Juggling internship and job decisions

Posted November 15, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Uncategorized

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.

Intern position to full-time offer

Posted November 8, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Career planning

In an internship yet?  Just starting your search?  Either way, you’re just in time to take the long view and look at your internship not just as a few months worth of work/experience/networking, but as a way to get both feet firmly planted in the door.  You’ve heard the stats about the transition from internship to full time employment (67% of interns are hired by the companies that they intern with).

So let’s talk about how that 67% of interns seals the deal.

Treat the internship like a 3-month interview.

Think about your last interview:  you were on your game, alert for how you could make a great impression, and constantly aware of how the impression you were making.  Okay…now see if you can do that for three months.

Intern where you want to work

When picking an internship, make sure to ask yourself whether this could be a place you want to work in the long term.  There are plenty of other considerations for choosing your internship, but make sure to at least consider this question as you’re evaluating the pros and cons.  If you intern with a company you think you might want to work for after you graduate, you’re setting yourself up for a good long term offer.

Be the sponge

While in your internship, absorb everything.  Pay attention to office culture, opportunities for mentorship and advancement, tidbits of information about the company that you might not get from research, and anything else that piques your interest.  When it comes time to apply for and evaluate the company for a full time job—this information will be invaluable.

Meet people

Make it a priority to talk with your colleagues (not just fellow interns!) on a regular basis.  By getting to know the folks at the company, you’ll not only get to know more about the company, but you’ll undoubtedly build yourself a fan club of people who know and like you enough to advocate for you to be hired full time when you graduate.

Make yourself indispensable

There are plenty of people with basic transferrable skills…and then there the people who are indispensible.  These people are useful in a variety of departments, projects, roles, and responsibilities.  In order to become an indispensible part of a company, you’ll need to get to know as much about the company as possible, work to connect ideas, projects, people, and bring in new ideas and strategies.  Start slowly on this one:  it’s easy to be the new kid and start suggesting big changes without understanding the office culture or history of what’s been tried before.  But make this a goal toward the end of your internship:  in the last month—find ways to make yourself indispensible so that once you’ve finished your internship, people notice you’re gone—but wish you weren’t.

Saving the world one Big Mac at a time

Posted October 31, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Interns in the News

Tired of hearing stories about interns who just fetch coffee and photocopy?  Check out this story of an intern at McDonalds who figured out that by installing occupancy sensor for lighting in non-dining and non-kitchen areas in 775 company-owned restaurants in the U.S. they could cut approximately 2,993,000 kWh of electricity usage and avoid 1,799 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.  That sure beats picking up dry cleaning and making sure the office kitchen supplies are stocked!

Facebook: not just for fun anymore?

Posted October 31, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Social Networking

We all know that Facebook is great for friend feeds and keeping up with the latest cute kitten viral video.  But Mashable had a recent article about how to use Facebook to find great professional opportunities.  From simple tips about making sure you read your news feed to “liking” or “friending” companies you want to work for, to more complicated ones suggesting you get active in a relevant professional group or starting a dialogue in one of those groups, to fun ones such as competing in contests…there are plenty of ways to tap into the vast network of opportunities Facebook has to offer.

For more details, check out this article in Mashable to start using Facebook for fun and your professional future!

You’ve got an internship: now what?

Posted October 31, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Internship wrap-up, Tips

Are you in the midst of a fall internship?  If you are, here are some tips for how to make the most of your experience.  If you’re not, keep these in mind for when you begin your next internship opportunity!

Catalog it

Keep a record of what you’ve done in your internship while you’re in your internship.  Make sure your resume reflects the results you’ve achieved and the skills you’ve gained:  the more concrete the better.

Do it better the first time

For every task you’re asked to do, exceed expectations.  If you are not only finishing your work on time, but doing a little bit extra, your managers will notice and be impressed.  As you are measured against your peers, your work will stand out.

Be proactive

Volunteer for projects whenever they arise.  This will not only help you gain new skills but will allow you to become the ‘go-to’ person in the office—that person they don’t know how they did without.  This bodes well for future opportunities with the company.

Think ahead

What do you want to do after this internship?  Do you want to work for this same company?  Okay, in what role or capacity?  Want a similar role but in a different company or industry?  How do you gain the skills you’ll need for that transition in the internship you have now?  In order to get the most out of your internship, you’ll need to think ahead.

Got biz cards?

Posted October 31, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Networking

Do you have business cards?  You absolutely, positively should.  Even in a time when everything is digital, business cards are still thriving. Business cards allow you to showcase your personality in the design and delivery of your card, and allow you to leave new contacts with a physical reminder of who you are and a few, pithy bits of information about what you do.  When you exchange business cards you transfer more than just contact data. You transfer impressions and stories that leave a lasting impact.

Surprisingly, companies like Staples and Office Depot have reported a surge in demand for business cards over the past 3 years. This is in spite of the apps and online tools that promise to “replace the business card”.

With the fierce competition for professional opportunities these days, you want to leave a lasting impression.  You also want to leave a physical reminder of who you are and what you’re looking for.  Whether you’re going to an internship fair, networking event, or are just out and about.  You never know when you might meet that contact who is going to be instrumental to helping you find your dream internship.

Social media search strategy

Posted October 31, 2010 by interncoach
Categories: Social Networking

There are three main ways of finding out about internship and career opportunities:  online postings, word-of-mouth leads, and social media feeds.  Since Internships.com is the largest online internship database and prep site, you’ve got that covered.  Word of mouth is all about networking:  check out the regular columns on networking in this newsletter for tips and ideas.  But what about social media?

For many companies, social media is often a first stop when recruiting.  Why?  Think about it:  if opportunities are first posted on company employees’ facebook pages and Twitter feeds, candidates who hear about the opportunities will be somehow connected to the employees.  It’s basically another way to find candidates who have a word of mouth connection or care about the work of the company.  It can also weed out people who are just looking for any internship or job.

So how do you do use social media effectively?  Connect with companies you’re interested in on Twitter and Facebook.  For example, maybe you’re interested in marketing internships in sustainable food companies.  Let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to Zingerman’s mail order foods, SweetRiot chocolates, and Stumptown Coffee.  Connect with their Facebook and Twitter feeds ASAP.  Not only will you be the first to know when they post or tweet new opportunities, but you’ll also get to know the work they do better through their posts.  Obviously, you’ll need to make sure your Facebook profile and Twitter feeds are professional, but that should be true for any internship or job search!

So as you’re looking for your next internship opportunity, be sure to include social media as a key component of your strategy!


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