Monday, November 17, 2014

A Must Read for Anyone Interviewing While Studying Abroad

If you haven't guessed it by now... The 'Intern Queen' is abroad. That's right for the first time in a long time, I don't have an internship. And although there is a lot to be said about enjoying your college experience that can fill up a whole another blog post, chances are you are abroad as a Junior/Senior and NEED an internship next semester.

If you don't believe me...just take a quick look at this graph by The Chronicle. 

Still think you can put off internships? Here's another. Take a quick look at the far right hand side.

In order to get an internship next semester (or summer for you spring semester kids). You're going to have to interview abroad. A challenge that is daunting, yet can be rewarding - if you can stay awake. There are several problems, or things you should keep in mind.

Time Change

This one is a bitch. Interviews normally take place in the afternoon pacific standard time, so this can leave you staying up until 2am for one Skype/phone interview.

I've found the best times for those studying abroad in England/Western Europe to interview for Cali-based positions are as follows:
9am PST = 5/6pm your time.
10am PST = 6/7pm your time.
11am PST= 7/8pm your time.
12pm PST= 8/9pm your time.
1pm PST= 9/10pm your time.
2pm PST= 10/11pm your time.

I usually cut off interviews at 2pm PST, any later and you won't be at your best cognitively.

The No Phone Game

As you've realized by now, you can't use your US phone number/ sim card abroad. Between rooming charges, having to turn it off airplane mode at certain times, and the difficulties that arise if you bought a UK sim, it's just not worth phone interviews. Always alert the interviewers immediately of your abroad situation ! They have likely dealt with it before. 

Suitable Alternatives: Skype is the best. 
If the interviewer insist on calling you via a US Phone Number: You can purchase one via Skype for about $4 a month! Interview season is also only about 2 months long!

If the interviewer wants to talk on the phone: You can call them by just adding credit to your Skype account ($5-10) max. 

If the interviewer is okay with video chatting: Skype is the best! As you can see...I'm a fan of Skype. 

The Refusal

If the interviewer refuses to interview you because you cannot come physically into the office. That really does say something about how they treat their interns. Large companies such as ABC/ Discovery/ Lionsgate/ and NBCUniversal make accommodations for all their abroad intern applicants. 

Phone Interviews Are Different

The reason I obviously love Skype so much is that the majority of the interview is usually the interviewer telling you about the company. This makes phone interviews very impersonal if they are conducted in the same way- as they often are. You can't show that you are listening without making annoying noises. You also can't show your personality except in the very meager questions they ask. You can't take cues for when to stop talking either. 

There is a very special art to phone interviews on behalf of the interviewee and the interviewer. I can't even say I have mastered it myself. Just be wary and careful. 

No pressure, but a person that interviews on the phone will almost always lose out to those that interview in person. This isn't true to Skype interviews, but for audio only I've seen it happen numerous times. Just try your absolute best to show your interest and act as engaged as possible. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you, focus on your state-side life and not the one you are living abroad. They don't want to hear about Paris and how cold it is, they want to hear about how you will fit in their internship program come January. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Reviews: "Campus Job"

The Reviews...we review job/internship finder sites so you don't have to waste time making an account. 

First up, Campus Job.  

Enjoy a video featuring my good friend Gregory, if you haven't heard of this brand new, and dare I say relatively strange site. Real talk though, that really is my friend Gregory in the video.

Quality of Employers: 
A google search for Campus Job (ouch, bad name) and the website isn't even on the first page. Instead, it's populated with campus job sites of major universities. This shows a lack of visibility to future employers and a lack of major google ad word buying (can we say startup two times fast?).

The website's front page states I could get a job as a 'bartender', a 'dj', a 'babysitter' (maybe try, a 'brand ambassador', or a 'campus rep'. may have better luck finding these types of jobs on Craigslist. 

Now, my first officially internship ever was as a brand ambassador/campus rep for a certain unnamed clothing rental company. Honestly, it wasn't the greatest experience. Tons of video calls, tons of unrealistically high expectations for a team of three and a small private school, and absolutly nothing good came of it. I got to put it on my resumé, but I didn't make connections, didn't get paid, didn't learn anything new expect how to annoy friends with Facebook posts, and I hardly got any free stuff! So, I'm not the biggest fan of these 'brand ambassador' positions. It's free advertising with no reward. It's not even worth the space it takes up on your resume, hell I haven't listed mine for years.

School Specific = Less Jobs/Internships
I did sign up though, which lead me to another problem for potential employers and for students using this site. You have to sign up with your school email address and then you are only shown jobs that employees have wanted to recruit someone FROM YOUR SCHOOL for.

That means, if you go to community college or even a decent school that is in the shadow of one nearby (i.e. USC and UCLA), you might not get local employers wanting to recruit from your school at all. You will just be getting the huge brands that exploit these sites in order to carry out the free advertising I mentioned above. But at least you have a 'job/internship.' 

Here's how the employers are laid out:

In the below photo you can see there are only 7 (!!!) jobs currently listed for Chapman University.

One is local and a startup (Let's Go Lab's), whereas the rest are brand based (Adobe, Mint Cosmetics, Modre, EZPrivacy). I see no way of realizing my dream of being a graphic design, photographer, dk or bartender like they PROMISED ME! Hell, I can't even be a babysitter.

Ease of Creating Profile: 8 out of 10. Fill out a Madlibs like survey.
Relevancy: 1 out of 10. Not even Google knows about this.
Entertainment Internships: 0 out of 10. Unless you want to work for small fashion brands (for free).
Usability: 8 out of 10. They did put some money into the design if not the concept.
Employers: 2 out of 10. Who are they? Who knows...

Overall Ranking: Don't waste your time until they get their feet more firmly pressed on the ground. They currently have a lack of 'real internships', lack of paying jobs, and a lack of variety. If you want to be any of the aforementioned things, there are already websites that specialize in those areas and Craigslist. If you want to be a brand ambassador, please pick something you are passionate about and do the 'blogging position' when you can. At least you will get some good writing samples out of it.