Tales from the Trenches

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Applying to MIT? Better not list more than four activities.

 

Thank you MIT. How refreshing!

In our school-to-career program, we have seen stressed out high school sophomores show us resume drafts that are 3 pages long. We ask ourselves, what is driving this insanity? Is it worried parents or the students themselves?

More, more, more is not the answer. Who are you? What are you passionate about? These are the questions we ask students when we meet them.

Here is what MIT says…

Please use our form, not a resume, to list your activities. There is only enough space to list four things—please choose the four that mean the most to you and tell us a bit about them. This will tell us more about you than any “laundry list” of everything you’ve ever done in high school.

Finally, one of the better articles by the National Educational Association on the worsening dilemma of anxiety in teens:

http://neatoday.org/2018/03/28/the-epidemic-of-student-anxiety/

 

Test Drive Your Career With A Fall Internship in Boston

Are you a recent high school graduate or college student seeking some real-world career experience? Or are you taking some time off to explore new opportunities through a Gap Year?

You may already be aware that an internship is a fantastic choice for those purposes. But perhaps you associate such an option exclusively with summer.

The fall, however, can actually be the ideal time to complete an internship—and the highly trained team here at Internship Connection is here to help you do so.

The Benefits of an Internship

An internship offers an unparalleled opportunity to advance your academic and professional future. It’s a way to test drive your career: to sample the waters of an industry and see how it appeals to you.

You can fantasize about one job or another, but you can’t know what it’s really like without diving in. As an intern, you can try a job on for size and start mapping out a nuts-and-bolts career strategy.

It’s rewarding whether you’ve got a narrowed-down field of interest or not. Perhaps you’re drawn to the healthcare industry, but also harbor an abiding passion for politics. Internships shed light on the day-to-day jobs available in those fields, and thus help steer you toward one or another.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve got your heart set on a career in environmental work, but don’t know exactly in what capacity. Non-profit group? State management agency? Interning helps you navigate to a position best suited to your inclinations.

Let’s not forget that internships can lead directly to paid jobs: Think of them as auditions!

Fall Internships

What are the benefits of a fall internship? For one thing, a position tends to be easier to land: You’ll have less competition than in the summer crunch, when out-of-town students can compete directly with Boston-area locals.

Furthermore, most companies tend to take on fewer interns in the autumn. This means fall interns can cultivate deeper relationships with their workplace environment and colleagues as well as tackle more tasks, thus broadening their skill sets.

Internship Connection Works With You

Internship Connection is dedicated to connecting students and recent grads with internship positions and helping them succeed there. We’ll help you focus your goals, design your resume, and prep for interviews; we’ll also be there throughout your internship as guiding support.

Contact us today and test drive your career with a fall internship!   https://internshipconnection.com/

Photo credit: City of Boston Archives

Fall Internships for Deferred College Admission

So you’ve been accepted but asked to wait a semester until January. What to do now?  We are hearing from many students facing this dilemma.
Why not get a jump on your peers and experience a fall internship in a career that you might be   thinking about?  You’ll start to make professional contacts, build your resume, hear about exciting meet ups and panels, and have much to offer in future class discussions. Finally, experiencing the workplace can help to confirm or eliminate your thoughts on a potential a college major.

Businesses and organizations welcome a student applying for a fall internship. Summer interns are back in college, so you are not competing with dozens of students for the same internship.

We have placed many college freshman on exciting one semester internships:

  • Travis was a recent graduate of Phillips Academy Andover was looking forward to starting Brown University. We place him on an internship related to engineering, computers and investments.
  • Camila and Claudia, twin sisters from a private school in Puerto Rico had been accepted to Babson as January freshman. We connected the girls to a wonderful fashion startup entrepreneur in the MassChallenge incubator.

Read more about more student experiences in our Gap Semester program: https://internshipconnection.com/programs/gap-year-internships/

The Importance of Creating a High School Resume

We all know that resumes are the the first step required when submitting a job application, but did you know that resumes are crucial even for students in high school? They can be included in college applications and are required when applying for a high school summer job or internship.

Selena Jabbawy, Director of Business Development and Carole Jabbawy, Ed.D., Founder and Director, recently presented a workshop for parents and students on “How to Create a High School Resume.”  The presentation offered tips on format, lists of action verbs and resume samples. Thank you to the Russian School of Mathematics, a national program for K-12 math education, for inviting us to speak to students and parents.

 

Selena Jabbawy presenting a High School Resume Workshop

OK Parents…STEM Internships are great but even Google says…….

Recently, at 3 Summer Opportunity Fairs for Teens, we were swamped by students and parents inquiring about STEM –science, technology, engineering and math internships. Yes, in our school-to-career program we do connect students to exciting STEM internships, but what happened to students interested in government, journalism, and arts? Just as it always does, it seems like the pendulum has swung, this time away from liberal arts to STEM.

Of course technical skills will be more and more sought after in the workplace but studies by Google and LinkedIn relating to both labor market skills and gaps had surprising results. Parents and Students …Take note!

Soft Skills prized by Google and other Corporations

Google’s Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last!

Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post detailed Google’s research.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?utm_term=.56b2612bb54a

She writes that the seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

This spring, Google’s study named, Project Aristotle, further supports the importance of soft skills even in high-tech environments. They analyzed data on their high level technical teams of scientists and specialists, and actually discovered that the company’s most important new ideas come from non-technical employees who possessed a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Chevron and IBM, also rank communication skills in the top three most sought after qualities by job recruiters. They prize both an ability to communicate with one’s workers and an aptitude for conveying the company’s product and mission outside the organization.

Workforce Report: Boston Among Top Cities with Largest Skills Gap

Srividya Kalyanaraman in Boston Inno, referred to LinkedIn’s Workforce Report that identified the top four Largest Skills Gap in major US cities. https://www.americaninno.com/boston/inno-news-boston/workforce-report-boston-among-top-cities-with-largest-skills-gap/

In Boston, NYC and all major cities, Soft Skills are highly in demand. The number one skills gap is oral communication, followed by business management, leadership and digital literacy. Also: people management, development tools, social media, time management and data research.

The Case for Internships Relating to Soft Skills

Soft skills are observed and learned on all types of internships:

  • Communication – verbal, written, active listening, netiquettes, body language
  • Strategy – decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, ability to locate and use information
  • Self-management – professionalism, emotional intelligence, work ethic, time-management, attitude, integrity, resilience, predictability
  • Team work – collaboration, ability to operate effectively in a team environment
  • Leadership – negotiation, compromise, conflict management, managing diversity and inclusion, cultural awareness, negotiation, delegation

The best advice I always give to parents is, “Take your child’s interest and run with it.”

If they enjoy writing, we can connect them to a journalism or tech internship where they can write for the company blog.

If they are interested in education, we’ll connect them to a teaching internship where they will learn how to communicate and present ideas.

If they are interested in art, they can learn how art relates to technology in game design or how graphic design is used in every business.

If their interest is law, they can experience an internship in government where they will see how laws are passed or how tech attorneys help startups.

Conclusion

Parents- Don’t discourage your child from a career they may love. All career interests are valid and their value stands alone. Surprisingly enough, that career interest could help them develop the soft skills that are highly desired in STEM related fields.

 

 

 

Eshaan’s Two Startup Internships Got Him Innovating and Building Businesses

We met Eshaan when he was a sophomore at Newton South High School. Eshaan had many interests including science. We connected him To Hyungsoo Kim, a graduate of MIT Sloan School, who was developing a watch for the blind and was a semifinalist in the MIT 100k competition. Hyungsoo was happy to hear that high school students were interested in entrepreneurship.

A watch for the blind

Eshaan helped with research and general tasks and wrote a script for the company video. He wrote:

“Many times Hyungsoo, or one of his colleagues would give me an assignment and I would have to figure out what they wanted and deliver it to them. In essence, they gave me a lot of freedom, but at the same time I had lots of responsibility because they would be counting on me to meet their expectations. One of the best parts of my internship was meeting interesting individuals who are all extremely talented and genuine. This internship has been one of the most productive and memorable experiences.”

A Second Internship in San Francisco

Eshaan stayed in touch with his mentor and became passionate about startups. He came to us for a second internship the following summer. Because he had relatives he could stay with in the San Francisco area, we established an internship at Chewse, a startup company that provides office administrators a customized, simple way to get lunch catered for their businesses.

Eshaan was involved in Customer Acquisition and Growth

He gained in-depth exposure to the process of building a business. He said:

“I worked directly with the head of customer acquisition, who gave me interesting long-term projects. I tracked new leads, researched start-up companies, determined who to target and how to target through various media channels. I conducted analysis of both competitors and customer feedback. Often times my mentor would give me a project to complete and I would have to find a way to finish it by coming up with and using my own methods.”

By the end of Eshaan’s junior summer of high school, he had already gained exposure to two very different startup companies. He continues to stay in contact with his mentors and we are certain that he will build upon his high school internships throughout college.

21st Century Education: The Importance of STEM Internships

In the book 21st Century Skills- Learning for Life in our Times, author Charles Fadel explores three main categories of skills needed for students to excel in modern times:

  • Learning and Innovation
  • Digital Literacy
  • Life and Career Skills

As early as sophomore year in college, students are expected to choose a college major, but without workplace exposure, how is a student really able to make that determination?

In the interview with Cyndi Reitmeyer, the Boston TechMom, Cyndi and I discuss ways that students can gain exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through workplace experience.

A former Internship Connection Intern, now an Associate Producer at CBS News

I was thrilled to catch up with our former student Katharine to learn that she is now an Associate Producer to Bianna Golodryga at CBS News in NYC!

We placed her on her first internship as a student at Phillips Exeter.  Katharine graduated from Middlebury, began at CBS in NY as a News Associate and became the Executive Assistant to the President of CBS News before her current position.

She recently wrote, “Carole, it’s great to hear from you! Thanks for reaching out. I think about that internship so fondly and you were such a help. I hope you’re well!   -Katharine

                                                           Here is Katharine’s Story

Katharine, from Lincoln, MA was a sophomore at Phillips Exeter. We matched Katharine’s interests in broadcast journalism to a wonderful female mentor, the Executive Director of a Cable Television station. Tamarah spoke highly of her intern, “Katharine has been extremely helpful to our station. She has edited news segments that we’ve put on the air, worked on studio shoots, and is producing a 30 minute documentary on the prevalence of eating disorders.”

Katharine spoke about her internship in a community newspaper article,

“I was able to try everything from learning how to use the cameras, to editing to running the teleprompter during a live show. The great thing about working at a small station is you get so much hands-on experience.”

 

How a High School Internship in Government led to a position at the Boston City Council

During her junior at Newton South High School, Michelle excitedly told us about a week long school trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Close up Foundation. She became very enthused about the American political system. After our meeting with Michelle, we matched her to a Senator’s office at the MA State House.

“I see apathy among my generation and realized that I’d like to become involved. Working for the Senator is fascinating. I’m attending hearings and seminars as well as researching issues and legislation. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Her Mentor, legislative aide Cat Anderson wrote: ” Michelle is a self-starter and quickly learned to plow right in. She reported about information gleaned from attending hearings, drafted letters to constituents, and helped with data entry and research. She was a wonderful presence in the office.”

After her undergrad studies Michelle went on to law school. We recently caught up with her on LinkedIn and congratulated her on her appointment as the Director of Legislative Budget Analysis at the Boston City Council. 

 

Michelle wrote,

“Thank you! I had such a great experience with that internship, and it’s been interesting how over the years I’ve continually been pulled back to legislative work – and able to use that internship as experience! Hope all is well!”

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