Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Why students “win” in a Winternship

January 3, 2011

Most students look forward to their winter breaks as the perfect opportunity to visit family, travel to see friends, stay up late, and sleep in. Yet more and more students are aware that the holiday break, which lasts as long as six weeks at some universities, is prime time to advance their career opportunities for a successful future. Students are taking advantage of the growing number of Winterships. Most Winterships are the same as spring, summer, and fall internships only on a smaller scale.

Winterships can maximize a limited time period, whether it’s for three weeks or more. Without a class schedule, students can work fulltime shadowing a professional in their field of interest and networking for future internships.  Even though a Wintership might be a condensed experience, it could lead to an invitation to return in the summer for a longer internship or for a job, according to a report on Goldman Sachs.  Also, because fewer students choose a Wintership, there’s less competition for a spot in a desirable company.

The approach to Winterships differs around the country. At Vassar, 12 students are selected and are paid a stipend for a shadowing/internship opportunity with alumna/us for one week during the winter break. Christie’s offers fulltime, six-week Winterships that provide an introduction to the inner workings of an art auction house.  These unpaid internships are available at New York and regional offices. Some universities, such as Johns Hopkins University, call the winter break Intersession and offer a variety of experiences from volunteer work to shadowing. Encourage your students to take an active role in creating their own Winterships or experiences at companies that appeal to them to give them the added edge come summer internship season!

Easy resolutions for a more productive 2011

January 3, 2011

Whether you are joining the multitudes setting resolutions for getting in shape, changing jobs, or running a marathon, there are a few professional resolutions you may also want to consider. Particularly in this week before students return, spend some time getting yourself and your office ready for a great year.

1.  Clear the clutter

  • Begin by clearing off the clutter on top of your desk, your file cabinet, or table in your office (hint: give yourself a time limit!). Then, simplify your filing system by throwing out all the outdated paperwork that you won’t need in 2011. Review the remaining paperwork and determine how much of it can be scanned or transferred to a disc and stored in your computer. Then, buy a new calendar (bonus: they’re all on sale now) and start putting in important dates for 2011. While you’re at it, don’t forget to update your computer calendar.

2.  Know where you want to go.

  • In order to create goals for yourself, you’ll want to review your 2010 successes. For example, if you helped 50 students find internships, you could challenge yourself to help 60 students find internships in 2011. If you contacted 35 prospective internships sites in 2010, set the number at 50 for 2011.

3.  Make time to develop yourself.

  • Your own professional development is important, too. Evaluate the workshops and conferences you went to last year: were they worth not just your money, but particularly your time? Set your professional development schedule for 2011 now so that you make sure you don’t get to August without having done anything.

4.  Networking isn’t just for students.

  • Follow the advice that you give your students and expand your networking list. Set goals for meeting new people each month, on campus, in your community, through your professional associations, or even through personal circles. Be intentional about meeting 3 new people a month—and put it on your calendar so you set aside time for it!

5.  Create a new view.

  • Create a more stimulating work environment for yourself by reorganizing your office and your desk. Look for a more comfortable desk chair or add an extra chair for students. Switch up the art for your walls or change your desk décor, adding updated photos or a decorative item from a recent trip. Even repositioning your desk for a change of view can be refreshing. Bring in a new candy dish or coffee or tea mug for a nice personal touch.

    Here’s to a great 2011!

    Online networking for professional and personal development

    January 3, 2011

    More than 500 million people are now signed up for Facebook and 175 million for Twitter, proving the popularity and potential value of social media. You are most likely already a member of several such sites, but are you maximizing your social networks to enhance your own professional and personal development? Here are five sites where you can begin building your own personal e-brand.


    You could start by registering your Google account and assembling a Google Profile containing personal and professional information as well as links to your Web site. Google Buzz is connected to your Gmail account and is a tab in your Google Profile. It allows you to send messages to your current Gmail address book and expanded network and syndicate your other social feeds. Consider writing a blog, which can be a personal one or a business one detailing what you do at your work or a combination of the two.


    Many blogs are powered with MyBlogLog widgets, showcasing avatars of your recent visitors. As people join your blog network, you can notify them of newly created blog posts or major events through the MyBlogLog messaging system.


    A professional social network site is LinkedIn with millions of active users making professional contacts. Each user profile can be personalized to feature recommendations from colleagues, a self-portrait, relevant links, and special interest groups.


    Another social networking site is Ning, which allows you to launch, invite, and facilitate your own free social network in minutes. Your network can be on the topic of your choice, such as career services.

    And of course…

    Facebook is the dominant network, giving you free access to events, groups, and profile pages from around the world. Facebook allows users to fuse their personal and professional lives together. Remember to set privacy controls as it is an open platform where your coworkers as well as your friends can access your information.

    Whatever social network you choose, you’ll quickly be building professional and personal contacts to advance your career.

    Professional associations for professional development

    January 3, 2011

    You’re an excellent career services professional. Students write you thank you notes for helping them, and your contacts at companies always take your calls. You enjoy the support and collegiality of your peers at work. Sites like the new Answers forum on have given you access to a huge community of educators. You can also build and develop your professional network by joining national organizations that help you increase your effectiveness and maintain your competitive edge in a fast-growing industry.

    Most people know NACE and the regional affiliates (MWACE, SoACE, EACE, MPACE) as great places to meet career service professionals and corporate recruiters. But there are a host of other great opportunities for meeting and learning from your peers.

    National Career Development Association (NCDA) is similar in focus to NACE, but often attracts a more diverse audience of independent career professionals and those who work with younger and older people looking for career advice.  NCDA has an annual conference, a newsletter, and other similar member benefits.

    Career Management Alliance (formerly Career Masters Institute) is dedicated to linking all divisions within the careers industry. The Alliance attracts members from assorted career backgrounds, such as career coaching and counseling, college and university career development, government careers, outplacement, recruiting, and HR.  It offers interactive seminars, weekly e-newsletters, and e-discussion groups. Visit its Web site at

    Career Coach Academy was designed by a career-services professional and ICF Certified Coach with other career services professionals in mind—job-search specialists, resume writers, outplacement providers, and career counselors. The Academy’s program is fast track, providing the opportunity to be a Certified Career Management Coach. Benefits include interactive teleclasses, coaching practice, and a 400-page manual.


    How students can leverage their networks

    January 3, 2011

    Most students find that they are good at building network lists. They may return to campus, come into your office, and proudly present the results of their holiday networking efforts to you.  Your job is to help them maximize their new networks. The first step is to review their resumes, making sure that they’ve added any new activities or skills to their updated resumes. Next, help them develop a game plan on how to leverage their new contacts to generate internships or jobs. Remind them that 69% of jobs are secured through networking.

    Encourage your students to evaluate their own needs and goals. What do they want from the people on their networking lists? Internships? Jobs? Referrals? And equally important, what value can they offer to this same group? After identifying goals, it’s time to prioritize the networking list from most desirable to least. Students should research the selected companies and individuals to understand their businesses and roles. Then, students can create a calendar (or you can provide a template), developing a master plan on when to contact each source, follow-up, and evaluate the results.

    Once they have their external plan, it’s time to focus on themselves. One place to start is by ranking their skills on interviewing and cover-letter writing in order to help them identify areas that are in need of strengthening. As a career services professional, you might want to point out the helpful workshops and seminars on campus that will be available to your students in the coming semester.

    Once your students are ready to begin leveraging their networks, help them take that first step:  as you know, that first email or phone call is the hardest! Help them prepare to ask for an informational interview, set up a luncheon appointment, schedule an office visit or request a job shadow.

    Finally, the best thing you can give them is the confidence to make their requests, have their conversations, and follow-up as best they can.


    Helping students network over the holidays

    January 3, 2011

    Before you head out for the holidays, send your students and interns an email or post a notice in the career center, department office, or school newspaper, suggesting ways to network over the holidays. Whether students are going home or on vacation, they will be around a different set of people than at the university.  If some students are doing Winterships or taking short intersession classes, remind them of how to take advantage of new people and places to build their networks.

    Many students will be seeing lots of relatives that they haven’t seen in ages. Ask them to think about their answer to the “So what are you going to do when you graduate?” question before they see relatives. This way, they can not only be clear about their own aspirations but also have a few prepared questions to ask the relative. A party with old friends from the neighborhood or high school is another great opportunity for networking. Suggest that students ask questions such as “How did you get into this industry?” rather than talk about themselves. The respondent may be a good source of career information.  All social gatherings and part-time jobs offer networking options.

    Another excellent source of holiday networking may be with alumni. Most schools have alumni groups in major cities. These organizations usually hold holiday gatherings and welcome current students. Your alumni office can provide a list of chapters.

    Finally, if students are travelling during winter break, recommend that they research companies in those locations for potential internships and then contact the appropriate person for an informational interview. Encourage students to always travel with a resume—at least on a flash drive.

    Challenge your students to see how many names they can add to their networking list during the holidays. Emphasize that it’s the most valuable gift they can give to themselves.


    Welcome to Answers forum!

    January 3, 2011

    As a career services professional, you have a new resource to help you network with others who share your interests in career development. This new Answers community on consists of student, educator, and employer-submitted questions and answers about the internship search. What you’ll see on the site is a lively dialogue and an useful archive of information and professional guidance. Not only does this provide the opportunity to instantly “meet” other students, employers, and educators, you’ll also gain new insights as you view the career world from different perspectives.

    Questions can be directed to the following topics:  Searching / Applying / Preparing / General / After the Internship / / On the Job / Interviewing. Additional categories include Related Questions and Most Active Questions as well as Latest, Popular, and Unanswered. The pace is quick, as questions are often answered in the same day. The answers are short, so you’ll be able to access information quickly.

    As an example, here’s a recent question:  “If my supervisor isn’t giving me enough work, how do I ask for more?” One of the answers was, “Tell your supervisor that you feel comfortable so far and you’re willing to take on additional tasks if necessary. Don’t be overly aggressive, and don’t belittle any of the work your coworkers are doing in the process.” Pretty good, right?

    It’s easy to join this community. If you have an account, just click on the purple tab in the top right to see what the topic du jour is. If you don’t have an account, just go to the purple Answers tab on and click on “Sign Up Now”. Select “Educators Sign Up Here” and create an account and a password. Within minutes, you’ve got access to the largest and most diverse internship forum in the world–without ever leaving your office!

    Juggling internship and job decisions

    November 15, 2010

    Lots of college seniors are looking forward to December graduation. But many of them face a dilemma—should they be sending out their resumes for internships or for jobs or for both simultaneously? If they have internships, should they continue them if possible? The PoynterOnline column, Ask the Recruiter, recently discussed the pros and cons. Here are 4 tips to help you juggle internship and job decisions:

    1. Keep in mind career success and professional reputation. It’s tempting to cover all your bases by sending out resumes to the places where you want to work to advance your career but with the added insurance of also applying for internships in desirable companies just in case the jobs don’t come through in this weak economy. But be careful not to damage your professional reputation by accepting an internship and then dropping it if you get a job offer in another firm. And you may not want to spin your wheels working in a company outside of your area of interest, which would be irrelevant to your career success.

    2. Decide which is the more promising avenue and go for it. If you know what job you want and with what firm, concentrate on getting that position. However, if your only opportunities are in fields not related to your career goals or in geographical locations that do not interest you, go the internship route. Apply for internships in your target company or at least in the city that you’ve selected as your new home base. Then, you can plan to transition the internship into the job that you really want. At least you’ll be in a company that could be a viable part of your career future.

    3. Be selective. You may be in an unpaid internship now and want to turn it into a job, but the company says there are no openings at this time. Do you take a fulltime job in another company that doesn’t interest you, but offers you a paid position? Consider what will make you more qualified in your field. It’s better to stay in a great internship and take a part-time job to support yourself while you wait for the right job opening in the company. You may miss some other fulltime job offers, but you’ll be increasing your skills. And remember that employers value your experience. Statistics prove that an internship is the surest way to get hired.

    4. Maintain connection with your internship personnel. If the company cannot continue your internship, don’t give up and or take it personally. Company policy may limit the length of internships and other interns may already be signed up. But do keep in touch with your supervisors at your past internships because you never know when an opening will occur. Check in several times a year through email, phone calls, or holiday greetings. Make sure that the internship supervisors remember you and will be interested in talking to a former intern or giving a reference when a job opens up.

    Asking for help to solve internship problems

    October 1, 2010

    Every intern runs into problems at his/her internship. After all, it’s a new experience, but you can easily learn how to resolve issues that are causing you frustration or anxiety. Although you have many resources, you’ll want to select the appropriate one, depending on the nature of the problem.

    Here are our top 5 tips for getting help with specific problems:

    1. Assignments:  If you’re having trouble with your assignments, turn first to your internship supervisor for directions. You could ask for a different assignment, additional instructions on performing the project, or for an extended deadline. And if you’re working on a team, do ask your coworkers for help. Offer to put in extra time if necessary. If the internship supervisor doesn’t help you solve your assignment problem, call your school career center for further advice.
    2. Company or internship supervisor difficulties:  Sometimes you might encounter personality clashes with your internship supervisor or you might decide that you don’t like the company and its policies. You really can’t talk about these problems at work, so turn to your home campus for counseling. Contact your career center, counseling center or professors for help in how to manage your relationship with your internship supervisor. Sometimes, former interns can be valuable sources for helpful tips, too. Quitting is usually not a viable answer because it could damage your reputation.
    3. Coworker issues:  If you’re running into problems with your coworkers, go and talk to your internship supervisor. He/she might be able to shift you to another department or team, so you could continue your internship without undue stress. Or you might learn why your coworker is difficult, resulting in your ability to accept the situation. Whatever you do, don’t gossip with other coworkers about your issues because you can’t depend on confidentiality among your coworkers—even if they might share your sentiments.
    4. Technical challenges:  It’s common to run into technology problems since every company has different systems and equipment. Fortunately, each company usually has a tech service onsite to help out employees. Don’t hesitate to ask for help on Day #1 when you see problems. People normally like to help others. If you’re living on campus, you could visit your school’s tech center for more instruction.
    5. Personal problems:  Your boyfriend/girlfriend may have broken up with you, a family member might be ill, or you might have financial problems. But whatever your personal problems, please don’t bring them to work. Instead, simply say everything is fine when asked by a co-worker. Meanwhile, go for some counseling on campus or to a private therapist and talk to trusted friends about your problems. Join a support group outside of work and learn how to manage your problems in the proper environment.

    Guest Post #4 by Dr. Woody: The YOU Plan: Why Personality Matters

    September 15, 2010

    Dr WoodyWe all have our own mix of attributes and experiences that combine to create the unique value we bring to bear in our college and internship endeavors. Arguably, the most powerful of these intrinsic forces is personality. Your personality is a root driver of the behaviors and actions that you demonstrate on a daily basis.

    Although there are many influences on human behavior, I believe that personality is one of the most significant. Other influences that drive behavior include experience, culture, upbringing, and religion to name a few. What differentiates personality from these other influencers is that personality comes from within, whereas the others mentioned are external. In fact, your personality is partially responsible for determining how you respond to those outside influences.

    What is Personality?

    In a simple sense, personality is really about your natural inclinations. We all have natural leanings and comfort zones. We are all born with and quickly develop our own unique disposition.

    One of the most well researched models of personality is the Big Five. The Big Five consists of five high-level factors that can be remembered as OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (often referred to as emotional stability). The model states that we all have varying levels of each factor that operate together to create our individual personalities. The model has gained such wide acceptance that even the psychologists at e-Harmony use it as part of their matching system.

    Assessing Personality

    When it comes to assessing personality, there are literally thousands of personality assessments on the market. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of these assessments likely provide as much intellectual insight as your daily horoscope or the latest quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine. So, when looking for a good assessment, consider the source. Simple on-line assessments can sometimes do more harm then good.

    The most popular Big Five-based assessment is the NEO-FFI, but this is not easily accessible. Two other well-known models include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment, both of which have enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity in workshops and are sometimes used in classrooms.

    How Your Career Center Can Help

    When it comes to personality assessments, the best place to go is your campus career center. Most career centers offer a variety of assessments designed to aid in the self-discovery process. If you strike out there, check with the psychology department. Graduate students often use personality assessments as part of their research projects, so if you are willing to participate, you may get to take an assessment.

    Having a good sense of your natural talents will be critical to your success. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where most of your time is spent outside of your comfort zone. When you are in your element, you are at your best. The bottom line is that career success requires really knowing yourself and where you best fit in. Knowing your personality is a good start.

    Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.


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