running a nationwide college Marketing internship program to promote scuba diving and the adventurous lifestyle of divers. Responsibilities include creating strategic marketing plans to attract college students to try scuba diving and become PADI Open Water Diver certified. Interns create their own marketing campaigns and test them in their local university markets. PADI provides resources and guidance. There are 26 locations in the country offering the internship, ranging from New York City to Denver, Colorado to Seattle, Washington. The application deadline for these unpaid with credit available internships is Aug. 18.

Q. How can I develop more internships for my students within one company when there’s so much competition among schools?

July 7, 2010 at 10:43 am | Posted in career center, Creating Internships | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Good question! You’re right—there’s lots of competition as more and more schools realize the importance of internships. And your students want more and more opportunities in a company, which also puts pressure on you to develop more internships. Here are some tips to help you satisfy everyone’s needs: 

  • Build stronger relationships with the company, so the internship supervisor contacts you first when there’s an internship position. You can develop this relationship in several ways. Visit the site during your student’s internship and spend time talking to the internship supervisor as well as the Human Resources department. Take the internship supervisor to lunch if it is convenient. Present the internship supervisor or appropriate employee with a framed certificate of appreciation or a plaque from your college, which can be hung in his/her office. Such a visible gift raises the status of the recipient with other employees.
  • Make sure the internship process goes smoothly, minimizing work for the internship supervisor. Provide him/her with all the appropriate forms, including assessments, reports, sample reference letters, and an internship calendar. Resolve any issues, such as the intern is experiencing conflict with another employee, as quickly as possible without involving the internship supervisor, who is probably already overwhelmed with work. Write a letter to the internship supervisor’s boss, expressing the school’s appreciation for the excellent mentorship provided by the supervisor.
  • Select the best qualified intern for the company in which you want to develop more internships. Compare the intern’s work ethic and personality style with the corporate culture, ensuring a good match. Research the skills that will be needed in each internship and determine if your intern is adequately prepared. Instruct your intern in professional behavior, so he/she performs to the appropriate standards. You may have to turn down an intern’s request to work in a certain company if you feel that such a placement might damage your relationship with the company.
  • Explore other internship venues. Although you may want to develop more internships in one company, it’s wise to look around for other options, too. You could be the first school to approach a company that has never used interns and would be grateful for your help in establishing an internship program. You would have the ability to set up internships that you know would work well for your school and your students. Creating new internships can open lots of new doors for your students and lead to more networking opportunities for them and for you.

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.

Q. How can we support and monitor our summer interns?

May 20, 2010 at 11:52 am | Posted in career center, Intern Support, Preparing interns | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Summer interns, especially those who are off campus, need to have safety nets built into their internship programs. Internships serve as great building blocks for future internships, so each internship has to be a successful experience. If you have lots of interns and limited staff capacity, you can use technology to stay in touch. Some ideas are: 

  • Weekly email newsletters: Send a weekly newsletter to each intern with campus news and helpful tips for interns on how to deal with specific situations or problems. A column by an intern would be motivational, too.
  • Daily or weekly reports:  Request daily or weekly email reports, depending on the length of the internship. Give each intern a form to follow when sending the report. The intern may want to keep a diary each day and simply send you a copy of the diary, which will help you monitor the intern’s progress and spot potential problems.
  • Webinars:  Hold a weekly webinar or online conference with your intern audience. You could introduce the Q & A format as well as acting as the speaker, addressing relevant topics.
  • Diversity resources:  Remember that your interns may be of different ethnic backgrounds and could benefit from links to international student groups that deal with work-related problems. Ethnicity is a sensitive area and your interns may be more comfortable discussing uncomfortable work issues with people who may have experienced similar situations.
  • On-site visits:  If possible, try to make an on-site visit at least once during the intern’s program. You can do double duty by visiting with both the internship manager and your intern and getting an accurate reading on how the internship is going.  You can also see first-hand the intern’s assignments and meet your intern’s colleagues. If you don’t like what you see, this is the perfect time to discuss—face-to-face with the internship manager—how to improve the situation. Even if your school doesn’t require on-site internship visits, you might want to schedule them anyway. Your interns will be happy to see you.

Internship opportunities: a college to career GPS

May 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Posted in America's education system, Current events | 1 Comment
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by Dr. Rudy Crew USC, Advisor to internships.com

For the last decade, this country has been trying to “Leave No Child Behind.”  One premise was that the institutions charged with the care of children and young adults would operate seamlessly, and collaboratively in building skills, attitudes and values that enable successful careers.

I got the point, however subliminal.  As a former Chancellor of New York City Schools and later, Miami Dade County, I think the notion of leaving no child behind, had tremendous strategic potential.  But then there’s life and tyranny of the day to day.

The K-12 system is only loosely connected to that of junior colleges and other post-secondary institutions.  And from there, the way from college into the career or job of one’s choice is a function of luck, circumstance and as one young man once told me, a “hook up.” In truth, by contrast to other developed nations, we do a poor job of teaching the needed skills of occupational and civic literacy.  Worse yet, the path from college to a career requires a “GPS,” which very few students actually have.  Were it not for college career centers, savvy parents and big business, few students would make it into the job market at all, and even fewer from poor communities.

It was once taken as an article of faith, that college exit meant job entry.  The numbers tell a different tale.  First, 7 million jobs have left this country since 2006. Employment numbers are slow going north, and for the age group of the average college student (18-24) unemployment is still double the national average.   All this makes the case for a more explicit means by which students in this country get from college into a job—a National Internship program.  This is an investment in college age youth by small and big businesses alike.  It argues from the place where vision meets strategy– like that of other eras in our history when the marketplace was in turmoil.  The GI bill after WWII, the Civil Rights Bill both came after decades of deferred dreams for education and access to jobs–good jobs.

So now education is going to “Race to the Top.”  President Obama is right to suggest that we need to double time our pace if we intend to be competitive, globally.  But again, is it a slogan for the campaign or is there a strategy behind it?  Is there a real set of stairs from a community college in rural or urban America to a good job in the US economy?  I’ll know it’s for real when the “race” is being run with incentives for small and medium businesses to take on interns in the workplace.  It’ll be true when colleges and universities enlist their alumni associations to give an internship to the entire junior and senior class.  It will be true when career center budgets swell because of volume of demand and America’s Mayors campaign for the youth vote by harnessing themselves to youth employment. And when the skills taught in American public schools are ratcheted up to bear some relationship to skills needed to join a college, or vocation—for all students.

So much to do; so little time to win this race.  Your thoughts please; just no slogans.

Helping interns with networking skills

April 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in career center, networking | 1 Comment
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by Jane Finkle

Students often need an extra push to move forward with networking.  They know it has some impact on their career development, but for many students networking is a foreign concept that requires learning a new language.  As a student becomes proficient in the dialogue of networking, he or she increases the chance of developing a relationship with a professional who is capable of offering insight into a career field, or, who can lead them to a valuable internship. Counseling sessions that focus on networking as an essential skill, provide an ideal opportunity to enliven the student’s communication repertoire, strengthen their preparedness for professional life, and build overall confidence.  Career counseling offers students a safe place to practice skills, deal with their fears and learn how to use networking to their advantage.

Writing Skills

In my own counseling sessions, I have been able to assist students in drafting a note or an Email to a professional contact by helping them develop an outline that will explain the nature of their interests. Equally important, I work with the student on generating questions to further support their goals. By the time a student leaves my office, he or she has developed a plan for the initial correspondence to a contact and given a deadline within which to complete the note or letter.  Once the letter is completed, the student then sends it to me via email or brings it to my office for feedback.  We all know the staying power first impressions have.  If the letter to a professional is appropriately and carefully composed, the chance of that professional responding favorably to a student increases substantially.  I also view mastering this type of correspondence as a precursor to writing a strong cover letter.

Role Playing

For those students who are anxious about how they will initiate a conversation or approach a professional contact at an event, setting up a short role play can be very effective.  Typically, the first question I pose to a student has to do with what they hope to achieve by talking to a professional contact. This thought, in turn, helps the student to formulate and prepare probing and useful questions.   At this point, I ask that they imagine that I am the contact person and we engage in role playing ways they might introduce themselves and how they would articulate their goals.  For the extremely shy and reserved student who has performance anxiety, I do a short role play using video on the computer.  This is a technique that many career counselors use to help students develop interview skills but it can be equally beneficial to students who need extra initial support in order to communicate with professionals in a polished and confident manner.

As I counsel students on perfecting their networking skills in writing and in person, I find this process contributes to helping them mature and understand their own power  in securing internships, and best of all, it enhances their confidence as  they become more comfortable meeting and communicating with professionals.

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