That’s Why I Gave my 4-Year-Old Son an Internship

by Joe Hayes

If you’re a parent you know summer is a double-edge sword. On the bright side, there are endless summer activities to keep occupied: from attending festivals, participating in outdoor sports and movies, or simply hanging at the pool. But there’s also the dark side. School’s out, the kids are home all day and longer periods of daylight means later and longer bedtime routines. This disruption to routine can be tiresome and at minimum takes adjustment.

That’s why I gave my 4-year-old son an internship. Paid, I might add.

While admittedly my reasons for considering an internship were slightly selfish (OK, entirely), research shows that assuming the timing and quality of experiences are age appropriate, early is better when it comes to experiences. The earliness trend has been applied in different areas from college football coaches that are offering athletic scholarships to students in junior high to corporate recruiters that are offering college students full-time positions a couple of years in advance. So developing an age appropriate internship for my 4-year-old is not that far-fetched.

In defining this summer internship, I looked at the National Association of Colleges and Employers‘ (NACE) seven point test to make sure his internship was legit and educational.

 

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform. Off to a good start. My son just graduated from Pre-K. He learned kindness, numbers, the alphabet, music, art, and more. His summer internship will include many, if not all of these lessons from the past year. The work he will be contributing to the organization’s mission will be helpful, but at the same time will require supervision and won’t displace any workers. (Status: Check)
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings. I really can’t think of any employment setting that wouldn’t benefit from kind employees and knowledge of numbers. On top of this, exposure and an overall well-roundedness to the arts only creates a more diversified employee and thus a stronger work force. (Status: Check)
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications. See position description below. (Status: Check)
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. See position description below. (Status: Check)
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience. My wife and I are honored and excited to serve as internship supervisors. We were once in his shoes and are happy to provide our expertise in household duties and more so – applying critical Pre-K skills to a real world setting. We recognize that this internship will test the intern in new ways and may result in some setbacks along the way. And this leads directly to number 6: (Status: Check)
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  As supervisors, we know feedback (positive and constructive) is critical to learning. For instance, it would be a disservice to let the intern apply too much water to plants and unknowingly over-water and kill them. Knowing the research on millennials and the need for feedback, we can only guess that this generation will have somewhat similar traits. While some companies incorporate once-a-year reviews (minimum) or daily “stand-ups,” we agreed to nightly story-time debriefs. We discuss what made the intern happy, what made the intern sad, and what the intern is looking forward to tomorrow. (Status: Check)
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals. We are committed to making his internship experience top notch. We’ve made investments in the proper tools and equipment that will assist in his objectives such as a watering hose, crayons, sidewalk chalk, etc. In order for our internship to attract quality candidates, we’ve provided free housing, transportation, and a daily meal plan with plenty of snacks. We recognize that company culture is important and have made great efforts to demonstrate this through a casual dress environment (perhaps too casual), ice cream socials, annual day at the ballpark, and a work-from-home policy. Lastly, we recognize that there are other professionals that the intern can learn from so we plan on having aunts, uncles, and grandparents share their wisdom in a soon-to-be-named leadership development series. (Status: Check) 

joe hayes intern description

Disclaimer: Perhaps it goes without noting, but if it wasn’t already clear this light-hearted story was developed to shed light on the requirements of an internship and to bring attention to developing a structured internship with built in learning objectives. My son does not have an internship. He’s 4.

Joe HayesJoe Hayes, Assistant Director, Employer Relations & Internships, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Twitter: @_JosephHayes
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephhayes1

Prepare Now for Your Summer Interns

by Mark Broadfoot

Summer interns will be arriving next month, so now is the time to get ready. The time will pass quickly and putting off preparations will keep you from having a great summer. You worked hard in the fall and spring to recruit the “right talent” for the company, so put in the same effort for the internship. One of the biggest complaints heard from interns is companies were not ready for their arrival. The interns show up and the company forgot about their arrival or was scrambling to get things ready. Interns know when companies are prepared. You need to make a solid first impression on your interns. If you are looking to hire some of them at the end, then day one must be strong. Below are some ideas to help you get ready.

Manager Training

    • Encourage your managers to get things ready now.
    • Advise them on how productive this age group can be for them.
    • Formulate a weekly work schedule that will challenge the intern all summer.
    • Communicate to your managers the importance of calling the interns weeks before arrival.

On-Boarding

    • Communicate to the interns the important documents to bring on day one.
    • Categorize items needed to be done on day one. Do not look disorganized as a company.
    • Formulate a day one arrival procedure.
    • Summarize your company’s dress before arrival, allowing time to buy needed clothes.

Orientation

    • Construct a day-one orientation that highlights company culture and values.
    • Organize first-day activities that encourage communication among all interns.
    • Facilitate an overview of company’s communication technology, including Outlook and SMS.
    • Develop an organized meet-and-greet process among managers, with introductions and titles.

Summer Events

    • Arrange all summer activities now with a balanced schedule.
    • Purchase all tickets and make reservations now. Try to keep costs low for students.
    • Determine which managers will attend events and put it on their calendars.

Summer Projects

    • Develop the group projects with run-through prior to interns’ arrival.
    • Organize materials and advise intern managers of time commitments.
    • Evaluate presentation procedures for summers end and provide it to all teams.
    • Persuade interns to brush up on PowerPoint, offering classes or web training if needed.

Summer Wrap-up

    • Develop a summer sendoff process, highlighting learnings.
    • Conduct a resume writing course to teach how to add their new acquired skills.
    • Execute a strong off-boarding process, make the last impression memorable.
    • Spearhead a survey for interns to evaluate the company, managers, and internship.

Students talk. Make sure what they say about your company is positive. This will help with your recruiting in the fall.

Mark Broadfoot
Mark Broadfoot, owner and consultant, UR Consulting, Missouri City, Texas
Twitter: @URRecruitee1
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/markbroadfoot

Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship

by Chaim Shapiro

Internship season is about to begin. As most colleges begin to wind down their academic year, companies across the country are getting ready for the influx of interns that will work for them over the summer.

Career services professionals will spend a lot of time over the next few weeks helping their students prepare for their internships. To that end, please feel free to share Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship with your students!

Internships are an incredible opportunity, and you need to hit the ground running to take full advantage.

1) Understand the Opportunity There are plenty of jokes about interns spending their summer making coffee and wasting their time with busy work. Don’t fall for that misconception. Companies have no need to waste their time or your time, and they don’t need cheap labor.

Companies have internship programs so that they can test drive the talent. They want to see you and how well you work in a professional setting. Take your responsibilities seriously from day one.  A successful internship is the best way into many companies!

2) Recognize that They WANT to Hire You Most interns don’t realize that the company is invested in your success. If you were hired as an intern, that means they believe you have the right skills to make an excellent full-time employee. The human resources professionals who run the internship programs are judged based on their “conversion rate” turning interns into full-time employees.

From the company’s perspective, a higher conversion rate means that the internship program was well recruited and well run. That means they want to hire you. Give them what they want!

3) Know the Company This may seem obvious, but employees tend to be passionate about their company. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company before you start. Your knowledge and expertise will help you stand out compared to less-prepared interns.

4) Learn Your Role Most companies hire interns to work in a specific subdivision of the company. Learn the mission of that department and your role in it. Success begins with mastering your role and exceeding the expectations for your position. It is much easier to be successful when you know what you are supposed to accomplish.

5) Network, Network, Network! Network as much and as often as you can during your internship. Do not miss a company social or networking event. Attend the company barbecue, networking events, socials, etc. Try to make a positive impression on a large number of people. Your network will be essential for your future success, both at that company and beyond.

Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship is available through NACEWeb’s Grab & Go. College members are welcome to copy the text and place it on the career center website. A blog for employers on how to prepare for this summer’s interns will be published on Tuesday, April 18.

Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro, Director of the Office for Student Success,  Touro College
Website: http://chaimshapiro.com/
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro

Building the Stairway to Internship Success

by Susan Brennan

Creating a successful internship program goes beyond posting internships and hoping that students apply and get hired. It is rooted in a comprehensive career development program with institutional buy-in from faculty and administration. It requires an ability to get students to the door, through the door and up the stairs—interested in internships, prepared for the role, and successful once they’re on the job.

Exploring each step will demonstrate careful collaboration on the part of the career services team, faculty and administration, and employers to create a “wow” customer service experience for all constituents. The goal: corporate partners will continue to provide meaningful internships, and students will continue to get hands-on experience and opportunities for career development.

To the Door

Students understand the value of internships by becoming more self-aware through tools such as StrengthsFinder, which my university offers through career development introduction courses for both first- and second-year students. (Although not required, the first-year course averages 98 percent enrollment).

Once they determine their strengths and interests, students learn how hands-on experience will help further develop their talents and provide opportunities to test out their strengths and discover what they like (and don’t like). At my university, each major has a designated career adviser who is an industry expert and understands different roles. They work closely with employers to determine market needs and tie those back into career programs and curriculum (by collaborating with faculty). We offer first-year students the opportunity to connect with a peer career colleague – these are fellow students who are trained to be a resource during and after the CDI courses. They can support the career development message and ease younger students into the process.

Through the Door

Most schools have a recruiting program to post internships. The key is working with employers to secure meaningful internships that work for your student body. Bentley posts an average of 3,000 internships per year; each one is vetted by a member of the career services recruiting team to determine relevance for our students. This includes on-site visits to better understand roles and observe students on the job. This kind of groundwork helps students secure positions (with top companies in high demand) because their skills are aligned with employer needs. Bentley students also have an advantage because they have developed a useful internship search toolbox in the CDI course including: self-awareness through StrengthsFinder; résumé and cover letter writing; elevator pitch and LinkedIn profile development for networking; research and interviewing skills; and customized career action plan development.

Up the Stairs

Once students land internships, they want to be successful. In order to do that, they need to strengthen the eight Career Readiness Competencies, as defined by NACE. It’s our job to develop those in each student so by the time they arrive at work, they have the competence that comes from education; the confidence to know that they’re prepared; a community of mentors and other support; and the curiosity to take on new projects and try new things. Developing these comes not only from career workshops and programs, but through the curriculum. At Bentley, for example, their confidence is built through hands-on projects and consulting through corporate immersion programs and resources such as the Center for Marketing Technology and Trading Room. Career advisers build career communities that bring students together with faculty, alumni, parents, and friends into learning communities that provide mentorship and connection around similar career interests.

Princeton Review named Bentley No. 1 for internship opportunities, but the ranking is really founded on a robust career services program that is all-encompassing. Career development has to be built into a university’s DNA, with a campus-wide commitment to experiential learning. That is what will help students know which internships to apply for, get hired and perform well.

Done right, an internship program has the power to boost a school’s overall career placement rate (Bentley is at 99 percent). According to a 2015 NACE survey, an employer is far more likely to offer a job to a student prior to graduation if he or she had an internship or co-op. A 2016 NACE survey reported that a primary goal for most internship programs, according to responding employers, is converting students who have taken part in an internship or co-op program into full-time employees, with an average offer rate of 72.7 percent.

Beyond rankings and numbers, however, a strong internship program will help provide jobs—and contribute to the lifelong career success and satisfaction—our graduates deserve.

 Susan BrennanSusan Brennan, Associate Vice President of University Career Services at Bentley University
Director–College on the 2016-17 NACE Board of Directors
Twitter: Twitter.com/bentleycareerSB
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susansandlerbrennan

Career Research Series: Incivility in the Job Search

by Desalina (Alina) Guarise and James W. Kostenblatt

This post is part of a series of interviews that will explore career-related research. As recipients of a NACE Research Grant, we are partnering with nearly 40 institutions to explore the long-term impact unpaid internships have on career success and are looking for more partners to join. Contact us if interested!

Through our research project, we have had the pleasure of working closely with Abdifatah A. Ali, a doctoral candidate in organizational psychology at Michigan State University graduating in May 2017 who has closely studied motivation in the job search.  In an interview, Abdifatah shared details about his research paper, “The long road to employment: Incivility experienced by job seekers,” published in October in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How did you become interested in career-related research?
I graduated with my undergraduate degree from San Diego State studying psychology with a minor in statistics. Here, I started doing research with an industrial-organizational psychology professor who encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. My research interests early on dealt with motivation—in particular how individuals self-regulate their emotions, behavior, or actions in order to achieve their goals when looking for work. For example, when people are unemployed or college students are looking for work, how do they motivate themselves and what are the factors that influence their level of motivation and persistence so they can get a job?

At Michigan State University, I collaborated with Dr. Ann Marie Ryan to examine how people’s emotional reactions impacted their job search success (defined as whether the candidate received interview call backs, job offers, etc.). We were able to show that BOTH positive and negative emotions that people experience when they are looking for work motivate them. So, for example, if you just get a call back from a company that makes you feel excited or happy, that will motivate you and encourage you to continue to put effort into the job search. On the other hand, if you are experiencing challenges or anxiety, these negative emotions can actually also motivate effort, which is contrary to what we thought.

I’ve more recently made a switch and begun to look at factors that undermine job search efforts, which relates to my current research.

Your current research focuses on incivility experienced by job seekers—how did you come up with this research topic?
Before this paper there was very little research looking at which contextual factors undermine motivation—they were only looking at things that facilitate it. When you talk to individuals that are job searching, they constantly talk about experiencing incivility, which got us wondering what effects these incidents have on the job search process.

How do you define incivility? Can you give some examples?
Incivility is defined as generally rude or discourteous behaviors that are ambiguous in terms of intent. For example, a snide comment or a funny look from a recruiter or interviewer. They are perceived as behaving in a rude way but you don’t necessarily know if they are doing it intentionally.  

Tell us more about the research design and findings.
A majority of the research on incivility has been conducted about incivility experienced by professionals once they actually work at an organization; we were instead focusing on the job search. We began with a qualitative study to understand the nature of incivility during the job search. In the first stage of our research, we interviewed 100 job seekers and asked them whether they had experienced incivility and collected details about the incident. We’d then ask them what they thought the cause of that behavior was. We were interested in how people interpreted the ambiguous nature of these incidents. In one example, the interviewer is abrupt and doesn’t give the candidate a lot of time. Some candidates may view that experience by simply thinking that the interviewer was busy (i.e., externalizing the cause), while others may think that the interviewer was rude to them because of their incompetence (i.e., internalizing the cause).

The second and third study were more empirical. We wondered if there was a way we could predict who will externalize or internalize these incidents. We found that, for those who internalize the cause of these incidents, incivility undermines one of the best predictors of job-search motivation which is job-search self-efficacy or self-confidence.  Conversely, job-search motivation was not impacted for those who externalized the cause of these incidents.

What implications do you think this has for career services practitioners and employers?
Our findings support the need for resilience training and other tactics that would help job seekers re-frame the cause of these incidents.  If we can help them by not attributing the cause to themselves we can ensure their job search motivation doesn’t suffer.

I think it also has implications for those who are recruiting, as they are seeking ways to ensure candidates have a great experience and ultimately accept an offer.  Incidents of incivility can have a real influence on the talent pipeline.  

What are you working on now with your research?
A project really relevant to the NACE audience is one I’m working on with Dr. Phil Gardner related to internships. We are examining the role employees have on student interns including both employees who are assigned as formal supervisors and those that act as informal mentors. We are studying how these individuals impact whether or not interns accept full-time offers at the end of their internship experience. Results should be out in the near future.   

Alina GuariseDesalina (Alina) Guarise, Associate Director of Career Advancement Center at Lake Forest College
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/desalina

 

 

 

James W. KostenblattJames W. Kostenblatt, Associate Director, New York University’s Wasserman Center for Career Development
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jameskostenblatt

Supporting Students in the Race for Talent

by Heather Tranen
It’s  no secret among college campuses that recruiters are investing in talent earlier and earlier every year. I half expect the big banks will soon reach out to my two-year-old for a milk chat to discuss his advanced color identification skills. As the arms race for talent becomes more competitive and the talent pools become younger, how do career services professionals support their students?

1) Help them with their FOMO (fear of missing out). Niche industries have the capacity to recruit en mass early in the recruiting season. Many students may feel they should forego valuable life experiences such as studying abroad to avoid fear of missing out at home during on-campus recruitment. I meet with a lot of students reconsidering their decision to study abroad. Once I do some digging, beneath the surface of their fears I find only a lukewarm interest in the fields recruiting during their time away. I explain to them that they can still have informational interviews with alumni, do research on potential career interests and organizations, and even participate in some sort of experiential learning opportunity in between classes and traipsing the globe during their semester abroad. Once they become educated on the recruitment process and discover ways to remain productive in their career development while away they feel much more empowered and confident in their decisions.

2) Provide support resources. As students get recruited earlier in the process, it’s important that we adjust our services to meet their needs and to ensure they are prepared for the professional world. To be competitive, it will be crucial that students develop their interviewing and professional skills. This means tailoring programs earlier in their college experiences to cover these topics, create awareness among students of resources, and shed light on different internship opportunities available to them. Networking with alumni can be a valuable experience so offering venues for students to meet alumni in a less intimidating, non-recruiting environment can give them the insight they need to make good decisions during the recruitment process. Sometimes just hearing another person’s story can put students’ minds at ease.

3) Offer up offer advice. Students are making big decisions about their careers early in their college experiences. This can lead to rash decision making without the necessary strategic thinking. It’s important for us as career services professionals to ensure students are making good decisions for themselves. We want to avoid the dreaded reneging, which harms the reputations of both the individual student and the university at large, and foster mature and thoughtful career decisions. Brainstorming the right questions students can ask to get the most information about the potential internship experience helps them to consider which is the right opportunity for them. Additionally, working collaboratively with recruiters to create fair and firm offer guidelines helps us protect our students and  ensure a positive experience for the employers.

Many of us will venture into uncharted territory as we during campus recruitment next semester (conveniently, I will be on maternity leave so…..let me know how that all goes). As with all the changes we experience in higher education, it’s important to be flexible, open-minded, and share best practices with each other.

Heather Tranen
Heather Tranen,
Associate Director, University of Pennsylvania Career ServicesLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertranen
Twitter: @htranen

Developing Career Goals Holistically

Melanie BufordMelanie Buford, Program Coordinator/Adjunct Instructor, Career Development Center, University of Cincinnati
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mebuford/
Website: www.melaniebuford.org

Dan Blank, a career coach who works primarily with creative professionals, offers the following advice in his webinar “Take Back Your Creative Life.”

“Career goals should not be formed in isolation. You must take into account all of your responsibilities (personal and professional), and be sure to account for your own well-being. This includes physical and mental health.” Blank encourages his clients to integrate their career and personal goals in order to set themselves up for success.

Many undergraduate students start their career decision-making process by selecting a major based on the subjects they enjoyed in high school. Students interested in majoring in one of the applied sciences tend to follow this pattern. Several students I’ve worked with tell me they’ve chosen to major in engineering because they were “smart” in high school or strong in math and science, but they don’t know much about the field itself. Time and again, these students arrive at the career development center wondering why they’re not more interested in the engineering coursework and field experiences.

The problem isn’t engineering. The problem is that these students formed career goals in isolation. They didn’t consider the environment they’d be working in, the physical location of their organization, the skills they enjoy developing and want to build on, or the ways they hope to grow as people and as professionals. Fortunately, the University of Cincinnati provides a co-op program that allows engineering students to get full-time work experience before graduation.

Career goals, increasingly, need to be formed holistically. Gone are the days when choosing a career was simply a matter of matching your best school subject to an industry. The market is volatile; new opportunities are being created and other avenues are becoming less viable. A law career isn’t the safe choice it once was, and the nonprofit world has expanded to include diverse organizations tackling new social issues. It’s more common that professionals will relocate to a new city for a job opportunity, and more workers than ever are changing jobs and moving to new sectors over the course of their careers.

We are facing the so-called “paradox of choice.” Research has demonstrated that if we are presented with more opportunities, decision-making becomes more difficult and satisfaction less likely.

When a student steps into a career development office today, they’re faced with a much broader set of options than they would have been 30 years ago. They could go to medical school in their hometown or they could spend two years in the Peace Corps and teach grade school students in Lithuania. They could go to graduate school for computer science or launch a start-up with friends based on their ideas for a new app.

In order to make these decisions, students have to consider not only what talents they have, but what kind of life they want to lead.

It is critical, therefore, that students take a holistic approach to developing their career goals. We encourage them to apply this lens both to themselves and to the field they’re considering. Here are a few questions students should consider during the career exploration process:

What skills do I have and want to develop?

What type of work environment might best fit my temperament?

What type of diversity do I hope to have in my work environment?

How is the industry I’m considering expected to evolve in the next few decades?

What city, state, or country might I want to live in?

What have my career goals been and how have they changed?

What role would I like technology to play in my career?

How important is stability to me and how willing am I to take risks?

Each of these questions will take time to answer as students develop more clarity on their identities and values. Is it any wonder career goals formed at age 18 often feel premature? These are questions we wrestle with throughout our lives.

To me, this only underscores the importance of committing to a continuous career development process, not just for students, but for graduates. Attempting to build your life looking only through a narrow lens of career is bound to work against your happiness. We must support students around this process by acknowledging its complexity and encouraging them to consider the multiple implications of a potential career path.

NACE members can pick up a student-directed version of this blog, Develop Your Career Goals Holistically, in Grab & Go.

Sources:

Blank, Dan. (2015). Take Back Your Creative Life Webinar. We Grow Media.

Cole, Marine. (2014). U.S. Job Market Has Changed Dramatically in 15 Year. The Fiscal Times. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/05/15/How-US-Job-Market-Has-Changed-Dramatically-15-Years

Hedges, Kristi. (2012). The Surprising Poverty of Too Many Choices. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/11/26/the-surprising-poverty-of-too-many-choices/.