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Archive for the ‘Internships’ Category

You and I know internships are great. They give you experience, teach you new things, expose you to valuable contacts and often count for course credit. Overall, internships are something you want.

So I wasn’t terribly surprised to see this article posted on The New York Times site the other day about companies having plenty of interns, but not enough chairs. Writer Simon Akam talks to interns at a Brooklyn law firm to see how they’re dealing with an unusually crowded workplace. He points out that the law firm has 60 more interns this summer than it did in 2008’s summer.

The bumper crop of interns, whose placements end July 31, is the result of an increase in both applications and the percentage of students who accepted offers, most likely a fallout of the recession, as many corporate law firms have cut back on their summer programs. In addition to the intensified competition to score a full-time — and paid — job after graduation, the intern glut has put a premium on office chairs, desk space and meaty assignments.

As a result, not all interns feel like they’re getting the experience and responsibility they signed on for. That’s an interesting sentiment in a time when employees seem to be spread thin and complaints of being overworked are commonplace.

On the flip side, over in Austin, a city known for its music is making good use of its interns, according to the Austin Business Journal. This article on music business interns finds these students with more than enough work to do. Students at a community college are helping independent musicians and venues with press releases and managerial tasks involved with the business.

“They have to take accounting and marketing and small business management because a lot of them are going to have to start their own companies,” he said. “We set them up to do business, whether they want to be a musician, manager or concert promoter.”

Bobruk’s intern, Indra Hernandez, said she’s enjoyed working for an independent musician.

“I’ve learned a lot, from writing press releases to talking to people in the industry. It’s been an eye-opening experience,” Hernandez said.

What does this mean for someone looking for an internships? First, this is proof that they’re out there and employers are eager to have you. Also, if you want to expand your skill set, then don’t be afraid to reach out to companies or small businesses  that aren’t the usual destinations for interns. If you’re one of a dozen interns in a single department, you’re competing just to get an assignment. That means the odds of you being offered a permanent positions could dwindle, too.

That’s not to say going with another employer is guaranteed to land you a permanent position, but at least you’ll have an enviable amount of experience to boast about when other people spent their summer making copies.

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Part of the appeal of an internship is the opportunity to parlay it into something bigger and better. For some students, an internship is a necessity for a class, earning an advanced degree or finding a job in the industry. For other students, it’s a way to network and get your foot in the door of  a company. The latter group often hopes their time as interns also serves as an extended audition for the company that could become a job. I’d imagine any student, especially now, would like to have a job lined up before graduation rolls around–if not sooner.

Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, CSP, and Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed have written a new book that can help you out. It’s titled The Millennials: Why Companies Are Losing Billions in Turnover to This Generation-And What to Do about It. Millennials, also known as Generation Y-ers, are up against some stiff competition from other job seekers of all ages, and Sujansky and Ferri-Reed have some tips for interns looking to make the most of their stints.

Some of these tips might work for you, some might not. Once you know your company’s culture and your boss’s work style, work with them to bolster your credentials and become a better worker. Here are what Sujansky and Ferri-Reed suggest:

Find opportunities to expand your experience when interning (offer to help in other areas if you have completed your assignments, tactfully make recommendations or give suggestions when you see an opportunity to improve or enhance something, volunteer to do “extra” duties, etc.)

Keep a daily journal to reflect your activities and accomplishments for each day

Ask for feedback  – formal reviews on what you have done well and what you can enhance

Conduct more research on the company – find out how the company makes money and indicate how you may be able to make a further contribution

Find someone that you respect, observe how he/she does business, ask for advice or feedback from that person on what you can do to make a stronger impact

Ask colleagues for others in the organization that may want to meet you and to know about your skills – or others who may be interested in providing you with career advice

Capture your accomplishments by updating your resume

If you’re currently interning or have had experienced in this field, share your thoughts with us! Have you seen any of these tips work for someone?

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I suspect most of us who were born in the 1980s and even into the 1990s grew up with the assumption that getting a degree would make our lives easier. And, on a whole, I think it’s true. For many careers, you need at least a bachelor’s degree just to get an interview.

But our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where a degree was somewhat a rare commodity and college graduates seemed almost untouchable in the job market. Now, with more people earning degrees and the recession giving everyone a kick in the pants, no one’s immune to tough times. I’ve seen it happening to friends and the friends of colleagues. And I’m sure you’ve witnessed it, if not experienced it firsthand.

I ran across this article in the Gaston Gazette that talked about the hardships Teaching Fellows are facing. Several Fellows are finding themselves without the jobs they had envisioned by the time graduation rolled around.

Manning said that teaching fellows were conditioned their freshmen year that a job would be ready and waiting when they graduated.

“It’s not looking good,” Manning said. “I don’t think it’s just teaching fellows.”

Manning said she’s debating applying to teach in South Carolina, though she knows she’ll have to repay her scholarship with interest if she doesn’t fulfill her required years of teaching.

“I’d rather have a job than not have one at all,” Manning said. “It’s a scary thought. I’m trying to be positive.”

I’m not posting this to scare you, because the point of this blog isn’t about gloom and doom.  Instead, it’s to remind everyone that regardless of the economy and your situation, you should always be thinking about alternatives. Nothing’s set in stone. These schools had the best intentions when they brought on this Fellows, and most employers in today’s economy had the same positive outlooks. The economy’s tanking messed up everyone’s plans, and there was little they could do about it.

Here are some things to think about:

  • If your current plan doesn’t work out, where else could you get a similar job?
  • What else would you like to do?
  • Do you want to stay in this city or would you be willing or prefer to move somewhere else?
  • What are the financial repercussions of changing your career objectives?
  • Are you contractually obligated to fulfill any duties as part of your current job?

Simple questions, but something to keep in mind when you’re mapping your future.

Source: Gaston Gazette

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cbbreeToday we hear from Bree, as she reflect on the key lessons she learned as a CBCampus Ambassador. Here’s what she’s taking away from this experience:

  • Communication is key! Being a communication major, I obviously appreciate this. However, there were a few times I was a little unclear about the task at hand and extra clarification and communication on my part would have helped.
  • Learn on the job….and quickly! Prior to being a marketing representative, I had never written blog posts. It took me a few times to figure out the style and what my company was looking for. This trial and error process is something I know I will use….often.
  • Ask for help! When I was struggling with things like formatting blogs or creating posters, I found the easiest way to get the job done was to ask for help. I can’t be too proud or I’ll never improve.
  • Learn from peers! Fortunately, I was able to contact marketing reps from other schools who had already been through the process. They were a great tool and didn’t make it seem like I was jumping into something blind folded. People before me have been there, done that. They knew what worked, and what didn’t. Using co-workers as a resource is vital to my success.
  • When I get knocked off the horse, I have to get right back on. Rejection is going to be a part of my career…whether I choose entertainment, marketing, public relations, etc. I’m going to get rejected. I experienced this a few times during my marketing endeavors, but I had to get over it really fast; I can’t let rejection phase me. Learn from the experience and move on!

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Whether or not you can have wisdom as a twenty-something about to graduate from college is debatable. But if you’re an undergrad counting down until your last final in 2010, I can’t think of anyone better to tell you how to spend your last year of schooling than this year’s graduates. They’re up to t heir tassels in finals, papers, and post-graduation planning right now. That’s exactly where many of you will be soon. Here’s what Bree has to say:

cbbreeThere a few random, insignificant moments throughout my life that I remember quite vividly, one of them being filling out my application for Purdue my senior year of high school. I specifically remember answer the question “Expected Graduation Date:_________” As I filled the blank with “May 2009,” I smiled as it seemed light-years away. It literally feels like maybe one year has gone by since then, when in reality four years have passed as I approach my graduation date. Along the journey, I’ve learned a few things — and not exactly from the classroom — that I wish I would have known back when. So to the class of 2010 and those to follow, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Grades are very important, but not the world. Make sure you get involved, join social clubs, make friends and actually experience college. As musician Tom Petty once said “…the work never ends, but college does.”
  • Internship. Internship. Internship. It is the best thing I did in college. I found out before it was too late that news reporting wasn’t for me. I got the chance to tryout several jobs to see how they fit while gaining experience, learning what I’m good at and figuring out what I loved, and hated.
  • Start job hunting ASAP! Even if you think you already have things all worked out, it is so important to have options because things are always changing. I’ve really had my heart set on a particular internship and as it gets close to graduation time, it might not pan out. I’m scurrying to find other opportunities. I even have peers whose job offers have been revoked due to the economy. Always prepare for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to job hunting.
  • Start creating an on-going portfolio when you get some hands-on experience from internships or upper-level classes. They can be so useful to show an employer what you can really do come interview time.
  • And finally, enjoy your senior year. It without a doubt has been the fastest year of my life and though I’ve enjoyed it, I wish I had an extra month or two to really live it up.

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Dun-dun-dun-dun-da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-dun. <–That’s my “Pomp and Circumstance” transcription.

It’s that time of year when finals are starting and seniors are thinking, “Oooooh, geez, what did I spend the last four years of my life doing?” That’s natural, of course. Don’t we always feel unprepared for big events in our lives? It’s the cold feet before the wedding or the last-minute panic before you become a parent.

Although you’re likely to get a boat load of advice from your parents, extended family, and strangers, we thought you might prefer to hear what graduating seniors are going through. Thus, we asked some CBCampus Ambassadors to share their wisdom as they near the big day. After all, you’re 12 months from being in the exact situation they’re in. Here’s what Natalie wants you to know:

cbnatalieAs graduation looms closer and closer, I can’t help but reflect on my last four years.  And whether you’re ready or not, Class of 2010, soon you’ll be in my shoes asking yourself the same questions I’m asking myself: Why didn’t I get just one more internship? Why isn’t my GPA higher?  Why did I major in this?  How am I going to get a job in this economy?

Well, lucky for you, there’s another year until you graduate and I’d like to offer some advice.  Please note that I’m scared to graduate, too, and have yet to land a job.  However, here goes nothing:

Make your résumé now, even if you don’t need it yet.  The earlier you start, the longer you give yourself to critique it.  Take it to the career center and say “I have one year to make this perfect.  What else do I need to do to make it stand out?”  They might recommend volunteer work, another internship, etc.  Do it now so you’re not trying to do too many things your last quarter.

Don’t be a slacker!  Go to the library. If I had went to the library as much my freshman and sophomore years as I do now, I’d be in much better shape. It’s easy to get burnt out with heavy school loads, but cramming is, always was, and will always be a bad idea. I was always under the impression that GPA doesn’t matter. It does!  It’s an easy way for recruiting managers to discount your résumé right off the bat.

Start taking morning classes. Waking up early is hard, but most post-grad jobs will be in the 8-5 range.  Get used to it now so you’re more productive at work.  (Being more productive may lead to an earlier raise!)

Start researching companies you are interested in working for now.  It’s possible they have a really awesome internship program that you don’t know about.  Get your foot in the door early.  Try contacting their HR person to see what you can do the next year to stand out from their other applicants.  (It might be something that takes time, like learning certain computer software.)

Don’t flip out. Employers may have a sixth sense for desperation.  Make sure you give each company you’re interested in the attention it deserves.  Know everything on their website so you can sound informed and prepared for your interview. Work is a mutual relationship: they need you, but you probably need them even more.  Let them know you’re applying to their company because you could see yourself working there and really making a positive difference, not because you need a job… ANY job.

Relax.  You can always go to grad school.

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We’re continuing the conversation we began on Monday with Tierney’s post about first jobs. She learned quite a bit from her first paying job as a pharmaceutical technician’s technician’s assistant. Today, Kailee offers her point of view, though her first job–as she sees it–was as an intern for a marketing company. Here’s what she says:

kailee-h1Throughout high school and into college, I had my fair share of hourly jobs. I worked in retail and have even been a lifeguard, but I consider my first true work experience to be my summer internship. I had secured a position in the marketing department of a large company, at which I was assigned to work full-time hours, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5.

Learning the reality of working a full-time job was the first, and perhaps biggest, lesson I learned during my internship. In contrast, my only job in college is to go to class–it doesn’t last all day, and I could skip class if I so desired. I never fully realized the freedom of college, until I began working an 8-to-5 day. This type of schedule takes some getting used to, but I found that my days flew by since I enjoyed my work.

Another important lesson I learned from my first work experience was the skills necessary to operate in an office environment. There are many basic skills I learned that will help me excel in future positions. Microsoft Outlook, for instance, was a program I was not familiar with that most companies use on a daily basis.

This position also provided me with a lot of marketable experience that can be used to my advantage in future interviews and jobs. Not only did I learn about many basic business practices, but I also gained a lot of relevant experience. As a marketing major, this marketing internship built on everything I had learned in class and showed me the true value of things like market research and e-mail marketing.

And finally, my first internship provided me with valuable contacts and references. My manager and co-workers have proved to be great resources in my job search.

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