30 Jul, 2011  |  Written by  |  under Small Business, Tips

I recently read an article about how internships could be considered “the new college degree.”

Personally, I’d have to agree 100% … and I know I’m not alone.  America is still experiencing a struggling job market, and it doesn’t help that people who are unemployed and looking for work are now being told that they aren’t wanted.  Personally, that sickens me.  To tell people that they are not eligible to apply for a job just because they are currently unemployed is one of the most backwards things I’ve ever heard.  It’s just another “Catch 22” – like not being able to get a job without experience, but unable to get the experience without a job! (Now you’re telling me I can’t get a job without having a job???)

A college degree means nothing without experience.  I almost want to argue that I did myself a disservice by going to college instead of getting a job right out of high school and THEN going to college via night classes and/or online programs.  Why? Because it seems like those who still haven’t finished their degree are doing much better than me.

This isn’t about just me, though.  It’s about all of the young people out there right now who have no chance at getting a job, since “entry level” positions now require 2-3 years of experience… (wait, what?!?!)

Seriously.  It’s a really ridiculous job market, and some major changes need to happen ASAP.  Unfortunately, I doubt that it will get better overnight.  The secret weapon? Internships.  And no, you’re not too old.  I’m not a student anymore (I graduated with a BA in Communication in 2007), and I’ve also been reading more and more about people in their 50’s doing internships right now – either to learn new skills in order to make a career change, improve upon skills that they need, but don’t have, and/or to fill holes in their employment.

The bottom line is that it’s going to take a long time for the economy to get better – so you  have to take control and take action.  Get out there, look for an internship, and get some experience under your belt!! You’ll be supplementing your education with something that is valued even more than that piece of paper you have framed on the wall… AND you will be able to protect yourself from discrimination against the unemployed.

Happy hunting!

P.S. – try internships.com (LOVE it!), superinterns.com, youtern.com, or simply ask around at local/small businesses – if they need help growing their business (I’m sure they do), but don’t know how to run an internship program, they can always utilize Intern Profits’ Easy Intern Assignments in order to get you trained and get you started!  (they have REALLY helped me!) It’s a win-win!!

P.P.S. – If they’re worried about legality, they should check out the latest position paper from NACE – hopefully it will help.

 

As the job market continues to struggle, I feel very lucky to be working at my new job at the hospital.  Unfortunately, the increase in hours (compared to my previous job) has caused me to have to figure out new ways to balance my time so that I can be sure that I am contributing to my internship with Intern Profits.  Thankfully, my trusty Blackberry has played a huge role in keeping me connected.  I have been making sure to check HARO e-mails first thing in the morning before I go to work, as well as again on my lunch break and once I get home from work.  This ensures that I don’t miss any publicity opportunities for the company, and that Justin and Dreama have a chance to respond to a reporter’s query before the deadline.  Using my phone, I’ve also been able to monitor LinkedIn group discussions on my breaks at work.  If I see a discussion thread that is of interest to the company, I will either reply, or recommend that Justin and/or Dreama respond to the thread.  We then use a shared Google Document (created by intern Chris Rinere) to track the discussions.

I also got some really good news from Justin yesterday – Marc Harty, creator of “Online PR Made Easy,” would like to use Intern Profits (and me!) for a testimonial.  I am very excited to hear this, as Marc’s PR system played a huge role in my training as an intern.  More on that soon!

Another project I’ve been working on that has been driving a lot of traffic to the Intern Profits site is a direct result of the blogger outreach that I mentioned recently.  After contacting CollegeRecruiter.com, we were able to work with them by posting articles and videos to their site.  They also allowed us to upload our articles to their partner site, RecruitingBlogswap.com for additional publicity opportunities.

Recently, I’ve also begun working on a list of potential affiliates.  The list was created by one of our former interns; I am simply fleshing it out with additional information.  I am looking at each individual business and locating contact information for them, including links to the company’s social media sites (ie. Facebook fanpages and Twitter accounts).  I am also locating important players (CEO, VP’S, etc.) and getting their contact info, if possible.  At the very least, I’m looking to find their LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook profiles, and making sure that we are following them on the Intern Profits account.  Hopefully, once I have finished getting the info for all of the businesses on the spreadsheet (including any new businesses that I add as I go), Justin and Dreama can use the info to build strategic partnerships with some of the companies.

As you can see, most of these projects don’t seem extremely difficult, but they can be time consuming.  Most importantly, they are helping Intern Profits to gain massive exposure.  I hope you can see the value of having an intern helping with these tasks.  By having me take over these projects, Justin and Dreama are freed up to work on more important aspects of their business! I am happy to help with this, of course, as it has helped me to gain experience working with PR.  The ultimate win-win.

With solid communication and strategy, an unpaid internship program can go a long with a company.  It is far from a hindrance. Hiring interns for an internship program is far from a detriment. In fact, it will save money in the long run.

While internship payment and non-payment remains a controversial topic these days, I think it is important to recognize the overall value the internship will provide to both the company AND the intern.

As an intern seeks to break into their next career, a step in the right direction is a lot harder to accomplish these days with the higher number of applications per job. Some are taking advantage of this fact and hiring more applicants as interns prior to hiring them as full-time employees. Over the course of time, these companies who are being proactive are sticking ahead of the trend. Their internship program will grow and prosper.

On the flip side, the companies going with the flow of things  will suffer without interns or an internship program. They will become more economically unstable.

Now, that does not always happen but studies have shown that more and more companies are hiring interns and the productivity is through the roof.

If your business currently has an internship program, consider how it affects the company AND the interns over time.  It is true that more often than not, small businesses can increase their profits by hiring interns.

It’s not always a bad thing to go against the current trend. Internship programs that do not pay the interns  are not a bad thing. It is a big risk to take on the part of the company and the intern but it is a risk that will be worthwhile in the end. If we didn’t have those risk takers out there like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Where would we be today?

The debate continues.

The unpaid versus paid internship perspective will continue to become the topic of employment conversation in both the US and in the UK.

Many individuals and Human Resources folk see it through the negative perspective instead of thinking of it from the perspective of the intern and the business itself. As Mike Boyle puts it via blog posting on Reuters.com “I don’t consider the experience risky whatsoever” (http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-wealth/2011/06/28/perma-interns-is-working-for-free-a-good-career-bet/). He is absolutely right.

Where is the risk in taking an internship that will not only bolster his skills but give him hands-on experience that one cannot attain through the classroom?

While hiring interns allows companies to save millions of dollars annually, it gives individuals such as myself and Mike Boyle, the ability to propel beyond the typical job seeker and gain valuable real experience. It is a win-win for both sides.

In addition, Mike can gain a resume builder through his internship that will allow him to network with folks out there and utilize that industry specific knowledge he is learning on the job.

As a job seeker and a job recruiter, I can attest to the fact that it is much easier to attend a job fair or a networking event with the industry lingo under your belt. It’s much harder to do as an outsider. With internships (paid or unpaid) an individual can advance their career instead of letting it pass him or her by.

http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-wealth/2011/06/28/perma-interns-is-working-for-free-a-good-career-bet/

Receiving pay during Internships is in heated debate these days. There is proof all over the worldwide web but after reviewing a current discussion on Linkedin.com’s ‘Intern and Internships’ group, I will no longer sit idly.

Regardless of the monetary value that internships offer, the experience needs to be the concern. As an intern with InternProfits, I can say that as an unpaid intern, I am treating this as an opportunity to further myself and my career.  Our current economy does not have the breadth of jobs that it used to so how else would one positively augment their current skills? An internship of course!

As an unpaid internship with Internprofits.com, I am very happy with my current situation. I have a collegiate education in teaching and less than 5 years of professional work experience. I knew that if I wanted to transition into a social media and marketing career field, I would have to really strengthen my overall marketing, design and communication skills. This current internship has allowed me to do that and more.

I keep the same amount of commitment that I would provide if it was a paid internship. I am not working a full-time schedule, but I am also doing more than 15 hours of work a week. I think this is situational though because in social media a person needs to stay active in the community more often than someone in a non-marketing field.

I say, if a person cannot find a job they take an internship and if it is an unpaid internship then find a part-time job in the meantime to supplement the income you won’t be making. It’s a win-win situation!

Hiring interns is hotter than ever before. Besides promoting economic development for businesses of all sizes, internship programs provide guidance and support for potential new employees. Finding loyalty is hard to come by these days while unemployment continues to rise. The best way to build loyalty is to set up ways to hire interns and develop a solid internship program!

According to InternNation, besides the United States, both Canada and the UK, have had an increase in the number of available internships and companies looking to hire interns and make them “a part of their business model“.

Interns are able to provide assistance, especially with blogging, Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin updates as well as discussions that will help augment the business environment for your company. As positions in Social Media and Web Management become hotter and more popular, companies can take advantage of this through an internship program dedicated to Social Media.

Great companies have great interns. But there are measures you can take to get to your internship program to that point of hiring excellent interns. Check out some of these steps on how to find and how to hire interns.

Hear more from, Mike O’Donnell at InternProfits, who describes why Interns are so important in the small business realm these days. Mike O\’Donnell, Internprofits

The blogger outreach project has been going pretty well so far! I am happy to announce that through our efforts to contact bloggers (in addition to our guest blog post on Hearpreneur.com), we have been able to post on the CollegeRecruiter.com employer blog in order to reach a wider audience.  I hope that as I continue to contact more bloggers, we will be able to provide guest posts on more blogs that have a business owner audience.

I have also been able to learn a bit from the research I have been doing in order to locate appropriate bloggers.  As I go through a list of potential affiliates, I read through their blogs to see what they’re all about.  That way, I know how we should approach them, as well as whether or not their blog is targeting the right type of audience.  While doing this, I stumbled upon some interesting posts! Most of these blogs are out there to help business owners improve their business, so they offer some great advice.  One article that I just read actually demonstrated a really good reason for small businesses to hire an intern:

“Statistics: Why Integrate Facebook Into Your Business”

This particular post speaks to why integrating Facebook (and other social media) can truly benefit your business.  However, as a business owner, you’re likely to not have a lot of time to dedicate to something like this.  Simply having a Facebook fanpage or a Twitter account isn’t going to be enough.  You’ll need to either dedicate some serious time to it, or find someone else to manage it.  That’s why interns are great! Although I worked with social media a lot when I started as an intern for Intern Profits, Justin and Dreama recently hired a new intern, Chris Rinere, to help with our social media efforts so that I can now focus more on PR.  Interns like myself and Chris can manage your social media and help with your PR efforts, while you work ON your business, not IN it.

Have you ever considered an internship program for your small business and you are unsure on how to get an intern? Well, it is summer time and it is perfect weather for some interns!

As you know, each day businesses are growing and expanding at exponential rates thanks to the help of their employees and interns. Studies have shown that student and adult internships are on the rise. You can reach these goals as well with a few steps along the way.

Foundation of the Internship Program
As a small business owner, you have found an economic niche and you have defined a company focal point for achieving business goals. This same research goes into the internship process. If you are new to the internship world, then I would suggest reviewing how to get interns and how to hire interns. These articles discuss proven steps on how to develop, structure a legally sound internship program.

Purpose of the Internship Program
After reviewing the articles, ask yourself, why am I looking for interns? What will these interns assist with? What is the long term goal of the internship program?

It is important to think about these questions and to define the purpose of your program. This structure will help maintain consistency and time management for the interns. With a clearly defined plan and starting point, it also makes the process easier each time a new intern is hired.

The purpose will also help whilst you are seeking interns for the program. It makes the program attractive. With social networks and marketing programs such as Facebook fan pages and Linkedin Groups, a company’s attractive page and commentary will go a long way in finding the top talent.

As a small business owner, marketing your business should be second nature and the internship program needs to be treated very similarly.  A sound and strong business plan will give more credibility to the internship program. Without much focus on this business plan or overall idea, it is much harder to pull others on board.

Set a Social Marketing Plan
Before reaching out to develop your virtual internship program, review this internship article.

As you know, we live in the fast lane these days with status updates and e-mail exchanges. It is very fast-paced but it also can be quite detrimental.

With the vast and free social media tools at your fingertips, it is very important to remember that a first impression goes a long way.  Before contacting potential interns, make sure the online brand that you have created is clear, concise and available. If you have a Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter pages, make sure that these accounts are up-to-date, spellchecked, and filled with links and groups.

Remember it is all about credibility and availability.

Define Audiences
Once you have your social media plan in place. Then you would need to define the audiences. Interns have many shapes and sizes. Long gone are the days where interns are collegiate students seeking a summer position. Adult internships are on the rise and have been hotter than ever especially given the recession!

Virtual internships are also on the rise, these are perfect for students who cannot find opportunities in their local area; individuals who are looking to switch careers and more importantly, excellent chances for small-businesses to interact with individuals from all over the world. Now, talk about that for expanding your horizons!

Hiring Structure
With an internship program comes a hiring structure for that program. This should be very simple. Like an e-mail.

As an experienced recruiter, the interview process begins with the initial contact with a potential intern. Keep this in mind as you are finding interns for your opportunity.

Define the personality traits and qualities you want in a fellow employee. Things like attitude, communication, and enthusiasm will go a long way for a small-business.

Reach out
Communicate utilizing current social media tools. Whether it is through Linkedin Discussions, Facebook status updates, or e-mail exchanges, finding your next intern will occur through a social network. The more available you are on these networks, the more likely you will find the top quality talent.

Once you have your viable candidates, reach out to them for a simple phone conversation and get them on-board!

Follow-Through
Even if your new intern is virtual there are effective ways to manage them. We go into depth to discuss some solid online management tips here.

1 Jun, 2011  |  Written by  |  under internship update, Small Business, Tips

Unemployed and Seeking A Way Out? Internships are the new Rage!

Attention recently graduated college students and business owners, for the past 4 years college professors have been telling students the world is their oyster and the jobs are plentiful. Similarly, unemployed folk around the country are fighting tooth and neck for a new job. For every 1 position there are 5-7 applicants in most medium-sized metropolitan markets. And if you are like any business, finding the top talent in addition to an internship program can be quite challenging without proper action.

Internships can get you somewhere.

What Can Be Done?
Businesses and students everywhere are recognizing this opportunity, so we should too. The open job opportunities are slim-pickings even for the most experienced networkers. Instead of waiting for the next opportunity, just get out there and grab out. Internships help accomplish this step. But do not worry; there are TONS of internship opportunities out there. Yes, internships.

Why internships?
As an experienced Job Recruiter and Social Media Marketer, I think that Job experience is more important than no experience at all and will actually be beneficial in leading to a new position. Paid and unpaid internships are the new rage!

Internships open many doors into a new company or a new career. The interns within the internships also come in many different backgrounds. Say so long to the days of reserving internships for college students only. Adult internships have become hot, hot, hot! Especially to those who are seeking to start a new career.

Unpaid, paid, partially paid?
More and more internships are becoming unpaid or partially paid because of financial hardships. But, there is a strong reasoning here. With more modern approaches being applied to internship programs, companies have found a new place to save money and work with the best talent available!

A Virtual Internship, for example, is a very attractive and strategical business plan for both interns and the business itself. Companies will manage interns remotely and assign tasks, PR/Social Media responsibilities to these individuals.

While unpaid internships often receive a hard rap for overworking employees, in actuality, the mere job experience itself trumps the lack of pay. Unpaid internships are just like other internships. Regardless of the situation by staying dedicated and putting forth hard work, interns fulfill their own destiny.

Whether or not an internship program will support you financially should not matter to college students. It is possible to commit at least 20 hours a week to an unpaid, internship program and maintain steady paid, employment on the side. Keep in mind that again, experience is more important than the money.

A lot of companies out there right now hire interns. In fact, more and more are becoming hired each day.

What is There to Lose?
Businesses, there are tons of employees whose responsibilities are often that of three individuals. A great solution would be to create a system to keep a steady influx of interns ready and available to go. And on an even brighter note, these individuals are excellent candidates to become full-time employees.

Graduates, just because you have a Bachelors Degree or a Graduate Degree you still have to work your way up the corporate ladder. Without job experience, the likelihood of landing a position right now especially in a highly competitive business arena is tiny. But it is not impossible.

Speaking from experience, the collegiate degree will provide you academic credibility but it is up to you to create the corporate credibility. Internships help provide the necessary transition from the classroom to the office.

This week I finished all of my assignments. My internship is officially over! Some people thought taking an unpaid internship was a questionable decision at first, but it was undoubtedly the best way I could have spent my semester. I’ve learned a lot about online marketing and about business in general. I also developed a passion for the things I worked on. It really is true that a job doesn’t seem like work when you enjoy what you are doing.

Justin and Dreama have been a pleasure to work for. They really do understand what interns want and need from a small business’ internship program. Their understanding and willingness to teach me made my time with Intern Profits great. Thank you Justin and Dreama!

This internship has been one of the most educational and worthwhile things I’ve done. The experience I’ve gaind and the lessons I have learned are truly priceless. I think that I have provided valuable work to Justin and Dreama in return; this internship was truly a win-win combination. I’d suggest to all my classmates that you find an internship ASAP. Business owners, don’t waste time, go hire an intern today!

20 May, 2011  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

While most interns are dealing with finals and possibly graduation this week, I have been working at my part-time job.  I have also been dealing with a lot of changes and unexpected stress, so perhaps I’ve been just as distracted this week as the other interns.  However, I’m working on reorganizing and getting back on track, because quite honestly, my internship work is what makes me happiest out of any work that I do.

I am actually really excited for my next big project at Intern Profits.  I have recently compiled contact information for bloggers, writers and reporters.  Combined with information acquired from Press King’s database of bloggers and a contact list of bloggers compiled by previous interns, I am going to start researching bloggers and contacting them in order to see if Intern Profits will be able to either provide the blogger with information that they can create a post about, give an informative interview to the blogger so that their readers may benefit from the information, and/or provide a guest blog post.  I really hope that we find some success from this outreach, as this will generate some good publicity for Intern Profits, as well as help us reach out to more people who need the advice/information that Justin and Dreama are able to provide.

I am interested to see how this goes.  It’s a little bit different than contacting reporters, as bloggers have a different style of writing and generally have a very specific following.  I’m sure to get some good experience from this project, and hopefully help Intern Profits reach more small business owners and entrepreneurs!

I have been extremely busy this week! I normally have a lot more time to devote to my internship, but for the last week and a half, my manager at my part-time job went on vacation.  As assistant manager, I found myself working a lot of additional hours (over 40 for the week; I got paid overtime for the first time at this particular job – I normally only work 25-30).  Needless to say, I had a lot of catching up to do this week for my internship.

This week, I attended two different webinars (from two different sources).  The webinars were both informative, but one of them went for THREE HOURS!! They took an hour for introductions,  an hour for the actual content, and finally an hour to pitch some training that they wanted me to sign up for.  Not exactly my favorite webinar, but I still took copious notes (which I still need to transfer from hand-written to my computer).  The other webinar was much better – only an hour long, extremely informative, and also allowed me to download the slides and audio for future reference.  Now THAT’S what I call a good webinar.  Once I get my notes transcribed properly, I hope to help Justin and Dreama implement some of the new information I’ve gathered for them in order to help grow their business.

My favorite task this week was working on press releases.  It was very exciting to me to help out with something so important! It also felt good to get back to writing.  I truly enjoy writing; especially in a journalistic style.  I am also really excited to have something concrete to show to future potential employers.  One of the most important things that I wanted to get out of this internship was a portfolio to show off my skills.  Writing my first Press Release was a bit challenging, but it was definitely a wonderful learning experience, and I am sure it will get easier with time.

This week, we also completed the Press Kit.  I had previously created some new content, re-organized the content in a different way, and made it look a bit more professional than what was being used previously.  However, I am not a graphics designer, so it didn’t look exactly the way I wanted it to.  Justin and Dreama sent it out to our graphics designer, who made it look PERFECT! We recently got it back, and I am extremely pleased with the results.  I have already started to attach it when contacting reporters about Intern Profits.  I am really proud of the press kit, and I am happy that I will be able to show it off in my portfolio, as well.

All in all, it has been a very productive and exciting week.  Next week, my second press release will go public, and hopefully we’ll get a good response – I’ll be sending it out to reporters along with the newly finished press kit.

Wish me luck!

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28 Apr, 2011  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

My internship experience thus far has been amazing. There has been some ups and some downs, but overall it has helped me learn how to communicate in the real world and how to handle difficult situations.

Last Fall, I began my internship working on A/B split testing, conversion tracking, and working with Google Analytics for some of Justin’s websites. I worked on this project with two other interns and it really helped me learn how to communicate with others in a work setting. Another cool thing about it was that all communication was via emails and phone calls. I know that in the future it will be more person to person, but knowing how to communicate via email and phone is also very important and I believe this internship has really helped me in communicating in those two ways.

As I said in my last blog post, I am currently managing two of Justin and Dreama’s Twitter accounts. Through building the followings of the account and posting content to one of the accounts, I have learned that Twitter can be used as a great marketing tool. The more people you have that follow you, the more people will hear of you, and the more people will check your site out to see what you have to offer. Intern Profits is a great program and more and more people are going to start hearing about it.

I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to work for a company that offers so much, and allows you to be flexible with what you want to do for your internship. However, with that being said, it is a very well-structured internship that really helps you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are, and it helps you to improve on your weaknesses. I would recommend anyone and everyone to apply for an internship with Justin and Dreama because you will not regret it!

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27 Apr, 2011  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

Over the past year, I have spent many hours working on my internship for Justin and Dreama Lee. Most recently, I have been managing two of their twitter accounts, InternProfits and SDCashDeals.

For the InternProfits account, I have been strictly building the following and followers of the account. I am working with another intern, Cassie Johnson, who is creating the content for the InternProfits account. For the SDCashDeals account, I am building the followers and following of the account as well as posting content to the account. I have a Google Alert set to San Diego Real Estate so anytime an article with the key words “San Diego Real Estate” shows up on the internet, it gets sent to my email. I pick articles that are interesting and have good knowledge of San Diego Real Estate. Along with just posting articles, I usually ask a question after I post the link asking how they liked the article or what their thoughts on the article were.

I had already known a lot about Twitter prior to this internship, so I figured this was going to be pretty easy to manage. However, I realized that there are a ton of different Twitter tools that you can use to post content, build followings, and automate some twitter functions. Though I have been extremely busy and finals week is just around the corner, I am very fortunate to have been given this internship opportunity because I have learned so much about something I thought was so simple.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog with my progress, so I have a lot to share!

In the couple of months that I’ve been interning with Intern Profits, I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined.  Recently, I re-built the company’s Press Kit.  I am extremely proud of this particular project – I worked very hard to make it as perfect as possible.  I reorganized content, added new sections/content, and changed the overall layout.  I used Press Kits from other companies for inspiration, and I took some great advice from ShoeMoney.  It is now in its final stages; awaiting some new graphics and an updated Board of Directors.  Once it has been completed, I will be able to use it when contacting the press about Intern Profits.  I am also excited to add it to my portfolio, as an example for potential employers to see what I am capable of!

Speaking of press, I have been using Help a Reporter Out (or HARO) as a great way to search for publicity opportunities for the company.  I review the e-mails that I receive during the week for any queries that fall in line with Justin and Dreama Lee’s areas of expertise.  If they deem it appropriate, we work together to contact the reporter, in hopes that we will be featured in an article and get some exposure for Intern Profits.  It definitely works – I was recently featured in a Fortune.com article, but unfortunately was not able to get the company name in print.  Luckily, I have found several more opportunities since then, and we should be seeing some good publicity soon!

Currently, I am working on a draft for a new press release.  This is my first time writing a press release, and I am very excited about it! I absolutely love writing, and I am definitely honored to have this opportunity.  If approved, I think it will probably post sometime next week.  I hope that it will get some good exposure for the company, and I look forward to writing many more.

Speaking of which – time to get back to work!

To learn more about hiring educated, motivated interns like me, please visit www.InternProfits.com

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