Internship Scams: How to Spot Them [Students]

Internship Scams: How to Spot Them

Ahh the internet – the best friend, and worst enemy, of every job-seeker. A world of information at your fingertips, and an unparalleled number of fraudsters and schemers lurking just beneath the surface.

If you’re using the internet (and of course you are) to track down internship opportunities, be prepared. You’re going to see some awesome opportunities in your field of choice. You’re also going to see some scams. Here’s how you can tell the difference.

concept of fraud word on wooden background

Sound too good to be true?

It is. Any opportunity that promises money beyond what you’d traditionally expect from such a role (remember, many internships are unpaid, and others usually aren’t providing salaries equivalent to full-time workers) deserves some skepticism. Be careful, because the promise of easy money is a serious temptation, even for savvy students. This goes for commission-based positions too – be wary of internships that promise commissions in exchange for successful sales.

And if any position is asking for money from you to apply, run away…fast.

Do some digging

This is where your e-detective skills become truly valuable. Check the forums, the third-party review sites, and social media pages. What do other internship candidates and employees have to say? Look up the names of the primary contacts and check them out. Do they have bios on the company page? LinkedIn profiles? If you can’t find a significant web presence in an era of near-constant web documentation, something is likely amiss.

Ask the right questions

If the supervisor or site manager doesn’t require an interview, that’s a red flag. You should, for the employer’s benefit, at a bare minimum be expected to discuss your interests and credentials over the phone. For your benefit, you need an opportunity to clarify a few points, including:

  • What transferable skills you can expect to learn on the job
  • What’s expected of you in order to earn credit or obtain a reference
  • What your average shift or day of work will entail.

If you’re not in a position to ask these questions, or don’t find that the answers are satisfactory, walk away. This is not the opportunity for you.

Be excited about  internship opportunities, but be smart! Ask the right questions, check out the right people, and make sure that everything sounds, and feels, legit.

Looking for an internship in RI? Start your search at Bridge.jobs, Rhode Island’s resource for connecting students with employers.

 

Internship interviews: How to Dress to Impress [Students]

Interviewers and internship candidates have been bickering with each other over “professionalism” for generations. Whether centered on haircuts, visible tattoos or piercings, or appropriate dress in the workplace, it’s been an evolving, but continuous, discussion. Today’s most prominent professional attire-related dispute seems to focus on a more core concept – whether anyone should really be “dressed up” to go to work at all.

Beautiful girl stands against the wall with coffee.

It’s true. A growing number of large corporations and small businesses are doing away with the old professional dress standards in favor of something that falls even below “business casual.” Emerging companies on the West Coast have led the way, and images of young billionaires at work in jeans have made it tough to convince internship candidates that professional dress is truly still the standard. Here’s the bad news: it is.

Standards across industries

Certainly the type of internship you land will affect the style of clothing you wear to work. Interning in an accounting or law firm, for example, will require conservative suiting, while an intern at a weightlifting gym will likely wear gym clothes. But for interview purposes, none of that matters. Always err on the side of more professional.

Business handshake at office meeting, contract conclusion and su

Dress it up, not down, for just one day

One great tip: step it up at least one level from what you know you’ll need to wear to work every day should you land the job. If you’ll be in an office where the staff are largely in business casual attire – a public school is a great example – you should anticipate wearing a suit to your interview. Your interviewer won’t expect you to dress similarly for work, but she’ll be impressed that you’ve taken the time to step it up. Interning at a restaurant or brewery? A suit may not be necessary, but business casual for the interview is a bare minimum.

Part of earning that internship experience is gritting your teeth and being uncomfortable, knowing that it’s only for a few hours, and that in the end it’ll be well worth it. Let’s face it – nobody likes putting on heels or a tie for a meeting. Do it anyway, and you’ll be glad you did.

 

Resumes for College Students: Make Yours Shine [Students]

Crafting a good resume is an art form. Think of your resume as a snapshot of your entire professional and academic existence. Consider the work that people put into selecting a profile photo on Facebook or Instagram. They want to look physically attractive, sure – but perhaps they’d also like to demonstrate interest in a particular hobby, or show off an important relationship. Maybe they include a pet or beautiful outdoor scenery. Just as that photo is intended to convey nuance and detail in a single image, so should your resume.

Applicant and recruitment procedure

Structure and Design

Physically, your resume should conform to certain professional standards that are relatively inflexible unless you’re in certain fields – think visual arts – that allow for more creativity. Don’t go crazy on format. Follow these rules:

  • One page, max. Even professionals who’ve been working for several years don’t often exceed this rule until they have accrued a great deal of experience, so if you’re over a page you’re likely including details you don’t need.
  • Include – at the top of your resume – your name, a physical address, your cell phone number, and a personal email. If you don’t have one, make sure to open an email account that looks something like firstname.lastname@email.com.

Content

  • Break down your resume into three or four sub-sections. We suggest: Education, Employment History, and Interests/Volunteerism. These are flexible and should be tailored to your experience. For example, if you have accrued technical certifications or awards, these may deserve a separate subheading.
  • Your resume should utilize bullet points to itemize your specific skills and experiences, and each line item should include some verbs that discuss what you learned or did. For example – if you’ve worked in a retail store, you might include “Provided excellent customer service” or “ensured compliance with corporate standards.”
  • Although it can be tempting to exaggerate responsibility or use complex language, don’t. Hiring pros see a lot of resumes, and want to see that you’re able to summarize some successful academic and professional accomplishments honestly and succinctly.

If your resume seems a bit bare-bones, don’t worry. College students haven’t generally had time to accrue much experience. Focus on shining some light on what you have done, and remember – this is a snapshot of your professional life to date, and first impressions are everything.

Internship Orientation: Do I really need one? [Employers]

Internships give you a pipeline of tomorrow’s best talent while providing you with year-round help. Hosting enthusiastic and motivated young adults entering a field that they’re truly passionate about can be a huge boon for your organization.

How? For starters, you’ll have more hands on deck and maybe even the chance to recast old problems in a new light. You’ll have the ability to train the next round of professionals at your organization and reduce the time, expense and hassle associated with turnover costs.

Interns can also benefit your current staff by freeing up their time to pursue more interesting and creative projects that they couldn’t do otherwise. This means that your company can enjoy all of the resources that it did prior to hiring interns while also facilitating a kind of in-house R & D with your current professionals.

That’s pretty great by itself but the internship process has the added bonus of allowing you to monitor, train and essentially audition the next round of talent on the side.

Why You Need an Internship Orientation Program!

Both private- and public-sector employers are sometimes apprehensive about hosting an internship program.

This apprehension usually has its roots in hearsay from colleagues or horror stories on the internet: Internship orientations will help you start off on the right foot. You may think an orientation is going to be too much work but they are totally manageable and once you’ve pulled one off they’re very easy to replicate and repeat in the future.

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Be Honest About Your Needs First

You should always run an internship program with an eye towards your needs as an organization – take both today’s and tomorrow’s needs into account when you do this.

Ask yourself whether you really need more young professionals, more capable managers or simply need to scout the available candidates for someone who can handle more niche skills that your organization needs to further grow.

Since your orientation will cover things like your interns’ goals, major projects and roles during the internship, it’s important that you figure out your own organization’s needs early on in the process.

Create a Welcoming, Warm Intern Orientation

This is where a lot of managers and company heads become a little more unsure of themselves, but internship orientations are really nothing to spend time worrying about.

Think of internship orientations as analogous to welcoming a new employee to your organization: You want to put your best foot forward and gradually get that new employee acquainted with their roles, your work culture and what they should expect in the near- and long-term.

For interns in particular, though, you want to focus on the basics initially: Give them a rundown on the dress code, expectations, hours and any safety protocols that they absolutely need to follow while on the job. When expectations are clearly defined, everyone is on the same page.

It’s really true that the quicker you can bring your interns up to speed the sooner they can start making a felt contribution to your organization. Don’t be shy here: If your workplace policy is no social media browsing or Smartphone use on the job, be upfront about that during the internship orientation.

Provide Handouts and an Online Followup

Distributing handouts that interns can use to follow along with during the hour or two that you run your internship orientation program can give you greater confidence and, in turn, help interns feel supported.

A lot of companies have also found success bringing former interns into the fold. How would that work? Well, if you’re like most companies then there’s a good chance that some of your interns went on to become full-time employees.

If that’s the case then having those former interns attend your internship orientation can help so they can field questions, allay concerns and give your current interns a target to strive towards: The chance at landing their dream (full-time) job!