Category Archives: FAQ

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)


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!


6 months, by the numbers!

Hi all!

For those who were in the UCI Career Center yesterday, you may have seen Michelle and I in our matching tiaras. This week officially marks our 6-month anniversary on campus, a mini-milestone of which we are slightly proud. It’s also given me a few reasons to reflect and come up with….drumroll, please…a list of numbers!  Here is what the first 6 months as a brand-new Employer & Community Outreach Specialist can look like:

  • 1340 sent emails
  • a bunch more received…many have been re-sorted and/or deleted so a grand total is not available. We’ll just go with “a bunch”
  • 23 networking events
  • 41 employer meetings
  • 9 days of conferences/travel/off-sites
  • 279 Tweets
  • 24 blog posts
  •  Plus, many hours dedicated to training, research (on both the employment community and UC Irvine), meetings, and getting up to speed on best practices

I’m not what numbers in other jobs look like, but I see this list and feel okay – I think they represent a good start, but more room to grow (side note: these numbers should be fairly exact, but I reserve the right to claim a margin for human error). 

Michelle is away from her desk currently, so I wasn’t able to grab her for a pose. But, here is proof of the existence of our “6 mos.” tiaras...

...Not to be confused with “lo mos” tiaras, which is what one colleague thought they said. Though, BabelFish tells me that lo mos is Spanish for “the mos”. I never knew the mos was a word, and tells me that “mo” is short for moments. So, in a way, our Tiaras said “The Moments.” I am okay with that.


You want an intern? What a great idea! (FAQs, Part 1.0)

You have a question? I'm listening...

A common question I get from employers and individuals is some version of “I think I want an intern, what should I do?”

My initial response is…great question! This question is so good that it’s earned a spot as the first Favorite Asked Question (FAQ), of which you’ll see many more over the coming months!

And, then, my second response is something like this…Internships can be a fabulous experience for both student and employer. As a former intern, I owe a big thank-you-in-advance to all future intern supervisors, since the work you will do for these promising professionals will likely be paramount for their careers.

That said, there are a couple of steps necessary to go from point A (“I want an intern! I mean…Yes, I am ready to shape and mentor a young professional”) to point B (“Here is your desk, respected and honored intern”). Don’t hesitate to let me know if you’d like more details about any of them….

  1. Please peruse the Career Center’s Internship Central. We’ve included information about Department of Labor policies, points of contact on campus, and best practices.  It will feel like a lot of information (especially the DOL part) but please trust me that it’s crucial for organizations to understand what’s required.
  2. Prepare! Please consider your goals for the position, and for the experience the student will gain.  It is also recommended to identify the employee who will supervise and guide the student through their internship. Create both a clear job description that outlines the intern’s duties, and an internal plan for how you’ll ensure that both intern and supervisor goals are met. Also, don’t forget to plan to share opportunities for growth throughout his/her stay, and to evaluate them at the end of their internship.
  3. Once you are ready to post the opportunity, you can visit Zotlink* to share it with a wide audience of UCI students and alumni.

So, to summarize, the steps we’ve covered are: Peruse (Internship Central), Prepare, and post.  Sounds easy, right? It certainly can be, but if any steps need further explanation or detail, let me know!


*Zotlink is UCI’s online job posting board, which comes in the form of a snazzy website that is free for employers to use (and free for students to use to apply)