Watching unemployment figures go down and internship numbers go up

February 27, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Creating Internships | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment fell to 8.5% in January, the lowest in 3 years. And the number of internships on rose to 69,150 at 36,974 companies in 7,537 cities in 50 states.  Career services professionals will find these figures encouraging since internships often lead to jobs.

The national picture looks bright, according to the following recent reports from diverse organizations that share similar goals:

  • Illinois Wesleyan University:  IWU has 136 students participating in internships during the spring semester, which appears to be a record for the university and marks a 30 percent increase over the last five years. University internship coordinator Laurie Diekhoff notes an increase in underclassman seeking internships, not wanting to risk waiting until the final year to get valuable work experience. “We see more and more freshman at my door, asking about getting internships and particularly getting internships this summer,” Diekhoff said. Senior political science major Tracy Lytwyn has been volunteering and working as an intern since her freshman year. “I was under the impression that as a freshman I had plenty of time, but looking at how my life panned out, I was glad I started so early,” Lytwyn said.
  • The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership:  This Irwindale-based agency has launched a new internship program called the Job Opportunities & Intern Network (JOIN) to promote economic growth in the Valley.  The Partnership believes the best way to do that is to foster the relationship between education and business. The agency created the JOIN program to aid businesses with meeting their staffing needs .The program is free for both businesses and students. The internship board will provide a place for employers to search through a pool of candidates from regional schools, including Mt. San Antonio College; Pasadena City College; Citrus Community College; Rio Hondo; Glendale Community College; Cal Poly Pomona; University of La Verne; and University of the West.
  • The White House Internship Program:  The Obama Administration recently invited representatives from Appalachian State University to the White House to learn more about the White House Internship Program for students and recent graduates. Appalachian was among 38 schools from 12 states who participated in “Path to the White House,” an event that provided a firsthand introduction to the White House Internship Program. The three schools from North Carolina were Appalachian, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University. Participants learned about the White House’s commitment to the internship program, application and eligibility requirements, the profile of a successful applicant and the program’s curriculum.  Participating schools included public and private, and four-year and two-year institutions. Appalachian has already had one successful intern at the White House. His internship led to his current full-time position at the White House.
  • Step-Up Achieve Jobs program:  Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis are asking Minneapolis employers to make an investment in the city’s future workforce by hiring interns for the summer through the Step-Up Achieve Jobs Program.  The program involves hooking up city youth between the ages of 14 and 21 with paid summer internships at local companies, nonprofits and public agencies. Depending on length of employment, a business would pay about $1,000 for a part-time intern and $2,000 for a full-time intern. Since 2004, the program has placed more than 4,200 young people in jobs with more than 200 employers. More than 80 employers have already agreed to provide more than 550 Step-Up Achieve jobs in 2012. Present Step-Up Achieve employers increasing the number of internship positions offered include Adolfson & Peterson Construction, the City of Minneapolis, HealthPartners, Hennepin County, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, U.S. Bancorp, and University of Minnesota.

Understanding how new technology sorts resumes

February 23, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Finding internships | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The Wall Street Journal recently had 2 articles in the Marketplace section on how companies manage the huge volume of resumes sent to them.  Google Inc., which hired about 7,000 people in 2011 after receiving some 2 million resumes, says the resumes were individually read by hundreds of recruiters. However, the major trend is utilizing technology systems to sift through applications and resumes for both internships and permanent employment.

Here’s what you and your students could expect in the future at more and more companies:

  • Technology systems:  The new applicant-tracking systems to search resumes for the right skills and experience cost from $5,000 to millions of dollars. One expert from IBM puts the proportion of large companies using them in the high 90% range, saying “it would be very rare to find a Fortune 500 company without one.”  The systems screen out about half of all resumes, according to a management professor in California. Both Starbucks Corp. and Procter and Gamble use the system to handle the deluge. Starbucks Corp. attracted 7.6 million job applications in the past 12 months for 65,000 openings. Procter and Gamble Inc. got nearly a million applications in 2011 for 2,000 positions.
  • How they work:  Today’s systems are programmed to scan for keywords, former employers, years of experience and schools attended to identify candidates of likely interest. Then, they rank the applicants. Those with low scores generally don’t make it to the next round. The screening systems cut the cost of hiring a new employee, which now averages $3,479. But tracking software has its pitfalls. It may miss the most-qualified applicant if that person doesn’t game the system by larding his or her resume with keywords from the job description. Experts say that the best method of getting a job still remains a referral from a company employee.
  • Company practices:  A restaurant operator with 350 locations, Texas Roadhouse plans to adopt a tracking system this year to handle the flow of applications for hourly jobs. The company gets as many as 400 resumes for a job opening within 24 hours after listing it online. The company used to hand-write a postcard to every applicant, but now the company sends an automated email. Allowing applicants to check the status of their resumes online is another major trend. At PNC Financial Services Group, which has used tracking software for 15 years, an applicant for a bank-teller job is filtered out if his resume doesn’t indicate that he has 2 to 3 years of cash-handling experience. PNC email rejected applicants within a day, suggesting they search its website for jobs for which they are better qualified.

Keeping up with your colleagues on other campuses

February 21, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Creating Internships | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Your colleagues in the career services industry are working as hard as you are to keep up with the new trends in internships. offers educator resources to help you. Register as a basic member for free to receive and send a monthly newsletter to students about industry tips. Or join as an Affiliate University and get exclusive internship postings for your students, statistics on your students, a dedicated client care team, and industry reports on trends.

Here’s what some of your colleagues are doing on other campuses:

  • University of Pennsylvania:  Rosette Pyne, a Senior Associate Director at Career Services, feels the trend of technology companies to offer attractive career prospects to students has impacted the opportunities available to Penn students. “We have definitely seen a significant increase in internship offers,” she said, adding that more technology positions have been offered across a variety of sectors. According to Career Services’ most recent Survey Reports, 88 Penn graduates from the Class of 2009 and 2010 reported starting technology jobs in 2010, 30 more than the year before. Pyne said competition among firms to capture the best talent may be motivating them to offer more internships.  Pyne believes the upsurge in start-ups is fuelling growth in the technology field. “It started a couple of years ago,” she said, “when we found a venture capital company coming to campus for the first time with its portfolio of [start-up] companies.” At Penn, recruitment from start-ups has become increasingly common.
  • Iowa State:  Mike Gaul, director of the CALS Career Services, said 105 companies and organizations have signed up to attend the career fair this spring. “It’s probably up 20 from the previous record,” Gaul said, adding that15 new companies have signed up to attend the career fair this spring. He explained that most of those companies are natural resources-related. Although this year’s spring career fair is up from previous years, the spring career fair is smaller than the fall career fair. Gaul said the trend in recruitment is changing to companies hiring most interns and employees in the fall. “Most companies are done hiring by Christmas,” Gaul said. However, Gaul has noticed that many companies are beginning to hire for summer 2013. “There are some companies planting the seed for summer 2013,” Gaul said. “But, it’s a very small trend.” In addition to fewer companies and organizations going to spring career fairs, fewer students also attend the spring career fairs, too.
  • Michigan State University:  Since WKAR-TV and radio, part of MSU Broadcasting Services, merged with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in July 2011, 10 courses have been added to the College this year. The courses range in topics from sports radio to sales communication, and many of the new classes provide students with more internship opportunities and jobs through WKAR-TV and radio, journalism professor Bob Gould said. “WKAR is in need of content, and they have the opportunity to train students through real-world scenarios.” The College of Communication Arts and Sciences has been looking for ways to get students involved with broadcast journalism earlier in their degree, he said. According to Michigan Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Carole White, real-world experience can be beneficial to student journalists and makes them more likely to get a job when they graduate.
  • Idaho State University: As budgets are cut, some of the first items to go are student jobs. The solution to this is called Career Path Internships (CPI). ISU President Dr. Arthur Vailas and Vice President for Finance and Administration Dr. James Fletcher came up with the program to help students cope with rising costs in spite of a decline in employment opportunities. “This is unique in terms of what is happening at other universities,” said Fletcher. CPI offers students paid internships in the field in which they are currently pursuing degrees in. The funding comes from institutional funds that were apportioned specifically for it when the budget was drawn up for the fiscal year. “The students are placed in meaningful work experiences related to their career ambitions on campus,” said Troy Kase, director of the ISU Career Center. According to recent numbers reported by CPI Coordinator Linda Davis, there are currently 305 to 310 students doing CPIs right now.

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, 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.

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