Monthly Archives: November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

On behalf of all of our staff (pictured and not pictured) Best wishes for a happy holiday, and safe travels for those out-and-about!

 

 

 

The internship opportunity I’m offering is unpaid, so that means you’re given my intern credit, right? (FAQs, 5.0)

This question represents the tip of a very, very large iceberg. For the sake of our readers, I’m going to cover some basics in this post, but I can promise that this isn’t the last time we’ll discuss paid vs. unpaid interns on this blog (anyone else still following the Black Swan case?)

For the most part, I encourage employers to seriously consider paying their interns.  Internbridge has some great data available on all the reasons why paying interns usually leads to a more positive and successful experience for both the student and the employer. Some of it is really eye-opening. And remember, payment doesn’t have to be hourly – sometimes a stipend or a project-based wage can be a good fit, too.

That said, I understand that it’s not realistic for every company, non-profit, or start-up that needs/wants interns to have the budget to pay them. However, it’s imperative that the employer takes ownership over facilitating some kind compensation for the student.  It’s not enough to just declare that the student can get credit for the internship…it’s actually not up to you. If you want your intern to get credit, you must ensure that your opportunity actually will fit their university’s requirements.

Take UCI, for example. At the Career Center, we love to see students pursuing internship opportunities. Love, love, love it. Though, we are not an academic unit, and we can’t offer credit simply because you hire them.  We will, however, help you get in touch with one of our academic departments that will consider your opportunity to see if is appropriate to enroll the student in a credit-based program that coincides with their role at your organization. (Examples of UCI programs offering credit for internship opportunities are available here.)

That’s right…your opportunity has to be reviewed by an academic department to ensure that the student is doing work the meets set criteria, which varies from department to department. 

The good news is, if an academic unit feels it’s appropriate to grant credit to your interns, the university will help facilitate it. Your involvement will vary depending on the program in which your student is enrolled.  

Yes, it can take time to get in touch with the right folks and follow the right steps to give the intern credit. Though, the steps aren’t difficult, they are there to help our students (and you).  Isn’t that what internships are all about?

Stay tuned for more on this down the road.

Have a great week!

-DBO

6-month blog-aversary!

In honor of our 6-month blog-aversary next week, I’d like to re-share the top 6 posts to date (as indicated by reader hits over at the previous address).

  1. Watch out! Texas, here I come!

    Please allow me to show you some posts

  2. Behind the scenes at a Career Fair (one of my personal favorites)

In other news, our first few days at this new URL have gone swimmingly, which is such a relief, and something for which I’m very grateful. As you may have guessed, there was a lot of work involved with getting the update off the ground.  The timing of this change was intentional, as these next few weeks are shaping up to be quite busy (MPACE conference in Portland, multiple employer meetings and community events, Career Center Fall retreat, etc). I’ll have some good stories and updates coming your way, and I look forward to using this new platform to share them.

In the meantime, please enjoy the highlights and have a wonderful weekend!

-DBO

Career Placement vs. Career Services

Every so often, someone will hear me say that I work at the UCI Career Center and respond with “Oh, so you do placement?”

Well no, not really. The UCI Career Center offers a variety of services and resources, including career counseling, for students, but we don’t call anything we do ‘placement’. To help provide some context, and explanations about the perspective behind that, I’ve enlisted the help of some of my super-smart colleagues.

Allison: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Career services aims to teach students (from a developmental perspective) the stages of self-assessment, career exploration, career decision-making, and taking action. Career placement jumps to the end of the process and focuses on employer and candidate matching.

Michelle M.: This reminds me of the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish. Career counseling is more akin to teaching or empowering someone along the career development process, including job search. Career placement entails just giving students jobs, rather than teaching them how to do it for themselves.

Michelle F.: Career Services offers the tools and connections to conduct an effective job search and supports students in their search efforts. ‘Teach a man to fish…’

(Dena: I’m sensing a theme here.)

Araceli: While the primary focus of placement centers is to secure jobs for their clients, career centers help prepare and empower clients/students in their career development and job search. In career centers, individuals are given tools they can use for a lifetime. Through campus career centers, students are able to readily access, in one place, resources/events and services as it relates to career planning, graduate school, and job search.

See what I meant about resources?

With that, I’m going to go fishing. Just kidding! Though, I think the fishing metaphor is a good thing for employers to remember, as we’re not in a position to simply connect students and employers for hiring purposes. We can, however, empower both sides and provide resources and services that allow for smart, well-informed decisions with long-term goals in mind.

DBO

Wise words on Employer branding…

My, my, my…that word ‘branding’ gets thrown around a lot these days, doesn’t it?  In a few minutes I’m going to an Events Council meeting to learn more about it, so it’s been on my mind today.

Here at the Career Center, we are certainly not immune to the power of branding. We’re conscious of not only our own brands (on-campus and off-campus), but also the brands of our employers. On that note, I wanted to share some words of wisdom from my colleague Michelle Foley (who single-handedly ran Employer Relations AND OCI before I came on board), who recently said that “Campus recruiting has a lot to do with building a brand.  At UCI it takes employers engaging in at least one activity per quarter a full academic year to achieve student recognition.  Once recognition is achieved the activity level should be maintained for another academic year to solidify the reputation.”

Something to think about, right?  The main idea here is that steady, long-term involvement can lead to recruitment success. Keep in mind that this is a suggestion for employers who expect to do consistent hiring over an extended period of time, and who want to build a solid pipeline of candidates from UCI. I realize that can sound like a lot of work, but the good news is we have staff members dedicated to helping employers develop and maintain a level of involvement that is appropriate to them and their business needs (ahem…I am one of those staff members).

Either way – let me know how we can help. That’s what we’re here for.

See? We really are helpful.

Until next time,
DBO

PS  – There is absolutely still hope for employers who do not hire as frequently. Many can often still find success while maintaining a smaller presence on campus. Some quick, inexpensive ideas can be found here

Why aren’t more students applying to my posting? (FAQ’s 4.0)

This question helps me revisit that childhood dream of becoming a detective, since there is never a clear, one-size-fits-all answer to give.  It usually takes a little bit of digging to determine how to answer this question. Here are some of the many things we have to consider when someone brings this topic up:

  • What time of year/academic quarter is it?
    Indeed, there are times of the year when ZotLink is quieter. Midterms, finals, spring break, summer term, the list goes on. All of these shifts in the calendar mean that students are either busy or away, and that they are checking ZotLink less often.  There are also times when recruitment season is in full swing and it’s busier on ZotLink, meaning that you will have more competition with your posting.
  • How much (and what kind of) information is in the posting?
    Our students are very savvy. Clear, concise, error-free descriptions that demonstrate your company’s professionalism are going to be appreciated. Blank sections, vague information, or unclear messages will deter applicants.
  • How is the position described, and named?
    I can certainly understand the desire to stand out and showcase your company’s personality, though if you have a creatively-named position, be aware that not everyone will understand it.  Calling a Sales Representative a “Life Changing Relationship Builder” may match your company’s values, but it won’t make sense to those who aren’t as familiar with your lingo or personality.
  • What type of position is it?
    There are some types of opportunities that are simply more popular among our student body than others. Personally, I believe that nearly every internship, entry-level or junior position has a spot on ZotLink (we have over 40,000 students and alumni registered), but that doesn’t mean students are equally interested in all of them, unfortunately.
  • Is the compensation fair?
    There are a number of things many people (students or non-students) expect to get paid to do. Calling the experience an “unpaid internship” does not change that, and might lead to a less-enthusiastic applicant pool. On a related note, if your position is unpaid, but it shows up next to four identical opportunities that ARE paid, that will affect someone’s decision whether or not to apply.
  • What else do students know your company (from online sources, the news, word of mouth, etc.)?
    You could have the most perfectly-worded, perfectly-timed, well-compensated position in the world, though if a student knows someone who had a miserable internship experience, or who doesn’t like working with your organization, that may inhibit their application. In addition, if your organization has received bad press or has negative reviews online, that will also be a factor. 

Please keep in mind that you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself – my colleagues and I are here to work with employers and ensure that your recruiting efforts are going as smoothly as possible. I’ll gladly talk to anyone wondering how to maximize a posting.  Deep down, I like that detective feeling!

Until next time,
DBO

Top 5 Career Fair tips (for recruiters)

All right friends and readers – here it is! Now that our Fall Career & Graduate School fairs have wrapped up, I can share the Top 5 Tips I learned (for recruiters)…

5) Wear (or bring) comfortable shoes
Seriously. You might be standing for 5+ hours. When hosting tables during a previous job, I often wore sneakers or flip-flops that weren’t visible to anyone else (thank goodness for floor-length table cloths). Then, I changed into my stiff shoes for the walk to lunch or to my car. Most people had no idea I did this…until now.

4) Bring reinforcements
You do not need to take on the entire fair by yourself! It’s not uncommon to see two, three, four, or more representatives at one table. See if there are any recent college graduates in your organization who can spare a few hours to relate to the students. Or, better yet, see if there are any alumni in your company who can come represent (we’ll give them special nametags and pins)

3) Understand where the students are coming from
Please take a moment to remember what it’s like to be in a student’s shoes juggling career fairs and job applications with classes, homework, club meetings, group projects, study dates, internship hours, academic planning, home life, etc. Some students may be able blend right in with the experienced candidates you work with, others are still learning about what it means to be professional. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some of each.

2) Care for yourself
Take advantage of the tea and water available to you, or bring your own throat lozenges if you prefer. You will likely be talking a LOT.

1) Let staff know if you have any questions or concerns
There is much we can do to help you have a smooth and successful fair experience. Need water or a snack? Check. Want a quick route to the bathroom or to a coffee stand? Check. Have a question about our student body, or academic programs? Check. Is your table wobbly, or do you need another chair? Check. We can help with all of these things, if you ask us in time. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything we can do if we don’t find out about an issue until you give us your evaluation at the end of the fair. So, please don’t be shy. You will see dozens of us circulating at the fairs – let us know what you need!

Looking forward to seeing you next time!

-DBO