Archive for March 2010

News Flash! How to land the internship you want

March 30, 2010

Forbes Magazine just published a great article, “How to Land the Internship You Want,” on how to improve your chances of success in getting the right internship.

Key points include: 

  • Start by making a list of companies that are interesting to you and find a contact at each. Survey your friends, professors, and neighbors for a contact and an introduction.
  • Ask an in-house employee to recommend you for the internship.
  • Send your resume to a department manager as well as the human resources department. Make sure to customize your resume and cover letter for each internship.
  • Research the company and the relevant department before the interview, which could be by phone. Learn everything you can about the company and internship.  Participate in a mock phone interview in preparation.
  • Sound enthusiastic during the actual phone interview. Ask questions about the internship and inquire about the next step in the process to show your interest.

To make a list of companies of interest to you use the Company Directory on internships.com. Available to Premium Members, this exclusive database of key contacts and company facts will assist you with your internship search and interview preparation. You’ll find data on 5 million companies, including company size, names, titles, and more. Sign up today!

Q. Can alumni from my school help me get an internship?

March 30, 2010

A. Absolutely! Alumni can certainly be most helpful to you. They are an excellent source of networking for your future. Here’s how to capitalize on those relationships: 

  1. Research internships on internships.com to find ones that interest you. Go on those company websites and research the information, especially biographical material on officers, management team, or board of directors, to see if they are graduates of your school. You can also check your school alumni database to see if anyone works at the organization.
  2. Google any likely prospects to find out more about them. There may be press releases or business reports that will give you information about their education. Look around your campus to check out the names of buildings or locate plaques that list alumni donors or companies that would be possible internship sites.
  3. Talk to the counselors at your campus career center. They may be able to help you find the right contact at the internship of your choice. Career centers often host career fairs or lectures that involve alumni and their companies. Most alumni give precedence to undergraduates of their alma maters.
  4. Visit your alumni relations office on campus and pick up as many alumni publications as possible. Most alumni relations departments publish quarterly news magazines with listings of the latest career achievements of graduates. Review the listings to see if any graduates work for the companies you’ve identified as your target internship sites.
  5. Volunteer to work at an alumni event. Most universities hold numerous alumni events, such as Homecoming Weekend or reunions for different schools in the university. Undergraduates are always needed to lead tours or register alumni, which will give you access to their company affiliations. You’ll have the chance to meet alumni in person and follow up with your application for an internship.
  6. Apply for an internship in the alumni relations department, which will allow you to find out more about where alumni work. When you’re ready for a second internship, you’ll know which alum could help you get that internship. If you belong to any campus organizations, find out if any previous members are now alumni who work at companies of interest. Then network!
  7. Find out where the alumni from your department work. You may want to ask your professors to make the initial contact for you. Also, your professors may be connected to one of the companies that has a listing on internships.com through their consulting or other activities. Your professors can be a great help in getting you the internships that you want.

Q. Is this a good time to look for healthcare internships?

March 24, 2010

A. Perfect timing! The House of Representatives just passed the historic Health Care Reform Bill on Sunday, March 21, 2010. And unlike many industries, healthcare expanded its payrolls even during the recession, so yes, it’s a good time to look for an internship. Some of the growing career markets are x-ray technician, lab technician, physical therapist, registered nurse, occupational therapist, optometrist, and dental hygienist. Check out the following internships.com offerings:

  • Awakening Health Institute: Intensive exercise and wellness program in San Diego, CA, for individuals with various neurological disorders and spinal cord injuries. Specializing in personal training and exercise as well as supportive services. Holistic approach. Six-month, unpaid internships with potential.
  • Audiology & Health Services Consultants, Inc.: All majors encouraged to apply, especially thinkers with creative ideas. Looking for a candidate with strong written and oral communications and excellent phone and organizational skills with ability in Excel and Microsoft Word. Part-time and paid in Chicago, IL.
  • Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.: Must have valid driver’s license and own vehicle for personal use. Students interested in rural healthcare should check out the website. Full time and unpaid in Lexington, KY, with college credit available.
  • Adventist Health System: Sponsors internship programs designed for finance and non-finance majors who have taken business courses, and are campus leaders. Must have GPA 3.0 or better. Requirements vary depending on internship. Paid internships located in Orlando, FL.
  • Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly: Internships for students majoring in photography, marketing/public relations, art therapy, psychology, sociology, nursing, pre-med, or gerontology. Unpaid in Chicago, IL.

P.S. Watch this blog for more healthcare internship listings!

To search for healthcare internships, click here.

How soon should I start looking for an internship?

March 22, 2010

Q. I’m just finishing my freshman year. How soon should I start looking for an internship?

A. Congratulations on thinking ahead! Start your planning process now so you’ll be able to do several internships. You can never have too many. Like good deeds, one internship leads to another. In the latest National Association of Colleges & Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2010 Survey, employers stressed a strong preference for candidates who had participated in internships. In fact, nearly 80% said they prefer candidates with relevant work experience learned through internships. In general, college graduates who had internships fared “far better” than classmates who skipped them. Now that you’ve finished your freshman year, spend some time, while you’re working on your tan or surfing the waves, to create an internship game plan.

  • Think Out of the Block. Don’t let travel or distance stand in your way. Some internships, just like summer jobs at crowded beaches, may offer housing. And some companies pay for your gas mileage or your transportation, and give you cash bonuses when you complete your internship.
  • Start a new conversation with everyone you meet. Ask for tips or ideas on getting an interesting internship. Build your network by having this conversation with other students, teachers, advisors, family friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Keep a notebook with their answers.
  • Be adventuresome. An internship should be enjoyable. At this early point in your career, you may want to explore options to help you decide on your major. Most people change majors at least once, so internships could help you make the right decision the first time.

P.S. Check out the internships listed under National Park Service. Locations range from Hawaii, to Arizona, the Everglades, and even South Africa. Some internships are paid and some provide housing. Or, what about a paid internship with Valleyfair Amusement Park in Minneapolis, MN? Now that sounds like fun! (Search other options here.)

Do readers know of any other Out of the Block internships that would be great building blocks for future internships? Let’s network!

Q. I’m an engineering major. What are my chances of getting an internship?

March 22, 2010

A. Excellent, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Winter 2010 Salary Survey. Engineering disciplines account for 8 out of the top 10 most highly paid degrees in the Top Paid Majors Among the College Class of 2010. The only non-engineering-related degrees on this list are computer science and information science and systems.

Internships.com has over 600 engineering internships listed because these companies need you! Here are a few names you’ll recognize:    

  • Intel – Name any kind of engineering internship and Intel has it. You can work in Oregon, New Mexico, or California, plus many other locations. Be a part of “developing the better, faster computing platforms the world is waiting for.”
  • Cummins – Take your pick: mechanical engineering, agricultural engineering or product engineering for starters. You’ll find lots of listings ranging from North Carolina to Wisconsin.
  • Boeing – A best bet for a junior engineering student. The company wants student engineers with basic skills as well as more advanced skills. Interested in Anchorage, AK? That’s one of Boeing’s many locations.
  • IBM – The 3 magic letters in the engineering world.  IBM has every sort of engineering internship in the industry with operations in New York, Kentucky, Arizona and almost any other place you want to work.
  • Hewlett-Packard, Medtronic, and Procter & Gamble also offer many internship opportunities.

P.S. Most of these internships are unpaid. But do the math, and you’ll realize that your big payoff will come later.

Have you had an engineering internship? What tips can you share with other students? Click here to check out other engineering internship listings.

Q. I can’t do a summer internship because I have family obligations. What other options do I have for doing an internship?

March 20, 2010

A. I admire your priorities. Don’t worry, there are lots of internships offered on a part-time basis throughout the year.  

  • Explore opportunities if you have a part-time job during the school year. Ask your employer about internship opportunities at work. You may be able to move to a different department or assume more responsibilities that will advance your skills. You may also be surprised to find that you can receive internship credit for your current job.  
  • Check into campus internships. Many departments, such as Human Resources, Communications, Alumni Affairs, and Admissions, use interns throughout the year. Your department may employ interns to assist professors or to work on special projects, which would advance your own knowledge in your major and increase networking opportunities.
  • Sign up for a full-time, month-long internship—called  the January term—during  the winter break if your school offers such a program. Since many schools close for nearly a month at the holidays, it’s become an opportune time to arrange internships for students who can’t do summer, fall, or spring internships.
  • Keep in mind that it’s not too early to apply for a fall internship. Most companies appreciate a 3-month or longer lead. Be the first to apply and get your internship lined up. Companies that offer a variety of internship opportunities tend to be flexible in hours and schedules.

 P.S. Here are a few part-time fall and spring internships that might work for you:

Going to school in San Francisco? Try the deYoung Art Center.

In the Northeast? Contact Northeast Utilities.

Chicago? Get in touch with CBS 2.

In Washington, DC? Apply to the US Dept. of Justice—Community Relations Service.

Want a January term internship? Go to the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership in New York City.

Any readers have experience in non-summer internships? We love comments!

Avoiding resume red flags

March 17, 2010

Companies today are accessing resumes at record volumes, so the task of screening resumes is not easy. In this environment hiring managers look to find the good resumes, fast, while maintaining high standards. Effectively spotting red flags on a resume is an integral part of this process. Knowing this, it’s essential that your resume be top-notch and error-free.

Below are some of the most commonly cited resume red flags:

 1.       Content Errors
Errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar are often considered proof of poor written communication skills, or a lack of attention to detail. Even if the position does not directly require strength in these areas, questions are raised about your overall standards. Hiring managers assume you put your best foot forward when sending your resume. Most hiring managers say just one or two typos would red flag a resume. Read your own completed resume a few times, and also have a friend look it over. Fresh eyes might find any lingering errors.

 2.       False Information or Qualifications
Don’t provide false or exaggerated titles, or claim you worked at a place longer than you did. If you think that a hiring manager won’t try to confirm your qualifications, think again. If you are caught in even a minor exaggeration, you might, at the very least, put yourself out of the running for that particular internship, but worse, your reputation is at stake.  

 3.       Missing Information or Gaps
Are you hiding something? When reviewing your résumé, imagine that it belongs to someone else. After reading through it, would you have questions about the information provided or be concerned by a lack of details? If you have questions, an employer will too. Employment gaps are not uncommon. Just providing an explanation will eliminate the mystery, and also gives you an opportunity to discuss other activities you pursued during that time, i.e. volunteering or course work, that might pertain to the internship and your ultimate career goals.

 4.       You don’t explain why you’re a fit for the Internship
The best internship resumes use particular key words that can help hiring managers clearly understand the information provided. Review the internship description and requirements provided by the company and write your resume with this information in mind. Highlight your experience, projects or coursework that match the company’s needs. This will allow the hiring manager to see exactly how your education and experience are a perfect fit for the internship they offer.  

5.       You include too much information
It’s hard to be selective when writing your resume, after all, this is a document meant to highlight your successes and experiences, but too much information can be as tragic as striking gaps. Hiring managers will appreciate your restraint, so keep it brief and pertinent, make good decisions about the information you include, and explain/list that information in a manner that provides the details without running on. Focus on what is relevant to the particular internship you are currently applying for.

To assure yourself the best chance of making the cut, keep your resume accurate, clean and targeted to the internship you seek. (Ready to get started? Create an attractively formatted  resume with this quick tool.)

Q. What’s the outlook for business internships this summer?

March 12, 2010

A. Good news! The New York Times, in the recent article, “Job Market Stabilizes for Business Students,” reports that business students and career advisors expect an increase in internship opportunities this summer. According to the article, banks are climbing out of the recession and more business students are finding banking internships. 

And more good news—you can find lots of business internships right on internships.com. Check out Kinderhook Industries, which is searching for financial analyst interns. Located in New York City, Kinderhook is a private equity firm that manages $800 million of committed capital. The firm targets orphaned non-core subsidiaries of corporate parents, existing small capitalization public companies lacking institutional support and management-led recapitalizations of entrepreneur-owned companies. Why not target Kinderhook for your internship experience?  Be part of the Kinderhook team that matches unique investment opportunities with high quality management in its “Search for Value.”  Help Kinderhook in its search by being a valuable intern.

To find out more, click here.

P.S. Have you had a business internship or do you know anyone who has? Write a review and let other students know what to expect. Or offer advice on how to prepare for a business internship interview. Thanks!

Tip #5: Don’t get screened out by answering the weakness question poorly

March 9, 2010

Woody Allen said, “If you are not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you are not doing anything very innovative.”  Edison discovered 1,800 ways NOT to build a light bulb before finding the right way. He learned how to build a light bulb from his mistakes. Remember, Columbus started out looking for India! Mistakes are not something you should avoid discussing, but maintain your focus on how you have learned and grown from the experiences. 

A lot of people are afraid to tell an interviewer a weakness so they say they don’t have any. Unfortunately believing you have no weaknesses is a HUGE weakness – probably much bigger than any weakness you actually have. On top of that, it is a big fat lie. However, I’m not suggesting that you divulge more than is necessary or appropriate. The quote, “We confess to little faults only to persuade others that we have no great ones,” is the perfect way to approach answering weakness questions. Essentially, you want to point to a weakness that is pretty easy to overcome and focus your answer around what you are doing to eliminate it.  

Discussing challenges and obstacles you have faced during your life are elements of an interview that cannot and should not be avoided when brought up by interviewers. The important thing to remember is that your focus should not be on the biggest challenge of your life or even on the weakness itself, but on what you learned from it and how it made you a stronger professional. For more tips and strategies on how to prepare for your summer internship interviews, see our Student Tool Kit.

Tip #4: Confidence begets confidence

March 5, 2010

You’ve got to believe in yourself in order for the interviewer to believe in you.  

I like quotes. There are so many that are perfect for conveying an important point about the interviewing process. For example, Jesse Jackson said, “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”  I love this quote because people tend to believe that only the brightest get the best opportunities. That is totally and completely bogus!Interviewing is like a chess game. Often, it’s not the person with the most assets that wins. It is the person who uses his or her assets most skillfully that wins. The reality is that you can be the absolute best candidate for a position and still not get the offer. The way to consistently get the offer is by influencing interviewers to believe that you are the best candidate.  As Michael Jordan said “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” Having talent, genius and education is useless if you can’t convince the interviewer you possess these attributes.

Here is the important TIP you absolutely have to get your head around: Interviewers will hire you because they LIKE you. This has to do with how they feel about you more than it does with what you actually say in an interview. What I’m saying is that WHAT you say is not the only factor in interviewing well.  HOW you present what you say is even more important. Think about it, we remember how we feel about somebody much more than we ever remember the actual words they say. To be liked, you need to “like” being you in that interview – prepare and get comfortable with yourself and your abilities. I assure you that you will like the interview process a heck of lot better if you go in prepped and feeling confident in yourself.


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