Intern Conduct: How to Make the Right Moves [Students]

Intern Conduct: How to Make the Right Moves

An internship is the bridge that links student life to professional life. For many college students, internships are a first exposure to the working world outside of part-time jobs in retail or recreation, so you may have some uncertainty about what to expect. Not to worry! You’re walking a well-trodden path, as generations of college students have marched the route before you. Here’s what you need to know:

Treat the experience like a job. Employers know the difference between employees and interns, and of course you’ll be aware of the differences as well – most notably that you may be working for no pay (although there are plenty of paid opportunities out there so don’t write off an internship if you need pay!). If you are taking the path of an unpaid internship, do yourself a huge favor and forget that detail before you show up for your first day. Your mindset must be fixed on professionalism at all times, so don’t set yourself up to slack off just because you aren’t working for pay. You’re here to do a job, and that means:

  • Arriving on time, every day.
  • Dressing to impress. Regardless of the job site, be polished and presentable. Take note of how the pros around you dress, and work to blend in with them.
  • Maintaining a cheerful demeanor – even when you don’t feel like it.

Leave your phone in your car. We’re serious about this one, because employers and site supervisors consistently report this as an annoyance specific to college students – get off your phone. Don’t text. Don’t check social media. You’re at work, and whether you think somebody’s watching or not, you’ll quickly hurt your reputation if you’re staring at your phone screen when you’ve got tasks to complete. It’s just too tempting when it is by your side.

Student learning with laptop and mobile phone

Texting in the office and dressing too casually are big no-nos at your internship.

Be industrious. Finished with your work? Ask what you can do next. We know that traditional intern tasks aren’t always glamorous, but you’ll make a lasting impression if you’re the intern who finishes the task at hand and then asks for more work – especially if those tasks are done perfectly, every time. When in doubt, talk to your boss. We guarantee your energy and enthusiasm will make her day.

Internships are exciting, and present a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself amongst a sea of similarly-educated college students. Make sure to stick to rule number 1 – Treat it Like a Job – and you’ll walk away with a new set of skills, a great reference, a notch in your resume and maybe even an offer for a full-time gig.

Finding Top Talent: Where to Find the Best Interns? [Employers]

There are a lot of avenues that you could travel down to find top talent in your field. Websites like Internship.com and bRidge.jobs are great sites for employers to hop on and explore their options.

Human resource management

 

The first thing that you’ll want to do is register your company and the internship opportunity on the site itself, which is to state the obvious. A lot of these websites have sample internship descriptions that allow you to virtually copy and paste your internship description – assuming you have at least a mock-up.

Be as detailed as you can be in describing the kinds of roles that the intern will likely play, talk about the duration of the internship and your expectations, and make sure to go over the details of the tasks that the intern will most likely be carrying out.

Creative Ways for Locating Top Talent Locally

While there is a ton of talent on these online resources, sometimes finding the perfect candidate through one of these platforms simply doesn’t pan out. When that is the case, what’s next?

Take to Social Media

Social media used to be a place for goofing off and whiling away the hours by linking up with friends online. Fast forward a few years and a full 92% of companies say that they use social media for internship recruitment.

About half of Fortune 500 companies post social media links on their online career pages in hopes of landing big talent. Facebook, LinkedIn and (surprisingly) Twitter are the current hot spots through which companies gain more information about the highest potential recruits.

LinkedIn is still the undisputed king in terms of linking up interns with their potential future employers and likely internship hosts. A promising percentage of companies (73%) successfully use sites like LinkedIn to check out, correspond with and ultimately hire star interns.

Throw Down the Gauntlet Online!

Companies like MasterCard have already done this successfully – try running a challenge online and see what kind of talent is out there.

This basically works by asking future interns to submit their best solutions to a problem you pose online – e.g., What’s the best way for a company like ours to attract new customers while retaining our current marketing campaign?

If you’re looking for a marketing campaign manager the amount of attention that a given intern can dredge up online might itself put her above the rest of the field. Retweets, hashtags and conversations about your organization online are usually a very good thing!

Set Up Your Booth…On Campus

Job fairs on college campuses are a very efficient way of finding great talent that local universities have to offer. From an intern’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to assess the employers who would make the best personal fit, challenge them professionally, and offer the greatest growth potential.

From your perspective, you’re going out there and enthusiastically meeting more potential interns in-person than you otherwise could…barring the process of meeting interns online and setting up sit-down interviews.

If you go right to the source – college campuses – you can see interns in their natural habitat and find out more about their academic interests and background. You might even ask professors who the top students in, say, their engineering or design classes are.

Take Along Current and Former Interns

Whether you decide to plan and broadcast non-work-related meet-ups through social media or set up shop at a college job fair make sure that you bring along yesteryear’s interns that received full-time jobs at your organization. Doing so is an icebreaker, inspiration and on-the-spot problem solver all in one!

Internship Job Description: Writing One that Attracts the Best Talent [Employers]

The perfect internship job description should be as inspiring as it is clear to potential interns at your organization. Remember that a job description is ideally trying to facilitate a great match between employer and intern so that neither side is disenchanted with the experience down the road. A straightforward, stimulating job description speaks to the intern and draws her in, enabling your organization to attract top talent.

While an internship job description might not be able to talk directly to each and every intern, it can do a few things consistently aimed at bringing in the right kind of talent to your organization.

JOIN OUR TEAM, message on the card

Attracting the Best Talent to Your Organization

The first thing that you want to do is really put yourself in the shoes of the intern and think of what would be attractive from their end. Everyone’s different, but you can really make life easier for interns by being clear about a few things in the job description.

Succinctly Convey Your Company Culture

Putting yourself in the shoes of an aspiring intern means realizing that they’re far less acquainted with your company culture than you are. That’s not an inherent problem as long as you remember to convey your company culture near the beginning of an internship job description.

Interns have likely been perusing hundreds, if not thousands, of job descriptions online and they’re simply looking for a place that provides them the best forum to showcase their skills. Be that employer. Make it clear how your company culture operates and be as transparent as possible.

Brag a Little…But Not Too Much

In the same way that describing your company culture can create an “a-ha” moment for an intern who knows that the two of you will be a perfect match, your mentioning other perks of your organization or internship opportunities can really draw in the best talent.

The thing to realize upfront is that many – perhaps the majority – of interns view internships as a learning opportunity rather than a chance to make handfuls of money (although paid internships are certainly a bonus!).

Let that be reflected in your internship job description by focusing more on the career-building benefits of your internship and perhaps alluding to job placement numbers as well.

Make the Interns Role Crystal Clear

So, you might have an intern really intrigued by the opportunity that you’ve set before them…but what if you haven’t been entirely clear on the intern’s future role?

Imagine that you’re a manager for a baseball team trying to draft the best rookie talent around – except that you forgot to mention expectations that you’ll have for players throughout the season. Whoops!

The same thing can apply to internship job descriptions. To get around that, it’s important that you talk about what kinds of roles the intern will be taking on while at your company. Be specific about projects and duties while remembering to keep in mind the benefit that those duties will bring to your future intern. Your job description should be an advertisement, not a boring list to put in an HR file.

Talk about the ways that they’ll be collaborating with your current employees, potentially working with an internship mentor, and give them a taste of the particular projects that they’ll complete throughout their journey.

You should definitely consider emphasizing the benefits that they’ll get from all of this and the role that the final internship project might play in their future career aspirations.

Considering Blending Playfulness and Professionalism

Always remember your audience, and that fact that most interns want a challenging, career-building internship that’s both stimulating and relevant to their lives.

It’s OK to feel like you’re talking directly to interns in your internship description as long as you convey your company culture in a professional manner and take seriously the aspiring intern’s dreams, goals and ambitions!

New Tool Helps Employees Conquer Student Debt

Rhode Island employers now have a free new benefit they can offer their employees to help them get a grip on their education loans

The non-profit Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) announced today at its College Planning Center in the Warwick Mall that it will be offering a new online tool to help graduates and parents of college students conquer their student debt. The Student Loan Repayment Solutions tool, offered for free to employers by the non-profit Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, will allow employers to provide a free benefit to their employers which can help them organize, manage, and analyze their education debt, as well as get personalized counseling on how to pay off their college debt.

“Student Loan Repayment Solutions is a valuable tool for families to manage the complexities and expense of their student loans,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “I commend the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority for creating new partnerships and products to help meet the financial challenge our students face.”

“The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is one of the best success stories in the state,” said Representative Naughton. “Now they are offering yet another tool for graduates still paying off student loan debt. Between loan forgiveness programs and debt refinancing, as well as a host of other options, the counseling offered through the Student Loan Repayment Solutions will not only help them manage their debt, but will be a benefit to employees and employers alike. This partnership will help a lot of struggling people.”

Nationally employers are realizing that the number one concern that many employees have are their education loans. “Not only do millennials carry debt, but they struggle with it. A majority report having too much debt, difficulty in making payments, and worries about it… Moreover, even several years after college, the percentage of those worried about repaying student loans remains high,” stated Annamaria Lusardi in the Wall Street Journal on Oct 5, 2015.

The student loan crisis has exploded over the past decade:

  • There is currently $1.2 Trillion nationally in college debt
  • Grads have an average of $35,169 in federal student loans which is the second-highest in the nation
  • There were over $127 million in federal parent (PLUS) loans taken out in RI in 2015/16

RISLA’s online Student Loan Repayment Solutions counseling tool will help borrowers understand how to best deal with their education loans for their individual circumstances. For example the majority of the loans that a student borrows are federal loans and there are as many as eight different repayment plans to choose from.

“For ten years RISLA has been providing in person financial literacy seminars for high school and college students and we recognized that there was a need to make student loan repayment counseling an online resource that was scalable, convenient and confidential for employees.” Said William Bianchi, Financial Literacy Manager at RISLA.  “I believe this is the first state based program in the country addressing this issue through employers.”

RISLA’s free tool and one-on-one counseling will help empower employees to get a grip on their education loans by:

    • Helping employees gather and organize their student loan information
    • Counseling employees on payoff strategies, refinancing, consolidation and income-driven repayment plans
    • Educating employees about loan forgiveness programs they may qualify for
    • Determine best course of action for achieving their goals
      • Reducing payments, cutting finance charges, simplifying life, decreasing interest rates, etc.

The problem of college debt isn’t limited to just students and grads. All too frequently, parents are also burdened with high interest rate education loans they have taken out for their children. It is not unusual for parents to have multiple federal PLUS loans with interest rates of 7.9 or 8.5%.

Several companies have already recognized the value that this can provide and have enthusiastically agreed to make it available to their employees.

“The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a tremendous resource for us and our clients, many of whom are overwhelmed by their student and parent loans.  RISLA has helped a number of our clients refinance their student and parents loans, saving them thousands of dollars in interest.  Charlie Kelley and his staff provide thoughtful and proactive solutions for our clients as they navigate through the maze of college funding choices.” Donna Caccia, CPA and Partner  – Cayer Caccia CPAs

“Recent graduates and current and future students entering the accounting field are required to obtain 150 college credits, as well as successfully pass all four sections of the CPA exam, to receive their CPA designation.  Today, many students meet this requirement by continuing on with their graduate studies, which often results in increased student loan debt.  RISLA already provides seminars to help employees to better understand their student loan repayment options, and now the addition of this new online tool will be a very helpful resource that we can make available to all of our employees, especially our newest professional staff.” Steven Loffredo, Human Resources Director – KLR

“Improving access to higher education, particularly by making it more affordable, is critical in keeping pace with improvements in technology and increased competition in the global workforce. Those efforts will take time, but RISLA isn’t waiting around for a massive overhaul, it’s addressing the symptoms head on, right now. As soon as I learned about the Student Loan Repayment Solutions tool that RISLA built, I was immediately able to see its value. I believe it will be able to help a lot of people ease the burden of student debt, and I’m eager to share it with our team at MojoTech.” – Jacob Brier, Operations Director at MojoTech.

The Internship Dilemma…and How to Solve It! [Employers]

You obviously love the extra hands on deck when it comes to interns. Sometimes, though, showing interns the ropes can detract from focusing your efforts on expanding your organization and better serving your customers.

But aside from providing more help around the office, interns help you in fundamental ways that have been definitively shown to grow your business. As an example, two of the most important aspects of growing small- to medium-sized businesses – managing daily workflows and locating new, qualified team members – are likely ticked off your list by having interns around.

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

In fact, studies have shown over two-thirds of interns were eventually offered full-time positions at the companies that those interns spent time with. This tells you that business owners and managers were really impressed with what they were seeing!

The (Soluble) Internship Dilemma 

To get all of the benefits listed above there are a few things that employers can do to facilitate interns’ work and prevent interns from falling into bad habits or chasing their own tails.

Create Schedules and Set Clear Expectations 

One way to get around that potential problem is giving interns daily, weekly, and monthly goals to work towards.

This entails a bit of planning on your part since you’ll have to create schedules and goals that your interns can work towards. Ultimately, these plans should really makes life easier for you, more straightforward for the intern and more beneficial to your organization.

Speaking of Expectation Setting, Conduct an Orientation 

One of the most surefire ways of getting interns quickly acquainted with your business is to allow them to learn the ropes and help build rapport is by setting up a shorter project during the internship orientation session.

This works especially well for determining how much you will be able to get out of each intern and how high they’ll be allowed to fly. An intern who really shines on their first set of tasks might be ready for more serious, more intensive projects.

Conversely, if you notice an intern is struggling to keep their head above water or needs some more intense training, then you have a much clearer picture of how to offer a helping hand.

For instance, if an intern wrestles with their first set of tasks because of lacking time management skills, then you can remedy those right away instead of letting those issues linger and subsequently cause problems for your work flow.

Create Long-term Goals as Well 

To have a more satisfying internship experience an intern typically needs at least two things – a completed project to put on a resume as well as transferable work skills to take into their next (or first) job, perhaps at your company and with your team.

Remember, that your end-of-internship goals or project should be more ambitious than the shorter constellation of tasks that you gave the intern at your orientation.

The “big” project that you’ve set up for interns should be challenging but not overwhelming and based on that particular intern’s aptitudes, previous job skills and experiences, and temperament. Make the assignment too tough and the intern is going to be frustrated; make it too easy, and your business (and the intern) won’t get the maximum benefit from the internship experience.

As with all things in life, getting the balance right is absolutely essential for creating a position experience between you and your audience.

Finally, Run Transparent Performance Reviews 

Let interns know how they’re doing through performance reviews that give them encouragement, push them to go further and allow their skills and output to truly blossom.