Monthly Archives: September 2011

Nice to meet you, please look at my pictures.

Friends and readers, I think it’s time I share some of my wedding pictures with you. Well, sort of.
See, we welcomed a new team of student employees to the Career Center a few weeks ago. From what I’ve seen so far, they are a rad bunch, and we wanted to ensure they got properly introduced to the professional staff. One of the ways we made this happen was by sharing collages. Yes, collages…as in, the glue-y messes we made in elementary school. But trust me, after this exercise, collages are one of my new favorite communication platforms (right after text messages, and owls).

Employers, I present to you my own collage, and the suggestion that those charged with getting to know lots of people (or ensuring that lots of people get to know one another) use a similar tool. Nothing is more awkward than being asked to “introduce yourself to the group” without having anything prepared. This way, we all had something to talk about, and we were each in control of the topics we shared. Perhaps this could work for a new class group of interns or new hires?

Yes, the bottom image is of a lop-earred rabbit standing on his hind legs printed on powder blue paper. It's a long story.

 On that note, I wish you all a happy weekend!


Job postings: Good vs. Great (2 of 2)

You may recall this posting that first introduced the topic of good vs. great job postings. It’s time to dive a little deeper…
  • Be up front about key information. I know that there are times when it is in the poster’s best interest to leave out the name of the employer (confidential searches, third-party recruiters, etc.) but for the majority of posts, it is best to fill in every space on the form. Waiting to hear if the position is in the LA or the Dallas office?  Don’t put “nationwide.” Wait until you find out before you put the post up.
  • Know the difference between “job function” and “industry.” For example, if a circus is hiring a web developer, the job function is “Web Development,” while the industry is entertainment. Answering this question properly will help ensure that students searching the database are finding you.
  • For salary level, putting “Paid Internship” or “DOE” isn’t technically wrong, but including “$14-16/hour” is much more helpful. It’s also a possible way to save some time in the long run, as student can self-select in or out of a search based on pay.
  • Let the details sell the position. For example, instead of just listing duties as “General Reception responsibilities,” let them know that “a typically day may include greeting clients, calendaring, research and front office support”
  • Has your organization received any awards?  Has someone on the team been featured in the media lately?  Include some recent accolades. Just be sure these kinds of details don’t overwhelm the rest of the information, as it should supplement, not dominate. Something like, “Our organization, which was just listed as the Top Company at Writing Job Postings on Dena Ogden’s LiveFromOC blog, is hiring for a front office assistant. Duties include…”

Please don’t be shy if you have questions. Most universities employ at least one person like me, who is available to help employers recruit students. We WANT you to hire our students, and we’d like to make the process as smooth as possible.

If the above info doesn’t get you excited to hire students, perhaps these photos will…I took these last week, right before and during our Work Study and On-Campus Employment Fair, a small event (yes, this is small for us) that we host during Welcome Week. As you can see, students are back on campus and looking for work!



During (another angle)


Job postings: Good vs. Great (1 of 2)

Hello again friends,

Happy Friday! For those who are local, hopefully you are enjoying this fall weather as much as me.  Now that I’ve pulled my boots out of the closet again, I’m a happy camper.

I wanted to use today’s post to share some quick and easy tips for employers looking to maximize their job postings on Zotlink.  For context, I’ve seen as many as 100+ new job postings in a day here at UCI, so volume has not been an issue for us in a while. That said, some jobs get far more interest from anteaters than others. And yes, while industry and the position itself certainly matter, there are some other things that employers can do to help make the most of their posting…

  • Job title: there is a section specifically designed for this, so I recommend using it as directed. Give the exact job title, and nothing else. No exclamation points, nothing vague like “Amazing opportunity” or “Foot-in-the-door Marketing position!!!!!” Just the job title. Please trust me on this.
  • In addition, for those who are consistent users of Zotlink and who are re-posting a previous position, consider deleting the “Copy” text that inserts itself into the “Job Title” section. Yes, it may be a copied position, but leaving the word there makes the opportunity look tired
  • UCI students, as a whole, are pretty savvy. Using lots of vague terminology and sales-speak to sway them will likely not get you too far. On the same token, they will likely want to research your company so ensure that your website (if you have one) is alive and kicking when you post.
  • Don’t be afraid to insert personality and perks into the posting. As I mentioned, some days have as many as 100 new postings, so what makes your position unique among them?  Feel free to tell the students if highlights include a casual work environment, flexible hours, a dynamic team, Free Lunch Fridays, etc…
  • Watch your length while still including key details. A 1,000-word job description might make some eyes glaze over, while 400-500 words will likely be thorough and concise enough for someone to understand the main points and apply in between classes.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will cover more specifics and examples…


PS – and for a little Fall Fashion Preview, check out our new Career Center T-shirts!  Not sure about you guys, I definitely dig the navy blue.

The back is even more snazzy. Pictures soon!

Where’d you hear THAT? Top 3 Myths about Interns

This is my "interns are serious business" pose

All right friends, I’m sure some of you (especially those the read my last post) knew this day was coming. Let’s explore some intern-related assumptions we have seen from employers. Even those with the best of intentions are sometimes sadly misinformed about interns, and it is time we shed some light on common myths. 

Myth 1 – Interns…that’s just another word for free labor, right?
Actually, no. It’s definitely not. There’s quite a bit more to it than that. In fact, there are a number of national organizations (including the Department of Labor and the National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE) that have weighed in on what interns can and cannot do for free. I highly suggest anyone considering interns check out, print out, and even memorize DOL Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In addition to supporting the DOL standards, we at UC Irvine subscribe to following NACE principles:

1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.

2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.

3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.

4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.

5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.

6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.

7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

So, the short answer is, if your opportunity does not meet the above criteria, it may not be viewed as a legitimate internship. As a result, you could find yourself with, at the very least, unhappy interns (and concerned Career Center staff) who are questioning your ethics and work environment.

Myth #2 – If an intern is showing up at my office, their school will automatically give him/her class credit, right?
I wish it was this easy!  UC Irvine is unique in that we don’t offer an internship program that covers our entire campus. Instead, different academic units have programs that suit their specific curricula. Students and employers should both be proactive to ensure that the internship lines up with a program’s standards, and if so, that all of the proper documentation has been completed for the student to earn credit. It is in no way an automatic process.

Myth #3 – I had to lay off our ______, so now I can get an unpaid intern to fill the role, right? Ouch. No.  For those who followed the DOL link, you may have seen these two criteria:

The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff

The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded

So, the short answer is that unpaid interns cannot take over the duties meant for a paid staff member. They can be guided, mentored, and they can often be helpful when they work with the staff duties, but they should not be solely responsible for a traditionally paid position (IE, receptionist, clerical, business development, sales, etc.)

These areas in particular often comes with a lot of questions. As always, let me know how I can help!


Next week on ‘Live From OC’

All right friends, it’s happened. The week slipped by before I could finish the awesome post I’ve been working on. Here is a preview of what you’ll see next week…

Where’d you hear that? Dena’s Top 3 Myths about Interns

  • Interns…that’s just another word for free labor, right?
  • If they are showing up at my office, their school will automatically give them credit, right?
  • I need help with some administrative/sales/fill-in-the-blank-with-a-crucial-business-process duties. I should get an intern, right?

And in honor of our last 3-day weekend of the summer, here is a picture of a beautiful lake.

Wishing everyone a safe, fun and happy holiday weekend!