Ensuring a successful summer internship

July 30, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Your students who are doing summer internships have heard your wise advice over and over again about how to succeed. They might “hear” a fresh voice from a reputable business source. Consider forwarding the following tips by writer Trudy Steinfeld at Forbes to your students to remind them how to succeed in their internships while there is still time:

  1. Learn everything you can about your employer and the business sector in which they operate. Focus on topics such as the organization’s strategic direction, emerging growth areas, new products or clients as well as issues and trends affecting the broader industry.
  2. Always do more.  Since many organizations hire new employees from among their college interns, fight against the tendency to just do what you’ve been asked and let your employer see how much you are capable of.
  3. Find a mentor.  Even if you have been assigned a formal mentor for the summer, identify other key people who can shed light on the organization, share their career story, give you tips for how to excel in your own career, provide honest feedback and help you navigate workplace challenges.
  4. Play nice with others.  Even though you might be used to competing on a variety of levels with your peers, this summer needs to be about being viewed as a valued team member.  That means getting along well with your colleagues – at all levels in the organization. By all means, show initiative. Volunteer for assignments and work independently when the situation calls for it. Remember to always be respectful and thank others for their help. Share credit with your team members as appropriate.
  5. Be genuinely engaged with your work and show it.  Organizations want to hire staff that are interested and excited about their work and projects.  They know through both research and experience that enthusiasm is contagious and can greatly add to productivity.
  6. Deliver, deliver, deliver.  When you are given an assignment, make sure you exceed expectations and meet or beat the deadline for the project.  If you do this consistently you will demonstrate the  “wow factor” hiring managers are looking for.
  7. Ask for feedback.  Many formal internship programs have a review cycle. However if they don’t, or if it’s only scheduled to occur at the conclusion of the internship, ask for feedback along the way. Always make appropriate adjustments based on what is shared with you or the opportunity and value of the feedback is lost.
  8. Use social media for good.  Check with your supervisor to see if the company actively engages in the use of social media and what their policies are for interns and other employees. Ask if you could blog or tweet about your experience.  Make sure your posts are positive and creative and always consistent with the organization’s policies and practices.

Working with students who don’t like their summer internships

July 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Educators cringe when they read articles about Diana Wang, a graduate student from Ohio, who is suing Harper’s Bazaar after her dream internship with the fashion magazine turned into a nightmare.  Other students around the country are threatening similar actions because they’re unhappy with their internships. As a career professional, you might be able to prevent such actions, which can hurt your career center’s reputation, by finding out if you have any dissatisfied students and resolving the issues before they escalate to the level of media fodder.  The following red flags indicate remedial work is necessary on your part:

  • Bored with internship:  If a student complains of boredom with his internship, contact the supervisor to find out how the student is doing. If he/she is failing to perform the assignments, “bored” may mean that the work is too difficult, and you may have to arrange additional help for your intern. Or ‘bored” may mean the work is too easy, and you might have to suggest that your student ask for more challenging assignments.  “Bored” may also mean that the internship is agreeable, but the co-workers aren’t. If that’s the case, you might have to counsel your intern on how to adjust to working with different kinds of people.
  • Difficult supervisor:  Talk with your student to find out what the problems are in order to determine if they are personal issues, such as the boss isn’t friendly (or too friendly) or are they related to assignments, including unrealistic deadlines or lack of guidance in performing the job. To improve the work relationship, your student may have to be proactive, asking the boss for feedback on completed assignments, thanking the boss for guidance, asking for more projects. The student could also volunteer to stay late to work on time-sensitive projects or come in for an extra day on a rush job, which may result in a better work relationship.
  • Menial work:  This is a tough category unless the internship description and duties have been thoroughly outlined ahead of time, which will save everyone confusion and grief. Both you and the intern have grounds to complain if the supervisor is not following the pre-ordained script. But if the intern and supervisor didn’t discuss the assignments and schedule on the first day, they should sit down—and you might have to join them to save the internship—and come up with a detailed plan of activities.  However, if the intern is a freshman or sophomore, he/she might not be able to perform skilled duties and might be asked to go for coffee. If the company is small, everyone might “pitch in” to do menial jobs, and your intern should, too.
  • Bad company:  When your intern complains that it’s a “bad company,” you’ll have to do some detective work to find out what that means. Your student may find the corporate culture is not compatible with his/her personality.  Talk at the lunch table may be about children, families, stock options, or a sports team, which may hold no interest to a student intern. The company politics may be creating a bad feeling in your intern if the company supports Obama over Romney or vice versa. Or the student may find that the other employees are miserable with the hiring practices, such as raises, benefits, hours, etc. and feel the company is a terrible place to work. Your intern may have every reason to leave the internship.
  • Change internships:  After a few weeks in an internship, some students feel they have made a mistake and want to change internships.  They’ve heard from a friend about a better internship in a different company. It’s your job to help sort out their feelings not only to help them, but also to protect yourself from gaining the reputation of someone whose interns quit.  However,  if you’re convinced that the internship will not work, you might want to recommend that your student still take a summer internship by researching options on Internships.com, which has nearly 63,000 internship listings in over 22,000 companies in 9,000 cities. Instead of telling the intern supervisor that your intern didn’t like the company, you simply say it wasn’t a good fit.

Making sure all your students have summer internships

May 17, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in career center | Leave a comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

You and your colleagues are working hard to ensure that all your students have summer internships lined up. “Internships are being sought by more and more KU students because they realize how important internships are in their future job search,” said Erin Wolfram, assistant director of career networks at the University Career Center at Kansas University. The number of students involved in internships is difficult to monitor, Wolfram said, due to the variety of ways students find them. Some find internships through professors, family members, or career services, such as internships.com, which was recently listed as #1 of 6 Best Sites to find Summer Internships on makeuseof.com. Students still searching for summer internships might find the following opportunities on internships.com helpful:

•    Accounting Internship:  CampGroup, LLC, Monmouth, ME. 2 Full-Time, Paid;  05/29/12 – 08/18/12.  Accounting intern to assist Controller in the management of CampGroup, LLC, which owns and operates 15 children’s resident summer camps in lakeside locations.  Assignments will involve routine accounting practices such as entering invoices & cash receipts, paying bills, recording manual checks & journal entries. You will also be involved in the preparation of staff payroll and tracking of staff advances. Requirements:  Academic concentration in Accounting or Finance required. Must have completed 2 semesters of accounting, must be detail oriented and have solid computer skills with working knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Word.

•    Advertising Copywriter:  Internet Webpages Newspaper, Inc., Chicago, IL.  Part-Time, Paid  05/07/12 – ? (Dates Flexible.) Internet Webpages Newspaper, Inc. (IWN), a downtown Chicago-based print, online and events company, is seeking an Advertising Copywriter intern for an exciting opportunity at our Chicago Loop office. The primary responsibility is to execute the vision and direction of IWN’s Brand strategy. Specifically you will 1. Create Ad Copy for Print Publications, Event Signage and Graphics 2. Write AIDA oriented copy for a network of up to 80+ company websites and online stores. Requirements:  The ideal candidate is outgoing, friendly and works well in a collaborative office setting. Detail-oriented with excellent grammar and writing ability. Multilingual is desired but not mandatory.

•    Development Assistant, Marketing/Development Department:  Student Support Center, 1003 K St. NW Washington, DC.   Part-Time, Unpaid (College Credit Required) 06/01/12 – 09/01/12 (Dates Flexible). The Development Intern is responsible for assisting the Director of Development with maintaining the organization’s donor database, tracking and evaluating fundraising efforts, researching donor prospects and grant opportunities.

•    Tech start-up intern:  VenueTap, New York, NY. Full-Time, Unpaid, 06/04/12 – 09/04/12 (Dates Flexible). VenueTap is looking for a creative-minded go-getter to assist in developing our party planning platform. Your primary responsibilities will be managing the quality of our releases and sketching out future functionality. A good candidate will be able to work independently and follow directions well and be responsible for Quality Assurance and System Monitoring, Bug troubleshooting, and UI development and design. Requirements:   Familiarity with MySQL, JavaScript, C#, .NET, HTML, organized, strong attention to detail, ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment,  previous start-up experience is a plus, and proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel).

•    Mobile App Graphic Designer:  TapWalk, Boston, MA. Part-Time, Unpaid (College Credit Required), 06/01/12 – 10/01/12 (Dates Flexible). This internship starts ASAP. The July 1st start date and submission end time was just to keep the post open to allow for continuous submissions. TapWalk is a technology-based startup and a world leader in the geo-based custom mobile application. Requirements:  1. Portfolio 2. Pursuing or graduated with a degree in Graphic Design.

•    NIH internships:   The National Institutes of Health (NIH) consists of 27 institutes with more than 1200 laboratories; some of the institutes include the National Institute of Cancer, National Eye Institute, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the NIH Clinical Center. NIH offers stipends for trainees. The positions are highly competitive and are considered on a rolling basis. In one period, out of 6,700 applicants, only 1,200 interns were selected. You’ll need references.

•    Keswick Theatre Internships:  AEG Live, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA , 2 Part-Time, Unpaid (College Credit Required),  05/14/12 – 08/14/12 (Dates Flexible).The Keswick Theatre – nationally recognized by audiences and performing artists as the most comfortable, friendly, acoustically-perfect listening room in the Philadelphia area-presents a broad range of internationally acclaimed performers geared to virtually every entertainment taste and interest. Requirements: Must be a junior or senior at a full-time and accredited college or university. Must provide proof of college credit within first week of internship. Previous work experience (industry-related experience) is encouraged and a commitment to 16-20 hours’ work per week is required.

Connecting Internships to Jobs

January 26, 2012 at 8:32 am | Posted in Summer internships | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Internships.com CEO, Robin D. Richards, says “Internships are the new job interview. With seven out of every ten internships turning into full time jobs, choosing the right opportunity to pursue is critical.”  The Web site offers search options, including All Opportunities, Internships, and Jobs to help your students find the best fit. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, technology giants have been expanding their summer-intern programs, while smaller tech companies are ramping up theirs in response to “woo summer interns.”

The article identifies several companies that might be excellent internship / job resources for your students:

  • Facebook / Google:  Facebook Inc. plans to hire 625 interns for next summer, up from 550 this year. Google hired 1,000 engineering interns this past summer, up 20% from the previous year. Yolanda Mangolini, Google’s director of talent and outreach programs, says the company is still figuring out its target for 2012, based on its overall staffing plan. Google generally extends offers to the majority of its intern class. “It is one of the primary ways we find full-time hires,” Ms. Mangolini says.
  • Dropbox Inc.:  The company plans to hire 30 engineering interns for next summer, up from nine this year, says engineering manager Rian Hunter, who adds the company wants interns to comprise one-third of its engineering team. The San Francisco-based file-sharing company this year dispatched its entire engineering team to recruit at more than a dozen colleges, up from just five schools last year. “More interns mean more opportunities to bring people to the company,” Mr. Hunter says, noting Dropbox is seeking people as young as college freshman.
  • Bump Technologies:  Interns allow you to “try before you buy,” says Bump Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Dave Lieb, who plans to hire as many as 10 for next summer. He says the 30-person company pays intern engineers about $10,000 for a roughly 12-week stint, similar to what other tech start-ups say they pay. Tom Greany, 23, a full-time software engineer at Bump Technologies, was originally a summer intern at the company.
  • Venture Capitalists:  Venture capitalists have begun doing some intern legwork for their companies. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, recruiting at 25 college campuses across the country, helped a cohort of its companies hire around 25 engineering interns for the coming summer through a new program called KPCB Engineering Fellows. Kleiner’s companies, including Klout Inc. and Twitter Inc., started notifying their new interns last week. “Competition for talent is so fierce,” says Kleiner partner Juliet de Baubigny. She says the firm may expand the program, which is currently for juniors in college, to others, including possibly high-school students.

Where your students can find last-minute summer internships

May 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Finding internships | Leave a comment
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Susan Sandberg

Career Centers nationwide are experiencing increased demand for summer internships from undergraduate and graduate students as well as new graduates who don’t have jobs and want internships as stepping stones. Here are some suggestions for your students on finding last-minute summer internships:

  • Internships.com The site lists 41,400 internships from nearly 20,000 companies available worldwide. Students can benefit from Internship Seeker 2.0, 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. They can search by keyword or location, view detailed descriptions or share listings. New features include the ability to save and manage searches, bookmarks and a student’s internships.com account.
  • LinkedIn:  Students can use their LinkedIn connections to help shorten the search process and quickly obtain summer 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 rather than having to do the often frustrating and fruitless “cold calling.”
  • Internship Mini-Fair:  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, reassuring them that you’ll help them develop an internship program if they don’t have one.
  • Local business or government groups:  The Commonwealth Marketing Office, a Massachusetts state agency, recently launched a website designed to advance the state’s effort to keep college students in Massachusetts after graduation from local colleges. The Mass Stay Here Internship Site is a statewide internship resource highlighting internship opportunities. The Mass Technology Leadership Council and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce are also creating internship sites on the same platform for their member companies, so internships posted to the MassTLC and Boston Chamber sites will appear on the Mass Stay Here Internships site.
  • On campus:  The Daily Princetonian recently reported how student government organizations can support internships.  The USG approved $6,300 for a summer technology intern to work on USG-related projects, including a mobile calendar application and an improved meal exchange site. The summer intern will also work on projects such as improving the DVD rental system and the USG election registration site. The $6,300 will cover summer housing and a $17 hourly salary for the USG intern. Both the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life at Princeton sponsor summer internships, too.

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.


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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