Category Archives: Internships

Introducing Employer Relating’s First Blog Series!

I love how many employers are interested in starting new internship programs! It warms my heart to think that among seasoned professionals, there is a desire to help those newer in the field. Over the past few months, it’s become especially apparent that many employers developing internships would like from some clear guidelines and resources on the topic. And so, I’m happy to announce that beginning next week, Employer Relating will be a featuring 6-part blog series called Building your Internship – Strategies for Creating the Best of Both Worlds for your Organization and your Intern

While not meant to take the place of the necessary conversations you’ll need to have with your internal HR officers and leadership, we hope it helps you build the strongest program possible for your organization.

The 6 topics will be, in order:

1.            Laying the groundwork

2.            Setting up your Program 

3.            Recruiting

4.            Hiring, on-boarding

5.            Evaluating, concluding

6.            Summary, additional resources

So refill your coffee, sit back, and stayed tuned for the first post of the series to arrive early next week!

Until then,
DBO

Advertisements

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

OCI: Short for “On-Campus Interviewing” OR “Ooh, Can I?”

OCI is off-and-running, my friends!  Starting earlier this month, and continuing throughout this quarter, we will have a number of employers visiting our center and using our interview rooms to meet with our students, their potential employees. This is an exciting time at the Career Center (especially for my colleague Michelle F., who oversees all OCI scheduling).

For those who are unfamiliar with, or who are new to on-campus recruitment, I thought I’d offer a quick explanation about OCI.  It stands for On-Campus Interviewing, which is just what it sounds like. Participating employers can use ZotLink to manage their recruitment from start to finish (with help from Career Center staff). They have the ability to post positions, schedule interviews, communicate with candidates, and of course, interview them here on campus.

Here is the interview space

Here is Michelle, the Career Center staff member behind all the magic

 And, here is the tool that you (employers) can use to sign-up:

OCI can work very well for employers who are from out-of-town, who are managing a high volume of student candidates, or for those who want to streamline their UCI student recruitment efforts. And yes, it’s a free service. 

Now, I’m going to put this out there – many spots for Fall are already filled. That said, if anyone wants to join us over the next few weeks, please feel free to reach out and we’ll do our best to get you on the schedule. OR, put it on your calendar to consider for Winter Term – interviews will go from January 27-March 16. Further updates about future scheduling will be posted here, as they become available.

That said, have a great weekend, everyone!

-DBO

How do I reach out to more students/alumni about my job opportunity? (FAQs, Part 3.0)

What a good question, I’m so glad you asked! For the sake of conversation, let’s assume that you have already posted on ZotLink when you’re asking this.

The good news is, the Career Center offers a number of opportunities and recommendations to help you in this area. While some of our services do have various charges attached (reminder: ZotLink is not one of them), there are some things employers can do with a $0 budget to help your recruitment. Let’s begin with those, shall we? 

  • Use resume books
    When employers have a position available, they are welcome to request access to UCI resume books to actively view and search resumes of students (who have opted into the collection). Interested employers can contact me for questions and access at dena.o [at] uci.edu.
  • Volunteer with the Career Center
    We love our employer volunteers! There are opportunities available throughout the year for employers to come speak on a panel, perform resume reviews, offer mock interviews, etc. All of these opportunities allow for direct interaction with students which, as we all know, can help with recruitment efforts. Volunteer opportunities do tend to be in high demand by our employer friends, so if this is an area in which you are interested, it’s best to let me or one of my colleages know, and we can go over what we’re looking for with you. Space is limited, and we also like to be clear on the kind of information you’re providing to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with our values/mission.
  • Reach out to student orgs
    UCI Student Organizations are listed online here, and the site allows viewers to look up clubs and contacts. It is free for employers to find student groups that may be interested in their organization (there are hundreds of clubs, dozens of which have a professional focus).

That said, my colleagues and I are here to ensure that you are maximizing your efforts (and, not paying for things that you don’t need). Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you are interested in any of the above options: dena.o [at] uci.edu

On that note, Happy Friday, all! Enjoy your weekend!

-DBO

On interns, the film industry, and birds (specifically, black swans)

Perhaps some of you have heard about this lawsuit, about the former interns suing Fox Searchlight over the lack of pay they received for experience/work they did on Black Swan.  

I’ve done a few quick searches on the story, and one of the things I find most interesting are the comments I’ve see splattered beneath some of the articles. There seems to be a mix of responses echoing “power to the people!” in support of the interns, along with “what did they expect?”–type comments that chastise the interns for thinking they deserved more than what they got. Yes, it’s true that many internships in desirable industries are unpaid, and for some, a rite of passage that is necessary to pursue a competitive field. But, does that make it okay? Is the honor of putting a well-known movie title on a resume a fair enough trade?  I don’t have the answers, but I’m glad that someone is asking.  I do think that this lawsuit will bring some exposure to the DOL Standards on Internship Programs.  I will be keeping my eyes on the story, and I’m interested to see where the conversation goes…

-DBO

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!

-DBO

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.
source: http://www.naceweb.org/about/membership/internship/

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!

-DBO