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.

Reassuring students that unpaid internships can be priceless

November 8, 2011 at 8:54 am | Posted in Views on the News | Leave a comment
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Students are already lining up for spring and even summer internships, so it’s time to acknowledge that elephant in the room—the controversy over unpaid internships. As a career services professional, it’s up to you to counterbalance the negative effects of the book Intern Nation or news stories, such as the students who sued their internship company last summer for compensation.  Here are a few ways to correct any inaccurate impressions and reassure your students that unpaid internships can be excellent investments in their futures:

  • Cite student experiences:  Students may be more likely to believe other students who reaffirm that their unpaid internships were valuable experiences. You could share a recent article by a student in the Simmons Voice at Simmons College. “It can be difficult to see the value in unpaid work, especially in such a chaotic economy, but internships hold value for both the intern and those who employ them. . . Internship programs make it possible for smart, hardworking college students or graduates to learn about the field of work that they are hoping to enter, while making it possible for businesses to hire them with no salary and give them the smaller jobs that paid employees might scoff at.”  Ask experienced students at your own school to testify to the value of their unpaid internships to incoming interns, supporting your professional viewpoint.
  • Cite statistics:  A study by Aerotek, a leading staffing provider, reports that 57 percent of adults would recommend an internship to make getting a post-graduate job easier. Furthermore, 55 percent of those who held internships found their current job through networking, according to a recent article by columnist Dan Schawbel in Metro US. Impress upon your students the huge number of choices in unpaid internships. For example, currently offers 148,865 positions from 27,598 companies in 6,688 cities in 50 states. The majority of these internships is unpaid but is often with major companies that match your students’ interests. Remind your students that an unpaid internship helps them learn new skills and maximizes their networking opportunities and is worth more than a paid internship that may not further a student’s career.
  • Cite resume benefits:  Resumes are more important than ever since the resume is the tool that usually gets a student an interview and then an offer for an internship or a job. The competition among resumes is fierce, especially since technology means every position can receive hundreds of emailed resumes. Most student resumes, especially for freshmen and sophomores, rely on part-time, menial jobs, college activities, or even high school accomplishments. Rather than spending time searching for a paid internship, a student would benefit more by taking unpaid internships and adding them to his/her resume. After a few unpaid internships, a student can drop the fast-food entries and add impressive professional experience with reputable organizations that will lead to more interviews and ultimately to better internships and eventually to paying jobs.

Maximizing partnership opportunities for your students

November 3, 2011 at 9:00 am | Posted in Views on the News | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

At the recent EDUCAUSE 2011 Annual Conference, a higher education information technology event, a new partnership opportunity was unveiled.  Blackboard Inc. and  announced plans to integrate job search and career building tools and resources directly in the Blackboard Learn(TM) online teaching and learning platform. Here’s how this new partnership and other partnerships benefit students:

  • CEO:  “With unemployment remaining so high in the United States, the key for student job seekers is not only to find and apply to available work opportunities, but also to prepare themselves to be hired through career content and tools,” said Mr. Robin D. Richards, Chairman and CEO of “We are honored to enter this partnership with a leader in the higher education industry and further distribute our world class social recruiting tools, features, and content to the next generation of America’s great employees.”
  • Blackboard CEO:  “As a company, Blackboard is committed to providing the best tools to help students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom and we know career development is an important part of the education experience,” said Michael Chasen, CEO and President of Blackboard. “This partnership with gives us the opportunity to provide resources within the learning management platform that help students succeed beyond just the academic setting.”
  • Integration benefits:  According to a PR Newswire press release, the planned integration will enable students to search for and apply for internships, student jobs and entry-level positions within the course platform. Students will also be able to take advantage of the full suite of career tools from, including a social media integration that will enable student job seekers to leverage their Facebook network to find jobs and get introduced to hiring companies. With the multi-year, exclusive distribution deal for Blackboard’s North America Higher Education clients, becomes a Blackboard Premier Partner (TM) in the Blackboard Partnerships Program(TM). Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions.
  • The LULAC Internship Alliance Program: The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, and have partnered to build a bridge between students and businesses to ensure that Latino students receive the benefits of the platform and access to the experiential learning opportunities they need. Through this partnership LULAC is making it possible for students to receive the LULAC Intern Certification Program, ensuring that students have had an elite level of preparation to aid them in entering the workforce. On completion of this Program students receive a LULAC certified designation that employers can rely on to know that these students are prepared and motivated to become great interns.
  • Other PartnershipsSHRM – Society for Human Resource Management offers professional development opportunities in a variety of ways including conferences, workshops, webinars and social media. BASIC – Business and Students in Careers is an alliance between college and university students in Luzerne County and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber business community to help prepare them to be career ready. Click on About Us under Educators and go to Partners on the Web site for a complete listing of organizations that coordinate services with and may help you maximize career opportunities for your students.

Helping students who are vets get internships and jobs

November 1, 2011 at 8:52 am | Posted in Finding internships | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

A growing number of college students have military service backgrounds and need career advice. Among vets ages 18-24, unemployment is at a staggering 26.8%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about three times the general unemployment rate, which is still hovering at 9.1%. To help combat the problem, the Labor Department has just issued 22 grants, totaling $9 million to various states to help with workforce development. The fall issue of USAA magazine suggests several ways that you as a career services professional can help the vets on your campus:

  • Educate employers:  Remind your employers about the benefits of taking interns or hiring employees with service backgrounds. These men and women offer discipline and commitment and a willingness to accept training and follow direction. They bring value to the work place and are good role models for other interns or employees. Many of their  skills are transferable to the civilian lifestyle. Most of the employers that you work with are simply unable to relate to the experiences of service members, so it’s up to you to help bridge the communication gap, making them feel more comfortable around vets.
  • Educate vets:  Students who are vets need additional training and guidance before they write their resumes and apply for internships or jobs. First, they have to translate their military experiences into civilian language. For example, instead of using the word “reconnaissance” on a resume, select “survey, analysis, or data collection.” Instead of saying “reassemble a rifle in a minute,” try “expertise in mechanics.” Advise your students not to talk about battles or shooting or wartime experiences, but to offer stamina or ability to work long hours. Since vets turned students often lack confidence, you might name some former vets who have found great success, such as Bob McDonald, CEO, Procter & Gamble.

Identify most veteran-friendly employers:  Visit for the best list of potential employers. For example, ManTech International, national security, hired over 4,000 employees in 2010, and 50% were military. Also, Amazon, online retailer, has built a military talent program, including a team of dedicated military recruiters. Follow them on Twitter at USAA, financial services, reports that 20% of its 22,000+ employees are former military. Other companies range from DaVita with healthcare to Chesapeake Energy Corp. with energy. And emphasize the power of social networking. Suggest that your former vets tap into groups on LinkedIn that are military specific. Many vets take special pride in helping other vets.

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