Tag Archives: Internships

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

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

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

Behind the Scenes at a Career Fair

Have you ever been to a career fair?  Thinking about attending next time?  Here’s a peek at what they look like, start to finish…

 (event styling by our very own Event Coordinator, Kat)

Before employers and students arrive, staff is working on set-up…

with attention to detail, of course.

(I was serious about the details.)

As you (the employer) arrives, the hosting Career Center will probably be very happy to see you…

…and will welcome you with open arms

While you set-up, our staff will take the event seriously…

(actually, students will too)…

but with all the balloons around, we might try to mix in some fun, too. Cue the dancing.

Side note: if your company is one of our corporate sponsors, we’ll try to give you some extra shout-outs to show you how much we appreciate your support.

Once the doors open, hundreds and hundreds of our awesome students will enter the room.

And it will look a little like this…

and this…

and this…for about five intense but exciting hours.

When it’s all over, we will look like this...

and this...

and lastly, this. I like to call this one 'naptime in a dark office.'

photo credit: All photos (except the poorly lit ones) courtesy of our marketing guru, Joanne.

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

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…

-DBO

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!