ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted March 25, 2020 by

U.S. government is hiring interns for virtual work

Across the country, Covid-19 (coronavirus) has made hundreds of thousands of college and university students unsure about their summer internships. Some accepted internships and aren’t sure if they have one to go to. Others were trying to find one, and are now finding that process to be even more difficult.

Fortunately, one very large employer has not changed its plans, in part because its internship program was built from the ground up to be virtual. That employer? Uncle Sam a/k/a the U.S. federal government.

Through the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) program, students can work on projects that advance the work of government on multiple fronts. Projects include helping counter violent extremism, strengthening human rights monitoring, developing virtual programs, engaging in digital communications, mapping, economic and political reporting, data analysis, graphic design, and app building.

According to VSFS, the program is accommodating and flexible. “Through VSFS, students can intern from wherever they are – from dorm rooms to libraries to coffee shops, or anywhere in the world with a broadband or Internet connection. Students set their own schedules too – working on projects on a timetable that fits their life.”

Students can also choose projects from a wide variety of agencies – more than 40 federal agencies. But no need to apply 40 times. Instead, students apply to their top three choices anytime in July. Interviews are conducted in August. Offers are extended in early September.

If you’re hired as an eIntern, you’ll work on your project for 10 hours a week from September through May and some schools will even provide you with course credit.

To find these opportunities, search CollegeRecruiter.com in July. Best of luck!


Julie Ann Sowash of Disability Solutions

Posted March 21, 2020 by

Faith Rothberg of College Recruiter and Julie Ann Sowash of Disability Solutions Selected by NACE to Deliver Presentation on How Programmatic and CPC Impact-Diversity and Inclusion

Minneapolis, MN (March 20, 2020) — Job search site, College Recruiter, announced today that its chief executive officer, Faith Rothberg, will deliver a presentation at the 2020 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) annual conference in Minneapolis with Julie Ann Sowash, Executive Director of Disability Solutions.

NACE is an American nonprofit professional association for college career services, recruiting practitioners, and others who wish to hire the college educated. It boasts a membership of more than 8,100 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, more than 3,100 university relations and recruiting professionals, and the business affiliates like College Recruiter that serve this community.

This year’s conference will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center from June 2nd through 5th. Approximately 2,500 career service, recruiting, and others typically attend these annual conferences.

“I was thrilled to be notified by NACE that the proposal that we submitted was accepted by their annual conference selection committee,” said Rothberg of College Recruiter. “We felt that the proposal would likely be of interest to them and the attendees to the conference as inclusion is a core value for NACE. We admire their passion to foster and support individual and organizational diversity and inclusion to advance equity in all facets of the Association.”

According to Sowash of Diversity Solutions, “Our plan is for Faith to begin the presentation with an introduction to how programmatic and cost-per-click advertising work. Attendees will see how an employer might use one and not the other, but they typically work together. I’ll then discuss how they may undermine diversity and inclusion efforts by steering advertising budgets to the job search site or other media property that offers the lowest pricing, which is often very different from delivering the diverse – candidates employers are seeking.” Instead of just identifying the problem, Faith and Julie will – recommend a solution that is simple to implement and will, we hope, be adopted by employers seeking diverse candidates including recent graduates and talent with disabilities.

About College Recruiter

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1,000 companies, government agencies, and other organizations who want to hire dozens or even hundreds of students and recent graduates of all one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs. For more information, call 952.848.2211, email Sales@CollegeRecruiter.com, or visit www.CollegeRecruiter.com.

About Disability Solutions Disability Solutions works with employers to help strengthen their workforce through diversity and inclusion. We partner with top companies to deliver people and business-driven outcomes by developing recruiting and engagement strategies for the disability community – delivering custom solutions in outreach, recruiting, talent management, retention and compliance. For more information, call 203.203.6220., email Info@DisabilityTalent.org, or visit www.DisabilityTalent.org.

Posted March 19, 2020 by

Resources for students, grads searching for remote work due to COVID-19

The rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic is creating havoc in the lives of almost everyone worldwide. Estimates regarding the number of people laid off or whose employment will be terminated vary widely but, yesterday, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department said that we could see an unemployment rate of 20 percent if we don’t flatten the curve.

If you or someone you know has lost their job or are nervous that your upcoming internship or other job offer won’t be available when you’re ready to start, then here are some resources:

Resources for Remote Work: 

  • Standuply’s list of 330 remote work tools
  • Skillcrush’s list of skills needed for successfully working from home
  • The Muse’s advice on how to find home-based jobs
  • Zapier’s article on how to find work-from-home jobs
  • An article written before the COVID-19 pandemic about the state of remote work
  • List of 25 sites that are good for finding remote work
  • A similar list of 18 sites which are good for finding home-based employment
  • A shorter but still good list for places to find telecommuting jobs
  • A list of 25 companies that hire virtual employees
  • Workplaceless, which is a professional development organization for remote work, they help universities and businesses understand how to best learn, grow and lead remotely
  • And, of course, College Recruiter, which currently has almost 10,000 job posting ads from employers who are trying to hire students and recent graduates who want to work from home

We’re all in this together. Let’s flatten that curve!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted March 17, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: I can’t find a job related to my college major. What should I do?

First Answer:

In the old days, circa 15 years ago, most employers understood that a liberal arts education meant a broad-based curriculum that did not prepare students for any one particular career.

Liberal arts instructions are not trade schools. A liberal arts education teaches students how to think critically, solve problems, and come up with compelling arguments. A liberal arts school teaches students how to be curious and also how to be lifelong learners.

If you can’t find a job related to your major, don’t panic. You may want to re-tool your resume and your online profile to reflect the skills you have learned in college. When you approach your job search in a skills-based way, you’ll find more pathways are open to you.

Be sure to also discuss your career aspirations with your college career services office. Always run your resume by as many people as you possibly can, and don’t be afraid to fine-tune it for a particular position.

Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Power Sales Words (How to Write It, Say It, and Sell It with Sizzle) (Sourcebooks, 2006). 

Second Answer:

Perhaps you’ve already considered this, but do you even want a job related to your college major? Many and perhaps most young adults enter a college or university, are pressured into selecting a major, and pick something that their friends and family will approve of or which aligns well with the student’s skills but do not align well with their interests or values.

College Recruiter recommends that candidates first complete a CIV analysis: what are your competencies, interests, and values? What are you good at, what do you like to do, and what is important to you? Grab a legal pad and put at the top of the first page the word competencies. Then, without regard to your major or anything else, just list everything you’re good at. Some will be career-related, most may not. Repeat for interests and values. Now lay those sheets side-by-side. Look for similarities. Focus on those. That’s your career path.

If you’re like many young adults, your CIV analysis will reveal that your career path does not line up well with your major. If that’s the case, do NOT kick yourself over your educational decisions. Education is always a good thing. If nothing else, your education taught you how to think. And that skill is, amazingly, in very short supply.

— Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted March 10, 2020 by

Why are community college enrollment numbers declining?

Community college enrollments declined last year by approximately 3.4 percent, which is a staggeringly high number if repeated year after year after year. Why? The reasons are numerous. Allow me to address just a few.

Yes, birthrate 18 years ago was smaller than 19 years ago and that was smaller than 20 years ago. However, those differences were relatively minor at 4,060,000 then 4,030,000 then 4,020,000.

Tuition continues to increase, although some states and schools are now offering free tuition. But the vast majority of schools still charge and charge substantially more than they did 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Some students are simply being priced out. 

The Trump Administration’s immigration policies have greatly reduced the number of visitors, students, workers, and immigrants to the country and not just those whose status is illegal. At College Recruiter, we’ve heard story after story after story of students who received student visas in 2015 and 2016 in a few months and are now waiting more than a year to get their visas so they can complete their education. And these are people who have already been in the country. The wait times for those who have not yet been a student here can be even longer. An MBA admissions director for one of the premiere schools in the country told me that the average wait time for her international students is 14-months, which is more than four times what it was under previous administrations. 

Not often discussed is increased competition for higher education dollars. Until a few years ago, if you wanted to go into software development, your typical choices were to try to find a job without a degree, invest two years in getting an Associate’s degree from a community college, or invest four-years in getting a Bachelor’s degree. In the past few years, enrollment in bootcamps has skyrocketed with hundreds of thousands attending these schools and graduating with certificates and jobs within weeks. The cost per day is far higher, but the total cost is far lower and the placement rates are often excellent.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted March 03, 2020 by

What do employers want to see on the resumes of students applying to jobs?

If you’re like most job seekers and at or near the beginning of your job search, then you’re most likely struggling with your resume. And you’re probably struggling to reconcile inconsistent advice you’re receiving from some (make sure it is only one page!) with others (length doesn’t matter since we’ve entered the digital age!).

But mechanics like whether to stay away from columns because some employer career sites are powered by applicant tracking systems (ATS) that can’t properly read column-based documents are well-covered by many other articles on College Recruiter and, quite frankly, many other high-quality career sites. What gets far less attention are what employers want to see on resumes when employers are looking for proof that their candidates have certain soft or hard skills.

First, it is worth emphasizing that virtually every medium- and large-sized employer uses an ATS and that means that the recruiter likely won’t see your resume at all unless it includes the same keywords that they happen to use when searching for candidates who they think would be best suited to the role they’re trying to fill. Every employer is different and every recruiter is different, so generalizing is futile. They’re going to search differently and so you’re going to want to think from their standpoint as much as you can. If you were a recruiter working for the company you’re applying to and trying to fill that open seat, what keywords would you most likely use when searching through a virtual stack of similar resumes?

Want an example? Let’s say that College Recruiter was looking to hire a full-stack developer and we’d love to find someone who has a demonstrated ability to work from home, is a good communicator, and works hard. We wouldn’t just search “full-stack developer” when searching through the applicants to that job posting. All of the applicants should have the skillset because they’re all applying to that job, but where the differences might be between the candidates would be those whose resumes indicate they worked from home, are good communicators, and work hard. You’ll want to come up with keywords to describe each of those and make sure you work them into your resume. When describing your past work experience, make good use of acronyms and synonyms in order to help with this task. For example, it is great that your previous job was “home-based” but in the description also indicate that you “worked from home” as the latter will be a better keyword match for a recruiter searching for resumes with “work from home” as a keyword phrase.

So, when it comes to searching resumes of students who are applying to part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs, what attributes or keywords are recruiters most likely to want to see? According to a recent survey of mostly large employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers:

  1. Problem-solving skills – 91.2%
  2. Ability to work in a team – 86.3%
  3. Strong work ethic – 80.4%
  4. Analytical/quantitative skills – 79.4%
  5. Communication skills (written) – 77.5%
  6. Leadership – 72.5%
  7. Communication skills (verbal) – 69.6%
  8. Initiative – 69.6%
  9. Detail-oriented – 67.6%
  10. Technical skills – 65.7%
  11. Flexibility/adaptability – 62.7%
  12. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) – 62.7%
  13. Computer skills – 54.9%
  14. Organizational ability – 47.1%
  15. Strategic planning skills – 45.1%
  16. Friendly/outgoing personality – 29.4%
  17. Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker – 24.5%
  18. Tactfulness – 24.5%
  19. Creativity – 23.5%
  20. Fluency in a foreign language – 2.9%

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 28, 2020 by

Why are students demanding paid internships and higher wages for entry-level jobs?

A week doesn’t go by without an employer that College Recruiter works with or who I’m connected with in some way questioning why students aren’t interested in their unpaid internships, or their entry-level jobs that pay $12.00 an hour. Invariably, the conversation includes the phrase, “back in my day”.

The reason, quite simply, is that the 99 percent of students who weren’t fortunate enough to be born into wealth simply need the money to eat, pay rent, and afford other necessities. Yes, I get that when you went to school in 1979 that you worked hard (and part-time) as a waiter and paid for your own college and living expenses and graduated with no debt. But do you get that the same job now pays only a fraction of what it did four decades ago and the cost of housing, health care, transportation, and college are exponentially larger than they were when Carter was still president?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE), a student working as a part-time waiter today needs to earn $34.20 an hour based on a 30-hour workweek in order to have the same spending power as you did in 1979 if you were making about $10 per hour. As eyebrow-raising as that may be, the reality is actually worse.

Using the CPI and PCE essentially assumes that what someone would buy in 2020 is the same as what a similarly situated person would buy in 1979. But spending habits, like our tastes in fashion, change. If you attended the University of Minnesota (go Gophers!) in 1979 and your lifestyle was that of an average student, the $10 per hour you made in wages plus tips might have been sufficient to cover your costs. But an average student today lives in a nicer apartment, has to cover more of their healthcare costs, is more likely to use cars as their primary means of transportation because mass transit hasn’t kept up with the growth of the Twin Cities metro, and college, well, don’t even get me started (yet) on the horrendously increased cost of college.

Now, I can hear some objections. “But I was poor and didn’t have all the luxuries these pampered kids have today! They’re choosing to go expensive schools and have fancy toys. That’s their problem!” Well, to an extent, that’s true. But before you starting point fingers like that, maybe look first into the mirror. What kind of a television did you have when you were in college? Did you have friends over to play videogames or watch a movie? If so, your TV was probably at least as good as those owned by your friends. Now, picture using that same TV today to watch anything. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Would you think it reasonable to expect any of today’s students who are living the lifestyle you lived decades ago to use the same TV you did? Of course not. If your TV was even average as compared to those of your friends then, logically, you should agree that today’s student should have a TV that is average amongst their friends. And that means a large (but not enormous), flatscreen TV. At Best Buy, best selling televisions averaged $330 in 1994 and $280 today, so that appears to be a deflation of $50. But when you factor in inflation, they’re about the same price. So don’t start thinking that today’s student with a flatscreen TV is living the life of luxury, as they’re no more living that lifestyle than you were a few decades ago.

Prefer numbers instead of TV analogies? Let’s flashback to the era when Gen Xers like me were graduating from college. Let’s assume that you graduated in 1985 and so you’re about 52 years of age now. In that era, the median male worker needed only 30 weeks of income to afford a house, car, healthcare, and education. Some call this the Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI). By 2018, that same lifestyle would require 52 weeks of income, an increased workload of 73 percent.

If we look at median expenses for male workers today (we use male because households with multiple people still tend to have more males working than females) and compare those expenses to those in 1985 for people with similar, average lifestyles, we find that the male worker in 1985 could easily afford housing, healthcare, transportation, and college costs, meaning they had plenty of room leftover for non-core items like clothing and even some discretionary items like entertainment. Today? That same lifestyle leaves the male short of cash even before non-core and discretionary items. Instead of it taking 30 weeks to cover all of these COTI costs in 1985, it takes 53 weeks to cover the equivalent costs in 2018.

So, the next time a younger Millennial or Gen Z worker passed on your unpaid internship or questions the $12.00 starting wage for your entry-level opportunity, maybe choose to advocate within your organization for higher wages. In other words, instead of pointing fingers, have a look in the mirror. The problem isn’t with the person you’re pointing at but, instead, with the person whose reflection is in the mirror.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Posted February 25, 2020 by

How to negotiate a better salary during a job search

At College Recruiter, we recommend that candidates first get the job offer and then negotiate their compensation. To reverse that upsets many employers who forget that the primary reason that people work is to get money so they can live. Once you have the job offer, ask the recruiter what they are offering. The recruiter will likely want the candidate to first talk about their salary expectations but, when negotiating, it is almost always better for the other party to make the first offer.

If the candidate says they want $20 per hour, the employer will then know that they can hire the candidate for that amount or less. The employer may have been willing to pay $22, but few will tell the candidate that $20 isn’t enough and the employer instead will take the $20. That’s a form of wage theft, because the employer knows that the fair value for the candidate is $22 as that’s what the employer was prepared to pay, and yet the employer is going to pay them less than the fair value. 

Whether the candidate or employer makes the initial offer, College Recruiter recommends that the candidate finalize the hard compensation discussions, so they know what they will be paid on an hourly or salary basis, 401k matching, medical insurance, etc. At that point, then start to negotiate what we call soft benefits such as the ability to work at home one day a week; work four, 10-hour days during the summer;  a week of unpaid time-off between your current job and the new job; an extra week of vacation; etc.

To many employees, the idea of getting any of these soft benefits is worth a lot to them, and the employer can provide a lot of extra value to you by agreeing to these soft benefits, but you don’t want to give up your hard benefits like wages in order to get the soft benefits like extra vacation days. You want both.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: I’m trying to find a job for after graduation in another state but my career service office isn’t being helpful.

Question:

Graduation is fast approaching and I’m stressing out as I don’t have a job yet. My career service office is focused on jobs from local employers and so isn’t of much help as I attend an out-of-state school and want to move home after graduation to be close to friends and family. I’ve applied to dozens of jobs but after weeks I’ve heard back from only a few and those were automated responses confirming my applications. No interviews. No emails from recruiters. No job offers. Help! I love my parents, but I don’t want to share a room with my little sister again.

First Answer:

Maybe it’s time to expand the way you are searching for a job. It sounds like you’ve been applying online to various companies and you’ve also visited career services. Those are two great starts. But I would consider adding a third type of job search–asking your parents, their friends, their contacts, and anyone else you know in your hometown that can help. The best way to find a job is through old-fashioned “word of mouth.” Start with your parents. Do they know anyone in the field of your dreams? If so, reach out to that person and ask him or her to meet you for an informational interview–to learn more about the field. While you’re there, ask for 5 additional contacts in the field. Reach out to them and ask to meet for coffee. Tell them you will be in town from such-and-such a date till such-and-such a date. Go on the informational interviews (promise each person you will only use 15 minutes of his or her time). In this way you begin to have a true network of people who are thinking about you and looking for opportunities for you. It’s called the “hidden job market.” This job market knows of jobs before they are advertised online. Using this approach helps you avoid competing against hundreds of grads for the same position. It also gives you an advantage because you hear about the job earlier. I hope this helps, and good luck!

Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Power Sales Words: How to Write It, Say It, and Sell It with Sizzle (Sourcebooks, 2006)

Second Answer:

 Keep in mind that most job openings aren’t advertised because a lot of businesses prefer to hire from within the company or through word of mouth. If you’re coming in from off the street, you could be out of luck.  Instead of working harder, work smarter. Use online resources and business trade publications, such as The Wall Street JournalForbes, and Fast Company to target desirable companies in your home area. Then, prepare to infiltrate these companies by making the transition from outsider to insider. Here’s how:

  • Get to know individuals already employed at your target company who are in a position to hire you. 
  • Apply for an internship position that will land you inside the company and provide you with an opportunity to build your skill portfolio.
  • Secure referrals from anyone you know in your chosen field—either people with years of experience behind them, such as old professors and your parents’ friends, or recent graduates who will have sympathy for your plight and might also be more familiar with a company’s lower-level job openings.

Using a combination of these approaches, you are much more likely to gain access to unadvertised job openings in the companies you desire. However, it probably won’t happen overnight. Be persistent and don’t resort to laziness, even if you’re not seeing immediate results. Keep your expectations realistic and remind yourself of the end goal every day. Above all, don’t doubt your own abilities. Ignore all of the folks who tell you that the market sucks and that you should take any available job, even if it’s not what you want or need. Learn to take rejection with a grain of salt—it’s all part of the process. If you take the right action patiently and efficiently, an opportunity will come along that’s a good fit for your skillset.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.

Third Answer:

While it likely doesn’t feel like it, this may be a great opportunity. Chances are this will by no means be the last time you’re looking for a job – according to the US Department of Labor, on average college grads will hold 10-14 different jobs between the time they’re 18-38. Right now you have the benefit of resources in your midst that can help. So use them and learn how the process works. Start out by getting clear on what you’re looking for:

  • What skills do you want to use, which do you want to learn? 
  • What are the values important to you and that you’ll be looking for in an employer? 
  • What types of things do you love to do – and what about them do you enjoy? If you love playing video games you might be hard-pressed to find someone to pay you to play but when you identify that you’re drawn to the graphics or to the storytelling, now you’ve got some ideas to work with. 

Just because career services doesn’t have lots of prospects in your geography, it makes sense to consult them on your resume, your cover letter and your applications. They are likely to help you on improving your chances of getting a response to blind outreach. While you’re there, ask to get connected to alumni in the area you’re going to. Having an internal referral makes it anywhere from 3-14 times more likely to get the job, so tap into this group – whether for networking to learn more about an industry and organizations within it, or once you’ve earned it, for help in getting an interview. 

Then tap into your own network – if you’re going back to your home town, chances are you know folks who can help. Do you know people who you volunteered with or through a past summer job? Can friends’ parents provide some useful insight into opportunities? Remember – networking is a two-way street. When people help you, commit to paying it forward. You might not know how right away but actively working to help those who help you is the best way to build a lasting network that not only grows over time, will be there when you need it, but will also be your champion if they’re asked about you. 

Remember that you’re likely to do the job search again, and again, and again. Take note of what helps you and what doesn’t. And remember to make the most of the journey and stay curious along the way. You may be awfully surprised at what you’ll find.

— Pam Baker, CEO of Journeous

Fourth Answer:

Here are some things you can do, without delay, to find a great job “back home”, if your college is remote:

  • Resume: Make sure your resume focuses on job or internship accomplishments related to your major
  • LinkedIn: Get help doing your profile. If you college is not helping with this, get a career coach; you can work remotely with most. LinkedIn is THE way most companies and organizations find talent like you. Use your home city — since that’s where you want to be starting your career — not your college city, so local companies there can find you more easily. – On LinkedIn, follow companies in your target city and sign up for job alerts from them.
  • Create Google alerts for news about job titles your after and company names you’re after.
  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, others: Follow target companies here so you’ll see any news and job postings they put here.
  • Create a job search business card: Your name, phone number, email address, LinkedIn address, possible titles or major-related work topics. You don’t yet have an official title nor a company you’re working for but having a card is a serious sign of professionalism. Keep it simple, and get them printed for you; don’t print them on your home printer on that flimsy paper. Few things make you feel more like a professional than giving someone your business card!
  • Network! About 60%-80% of jobs are found this way, a statistic I see proven true over and over again with my clients of all ages. Ask about your desired companies when you talk with friends, family, neighbors in your home city, fellow students, Internship supervisors, faculty, and business people at any business gatherings in your home city. Ask them who they know in your target companies, and ask if you can speak with these people — not to ask about immediate openings, but to learn more about what they do and who they know. If they detect your interest is in THEM, they will help you! So start developing a database of contacts and keep it fresh.
  • Subscribe to the online business publications in your home city to see which companies are growing, which ones are fading, who’s expanding, who’s adding buildings (and thus, people).
  • Google “Best Companies to Work For” in the local business press there, and learn what you can about these companies and organizations. Why not work for a great company!
  • Join professional organizations in your major, in your target city. There are engineering societies, biology clubs, Public Relations groups, Sales and Marketing groups, Operations…you name it. College senior memberships / new grad memberships are usually much less expensive than a full membership yet you get all the membership privileges.
  • Join professional groups on LinkedIn to see what people in your future career are discussing today.
  • Keep checking in with people on your networking database or they will forget you.
  • Do practice interviews on campus or with a coach, in person or via video conferencing.
  • Check with your college’s Alumni Office for earlier graduates who are in your target city. They’ll enjoy meeting you and will want to help.

— Joanne Meehl, founder of TheJobSearchQueen.com.

Fifth Answer:

The strategy of pushing out mass mailings is a very passive and never ends with a positive result. SO you must become more proactive quickly.  First, don’t make assumptions about career service offices.  Unless you are going to a regional state university the majority of career professionals have connections beyond the immediate area of the institution.  So first get an appointment with career staff and go over your job search strategy – it is not focused.  Second use the resources available to you.  First really check your institution’s employment portal – this will require some research skills.  You will find opportunities back in your home region – but you cannot simply drop them a resume.  You need to reach out to them – best to ditch the spring break plans and head home for some informational interviews. Next, since you are probably not the only student from your home region to come to this institution, use your institution’s LinkedIn  alumni site (or People Grove or whatever alumni software they have) and see who from your institution resides in the area.  Make connections with alums who are doing the kinds of things you are interested in.  Again use information interview to collect the information you need to target prospective employers.  Nest, you should have friends from high school who still live in the area or are returning from college themselves.  Connect with them in LinkedIn or Facebook or however and learn from them who they are connecting with.  Finally, ask your parents, relatives and mentors at home to suggest folks you can talk to.

As you make these connections, research, research, research.  Find out what companies are growing the fastest,  What sectors of the economy in your home region have been expanding.  Go to the local Chamber of Commerce webpage, the regional economic development office – groups like these have information on hiring.  Through these sites you may find special career/employment events, information sessions.   Finally check to see if there is a young professional  club or a SHRM chapter in the area – go meet people, learn what they are doing.

In short, your current strategy will not work.  Employers do not come courting you even though you think they.  They want candidates with initiative – and the job search is one way to demonstrate this.  The job search is hard, requires planning, and solid research.   Best thing about doing this – when the economy eventually weakens and you have to find yourself looking for a new job – you will have the skill to do so.  Your class mates who seemed to have an easy time – career fair, interview, job – now have to really dig deep and hustle to find their next job.

Have fun, smile – patience.

Dr. Phil Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University

Posted February 18, 2020 by

Can I trust a company that promises to find me an international internship?

A number of organizations help students find international internships, mostly for a fee. The business models vary, as do the fees, and there are many stories about fantastic experiences, but also some whose experiences were, at best, disappointing.

One of the best known international internship vendors is CRCC Asia. I recently reached out to director of university partnerships, Jillian Low, to ask her how students, career service offices, and others should go about evaluating a potential international internship provider. She provided a well-thought-out, step-by-step outline and, fortunately, was willing to allow us to share it here:

There are many different avenues that a student can take to complete an international internship. I always note four basic sources of international internships (although not an exhaustive list): 

  • Student Sourced
    • Pluses: Great option for a very independent student or a student looking for a specific internship with a specific company. It may also be a more affordable option.
    • Minuses: Time intensive, can be difficult for the university to track, health/safety/risk management concerns, likely no on-site support, and lack of local network.
  • University Sourced
    • Pluses: A lot of on-campus resources, ample opportunity for in-person pre-departure/orientation. Students may be required to take courses or complete workshops prior to departure. It gives the university/department a lot of control in how well-prepared their interns will be in their experience abroad.
    • Minuses: Placement responsibility falls on university shoulders, time and staff intensive. There may be little to no on-site support.
  • Alumni Sourced
    • Pluses: Alumni have a vested interest in supporting the student as well as understand their curriculum and educational experience. Furthermore, the university will have to do less vetting of the company, as they know and trust the alumni. 
    • Minuses: Placement responsibility and support falls on the Alumni engagement team within the university and is still time and staff intensive, as well as little to no on-site support.
  • Provider Sourced
    • Pluses: Student is fully supported by pre-departure, arrival, and throughout the program. The internship is vetted in-person with ability to troubleshoot and support while on the ground. Local expertise is given by the provider. 
    • Minuses: Higher cost of participation. University relinquishes some control and oversight to the provider.

Knowing that international internships are a great opportunity for students, but not all will want to arrive in a country with no support, create their own social network, manage the travel logistics independently, or take on the health and safety risk of living in another country by themselves, I think it is imperative that all universities have a mixed portfolio of options to include student or university sourced as well as provider sourced. 

For universities just adding providers to their portfolio this can be a daunting process, and knowing what and how to vet can be a long procedure. I do know that the Forum on Education Abroad will be hosting a 1 day International Internship Taskforce this March prior to their annual conference which will begin the process of creating and setting standards for international internship programs. Hopefully, after the taskforce, next steps will be shared and additional buy-in requested. 

Finally for any student searching for an international internship on their own, there are some great research steps to take in order to find a great fit. In terms of looking at opportunities I would first:

  1. Review if the country of choice has a culture of internship or if there will be challenges in finding the opportunity through direct outreach to different companies. It is also good to look into how higher education courses for their degree are handled in the country and if they are tied to an apprenticeship or co-op experience which can be very common in Europe as this may limit opportunities for international candidates or set a duration minimum.
  2. Look into what opportunities are there for non-native or non-fluent speakers of the country. In Japan, for example, many placements require a certain level of language and a test to prove it. For France, they may be happy to determine the language level through the interview process.
  3. Consider what level of support the student will need in-country including language, emergency support, and housing. Going alone and sourcing your own experience can be the less expensive option but utilizing an international internship provider can readily provide language support, accommodation with a built-in social network of other interns and overall emergency support if needed. 

Once those three things are reviewed I would then source opportunities:

  1. Connect with the study abroad office to see if they know of any opportunities
  2. Look into alumni connections within the country to see if they have any leads
  3. Review international job boards for opportunities
  4. See about international internship providers who work within the location, vetting them based on:
    1. Alumni feedback
    2. Placement opportunities – especially for engineering
    3. Fees and what is included
  5. Review what local universities are offering in terms of internship for their students
  6. Look into expat boards or communities in the locale who may be able to provide resources or background information.

CRCC Asia specializes in connecting students with applied work experience in dynamic international settings. With over 13 years experience working in Asia, we have led internship programs for over 9,000+ students and graduates from more than 100 countries. We offer a range of program models built to satisfy the interests of each of our partner institutions, including a wide range of unique custom and faculty-led programming.