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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!


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.  

Posted January 28, 2020 by

Do unpaid internships hurt society?

The Augusta (Virginia) Free Press recently published an article that caught my eye. College Recruiter has published a number of articles about how unpaid internships are illegal and how unpaid internships harm students, but we haven’t focused as much on the damage that unpaid internships do to society. The article by the Free Press does that, and does that well.

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. As a result, we are pretty passionate about how unfair unpaid internships are to students, especially when they’re offered by for-profit corporations as those organizations are essentially saying that their business operations and shareholders should be subsidized by mostly young adults who are often going to graduate with student debt that can’t be discharged by bankruptcy (the only form of debt that can’t be) and is as large as many mortgages.

Some might argue that employers shouldn’t have to pay interns because the interns get training and experience from the work. Yes, they get training and experience, but doesn’t that apply to all work? Should we all work for free?

Others might argue that non-profits and government agencies shouldn’t have to pay interns. That’s already the law federally, but we disagree there too. Just because you’re a non-profit does not mean you’re struggling financially. It just means you don’t have shareholders and so excess cash is reinvested into the operations instead of being distributed to owners. As for government agencies, the U.S. government literally has the power to print money so any argument that federal agencies don’t have the ability to pay just doesn’t fly. They may choose not to pay, but the federal government has more ability to pay its workers a reasonable wage than any other entity in the world.

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.

Posted December 26, 2019 by

Ask the Experts: What is the one piece of career-related advice that you would provide to a student or recent graduate searching for a part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level job?

First Answer:

Put your strongest credentials near the top of your resume. Whether it is coursework, projects, volunteering, GPA or strong “soft skills” lead with what you are best at. Keep tweaking your resume until it generates some –callbacks (phone screens), so you can tell your story in more detail.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Second Answer:

My advice would be a bad paraphrase of JFK:

Ask not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. Too many graduates forget to fully tailor their application approach in a bespoke way for the company they are applying for, and also tend to major on how the job/internship will benefit them rather than what value they will add to the organization. Focus on what you’ll bring and why you particularly want to work for that exact company. 

— Martin Edmondson, CEO, Gradcore

Third Answer:

My one piece of advice is that ALL work experience counts. Don’t hold out for your dream internship or even your dream entry-level job. You will switch jobs, positions, and careers many times throughout your lifetime. Nike says, “just do it.” I say, “just start somewhere.” Each experience matters and each experience helps you build skills.

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

Fourth Answer:

In my role as a digital marketer, I would advise students or recent graduate to fully explore every career-related channel a company has to offer. To make an educated and career decision, it is important to understand how a company works and values its employers inside and outside the workplace.

— Lorenz V. Esposito, Digital Marketing Specialist, Potentialpark

Fifth Answer:

Make it count. By that I mean, get all you can out of the experience.

  • Where possible, seek out a job that taps into something you’re curious about. Interested in drones? Check out what jobs are involved in drone pilot training. Spend hours on YouTube? Look into jobs at a local video production company. Planning to be an entrepreneur? Look for small business owners locally who need some end of year or seasonal help so you can see up close what it’s like to run a business. 
  • Think about what you want to get out of the experience. Are there skills you want to learn? People you want to talk to? Types of work you want to try? Craft this ahead of time, and add to it while at your job so you’re learning about what fits you every step of the way. It’ll make bigger decisions down the line far easier.
  • Make the most of the jobs you hate. Ideally, these will be short-lived, but spending time getting clear on WHAT you hate about the work, the environment, the management style, the commute, the industry and so on helps you avoid more of this later on. I’ve learned far more from these jobs than I did from most of the others.

— Pam Baker, CEO, Journeous

Sixth Answer:

Skip the entry-level jobs. They waste your time because the pay is low, people don’t respect entry-level employees, and the jobs take a long time to get because there are so many people with no experience and it’s difficult for hiring managers to figure out who to hire when no one is particularly qualified. 

Look at the jobs that require 3 – 5 years of experience. Find a job that is in the location you are now that you’d like to have in a couple of years. Make a list of all the experience the job requires that you do not have. Hire a professional resume writer to see if they can spin your current — probably random and temporary — experience into the experience employers are looking for. 

Here’s are some examples from real people who have hired me to make their resume look like they are beyond entry-level:

I changed this: Collected emails from the staff and put them into the support email folder so everyone could access client information. 

To this: Reorganized customer service systems to streamline inter-departmental cooperation and decrease customer service wait time. 

Both bullets describe the boring and low-level task of data entry for client emails. But the rewritten bullet uses the language of someone who has worked in business and understands how to impact the bottom line. Additionally, the second bullet looks at the work from a high-level which implies that the person doing the work was at a higher level. 

A smart resume writer can do this with all your experience to make your resume read like you have much more experience than you do. 

After you have a new resume, you will see yourself differently. You’ll start to believe that you ARE actually qualified for higher-level positions. Then you’re ready for the next step. 

Make a list of the qualifications an employer lists for the job you want. Pull out any qualifications you don’t have. You can get that experience right now, this week, before you start applying for jobs. Make the most recent job on your resume freelancing. And make the dates the last few years. Because we are all freelancers. We all help other people talk through ideas for a wide range of things. That’s what friends do. 

As a freelancer, you can say you did anything. Because you can choose to do anything. You don’t have to get paid. A resume is about what you’ve done. Not about who paid and who didn’t. So, for example, if you want to get a job that requires have done a social media campaign, do one, for any company, and write a bullet about it. If you need experience giving presentations, give one to your friend and then write a bullet about it. 

When you’re in the interview, you can talk about whatever you did. You don’t need to say you did it for free. You don’t need to confess that no one cared at all about what you did. Because really, if everyone confessed how stupid their bullets were, and how fake their job duties were, then no one in the world would be able to write a resume. But that’s for another discussion! 

— 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.

Posted November 26, 2019 by

What’s the best career advice College Recruiter’s founder wishes he had received early in his career?

Probably the best career advice that I ever received came from Marvin Granath, senior vice president for the Human Resources – Legal office of Honeywell Inc.

Marv was my boss for the last year that I was at Honeywell and he reported to the CEO. What Marv taught me — both verbally and by allowing me to watch him in action — was the importance of building a strong network and using corporate politics not just for his benefit but the company’s. 

Marv planted seeds every hour of every day. He continually looked for ways of creating win-win situations by helping others accomplish their personal and corporate goals. He did so not on a quid pro quo basis but instead knowing that some of his assistance would go unrewarded but some would greatly help him reach his personal and corporate goals. When he needed help, people throughout the company would be eager to do whatever they could, not just because it was their job but because they truly wanted to help him as a tangible way of showing him their appreciation for the help he had provided to them days, weeks, months, or even years earlier and without precondition. 

Marv passed away a decade ago, but he continues to inspire me.

Posted October 15, 2019 by

Why are apprenticeship programs so much more popular in Europe than the U.S.?

One reason that apprenticeship programs are far more popular in Europe than they are in the United States is because employers in Europe tend to take a far more long-term view of their employees than do employers in the U.S. In Europe, it is more a part of their culture to hire people with some but not every single desired skill and then train them until they have all of the desired skills. In the U.S., employers expect employees to hit the ground running and, therefore, train them only when necessary. Apprentices, by definition, require substantial training.

Another reason that apprenticeships are far more popular in Europe is that it is far harder to terminate an employee in Europe than it is in the United States. In Europe, you can often only terminate an employee for cause and, even then, often need to provide severance. In the U.S., employment is typically at will and you can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it isn’t a bad (illegal) reason.

Apprenticeships require a long-term commitment by both parties that, sadly, isn’t as much a part of our culture as it is in Europe.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Posted May 27, 2019 by

Paid vs unpaid internships are key to landing a well-paying job upon graduation

One of the most basic factors separating students who find it relatively easy to find a well-paying job upon graduation from those who end up unemployed or underemployed is whether the students had internships or not and whether those internships were paid or unpaid.

According to results of the Class of 2019 Student Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job—53.2 percent—received at least one job offer. Within this group, 57.5 percent of students who had an internship and 43.7 percent of graduating seniors who did not have an internship received a job offer.”

In addition, the students who completed at least one internship prior to graduation were significantly more likely to receive multiple job offers for positions upon graduation. For those who completed at least one internship, the average student received 1.17 job offers. Those without an internship received 16 percent fewer job offers: an average of only 0.98 per student.

Another key factor was whether the internship was paid or unpaid. Many legal experts believe that unpaid internships are illegal unless the employer is a governmental or non-profit entity. But just because something may be illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Just think about the last time you drove a car. Almost everyone breaks at least one law every time they drive, whether that’s failing to come to a complete stop at a controlled intersection or driving even one mile per hour over the speed limit.

The impact of internship pay status was evident as well as 66.4 percent of According to NACE, 66.4 percent of class of 2019 graduates who had a paid internship received a job offer. On the other hand, just 43.7 percent of unpaid interns were offered a job. In other words, if you only graduate with an unpaid internship and your friend graduates with a similar but paid internship, she is 34 percent more likely to receive at least one job offer upon graduation. Ouch.

Posted February 07, 2019 by

AI, Algorithms, and Who Owns the Outcome

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine learning or machine intelligence, is in its infancy yet poised to fundamentally change how we work, are educated, and run our businesses. AI is already impacting how leading employers engage with students and recent graduates and then hire and manage them.

AI offers tremendous opportunities to those in talent acquisition and human resources as well as society as a whole, but also poses some threats.

On December 10, 2018, hundreds of talent acquisition and other human resources leaders gathered in Mountain View, California and remotely via live stream to participate in the College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI, organized by job search site, College Recruiter, and hosted by Google.

Our closing keynote was delivered by John Sumser, Principal Analyst for HRExaminer, an independent analyst firm covering HR technology and the intersection of people, tech, and work.

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Posted February 07, 2019 by

Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine learning or machine intelligence, is in its infancy yet poised to fundamentally change how we work, are educated, and run our businesses. AI is already impacting how leading employers engage with students and recent graduates and then hire and manage them.

AI offers tremendous opportunities to those in talent acquisition and human resources as well as society as a whole, but also poses some threats.

On December 10, 2018, hundreds of talent acquisition and other human resources leaders gathered in Mountain View, California and remotely via live stream to participate in the College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI, organized by job search site, College Recruiter, and hosted by Google.

Our featured presentation was delivered by Alexandra Levit, author of Humanity Works, speaker, consultant, futurist, Chair of the DeVry University Career Advisory Board think tank, and expert in all things workplace.

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