Monthly Archives: March 2013

Seeking an Internship After Spring Break

The facts don’t lie.  On-campus recruiting dramatically decreases after Spring Break.  Career Centers are still posting positions and employers are still visiting campus, but the volume is much lower than what is normally seen from the middle of January to the middle of March.  Employers have attended Career Fairs, held first round interviews on campus, and are now either extending offers or invitations for second round interviews.  The on-campus recruiting train for spring 2013 is leaving the station. Does that mean it is too late to find an internship for summer 2013?  No.  Just as my blog from January titled Too Late to Find an Internship for the Summer  NO WAY!, it is NOT too late to find an internship.  It is just time to change your strategy.

For the first eight weeks of the spring semester, internship seekers seek opportunities, attend employer events and apply for jobs.  After spring break, internship seekers much shift their focus to new ideas and strategies.  Please continue seeking internship postings, but new strategies much be included for a successful search later in the season.  Consider implementing these action items to your job search strategy for the remainder of this semester:

1. Reconnect with employers you met earlier in the year:  While an employer may have interviewed or offered positions to other candidates, you do not know if all of those offers turned to accepted invitations for employment.  Reach out to those you have met throughout the year and communicate your continued interest.  This approach has worked more times than I can count in the past 20 plus years of my career.  As I always tell job seekers:  no today does not always mean no forever.

2. Talk with faculty:  Career Center professionals may cringe, but faculty often receive employment leads from business colleagues or former students.  These opportunities may never go through the campus career center.  Make sure the faculty who know you are aware of your goals and current employment status.

3.  Consider projects:  Employers hire based on knowledge, skills and abilities.  It s not uncommon for projects to arise late in the spring which leads to businesses needing summer talent.  These projects provide tremendous experience as well as ability to prove value to a potential employer just as a traditional internship.

4. Job leads through social media:  I would be remiss not to remind any intern seeker of the importance of social media.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook groups all provide not just job postings but avenues to potential employers.

A successful internship search after spring break requries more creativity, more personal connection and more flexibility.  Good luck!



International Student Job Search Troubleshooting

It’s no secret that international students have very specific challenges in seeking employment in the United States.  Companies that sponsored H1B Visas last year are turning away potential candidates due to changes in hiring practices.  Identifying oganizations that sponsor H1B Visas presents an even greater challenge than usual.

International students quickly realize upon arrival in the US that job search practices here are much different from other countries.   The US Job Search is a breeding ground of mixed messages as to how to find opportunities and secure employment.  It’s no wonder our international students find our job search practices difficult to manuver.   Company recruiters and campus relations departments tell students to apply online while career coaches encourage them to connect with hiring managers and not only rely on the online job application process.   No wonder our international students find our process so confusing.  Now that we have stated the problem, what can our international students do to be a successful job seeker?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Reach out to your network:  Forget the notion that international students do not have a network in the US.   If you are an international student here in the US, you have a large network.   Think about all of the students who have come to the US before you and are now working in the US.  Identifying people who have walked in your shoes is the best avenue for finding people to provide guidance.  A network isn’t just a group of people you know.  A network is a group of people in which you can identify with to build comradary.
  • Get involved in a professional organization:  While sponsoring restrictions may in fact be company wide, your best resource for finding information will always be through your professional organizations.  The contacts you make through the organization can become your best voice for connections and recommendations with others within a company.
  • Build your online professional reputation:  One of the best places for any professional to gain information is through online networking communities.  Notice I was very careful is using the term Social Media.  Change your mindset from how you currently use Social Media to how you can effectively use it as a networking community instead.  Participate in LinkedIn group conversations and professional chats on Twitter, comment on a company’s Facebook or LinkedIn community page, or look for former students from your undergraduate programs in your home country for discussions.

International students must learn one thing if they want to pursue a successful job search in the US — there is not a mathmatical formula to a successful job search process in the US.  The silver lining of the US job search process is that there is a long list of best practices anyone can use.  (Please refrain from the worst practices)  People find employment using a myriad of successful practices.  If one avenue in identifying opportunites does not work, our culture provides many other options as well.  Troubleshooting invovles repairing a broken process.  The US job search culture involves a great deal of troubleshooting but with a great number of options for success.


Discussing Salary in Information Interviews

I’m often asked by job seekers when it is an appropriate time to discuss salary in the job search.   Let me start by stating when it is absolutely not appropriate to discuss salary and that is during the information interview.  A job seeker gathers a great deal of information during the search and salary is included on that list; however, an information interview is an inappropriate time to discuss money.

The purpose of an information interview is to gather information about a company, industry, profession, etc.  While salary is an extremely important topic, it’s often considered rude when discussed too early.  Consider these reasons why you should never discuss salary during an information interview:

1.  Poor Marketing Message:  If you are working to increase your network and market your value  to potential employers, your message should focus on what you can do as opposed to what you want.   We all want to be paid adequately for the services we provide; however, salary is a very sensitive topic.  Your first order of business is to sell your ability to bring value to a potential company or profession.  Get the professional contact in your corner first based on what you can do.

2.  Lack of Authenticity:     When a job seeker asks networking contacts about salary, it sends the wrong message as to the authenticity of the reason an information interview was requested.  Salary information can be found through numerous channels including websites and HR representatives.  Information interviews should be used to gather information not readily available which might include best practices for navigating through a company or career.

3.   Barking up the Wrong Tree:  Most of the time, a networking contact is unable to tell you about salaries.  The subject of salary is a moving target.  Salary ranges can vary a great deal depending on industry, company, location and experience level.  More importantly, your reason for talking with a networking contact is for professional information.  Do not spend your precious time asking about salary.  It’s a question most networking contacts cannot and will not answer.

Do not confuse the goal of your job search with one of your desired results.  As a job seeker, and hopefully a professional job seeker, your goal is to secure a fulfilling position that provides you the opportunity prove your value.  Salary should always be discussed in the job search process, but an information interview is one of the first steps in the process.  It’s like discussing marriage on a first date.  You do not want to scare away your potential networking contacts.  People you talk with during your job search will hopefully become esteemed colleagues and mentors of yours in the future.  Don’t blow it!