What do you do if you’re too old for entry level work, but not experienced enough for the next level? The New York Times posed that questions last week, giving voice to the frustration of thousands of young professionals who graduated college in the last few years, only to face a dismal job market. Read More →
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by Tyler Bradford
We recently wrote about how to act (and not act) during your entry-level job, but, admittedly, I skipped a small step: actually landing that first job. Gone are the days when companies willingly hired scores of college graduates, paying them a living wage and starting them on the upward professional track. Twenty first-century twenty-somethings can no longer rely on such linear development, faced instead with such ambiguous prospects as scores of unpaid internships which may or may not convert into full-time employment and companies who simply refuse to invest in the emerging work force.
In this weekend’s Style section, the New York Times featured profiles of several such disheartened young professionals, exposing a life defined by nonfat soy lattes and incessant iPhone 5-checking (this is the Style section, after all). If you’re in your 20s (I am) or care about the state of employment at all, the article might just make you cry. Maybe you’ll want to throw your computer against the wall (not going to help your career). But if you take a second to take some deep breaths, there are actually some key points to take away. Besides, you’re never going to be able to beat the odds if you don’t know what you’re up against (that’s what we tell ourselves, anyways). Read More →
It’s the classic Catch-22: You can’t get a job or change careers without the necessary experience … but how are you supposed to gain experience if no one will give you a chance?
The answer: find an internship or temp job! And this advice applies not just to recent graduates, but to ANYONE at any age, at any stage of their career. Read More →
We have a bumper crop of Hired Guns presenting their ideas at next month’s SXSW Interactive. Over the next few weeks we’ll be profiling them, so that you can get a taste of their ideas — whether or not you’ll be making it to Austin yourself.
(your resume in 140 characters or less):
Mine is just six words: “Tell your story, that’s my story.”
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
I’ve learned so much in the years I’ve gone to SXSW, and I’m thrilled to offer any knowledge I can back. This year I’m leading a “Core Conversation.” It will be a nice change of pace: rather than doing a panel or fancy presentation where I’m the “expert,” I’ll be leading a discussion in a room of very smart people sharing tips and experiences together. Read More →
It’s almost halfway through August, which means that lots of internships are wrapping up. Before you head out the door, take some time to end your internship on a positive and professional note. Here are five tips to keep in mind.
- Make sure your employers know when you’re leaving. Don’t just disappear! Your bosses need to know when you’ll be gone so that they can cover any of your ongoing duties or find a replacement. And be sure to say goodbye and thank them for your time at the company. (If you do this early enough, you might score a nice going-away party.)
- Collect references. No doubt you worked with many different people during your internship, and you’ve gained many good contacts in the process. Ask some of your coworkers if they can serve as references on LinkedIn. Be sure to ask if they will accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn as well (and include your fellow interns from other schools). And do all this now, while all the good work you did at the company is fresh in their minds.
- Tie up any loose ends. Finish all the projects you can, and make sure any unfinished or ongoing duties are passed to someone who can take over for you. Make sure that when you are gone your colleagues will know exactly how to dig up that big spreadsheet you’ve been working on.
- Sit down with your boss. You were in this job to add some dazzle to your resume. This is your chance to get an assessment of your performance and talk about what you learned. It’s also important to review exactly what you accomplished so that you can accurately update your resume—and then send it to your boss for review for final polishing. If you want another internship at the same company, ask now.
- Follow up and stay in touch. It’s important to show that you are grateful for the time you spent at your internship. The best way to start? An email to your employers thanking them for the opportunity. And tell them about what kind of opportunity you want for next summer!
—Rich Fuchs, The Hired Guns’ outgoing intern, is a political science major entering his junior year at Penn State. He wants his next internship to be at a law firm or in senator’s office.
[Photo of cubicle:Ahniwa Ferrari/flickr]
Bullet Points: Write Six Words About Work, Win an iPad; Young on the Rise; Google Employee #59 Spills the Beans
- The Mercer consulting group and our pals at Smith magazine are running a sweet summer-long contest. They’ll be giving away a total of a dozen iPads or PlayBooks (winners’ choice) to the best Six Words About Work. Entries for the first topic, “Why I do what I do,” close this Saturday. A new topic starts the day after, and you can enter as many times as you want….
- More and more, students heading to get an MBA in the fall are interning the summer before to get a leg up on their future competition. [Businessweek]
- The economy may still be far from healthy, but here’s a bit of good news: average salaries for recent grads are up about 5% from starting salaries from 2010. [Good.is]
- Here’s an infographic covering a few of the (relatively) young who aren’t too worried about their salaries: the Forbes 500 tech billionaires under 40. [Focus.com]
- Writing for Fast Company, David Zax files a fascinating interview with Douglas Edwards, Google’s former brand manager and the 59th employee to be hired. Lots of good/weird stuff, including Sergey Brin’s predilection for practical jokes and Larry Page’s sometimes blunt approach to problem-solving.
- As the coupon wars continue, Google Offers expands from its Portland kickoff to the affluent shores of the Bay Area and New York.
Frances Codd Slusarz is an attorney based in Stamford, Connecticut. In this guest post for Father’s Day, she writes about some of the best advice her dad gave her, whether he knew he was giving it or not.
So you graduated from college and actually have a job. Or you landed an internship that will help you land a full-time gig later. You’ve got your clothes picked out, you’ve mapped out your commute, and you set your alarm clock extra early so you will not be late. Now, what do you do? With Father’s Day around the corner, I am going to share the wisdom of my paterfamilias.
My father was of a different time—the days when you were practically guaranteed lifelong employment as long as you kept head down and your nose clean. And you collected a guaranteed benefit pension when you retired.
My dad hated his job. He spent at least seven hours a day, five days a week, for twenty years, doing pencil-pushing, deadly boring work, to support the family he loved. But this post isn’t about redemption through suffering. My dad’s best lessons come from his life outside work.
1. Do What is Right for Your Client. My father served as a field medic for the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was awarded the Silver Star—one night, the enemy overran his field hospital. Everyone who could evacuate did. But some of my father’s patients were too sick to be moved. My father volunteered to stay behind to care for them, risking his life. It was what his patients needed.
Who is your “client,” you ask? Whoever gets your work when you say you are done. Never forget: You are creating a product for your client. If you want to succeed, make your product something your client wants. No one is asking you to risk your life. Just make sure that you choose wisely when you have a choice between what is easiest for you and creating the best product for your client. It might mean missing a happy hour or three, but trust me on this one. It’s worth it. Read More →
- “Choose a topic you’ll never get tired of” and other advice from bloggers who have turned their passions into going concerns. [NYT]
- A reporter at a major daily newspaper is looking for companies that use video interviewing to assess job candidates, as well as candidates who have been interviewed this way. If you’ve used Skype or HireVue or similar services to get a job or to fill a job, email us. The reporter is interested in finding out why companies opt for this method of interviewing and any anecdotes about how these interviews tend to go. And for job candidates, how was it for you?
- In case you missed it last weekend: the Times goes really deep on Groupon’s methods, something Hired Guns blogger Daryl Lang also examined recently.
- Do you have what it takes to build that website on your own? Going by Vitamin Talent’s intricate flowchart, you may need a much, much bigger monitor before you can decide.
- Never accept a counteroffer. [Ere.net]
- At Slate, there’s no longer any money set aside for taking the interns out for drinks or lunch once in a while. Instead, it’s the interns doling out favors like cupcakes and other small gifts, and the site also takes “advantage of their access to expensive journals through their college library credentials.” Related: the new book Intern Nation.
- Email maintenance is a subject close to our hearts. Here’s a suggestion on how to use the BCC for good, not evil. The time you save may be your own.
On Monday, we asked you what you thought an intern was worth to a company. Although the “all interns should be paid” option was by far the most popular choice at first, it soon lost ground to the more nuanced claim that only interns doing a “real job” should get a real paycheck. Your votes put that one out on top, although just barely.
A little surprisingly, the “interns as time-suck” option didn’t get a single vote, which implies that even those who think interns don’t merit a paycheck still see them as providing some value for a company. Roughly one in 10 of you said that the experience that companies are giving interns is at least equal to the work they’re getting out of their young charges.
Either way, we suspect that internships–and probably unpaid ones at that– are here to stay, at least for the most in-demand sorts of jobs for young workers. . . .