Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No More Days Of Summer (Interns)

This summer, I had fabulous interns. Well, I had one bad hire but we don't have to go into that. I'm trying very hard to block out that memory.

Summer interns are truly the best kind of interns. Summer interns can come in three to five days a week. Summer interns can stay in the office all day. Summer interns, because they are working more often, learn quickly and can we an amazing asset.

Last week, the last of my summer interns left to go study abroad or go back to school to enjoy the college life that I miss oh so much. And I, along with the rest of my department, am left with no one to help us with our work load.

I tried my darnedest to get a head start on interview and hiring interns for the fall semester. I emailed HR weeks before the fall semester would start and ask for our internship to be posted on local college sites. I received a decent number of responses and sent applications to some.

No one has "jumped off the page," if you will. But before even reading their full applications, many applicants turned me off. When asked when they are available to work I got some very limiting responses. One answer: I am available Monday and Tuesday after 3:00 PM. Another: Available Monday through Thursday for a total of 10 hours per week.

Students have classes and a number of universities put a limit on the number of hours students can intern during the school year. But these limits aren't helping anyone. Companies aren't getting the most of the interns and interns aren't getting the most from the companies for which they intern.

As an editorial intern at a women's magazine I worked one day a week. I loathed that internship and I believe it was because of my short schedule. Every day felt like the first day. No one knew who I was. Though, it didn't help that my desk was in a closet. Interns who were in the office for two or three days a week learned more and learned it quickly. It took much longer for me to get the hang of the job. I wasn't a real asset to the magazine.

When I finally got to the applications there were spelling errors and grammar error all over the place. Now, I'm not exactly one to preach. I cannot spell to save my life and my grammar could be better. My advice to applicants: proof read! Back when writing cover letters was practically my job I sent a cover letter to an editor at Teen People (RIP) only I forgot to change the name from a Cosmo Girl (RIP) editor to the Teen People editor. From then on, I had a friend, roommate, parent proof read all of my cover letters.

Tomorrow, I plan on scheduling some interviews and request more applications.

14 comments:

Dollface said...

I loved my summer intern.. I still speak to her!! xxxoo

Ms. Attitude said...

Interns are great! I too had a summer intern who worked 3 days a week. She was awesome and really helped when I needed it most. Now, I have to get back into the swing of things and get ready for fall.

Classy in Philadelphia said...

I know it sucks, but sometimes 10 hours is all we can give. As a really involved student (president of an org., in charge of sorority recruitment, in a sorority) and working a part-time job, sometimes 10 hours is basically all a student has left. I know most of my friends are just as high-reaching as me, so we're all just trying to do our best to fit it all in.

kokostiletto said...

Yes I love summer students too.... it basically guarantees them a full time job where i work!

Lindsay said...

I'm leaving my job and am in the process of helping to hire my replacement. I'm amazed by the number of people who don't proofread the things they send. It makes it difficult to make a good decision.

Urban Cyclist said...

I am currently finishing my Masters (defence on Monday, woo!) and also work for the government of Canada on a student contract. During my undergrad I had similar student positions in the private sector through student hiring initiatives. Anyway, I really tried to schedule as many classes in the evening as possible and to stack them so I would have a few really long days and a couple of days off to work or intern (did that too). It's hard and not much fun to be at school until 9:00pm and then turn around and work at 8:00am, but I can say that it really helped my employment and internship options. Honestly, graduating with work experience in this economy is worth a few long days during school.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Finding an intern would be challenging; but 10 hours a week isn't unreasonable is it? I'm going back to school full-time in the fall and staying on at my internship for three half-days a week, which will equal 10 hours a week and I think even that might be a little overwhelming with my full course-load.

Magchunk said...

We had an intern nightmare this summer. At the end of two weeks I was having to concentrate on NOT yelling. HR happily whisked her away.

Lisa said...

When did Cosmo Girl cease its publication? I remember reading that in hs!

Playful Professional said...

I'm horrible about resumes. I look at one and if I find grammatical and spelling errors (obvious ones at least), I pretty much lose all hope for the candidate. Not really, but somewhat.

A Country Wife said...

I did a summer internship with the Marriott Resort in Vail. 6 British girls including myself were "interviewed" though Dundee University and flew out for Summer.
I must admit it was one of the best times in my life - I loved it. The people I worked with were great, the company training was fab.
It helped that their intern programme was fully set up and we were integrated and immersed in daily hotel life.
I remember working my butt off and enjoyed every second of it.
I speak to students now and am amazed that they cannot be "bothered" with the placement search. They almost expect it to fall into their lap, then when they obtain the placement they complain about it....
***sigh***
Mind you I did a trainee management placement for a 5 star well known hotel in Brighton UK and it was a horrific experience. One of the reason why I left hospitality and moved into Human Resources :)
Funnily enough for my Masters I looked into "Bullying in the Workforce" which is rife in British Hospitality.

Anyways I digress, I loved my internship in Vail and it did set me up with vital job and life experiences. So to I would advise all potential interns to search for the programme/ experience they want and go for it... without spelling typos :)

Sockit2me said...

I interned at home all summer! I am not sure if I learned anything!! ;-)!

HeatherOsborne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jean said...

Good luck on finding someone(s), sounds like quite the challenge. I'll remind my students a couple extra times about how important attention to detail is even beyond my classroom :)