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Interns, volunteers, and working for free

Survey Indicates Internships Pave Way for Grads to Land Jobs

Sure, the market is challenging right now to land a job but what if you’re a current college student or recent graduate with limited work experience on your resume?

Pssst. Here’s a hint: Internships.

According to an Internships.com survey conducted last week, 69% of companies polled have offered full-time jobs to their interns in 2012.

Essentially an internship serves as a “new interview” as the critical selection step for both students and employers.

Read more

This Just In…NBC News Will Start Paying College Interns

Good news! Starting this spring, NBC News will begin paying its interns!

According to the Maynard Institute, a “well-placed source at the network” has revealed the big news. Details are unclear because the number of available internships and actual salary amounts haven’t been determined.

Perhaps other news outlets will begin paying their interns as well?

Keep in mind, according to the piece, ABC News and CNN pay their interns and CBS News and Fox News create arrangements for the college/university to provide course credit. Read more

Does This Video Make You Want To Intern At TheStreet.com?

In what has to be the weirdest intern recruitment video ever*, TheStreet reporters talk about….everything besides why you might want to intern here. The tongue-firmly-in-cheek video has reporters talking about how their interns from last year “can’t be working” (“actually, they’re interning at Bloomberg now,” says another), points out that the Wall Street bull statue’s “bollocks are bigger than its brain,” and then shows viewers how close TheStreet’s offices are to Zucotti Park, where “thousands of jobless kids just like yourselves rose up against the greedy investment banks. The same greedy investment banks that keep business journalists like us employed.”

*Ok not really. This video aired at the 2012 Financial Follies, a sort of White House Correspondents Dinner for New York financial journalists. On the other hand, it’s all about interns, and can’t help but leave some sort of impression in interns’ brains. Do you find the jokes funny? Does the vid make you more or less likely to want to intern at TheStreet?

College Senior Recaps Summer Radio Internship: “Be Willing & Have a Good Attitude”

Ah, it’s good to be a college student. Very good if you’re Sarah Scroggins, senior at Texas Tech University.

The broadcast journalism major told The New York Post while working for 92.3 FM’s digital media department she got to see Justin Bieber and will.i.am, but more importantly she got an experience to bolster her resume. Read more

Lessons Learned From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Intern Firing

Merely a few weeks ago we wrote about the importance of ethics regarding the former Yahoo! CEO and not fabricating a resume. Our post began: “Always tell the truth. In life, in job searching, in everything.”

Well, we’ll add one potent statement to punctuate the sentence by simply stating, “In reporting.”

The Wall Street Journal fired an intern who apparently fabricated sources and quotes, according to The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog. Whether you’re a full-time staffer, freelancer or even an intern who’s three weeks into the job, it matters not: It will cost you if you’re not abiding by one of the main tenants of journalism. As in, the truth. Read more

How to Ask For Meaningful Work as an Intern

This post is a shout out to summer interns who are striving to make a mark in the world one internship at a time.

According to a piece in The New York Post, an intern expresses concern he’s going to be given menial tasks. Wanting to know how he can approach his employer to ask for more work, he wonders how to communicate this message without sounding like he’s whining?

“You can’t,” Greg Giangrande, executive vice-president and chief human resources officer at Time, Inc., writes in the piece. “It seems to be in your DNA, you youngsters — all you little Zuckerbergs think you should be given VC funding to reinvent the Internet before you’ve paid any dues. Which is great if you’ve got that kind of unique vision, ambition and intelligence.”

Essentially, Giangrande says interns need to start making copies just like we all did at some point in our careers. Yes, this means making coffee runs, too. He points out in the piece that attitude is everything. “If you want more responsibility, the way you’ll get it is to be masterful at what you’re told to do and do it with a great attitude.”

Four Ways to Turn Your Internship Into a Full-Time Job

Ah, the internship. You’ve learned the ropes, paid your dues, and even if you’re a student intern or experienced employee who’s underemployed, the scenario is pretty similar regardless of your current level. You’re a familiar face in the office and have proven yourself time and time again. So now what?

As you gear up to turn that short-term gig into a full-time opportunity, for starters, Jacquelyn Smith writes on Forbes to “act the part.” This means abiding by the company dress code, hours, and overall behavior: “Never wear flip-flops, show cleavage or wear anything that’s ripped or torn.”

Next, you’ll need to take the bull by its horns. Meet with your manager to outline quantifiable goals and demonstrate a positive attitude no matter how menial the tasks may seem. Tom Busbach, former producer at Yahoo! told Forbes, “Not every task you’re going to do is something you’ll enjoy, but have the attitude that these are building blocks to your career. Once you show you can be trusted with small tasks, managers will give you more responsibility.”

As for the third way; make a name for yourself. Volunteer to work in other departments or on task forces that may not be relate to the job. Although it recently passed, one example is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. By spreading your wings and networking with other folks, it’ll give you a better grasp of the company and ways to explore its numerous departments. Leverage your time there and ask new contacts out to lunch or coffee to get a better understanding of what they do. Plus, it’ll give them the opportunity to get to know you better. During the dialogue, be sure to express interest in working there so they may keep you in mind when opportunities arise.

Lastly, get feedback. Meet with your manager and keep track of your skills and projects to add them to your resume. Keep track of positive emails and notes; ask for recommendations and references. Specifically sit down with your manager and express your interest in working there. After all, he or she isn’t a mind reader! Even if there’s not an opportunity as soon as your internship has ended, be sure to stay in touch so your name is top of mind when full-time opportunities become available.

Making the Most Out of an Internship

While this time of year resonates with college students and grads for internships, experienced workers may find themselves pursuing an internship as well to get hands-on experience and a foot in the door.

Lauren Berger, also known as the Intern Queen who landed 15 internships in four years, tells TIME there are several ways to make the most out of an internship. For starters, she says to know your rights. Considering a few companies have been sued over unpaid internships, you’ll need to know what’s legal and what’s not.

For instance, buzz words like “sales” or “commission” certainly raise red flags. If you’re an intern, you really shouldn’t work on projects that impact revenue.

Moving on, Berger emphasizes getting a mentor. How do you do this? Sounds pretty simple by asking the internship coordinator for permission to contact an executive internally. It’s essentially a quick meeting to simply ask the exec how he or she got started in the business, any mistakes they made early on, and how they would break in today if they were in the intern’s shoes.

The importance of the mentor is raised again as the internship comes to a close. Instead of asking point blank to have a job, the Intern Queen suggests asking for advice.

In the piece she explains, “I tell students to take the pressure off of thinking the internship will turn into a job. An internship doesn’t guarantee that you’ll work at the company afterwards. What you need to do is leverage your contacts and stay in touch with them.” Plus, an internship is a terrific way to get a referral and recommendation for future employment.

Is Your Company’s Internship Program Legal?

With recent lawsuits over unpaid work by former interns from Harper’s BazaarCharlie Rose and the movie Black Swan, unpaid internships have come under fire as being exploitative and, many times, illegal. But with the U.S. Department of Labor’s “test for unpaid interns” leaving too much room for interpretation, it’s hard to know where the line is drawn.

According to the labor department, interns at a for-profit business who qualify as employees “typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.” That means if your intern is slaving over a project until 2 a.m. at the office, you better be writing those checks.

Remember, the bottom line is that an unpaid intern’s experience should be focused on his education more so than his benefit to the company, so make sure he or she is picking up a valuable experience.

For more ways to keep your program legit and rewarding, read 7 Things That Are Ruining Your Company’s Internship Program.

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Conde Nast Reforms Internship Rules

Conde Nast has issued a set of guidelines that will reform its internship program.
The Atlantic reported the news with air quotes around “reform.”

Why? “Because the changes don’t do much to fix the broken system. In fact, the changes just prove how unfortunate the whole situation is.”

Here are the guidelines:

Interns aren’t allowed to stay at the company for more than one semester per calendar year unless granted special clearance by Human Resources.
• Interns are required to do an orientation with HR where they are told to contact them if they are working unreasonably long hours or are mistreated.
• Interns can only work until 7pm and their security badges will actually be modified so that they won’t work after 7pm–meaning they won’t be able to get back into the building after 7 (making any late-afternoon errands or pickups particularly stressful)
• Interns are given stipends (around $550 for the semester)
• Interns have to receive college credit to be eligible for an internship.
• Interns will have to have official mentors
• Interns are only allowed to work on tasks related to the job at hand and no personal errands

“These things should be implicit, not part of some kind of revolutionary reform,” the Atlantic says.

Well, yes. Too little too late, and all. But these rules really should curtail the worst intern abuses (like a manager making the intern pick up her dry cleaning). And while $550 doesn’t go far, is it really an empty gesture?

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