networking

career, jobs

5 Questions to Cultivate Excellent­­ Interns: Part 2

This is the second installment in a five part series on how to cultivate excellent interns.

How Do You Find an Intern?

Finding interns can be a daunting task.  Don’t have preconceived notions about where to advertise internship openings. Networking, contacting colleges, universities, and taking advantage of the social and digital space will begin the intern hiring process.

 

Interns at Eko Communications networking and mingling with the WeWork staff at a launch event

Interns at Eko Communications networking and mingling with the WeWork staff at a launch event

Networking: Talk with friends, family, and colleagues about internships they’ve had or companies they’ve heard have great intern programs.  Contact individuals in charge of the intern programs.  Have a conversation about how they find excellent interns and continually develop a successful program. Work with an intern consulting company who specializes in finding interns and development of intern programs.  Check out intern-based meetups or ones targeted at HR professionals (even if you aren’t HR). Create lines of open communication with previous intern experts.

 

Representing Eko Communications at NYU Wasserman Spring 2015 Advertising, PR & Communications Industry Expo.  I was giving away stickers of stickers that our interns have created

Representing Eko Communications at NYU Wasserman Spring 2015 Advertising, PR & Communications Industry Expo.  I was giving away stickers of stickers that our interns have created

Colleges and Universities: Hang catchy, colorful posters in high-traffic areas often used by students (think mailrooms and dining halls).  Post job ads online with college career centers.  Contact faculty and department chairs; they regularly interact and directly advocate on the behalf of their students.  Sign up to be an employer who recruits at internship and job fairs.  Ask to speak at student events and attends special campus events.  It is important not to limit the postings to one college or university.  Diversify the types, locations, and size of schools where internship ads are posted.

 

Social and Digital: Post ads online on internship websites like Internships.com, Freelanship.com, and other job board websites. Even craigslist can be a great place to advertise to pull in a more diverse set of applicants.  Tweet from your company (or personal) account, post on Facebook or company Facebook pages, and always write about openings on LinkedIn.  Be aware many digital sites have a fee associated with an internship job posting.

 

With the social connectedness of today’s society and job market, finding a multitude of interns isn’t difficult.  If struggling with getting applicants, readjust job descriptions and where they are posted. There are quality, motivated intern candidates everywhere!

The third installment of “5 Questions to Cultivate Excellent Interns” will outline what it takes to find interns who are a good fit for your company’s culture, mission, and objectives.

arts, career, jobs

How A Broadway Musical Can Get You a Job!

Indulge my inner theater geek for a moment and (using headphones) listen to this show-opener song from the Tony award winning musical Avenue Q.  The themes in this song—and the musical in its entirety—express the thoughts and emotions of those graduating from High School, or college, or any other time they’ve felt lost or at an end of an era in their life.  The show and song begins with:

What do you do with a B.A. in English,
What is my life going to be?
Four years of college and plenty of knowledge,
Have earned me this useless degree.

I can't pay the bills yet,
'Cause I have no skills yet,
The world is a big scary place.

But somehow I can't shake,
The feeling I might make,
A difference,
To the human race.

 

The show Avenue Q, both in music and script, is light, bouncy, and humorous creating a conversation about important life challenges.  Like most literary works they can need translation to fully understand the “story behind the story.” The ideas and conversations, when “translated” apply to all areas of education.  So for this moment, this musical theater song is Shakespearian text interpreted from a HR perspective.

 

“What do you do with a B.A. in English,
What is my life going to be?”

“What is my life going to be?” Who will I be when I grow up?” Questions kids, high school students, and especially college graduates ask and continue to be asked throughout life.  Traditional educational standards ask you to define a major at 20 years old to determine a career path for a lifetime.  Graduates have the impression they’re already experts in their field and should continue down that path.

College graduates shouldn’t restrict themselves this way by letting ‘traditional education’ define a life or career path.  Straying from a defined plan can be daunting but use fear of the unknown to propel exploration of other interests and passions. What other areas were interesting in or after school?  Were you involved in the school newspaper? Maybe you created sets for the theater department.  Perhaps working in the local community made life more enjoyable?  Life’s potential is what you make it; look to interests and passions for clues to next steps for post-college life and career choices.

Start or continue figuring out “what your life is going to be” through your interests and passions; confront the fear that changing paths may bring.


“Four years of college and plenty of knowledge,
Have earned me this useless degree.”

Don’t despair! A Bachelors degree appears to have become the equivalent of what a high school diploma used to represent.  Still, new graduates always seem under qualified for all the interesting work opportunities.  Any degree or certification has elements that can be expanded upon once in the workforce.  Be proud of your educational accomplishments, wear them with pride, and find the best means to practice and hone your abilities.

Make your degree work for you!  Extract skills, conceptual ideas, research methods, and problem solving abilities that can be applied in a multidisciplinary context.

“I can't pay the bills yet,
'Cause I have no skills yet,”

There’s plenty one can do with a B.A. in English, or any other degree; the biggest challenge recent graduates face is how to identify, articulate, and practice transferrable skills gained while getting a degree in a specialized field.  How did working as a group leader for a final class assignment develop project management skills?  Where can one apply the lessons about the value of time, deadlines, and effective communication learned from writing for the school paper?  How can color theory skills best apply to websites, app design, and aid the user experience?  In what ways does a background in psychology lead to a better understanding of human interaction in a workplace?

From previous school and “real life” work, identify transferable skills and abilities you can apply to a variety of environments.

 

“The world is a big scary place.”

Yes, the world can be a big scary place.  In the workforce-job market-business world having the ability to network and process information is key.

There is potential for networking everywhere and in everyone.  Don’t know where to start?  Join meetups or groups with specific interests.  Meeting and connecting with new people becomes a simple social event; don’t worry if they aren’t in your current industry—everyone knows someone else who can help or is in your field of business.

The ability to process, rapidly digest, and understand information is important in any job.  In the Information Age we’re bombarded daily with data, commercials, people, webpages—information is seemingly constant and endless.

 

“The information age has brought the noise of the infinite to us in ways that seem deceptively manageable, but often add to the confusion of our daily lives.  Memory has both evolved and devolved simultaneously. Our ability to receive and assimilate a myriad of information on a constant basis has been enhanced through the Internet, smart phones, and other Wi-Fi connected devices.”

- Steven Pearson, Artist

 

Sorting, digesting, and understanding information is a skill often learned through research and writing papers and should be practiced in everyday personal and professional settings.  This skill allows one to better keep up with trends, current events, and be more knowledgeable in areas of expertise.

It’s important to take time to network for more opportunities and to sort and process an immense amount of information to take away key pieces that enhance skills and performance.

 

“But somehow I can't shake,
The feeling I might make,
A difference,
To the human race.”

Excellent.  Take passion, drive, energy, and channel it into tangible productivity. Maybe a decision didn't go your way or you didn't get that job offer; trace your steps back to what you originally wanted, regroup, and reassess to create a new game plan.

Be passionate, keep fueling the fire, and use that to pave your way.

 

This song and musical resonate with me as I work with the millennial generation.  Armed with a BA degree—a background in fine arts, theater management and Spanish language—I am uniquely prepared.   Figuring out how skills are transferrable to new settings is and continues to be the most difficult yet rewarding process.  As it turns out, a BA degree is a potential ticket to success and equipped with a willingness and excitement to follow your passions, to discover and put transferrable skills to great use in any field!

career

Ways to Impress on Your First Day as an Intern

9.         Be On Time & Prepared
Show up 10-15 minutes early.  There are a lot of factors that go into arriving early.  Attempt a dry run for the commute during similar office hours and the pre-commute routine is all set.

Arrive prepared with all supplies you might need for the first day or the duration of the internship; this may include a computer, notebook & pen, proper identification for any security issues, or paperwork for HR.  If you’re unsure of what to bring contact the person who hired you at least 3 days before the internship start date.

 

8.         Dress Professionally
Ask about dress code well before the start date. Plan to exceed dress code standards.  Aim to always be more professionally dressed than your boss or supervisor.  This doesn't mean one should buy a new wardrobe but is more about awareness of presentation.  While dress code isn’t always a big deal in some office cultures, it’s a great way to make a strong positive impression.  In addition, make sure all articles of clothing are appropriate; if this is a new work environment for you research what is appropriate to wear.



7.         Be Friendly
Make friends with the receptionist(s) or office manager(s).  These are the people who know everyone in the company; secretaries and office managers know employee’s habits, schedules, coffee preferences, and are good resources and friends to have.  Plus, it’s always nice to have someone to smile and chat to on your way in and out of the office.

 

6.         Ask Questions
If there is an orientation, have two or three questions prepared in advance and ready to ask; not all questions need to be asked in a public forum so be aware of which should be asked directly to a supervisor.  Asking questions will make supervisors more aware of your presence and distinguish you from other interns.  Most likely other interns will want similar questions answered and speaking up in a well informed and thought out manner will emphasize leadership capabilities.  This is especially important if you want to take on more responsibility or special projects during the internship.

 

5.         Make Yourself Known
If there is time, reach out to superiors who have already or can possibly have impact on your internship.  Find the person who hired you, whether your direct boss or HR, and thank them for this opportunity.  With sincerity, seek out the CEO or other C-Suite team members and briefly make note about your excitement and readiness to work for the company; this tends to work better in smaller, start up-like companies.

 

4.         Maintain Connections
Ask your supervisor for the names and titles of the top people in your company and in your department.  Find them and connect on LinkedIn with a note in the invitation about being the newest member of the intern team.  Take time to read their profiles, look at their accomplishments, and find connection possibilities to bring up in conversation; this will give you a better perspective on the company and what experiences they value in employees.

 

3.         Start Networking
Ask a potential mentor to lunch or coffee sometime during your first week.  Try to eat lunch with a different person once every week.  Build your network, better understand the different jobs within the company and cultivate a mentor.  Make sure when you ask someone to lunch or coffee you have a list of questions prepared beforehand.

 

2.         Set Goals
Make and update a list of goals for the internship.  As they are accomplished or changed adapt your list.  This becomes a great source of information for reflection, performance review, and resume building at the end of the program.

 

1.         Start & Stay Productive
Set yourself up for a productive internship.  This means smile, work diligently, be friendly, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, volunteer to help out even if it isn’t the most glamorous task, ask many questions and learn as much as possible.  Not sure of the best way to contribute to the company?  Ask your supervisor for a “sit down” meeting early on to discuss in detail ways to enhance your achievements and how to aid in the success of the company.