These summer job and internship-related tips — dealing with obtaining and succeeding in summer jobs and internships — have been gathered from numerous sources throughout Quintessential Careers and organized here for your convenience.
USA Today reported that, even in an economic downturn, employers are maintaining and even expanding their internship programs. Aside from the fact that interns provide cheap labor, companies are offering internship programs “so they can locate good hires once the economy rebounds,” says USA Today reporter Stephanie Armour. Armour reports that a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that more than 60 percent of companies planned to maintain or increase internships. Among big companies hiring multitudes of interns are Texas Instruments and Verizon Communications. It’s all about keeping the talent pipeline open.
- Job content related to major
- Well-defined project to complete during internship
- Working with people I like/respect
- Opportunity to see what it’s really like at company
- Chance to “get my foot in the door”
- Having job description/being measured against objectives
- Working in location with lots of young people
- Diversity of company’s work force
- Rotational assignments during internship
- Frequency/quality of performance reviews
WetFeet.com has a nice collection of articles about internships.
Younger jobseekers who want to learn more about companies and jobs got a recent boost from Juniorjobs.com, a job-hunting site for teens that has introduced “job clips,” Web commercials created by 17-year-old founder of juniorjobs.com, Saied Ghaffari. Ghaffari creates the “job clips” on his Apple titanium laptop using Apple iMovie2 software. The 30-second commercials feature employers with job openings for teens talking about why teens should work for them. Juniorjobs.com currently focuses on teen jobs in the greater Washington, DC, area but plans to go nationwide. The average age of the registered users is 16.5. Visit the site.
The Public Affairs Group in Washington, DC, offers an internship program that aims for a highly diverse pool of interns. The group calls these internships “substantive and exciting opportunities based on knowledge and/or relevant experience available in one or more of the following areas: corporate development, marketing, finance and administration, journalism with heavy concentration on editing, publishing and research, international, women’s studies/research, Internet/Web site development.”
Most internships are for college credit with transportation costs reimbursed. However, a few internship are paid, depending on the student’s experience and number of hours that can be committed. Interns work in the company’s four divisions: Top Speaking Forums, Best Practices in Corporate Communications, Diversity Best Practices, and Business Women’s Network. For more information.
If you’re a younger teen looking for a job, the best idea is to develop your own business, such as yard maintenance or pet sitting. Check out our article about younger teens and jobs: Job Ideas for Teens 15 and Younger: Beyond Babysitting.
If you’re a college student unsure if your chosen field is right for you, do one or more internships in the field. Do some networking with people in the field you’ve chosen. Learning more about their responsibilities and duties, as well as their backgrounds, should give you more of a feel for the types of jobs in the field — and possibly even land you an internship in their office. See if your major’s department has internship listings. Also go to your career services office and see if they have any leads on internships in your field.
Look for internships on the Web. Check out Quintessential Careers: College Internship Resources, where we list the best internship sites on the Web. Then read our article on strategies for making the most of internships.
Are you a young teen looking for a summer job? It’s a great idea to start thinking about a job — as long as your family thinks it is okay. Most states have laws limiting the amount of hours teens can work in a given week. Read A Guide for Teens: How to Find a Summer Job.
Are you a teen who would like to work in an office setting for the summer? How is your network? We all know people who work in an office setting. Are any of them managers or in a position to help? Make a list of your friends, neighbors, and other family members who can help you. Use your network to line up some interviews. Second, use the good old cold-contact method of securing employment. Develop a list of the larger employers in your area. Contact them to get the name of the office manager or human resources director. Write a letter to each person — and make sure it is a person and not a title — outlining the type of employment you seek.
Next, try a few Internet sites. We happen to love Summer Jobs; it’s a great resource for teens to find employment. You can search by keyword and location. Also see our article, A Guide for Teens: How to Find a Summer Job.
“Develop an internship proposal to present to companies who might not have hired interns in the past,” advised career counselor Jenny Von Helms in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “An employer will certainly be more impressed with a student who says ‘I want to learn this, and I can do this for your company’ than one who lacks focus or initiative. Show the employer that the company has a need, and you are the person to fill that need. I also recommend that students use the yellow pages to identify potential employers. You might not realize that a growing or strong company is right in your community if they have not established a presence.”
Exploring the third step in greater depth, there are multiple sources for college students searching for internships, including:
- your college’s career services office
- the department office of your major (and minor)
- networking sources (perhaps the strongest source)
- internship and career fairs (local, regional, online)
- company Web sites
- internship Websites
- internship books and periodicals
- cold contact
You can find much more depth on all three steps of finding an internship by reading our article: How to Find Your Ideal Internship.
Career counselor Jenny Von Helms advises college students to give more consideration to unpaid internships. “One of the biggest mistakes I see students make is refusing to pursue non-paid opportunities,” Von Helms said in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers.
“Although I understand that many students are paying some or all of their own way through college, there are so many great options that are overlooked. I have also found that “non-paid” does not necessarily mean without compensation. Quite a few non-paying internships will reimburse students for public transportation or offer other perks, such as parking, meals, and discounts. I also believe the dynamics of the relationship change when a student gets paid for an internship. The student who is paid is now an “employee” where there are clear cut expectations of work in exchange for money. The unpaid internship experience might offer the student more of an opportunity for learning with less pressure for ‘a result.'”
We get numerous emails from college students who are about to graduate with little or no actual experience. There is simply no excuse for any college student not to have some kind of work experience through summer jobs and/or internships. There are just so many advantages to gaining work experience, from learning first-hand about corporate culture and office politics to gaining a better understanding of your career path and learning valuable skills. Many — if not most — employers recruiting college graduates, especially business school grads, want the students they interview to have some work experience.
That work experience typically occurs through internships and summer jobs. If you didn’t do an internship, you probably should have some sort of answer prepared in case you are asked why. Even if you have not “worked,” you probably do have experience. Look at any volunteer experiences, through which you probably acquired numerous valuable skills that can easily transfer to the workplace. And you probably have been involved with numerous major projects in your classes in which you also learned and employed new skills.
Go to the Transferable Skills section of Quintessential Careers to learn more about emphasizing your set of key skills. Also go to the career services office at your college and work with those professionals to build a job-search strategy designed especially for you. You’ll be able to find a job, but it will take developing a resume that focuses on your key skills and experiences, using your network of contacts, and implementing the advice from the career services office.
College students can get the edge in the job market if they have experience already in their field, according to author Donald Asher. In the Q&A interview he did with Quintessential Careers, Asher noted that students can gain this experience by “obtaining an internship or a cooperative-education position or even finding a job on your own in the field you are preparing for. Nothing speaks better for you than to say you know how to do something because you already have done it.”
< a> One of the biggest challenges college students face is gaining work experience before they graduate.
Where can college students gain the necessary experience? Try these sources:
- summer jobs
- campus jobs
- entrepreneurial/self-employed jobs
- temporary work
- volunteer work
- research projects
- certification courses
- campus activity positions
- fraternity/sorority/social club positions
- extracurricular or sports leadership positions
This information comes from the Quintessential Careers Job Search 101 Tutorial, specifically the Gaining Experience section. You can find more detailed information there about each of the above categories, as well as many other strategies for best preparing yourself for the job market.
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