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

With Passion Comes Progress!

by Kathleen Powell

It’s true, I have a passion for numbers, data, member engagement, return on investment, and adding value. As you know, the First-Destination Survey outcomes are currently being collected for the Class of 2016. Why does it matter or should it matter?  Your data makes a difference!  I’ve heard colleagues tell me they can’t submit their data because they don’t have a 65 percent knowledge rate or they won’t have their completed report done. News flash!  NACE wants you to share your data no matter what your knowledge rate may be. And, the deadline to submit your data is now April 30, 2017. Equally important, and exciting, it has never been so easy to do so.  A reporting form has been completed in an Excel template for you to populate your data in aggregate. One and done, almost!

Sharing your first-destination outcomes data makes a difference. It matters to our profession, our deans, our presidents, and our accrediting bodies. Our collective data allows us, as a profession, to track trends and inform our constituents on the value of higher education; and similarly our work. If we have data to support value, we have a place in the public policy debate around higher education; its value, its purpose and its future.

As an adopter to the request for data, you, as a NACE member, are helping to shape national benchmarks. We are better collectively, around data sharing, then we can be individually. Providing your first-destination survey outcomes will allow you to benchmark around majors, salaries, and bonuses, to name a few for your institution.

Think of the many times you’ve been asked for your first-destination outcomes report.  In those requests, how many times have you been asked how it compares nationally, regionally? If we all subscribe to the reporting of our outcomes to our professional association, we all benefit. I can’t think of a better way to support our profession, the work of our association, than to submit your data. Please join me in being an adopter of the first destination outcomes reporting and protocols. You can make a difference, you could be the difference! With passion, does come progress and a report that publically messages out the story of our collective success!

Deadline for reporting your first-destination outcomes is April 30, 2017. Pick up the free reporting form on NACEWeb.

Kathleen Powell

Kathleen Powell, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, Executive Director of Career Development, Cohen Career Center, William & Mary
President, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Twitter: @powellka
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenipowell/

The Year of Thinking Critically: NACE Career-Readiness Assessment in Action

by Janet R. Long

While critical thinking skills have long been considered a core measure of student learning, critical thinking increasingly appears in the vocabulary of the co-curricular, and notably in the domain of career services. Not only did critical thinking and problem-solving skills rank as the second highest career-readiness competency in the recently published 2016 Recruiting Benchmark Survey, a NACE survey of employers, but the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report also ranked critical thinking as the number 4 in its Top 10 Skills for 2015 and projected it would catapult to second place by 2020, just behind its first cousin, complex problem-solving!

Here at Widener, where I coordinate student learning outcomes for our career services office, critical thinking is top of mind across campus: it is the designated focus area for assessment across academic and administrative units for the current academic year.

As a career services team, we have embraced this focus by challenging our own critical thinking about ways in which we evaluate student learning and success. Here are a few examples:

  • New Approaches: Looking for a way to jump-start the year—and admittedly, to make assessment less dreaded—we held a pilot “data lab,” inspired by the work of University of Richmond Bonner Center for Civic Engagement Director Dr. Bryan Figura. In a data lab, participants evaluate “artifacts” of student learning.

Typically, the process is organized around a theme to make it more engaging and features rotating stations through which participants first review artifacts independently and then come together to reflect and discuss findings. For example, the University of Richmond used a Harry Potter theme to examine student learning in the realm of civic engagement.

For our own office, we selected student career-related writing for our pilot data lab and created a True Crime/CSI theme that had us literally playing detective while examining crime scene “exhibits” such as resumes, cover letters, and reflection papers. As just one take-away from this process, we decided to revise our resume rubric to make student learning outcomes better align with our critical thinking objective. From a programmatic perspective, we also introduced a longer-format interactive resume clinic in lieu of shorter, presentation-oriented sessions.

  • Rubric Audit: We extended our rubric review to student interviewing to ensure that we were truly collecting data that would inform our learning about student learning. Specifically, we revamped the Interview Content section to help both counselors and employers more explicitly rate how well students connect knowledge, strengths, and experiences to their qualifications and competitiveness for specific opportunities. We piloted the new rubric during a week-long event, Mock Interview Mania, and have already uncovered areas for improvement.
  • New Assessment of Existing Programs: As one example, we added a pre/post-test student self-evaluation for Seekers, the semester-long career exploration program that we facilitate for our liberal arts students at Widener, to an existing student reflection requirement. Several of the Likert-scale items pertain directly to the application of critical thinking skills to career-readiness process steps.
  1. I understand how my personal values may impact my career choices.
  2. I can confidently articulate my major strengths and how they connect to my employment or graduate study goals.
  3. I can confidently describe the skills I have learned through liberal arts coursework in language that a potential employer will understand and value.
  4. I can draw from my campus involvement, service, and leadership experiences to develop an effective “elevator speech.
  5. I know how to locate and navigate resources found in the Career Exploration and Professional Development sections of the Career Services Campus Cruiser Office.
  6. I understand how to network to pursue internships, jobs, or graduate programs in a way that leverages my personal style and strengths.
  7. I am confident in my ability to arrange and conduct an informational interview.
  8. I can list my top five targets for jobs, internships, or graduate programs.
  9. I can confidently and professionally use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with Widener alumni in support of my goals.
  10. I can use my critical thinking skills to confidently respond to challenging interview questions.
  11. Overall, I believe that my liberal arts education is preparing me for life after graduation.
  • Unifying the Units: In the most far-reaching initiative to date, our career services office has actively partnered with our peer units within Academic Support Services, including Counseling, Disability Services, Exploratory Studies, Student Success and Retention, and Tutoring. My colleague Jocelyn Manigo, director of tutoring services, and I were asked to co-chair this initiative, starting with aligning language around critical thinking across the six areas. In an upcoming post, I will elaborate on our process and learning to date.

What kinds of assessment initiatives are you piloting in your own offices? How are you getting colleagues to buy into the process?

Janet LongJanet R. Long is a NACE blog contributor and the career liaison to Widener University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She also coordinates student learning assessment for the career services office and co-chairs assessment for the broader Academic Support Services unit in partnership with Jocelyn Manigo, director of tutoring services.

Is Online MBTI Training Worth It?

by Lee Desser

I first took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in graduate school, when I was working as a career services graduate assistant at the University of Southern California. It blew my mind. I realized that my friend from college who consistently showed up 15 minutes late to our noon meetings was probably not trying to disrespect me. Woah! Instead, my preference for Judging (J) was clashing with her preference for Perceiving (P). While I appreciate an orderly, scheduled, and systematic world (very J-like), she prefers a spontaneous, flexible, and casual one-typical P! I realized that rather than thinking that she subtly did not like me or value my time, I could have perhaps been more open-minded and adapted those Thursday noon-time lunches where I ate pasta and salad, to inviting her over to lunch for sandwiches or maybe even adapting to her schedule and showing up a few minutes later.

Fast-forward a few years later; I’m a career adviser at a graduate school and wanting further training with the MBTI. I investigated my options and realized that while in-person training generally costs $1,795 ($1,495 in Florida), online training costs $850 plus ~$170 for class materials. After applying for staff development funding from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, a graduate school that’s part of Middlebury College in Vermont, I was ready to move forward! Here are a few pros and cons to the training:

Con #1: Examples are Too Gendered

   Many of the examples are too gendered i.e. there are a lot of female clients who are ENFJ’s and into counseling. For instance, in Module 5 – Presentation 1, this was one of the examples: “Betty is a ‘doer’ and ‘helper’ who struggles with science and becomes a kindergarten teacher. She is a feeler. Al studies aeronautical engineering and physics and works in research and development. He’s a thinker. He becomes a manager and consultant.” This reinforces the idea that women go into helping professions and men go into math and science careers. Is this what they’re trying to show?

 

In the revision I’d love to see a woman studying engineering and a man studying social science. This typical gendering happens in Modules 1, 3, and 8, as well. To their credit, I let GS Consultants (the online trainers) know about this, and they are updating and editing the “stories.”

Con #2: Cost is a Bit High for Limited Length of Program

If I could change one part of this program, I would make it less rigid. I’m guessing someone who prefers Judging created the training! It would be nice to have more time with the material. There is a strict 60-calendar-day time limit, requiring about 45 hours of coursework. Additionally, if a student does not log into the CourseSites system every 14 calendar days, they will not maintain their eligibility in the program. At one point work got crazy and I was taking longer than expected on the final assignment. I e-mailed administration and asked how much longer I had before I was kicked out of the system (three days? four days?) and they couldn’t tell me. They said I would have to remember the last time I logged in. If they are going to take such a tough approach to kick people out of the training if they don’t login at least every two weeks, then I think there should be a way to find out if your time is almost up. Luckily, I was OK and successfully completed the training.

Pro #1: Much More Sophisticated Knowledge of Type Dynamics

One thing I learned in this program that surprised me: I had no idea there was such a thing as the hierarchy of functions of each type.

Essentially, as Myers writes in the seventh edition of Introduction to Myers-Briggs Type, “Type describes 16 dynamic energy systems, not 16 static boxes. Each four-letter type is not the result of adding its four preferences together. It is the interaction of the preferences with one another” (52).

Type is much more complex than it may first appear and having an awareness of type dynamics, dominant functions, auxiliary functions, and hierarchy of type provides greater insight into to an individual and how they might react under stress.

Pro #2: “Steps in Interpreting the MBTI” Worksheet

The most useful sheet I received as part of my training was the “Steps in Interpreting the MBTI.” This document explains a step-by-step process to interpreting the assessment, including how to describe the work of C.G. Jung, the focus on type preferences, and the importance of verifying type. It also includes hints for providing MBTI feedback based on the age of the client and how to work with clients who have slight PCI’s or preferences. After taking the online training, I feel more confident advising a client who has unclear type preferences.

Pro #3: Wonderful Feedback From My Instructor

I really appreciated all of the individual feedback and attention to detail from my instructor. Even though it was an online course I felt more connected to the material from the individualized comments on my various assignments. For instance, he pointed out that I should always capitalize the preferences when using them as nouns, i.e., Extraversion, and that the longer a bar graph is, as in the Judging/Perceiving dichotomy, the respondent is more clear about her preference.

Overall I would recommend the training, though I wish I could have done it in-person. If anyone has completed the in-person training, I’d be curious to hear about your experience! Also, if you have any additional comments or questions, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Lee Desser

Lee Desser, Career and Academic Adviser, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lmdesser

Auld Lang Syne—Resolutions for 2017

by Marc Goldman

I always enjoy celebrating the holiday season with friends and family. New Year’s Eve has been a tradition in my house since I was a preschooler. Yes, my parents let me stay up late from a very early age, which might explain my night owl tendencies to this day. Once January 1 has come and gone, people discuss their resolutions for the coming year. These goals and commitments might have to do with health and wellness, social lives, hobbies, activism, and even the workplace. And that got me thinking. From a professional standpoint, what are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017?

  1. Follow the data: More and more, our industry is turning to data, big and small, quantitative and qualitative, as a source for strategic planning, decision making, and new ideas. My goal is to use data as a powerful driver for both my office’s programming and employer outreach. In addition, data will help us assess our success in terms of outcomes, resources, attendance, and awareness. And embracing external reports on trends and data will help with messaging and promotion of my team’s mission on and off campus.
  2. No I in TEAM: Half of my staff is new to the career center this academic year, so we have been rebuilding and team building at the same time. This staffing scenario provides great opportunity and enthusiasm, but it presents challenges to the staffers, new and seasoned as well. I need to be more open minded than ever before, while remaining focused on my philosophy and vision of our shared work to ensure that we benefit the students, the reason we are all in it together.
  3. Show me the money: As with many career services offices, funding can be a challenge. Having offices on two campuses only makes that issue more pronounced. I plan to explore fundraising opportunities now that my staffing trials and tribulations have ended (for the present). Whether I develop an employer partner program, fundraising for specific program needs, or both has yet to be decided. But I will be consulting with my advancement colleagues for their input and experience on this one.
  4. Reading is fundamental: While I do spend a good deal of time reading online articles, checking out the occasional blog post, and following many colleagues (and celebs) on Twitter, it is high time I do a bit more of a deep dive into this wonderful world of books. There are a number of titles on my hit list. I just have to start with one. Is there a career services book club out there I can join? Yikes, did I just come up with another idea to implement?
  5. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: One of my favorite movies is Rudy, the story of the ultimate sports underdog, whose grit, determination, and positive attitude lead him to some degree of legend status. Rudy’s story reminds me that I need to keep my positive attitude (no laughing, please) regardless of circumstances, challenges, or roadblocks ahead. And in my office and on campus, optimism really can be one of the most powerful motivators and messages to convey.

I will check in with you in January 2018 to let you know how well I end up sticking to my resolutions. What are some of yours? Feel free to let me know on Twitter (@MarcGoldmanNYC). Happy 2017!

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Blogs from Marc Goldman

Getting Ready for the Spring Job Market After Winter Break

by Lisa L. Simmons

Winter break is over at most campuses. Students are returning to classes, and employers are preparing to target them for job and internship openings.

Are your students prepared to engage with employers? The following can help them shake off the winter break cobwebs and RECOVER in time for spring recruiting.

Recruiting System Profile Audit
• Ask students to log into your university recruiting system.
• Have them ensure that their information (GPA, major, graduation date…) is correct.
• Encourage them to complete their profile as thoroughly as possible.

Employment Search Plan
• Ask students to make a list of organizations that are their “Plan A.”
• Encourage students to not limit themselves to the most attractive and in-demand employers where the competition for available positions is substantial. Have them research other organizations that they would also consider. These will be their “Plan B.”
• Ask them to set up search agents on your university recruiting system and other job boards that will help them identify open positions.
• Advise them to research their targeted organizations, the organizations’ industries, and the functional area in which they are interested.

Cover Letter Review
• Encourage them to review their cover letter.
• Advise students to describe what they can do for an organization rather than what they want it to do for them.

Official Transcript Request
• Have students order their latest official transcript from the registrar so they can have it on hand if required by an organization.
• Remind them that they may also need an unofficial transcript in case they must upload it to a system with maximum document size requirements. (Watermarked documents are usually large.)

Visit the Career Center
• Encourage students to touch base with a career coach to review their resume and cover letter, discuss their goals, and iron out their job / internship search plan.
• Provide mock interview (in person or virtual) opportunities so that they will feel comfortable if they are selected for an employer interview.

Expand Network
• If students are not on LinkedIn, ask them to set up an account.
• Advise them that networking can lead to employment.
• Encourage them to look for friends, family, and alumni who are working at their targeted organizations and build a relationship. LinkedIn has a tip sheet that can assist them.

Resume Review
• Have students review their resume
• Tell them to include any experience they may have acquired over break
• Ask them to make any necessary revisions, such as GPA.
• Have students recheck their contact information, and caution them to be responsive to employers, the career center, and employer relations contacts.

Best wishes for a successful spring semester!

(A student version of this blog is available in Grab & Go on NACEWeb.)

Lisa SimmonsLisa L. Simmons, Associate Director, Employer Experience, Wake Forest University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/llsimmons
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CareerConduit