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

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Posted April 01, 2020 by

Despite Covid-19, these employers are hiring students and recent grads

Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, is shutting down the U.S. economy. Federal and state governments are essentially creating a parallel economy by providing individuals and businesses with enough income that, hopefully, economic disaster for them and for all of us may be avoided.

What is particularly stressful about this public health crisis is that no one knows when it will relent and the business world will get back to full speed. What magnifies that for college students and recent graduates is the timing: spring is when most students begin part-time, seasonal, and internship jobs and recent graduates begin their entry-level careers. At College Recruiter, we fear that this could quickly become the worst hiring season for new college graduates since the 2008–2009 Great Recession.

As we emerged from the Great Recession, employment numbers for students and recent graduates slowly improved until they became amongst the best in modern history. It was starting to become unusual when a student or recent graduate who networked and applied to advertised jobs well (two different things) had difficulty finding an opportunity in their chosen career paths. To be clear, many were unable to find those opportunities, even if they searched well, but the percentage who were unable to find opportunities in their chosen career paths had declined from being commonplace in 2008 and 2009 to unusual in 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

Today, however, we’re only three months into the Covid-19 pandemic and the employment numbers are devastating. Employers are scrambling to try to figure out how to adapt their internship and recent graduate hiring programs to remote (virtual) work when possible.

The news, quite frankly, is mostly bad for most employers and employees, but that does not mean that there is a complete lack of good news. Some employers are hiring and some of those have greatly ramped up hiring. Some noteworthy examples, in no particular order, are:

Posted March 31, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Start date for employment delayed due to Covid-19

Question:

I was about to start a new job but my employer is telling me that I can’t until after COVID-19 is resolved. Do I wait around for them? What if it takes them a lot longer to bring me on than I can afford? What if they never bring me on and terminate my employment before I even start? What if I go to work for someone else and then this employer wants me to start?

First Answer:

Congratulations on your new job.

My initial question is: what is the rest of their employee population doing? Presumably, most people are working remotely. I would approach the hiring manager and ask if you can do the same.

Layout a specific strategy for how you will ramp up, taking the responsibility for introducing yourself to people, learning the organization’s technical tools, and understanding what and how your boss would like to receive in terms of work product. If there’s an onboarding system you can access online, so much the better. 

It’s unlikely that anyone new will hire you until the COVID crisis subsides, so I would do your best to work with your new employer. Even if you didn’t already sign a contract with a specific start date (which gives you more leverage), hopefully, the organization will be sensitive to your situation.

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

Second Answer:

To all of these questions I would ask one in return: What do we know for certain about how COVID-19 will impact us next week?

The answer to that is simple, nothing is certain when it comes to COVID-19. With this uncertainty looming over, when starting a new job you need to try to get as much clarity as possible on the current opportunity while creating a contingency plan.

To get clarity, reach out to the employer and ask if there is an opportunity to begin work remotely, or part-time while the company navigates COVID-19. This will allow you to potentially begin work and show flexibility with the downside of it being at partial hours or pay. As COVID-19 could continue on for many more weeks also establish a set a timeline, either bi-weekly or monthly, for employment status check-ins with HR or management.

What I can say with certainty is that you want to keep this employment option open as COVID-19 is effecting employment rates and making the market extremely competitive. While you are maintaining regular check-ins and showcasing adaptability to your potential new job, continue to build your virtual network, apply for new roles, and build new skills. This will ensure that if you have to pivot due to the employer ultimately terminating the offer or taking too long to officially hire you, that you will be ahead of the game.

If you are a university student and this opportunity was for your summer job, begin thinking of a back-up plan now, as there are only so many summers you get during your university career. Back-ups can include online summer courses, pursuing a remote internship, and if the internship market is saturated looking to international internships completed remotely, or, developing a new skill by completing an online course in project management, foreign language, software system or more.  

Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships for CRCC Asia

Third Answer:

This is a difficult response in a challenging time for anyone to receive. No doubt disappointing, deflating and demotivating. That said, the employer may be saving you some disappointment down the line when you’ve got less opportunity to pivot. Most of the ‘what if’s’ won’t be able to be answered for some time so now is a good time to add to the eggs in your basket. 

Since this employer thinks highly enough of you to want to employ you, consider following up to see what projects you might be able to work on remotely in the near term. If they don’t have any at the ready, suggest some that might be of interest to them based on what you already know of the industry. It’s also a good time for back-up options to pursue jobs with other employers. That might mean reaching out to career services to set up interviews, or doing so on your own, with the employers who are still recruiting. It might mean finding some micro-internships on sites like Parker Dewey. It may also be a good time to take a step back and read some of the many prognosticators out there talking about what COVID 19 is likely to mean for the job market 3, 6, 9 months from now and see which industries are expected to benefit. Do any new interests or ideas emerge?

Of course, it’s never a bad time to network and letting folks know of your current status would make sense. Remember that everyone is going through a lot of uncertainty so starting off your network outreach with a ‘how are things for you’ rather than ‘here’s what I need from you’ is likely to get a far better response.

Pam Baker, Founder and CEO of Journeous

Fourth Answer:

Do I wait around for them? What if it takes them a lot longer to bring me on than I can afford? Considering the current situation, having any opportunity at a possible job is a chance many people would love to have.

In my opinion, I would definitely weigh my options. It depends on your current situation and if you can afford to have your future employer turn you down after weeks or months of waiting.

If this employer terminates your contract before you even begin, then they made a more decision to even begin the hiring process when they didn’t have the resources to follow through. 

In my last thoughts, I would encourage you too always have multiple job offers and opportunities on the table so you remain the power position. It’s frustrating as a job seeker when you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket doesn’t turn out successful.

Lorenz Esposito, Digital Marketer at Potentialpark

Fifth Answer:

In my opinion, the best course of action is to try to get an assurance from your new employer that your job offer is solid and won’t be rescinded.  I would try to get it in writing. Be polite about your request, and simply explain that you are a bit anxious due to the outbreak of covid 19 and you’re dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.

If your employer writes you that the job offer is solid, I would take him at his word. If your employer won’t put it in writing, then I think it’s fair for you to try to secure another job.

These are uncertain times, and we are all navigating through them. If you go work for someone else, the best way to possibly keep the door open at the first employer is to write a heartfelt note that due to financial circumstances, you felt it prudent to take another job and that you hope he understands.

— Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks 2008).

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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

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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.

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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.  

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Should I apply to only paid internships or also unpaid internships?

First Answer:

If you can afford to take an unpaid internship, I would definitely apply to both paid and unpaid. With an internship, the primary criterion you should look for is the experience it offers you. Will that experience translate into a shinier resume for you, or even better, a job down the road? Secondly, look for an internship that can help you build skills. These skills will be transferable to other jobs down the line. At this point, you should be seeking internships that will help position you for your first job.

If the internship relates to either your current area of study or your career aspirations, apply! It’s always better to get an offer and turn it down if something more lucrative comes along.
Don’t discount perks, such as free lunches or help with transportation. If you live at home during the time of your internship, your out-of-pocket costs hopefully won’t be too severe.

All that said, only you can decide what you can live with — and without. 

— Vicky Oliver, author, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Second Answer:

Students should consider applying to any internships, paid or unpaid, that will give them the opportunity to expand their skills/knowledge or make a contribution. Either will add a lot of weight on a resume.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Third Answer:

This depends. Are you in an industry that mostly offers unpaid opportunities? Do you need the money to support yourself, and if so, would it be possible to work another job at the same time as the internship? You also want to ensure an unpaid internship is fair and legal, because ideally an internship  is a gateway into the full-time job that will launch your career, and engaging with a company that isn’t doing right by its interns is probably not the best idea. One additional thing you might try? Ask your school about grants that support students pursuing unpaid internships.

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

Fourth Answer:

Skipping past internships, I can only begin to describe the elation and excitement you will have when you sign your employment contract for your first full-time role after graduation. Furthermore, that excitement will only increase after you successfully leverage your experience and outcomes for a raise the following year. Finally, if and when you leave your first role and successfully negotiate a higher salary (according to Bloomberg those who switched jobs on average enjoyed compensation growth of 5.3%), you will know you have made it. 

The above describes stepping stones to career management and growth. If you look at the stepping stones before that first full-time role you will find internships. For me, my internships stepping stones were landing an unpaid internship my sophomore year, that I leveraged for an internship with a monthly stipend, and then my senior year, I used my previous experience to edge out the competition and land an internship that was paying much more than my average peer’s internship. These stepping stones were crucial to my career management, and if I had never taken my first unpaid internship, I may never have landed the next role. 

That said, unpaid internships can be a contentious topic, with some wanting nothing to do with them, and others questioning their quality. At the end of the day, the end goal of an internship is to walk away with tangible first-hand work experience, industry and professional knowledge, and a set of transferable skills that you can apply to any future career path, not a specific amount of money in the bank. 

When reviewing internship opportunities, I would first look at the experience offered, the projects and tasks you will tackle, and the supervision and mentorship that will be available to you. If the opportunity offers strong experience aligned to your studies and career management, with clearly defined tasks and a strong supervisor, then you can go to the second review of paid or unpaid. 

If the opportunity is unpaid but still offering a high-quality experience look into why it is unpaid. Perhaps it is for a non-profit or small start-up, who absolutely needs the support, will offer you killer access to meetings, leadership, and networks, but couldn’t possibly find the budget to pay. Conversely, if looking internationally, many international internships are unable to offer pay, as no visa supports this, but nevertheless you will get great access to global connections and cross-cultural understanding.

If there is a valid reason for the unpaid status, and you have vetted the opportunity for quality, I would say that you are doing yourself a disservice by not applying. During the application process you can also find opportunities to see if there are other ways they can financially support you such as offering: coffee, breakfast or lunch at the workplace, covered or discounted transit, a small stipend, or an end of internship bonus. 

Finally, remember that when applying work experience to your resume, it does not matter if it was volunteer, unpaid, or paid, it is still important work experience that should be clearly noted with three to four strong bullet points explaining your role and key outcomes with quantifiable examples (ex. Supported customer support and retention through increased touchpoints and external communications, increasing contract renewals by 10% over six months).

— Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships, CRCC Asia

Fifth Answer:

You should not do any internship. It puts you in a position where people assume you know nothing. 

Instead, launch a company, or a marketing campaign for someone else’s company. Spend three weeks selling services you will pay someone else to deliver. You Learn fastest by taking on big projects you have no idea how to do. Guess. Make mistakes. Try again. It’s ok because no one is paying you or firing you or telling you to do small jobs that are too easy to make errors. 
After you do this for two summers, you won’t be entry-level. You will have lots of experience. You might have some wins. You’ll have lots of failures.

You are middle management now. Because you can guide someone else through a high learning curve and fear of failure. 

You could never achieve that so fast in an internship. 

— Penelope Trunk, CEO, Quistic

Visit College Recruiter’s About Us page for more information about any of the above contributors or the other members of our Content Expert Board.

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Posted January 21, 2020 by

How do I get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness simply means that you’re not required to re-pay the forgiven portion of your student loans. Let’s say that you borrowed $100,000 to pay for college. If $60,000 of that is forgiven, then you’re only going to need to repay $40,000.

A few ways of getting your college student loans forgiven:

  • Enlist in the military. Each branch offers a variety of programs with varying amounts available depending on factors such as your skillset and desired occupational field. As you can imagine, the Navy is going to cover more of your educational costs if you’re a nuclear propulsion specialist than if you’re mechanic.
  • Work for 10 years for a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your direct loans.
  • Work for a corporation that offers a tuition reimbursement program. Even some small companies like College Recruiter offer such programs because they’re essentially ways to provide employees with tax-free income. If we provide an employee with $1,500 toward college each year, that’s worth over $2,000 to those employees as it is tax-free. So, from the perspective of the employer, they can effectively give their employees $2,000 more in compensation but have it only cost $1,500. These programs are also great for recruitment and retention.
Posted January 14, 2020 by

What’s right and wrong about college rankings, such as those by U.S. News and World Report?

College rankings tend to be beauty contests based upon the strength of the school’s brand.

Students who want to attend the “best” school are typically interested in finding the school that will lead to the greatest likelihood that they’ll find a well-paying job in their chosen career path and desired geographic area. That data is typically held by the career service offices, not admissions, and certainly not well communicated in a short, summary of the school as published by U.S. News & World Report or any other publication.

But let’s leave aside, for the moment, the issue of which office within a given university has the best access to outcomes data. One example of such data is the percentage who are employed within six months and within their chosen career path. Another is the average starting salary, and that’s typically broken down by career path.

But are either of those metrics even a valid measure of the quality of a school? The data indicates no. What is now clear from a more scientific analysis of outcomes data is that the primary driving factor behind employability and compensation is the background of the candidate, not which school that candidate attended. If you come from a well-connected, white, family who lives in a wealthy suburb near New York City, you’re almost certainly going to emerge from whatever school you attend making a lot more money than if you’re part of a poorly connected, Native American, family who lives in an impoverished, rural area.

Now, that’s not to say that the more privileged candidate can do nothing and graduate into a fantastic job making fantastic money. But it does say that candidates shouldn’t fret as much about which school they attend based upon the data that the schools tend to release. Instead, they should look for schools which add the most value to their graduates.

A few years ago, College Recruiter created its Hidden Gem Index for the best colleges and universities for employers who want to hire high-quality graduates during the normally very difficult spring hiring period. If you’re a candidate who wisely wants to attend a low cost school that adds tremendous value to its students, have a look at the Hidden Gem Index.

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Posted January 07, 2020 by

What are the soft skills needed to excel in STEM fields?

Employers value soft skills across all occupational fields, including science, technology, engineering, and math. In conversations that we have with employers of all sizes, the soft skills they most often mention include the ability to:

  • Work in a team;
  • Communicate verbally;
  • Make decisions and solve problems — often referred to as critical thinking skills;
  • Obtain and process information; and
  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work.