Five Reasons to Start an Internship Program Now

Five Reasons to Start an Internship Program Now

Many businesses, large, small or solo operations, toy with the idea of starting an internship program. Make no mistake, starting and running a successful internship program is a big committment, but one that pays you back in many ways (not all financial). If you have been mulling it over and can’t decide, here are five reasons to start an internship program now.

1. Create a pipeline of future employees

When you are ready to add full or part-time staff, what better source of candidates than the people you already know? More frequently companies are turning to their previous or current intern pools first to fill open positions. In fact, according to the 2016 NACE Survey, employers offering interns jobs is at a 13-year high,  “the average offer rate is 72.7 percent.” 

As senior manager of a national internship program for nearly five years, I saw this trend increase year after year. The number of my graduating seniors receiving job offers before graduation continued to climb. There are not always openings at the end of the internship period, but many companies would offer previous interns jobs 1-2 years later when a job did become available. 

2. Increase new employee retention

An internship is like a really long job interview. For 8-10 weeks or longer you have the opportunity to learn and observe if someone will be a fit for your team. For an intern, working at a company for a few weeks exposes them to the culture, management and work flow so they can determine if it is a fit for them as well.

One of the coolest calls I recieved as program manager was from a college recruiter at one of my host companies. Imagine my surpise when she told me one of my interns was being offered a job –  8 months before his graduation. He had impressed them so much over the summer that they knew they wanted to bring him on as soon as possible. 

“His plans materialized during the fall of his senior year when he received a call from DIRECTV offering him a position as a Production Operator. He gladly accepted his first job before he even got halfway through his senior year….. Eric didn’t have to go through additional multiple interviews to get the job. The 12-week internship he completed was enough for DIRECTV to know they wanted him on their team.” 

The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams, Sharise Kent

3. Affordable help to grow your business

Internships can be paid or unpaid. There are however, many rules and regulations regarding the criteria for hiring paid vs unpaid interns. Even with a paid internship program, the compensation for interns is generally less than the cost of hiring a full or part-time employee. Affordable help should not be your main motivation.

The average private college tuition is just below $35,000 and the average public college tuition is right around $10,000. Those prices don’t include room and board. So, before you ask a young person to forgo a paying job for a free internship, be aware that while they would love the experience, they simply can’t afford to work for free.

Even when working at a small non-profit, we paid our interns. The help they provided in assisting us in meeting our mission was useful and very appreciated. I worked to integrate them into our team and in addition to a paycheck, provided learning opportunities they would not get in class. In turn, we received the assistance we needed during certain times a year, without the cost of onboarding new employees.

4. Motivated team members breath new life


Interns are largely super motivated new members of your team. For an intern, the opportunity to take what they have been learning in a classroom and see how it applies to real life is what they have been waiting for. Also, they are trying to put their best foot forward in hopes of getting hired. Motivated new team members can bring a shot of energy and enthusiasm that can reinvigorate others around them.

Working in higher education and career placement for nearly 20 years keeps me young. While traditional interns have much to learn, their is something to be said for their youth and energy.

5. Fresh perspective

When your brainstorming sessions are filled only with people who have been with the company for years, a fresh new perspective from an outsider might provide the spark for some new ideas. Current college students and recent graduates are aware of new trends, new music and may possess social media skills you need to reach a different generation. Hiring interns can bring fresh ideas and new approaches to old problems. 

“This is not your coffee getting, paper copying, learn nothing type of deal. It was actually an intern who first proposed the idea of using text as the main platform and interns contributed greatly to the current website design.” – Kelly Peeler, NextGen Vest

Creating an internship program is about leading, teaching end empowering young people with knowledge, skills and training for future success. If you are not ready to lead and teach, you might not be ready to put together a winning internship program. 

6. Giving back and being a mentor (bonus reason)

The best internship programs understand that the bigger picture is about helping develop future talent whether or not they will be working for you. Being a mentor, serving young people who are eager for success and giving students a look at the reality of what it is to work in their professions should be high on your list of reasons to start an internship program.

Great internship programs are about creating an experience that will benefit the intern and the business.

If you are ready to take the steps and get started with your own internship program, download my free guide, 10 steps to launching an internship program. Don’t keep waiting, make a move in the right direction and start planning your program now.

How to Salvage Your Summer Internship

How to Salvage Your Summer Internship

You’ve reached the halfway point of your summer internship and it has pretty much sucked. If you are thinking about quitting, I have a few tips to help salvage your summer before it is too late. Even if you do have the internship of your dreams, do these things to make the experience even better.

Shift Perspective

You feel like all you do are mundane and mindless tasks? Perhaps a simple shift in perspective will allow you to dig deeper and see how all of the pieces fit together. I’m not trying to say that getting coffee has a higher meaning, but some boring projects could teach you more than you think, if you take the right perspective.


Interns that I hired in my office often had the not so sexy task of doing data entry of student information. I  always did my best to explain how the pipeline of recruitment worked and what happened to those names and contacts once they were entered into the database. In some circumstances, I was able to let them attend a recruitment event with me so they could see just how those names were gathered.

By putting everything into perspective, it gave the interns the opportunity to understand the entire recruitment cycle and how we developed a marketing strategy. There are projects that you might be working on that have a bigger impact than you think, not exciting but necessary.

Ask for more challenging work

If you continue to prove yourself by completing the simple tasks you are given, don’t be afraid to ask for more challenging work. Let your immediate supervisor know that you are capable of doing more and giving more to the department. Sometimes it is about letting them know that you are ready to take on additional duties. That initiative could go a long way into letting your supervisor know you are serious about learning and your contribution to the company.

Make moves to expand your network

As you complete your projects for your supervisor, ask if it is okay for you to assist other people in your department or other departments. By networking with others you can share your desire to learn more about the company and new skills. Along the way you could make a connection with a potential mentor. If no one has additional work for you, consider using your time to conduct informational interviews so you can learn more about other jobs in the company.

Take Initiative

Part of being a stand out intern and eventually a promising young professional is the ability to bring fresh ideas. Take time and observe what is going on around you. Learn the processes. By learning, observing and asking questions, you can begin to think of simple improvements to your assignments. Perhaps there is a faster or more efficient way to do something. Bring it to your supervisor and it might be adapted as a new way to do business. Don’t be discouraged if your idea isn’t implemented, keep bringing new things forward.

The summer internship period is almost over. Finish strong. If you recently graduated and you are trying to turn your internship into a job offer, check out these 9 Moves That Could Take You From Intern to New Hire.

Looking for a Last-Minute Internship?

Looking for a Last-Minute Internship?

While finding a summer internship in late April or early May isn’t the ideal way to go about it, you can still get out there and make it happen. In a recent article, Daniel Bortz interviewed me along with a few other experts to give you tips to make the last-minute internship search process a success.

How to Snag a Great Last-Minute Internship on

Don’t have an internship lined up for the summer? Take a deep breath. It’s not too late—so long as you’re willing to put in the work.

It’s true: You’re a bit behind the game, as deadlines for applications at many companies with formal internship programs have already passed.

Now for the good news: There are still internship opportunities up for grabs.

“Many small and medium-sized companies don’t realize they need interns until April or May rolls around,” says Lauren Berger, CEO of, “so they post their internship openings relatively late.”

Since you’re in a time crunch, you’ll need to ace the application process. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right. Easier said than done.” Well, not necessarily—if you follow these steps.

Focus on the right internships

The last thing you want to do is panic and spend your time applying to every single internship you can find. “You need to take a targeted approach,” says Sharise Kent, author of The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. “If you’re a freshman who is applying to internships typically reserved for juniors, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage,” says Kent. Focus on programs that fit your skills and level of experience.

Moreover, make the best use of your time. Before you spend hours applying to two- to three-month-old internship postings, pick up the phone and ask the company whether the position is still available, suggests Stephanie Waite, senior associate director of Yale’s Office of Career Strategy.

Customize your application

Recruiters and hiring managers can tell within 10 seconds if you’ve sent a generic application, says Berger. To stand out, you’ll need to tailor your resume and cover letter to each internship—and by focusing on five internship applications instead of 50, you’ll have time to do this.

Incorporate language from the job posting and the company’s mission statement into your resume, says Berger. Using the right keywords will help your resume pass through an application tracking system.

Use this same strategy to help you write a killer cover letter. “It’s all about dropping the company’s name throughout the letter,” says Berger. “That way, when the hiring manager reads it, they feel like the letter was written just for them.”

Keep the cover letter brief; Kent recommends writing three to four paragraphs. “It doesn’t have to be a full page,” she says.

Carve your own internship opportunity

Some companies simply don’t have established internship programs. Many startups, for example, can’t afford to hire an internship coordinator. Meanwhile, “a lot of companies haven’t hired interns before, but they’d be open to it,” says Waite.

If this is the case at one of your prospective companies, take initiative by creating your own internship at the organization. Find recruiters either through the job posting or on social media, and reach out to them directly. Be mindful of your approach, though. Ask about the company’s needs and whether they’ve ever considered hiring an intern, rather than immediately requesting an internship.

Even better: Identify problem areas at the organization and show how you can provide value, says Kent. For example, if the company isn’t active on social media, offer to help develop their strategy.

Be willing to commit

If you’re short on time (e.g., the application is due tomorrow), you may have to pull an all-nighter to get the work done or—gasp!—spend the weekend in the library.

But for the right internship opportunity, it’s worth putting your social life on standby, says Eric Woodard, director of the office of fellowships and internships at the Smithsonian and author of The Ultimate Guide to Internships: 100 Steps to Get a Great Internship and Thrive in It.

Remember to proofread

This might sound obvious, but when you’re under time constraints, you’re more likely to make typos, Waite says. Hence, you need a second pair of eyes—ideally from someone who is an expert in the field.

Have a mentor or a professor proof your resume, since the person knows the industry lingo, advises Waite.

To help you stay organized in your last minute frenzy, download my free Internship Manual Toolkit. Your search can end successfully if you get moving on your project with laser like focus.



Get In Formation: Beyonce Launches Scholarship for Young Women

Get In Formation: Beyonce Launches Scholarship for Young Women

On the one year anniversary of the release of the visual album, Lemonade, Beyonce’ has announced the creation of the Formation Scholars award. According to her website, the Formation Scholarship program is designed “to encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.”

Recipients must be studying creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the scholarship will be awarded to an incoming or current undergraduate or graduate student at one of the following four participating institutions:

Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)
Howard University (Washington, D.C.)
Parsons School of Design (New York City)
Spelman College (Atlanta, GA)

Application and deadline information is available from each participating institution. Information regarding amounts has not yet been released.

Scholarships on Your Radar

If you are in the process of applying to college or a current college student, this needs to be on your radar. With the rising costs of attending college, any amount of scholarship money can help you keep down the student loan debt.

In addition to this opportunity, keep on the look out for small and large scholarship available from community organizations, a parent’s employer, civic organizations, fraternities or sororities, churches, banks, credit unions and so many other places. Searching for scholarships should be a daily activity for both incoming and currently enrolled college students.

For scholarship search tips, visit The College Money Maze and The Ultimate Scholarship Guide for help.

Free Tuition Has Me in a New York State of Mind

Free Tuition Has Me in a New York State of Mind

Recently New York state passed a law that will allow residents to attend a public college tuition free. Starting in the fall of 2018, the Excelsior Scholarship will give families that make $100,000 or less free tuition at a State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) institution. The plan will phase in over the next three years finally reaching an income cap of $125,000 per year.

This historic deal is one that can change the lives of a generation of college bound students. It could change your life. To say that this can put upcoming college students in a position for future financial and professional success is an understatement.

I graduated from two SUNY institutions, the State University of New York at Oswego and Monroe Community College. I would have loved to have been the recipient of this type of opportunity. I also worked for SUNY College at Brockport for about two years in undergraduate admissions. My career in college admissions and career placement spans 17 years, 6 colleges and 400 placed interns. 

Any student and family that can take advantage of this opportunity should do so without hesitation.

In my humble opinion, a SUNY education is a best buy that can stack up against any other in this country. Any student and family that can take advantage of this opportunity should do so without hesitation. I am however, admittedly biased.

Free Tuition Excelsior Scholarship

Let us not forget the free tuition does not mean open admission. If you are applying to 4-year degree granting institution you still need to apply and get in. Each campus sets their own admissions requirements.

Once enrolled, students must take at least 30 credit hours per year and maintain an acceptable grade point average. After completing their degree, graduates will be required to remain in New York state for however long it took them to complete their degree. So, if you who graduate in four years you would be required to work in New York state for four years.

Those who choose to relocate out of New York will have their scholarship converted into loans. There are some hardship exemptions for graduate school and military service.

Most people don’t know that nearly 60% of college students graduate in six years. Part of the reason it can take so long is that many students fail to take the proper number of credits per year. Requiring 30 credit hours per year keep students on track to graduate in four years or two years at a community college.

Getting in and out in two or four years is vitally important. Each extra year costs you time and money. In addition to four years of class work, you should also spend that time learning the value of networking, internships, extracurricular activities and how to find a job. Earning a degree is one thing, but finding and landing the dream job is another. 

Debt Free College is a Game Changer

Here is where it gets good. SUNY tuition is $6,470 at four-year schools and $4,370 at community colleges. That is already a very affordable option as it relates to a college education. Why is this a game changer?

The class of 2016 has on average $37k in student loan debt. For a student who takes advantage of attending a four-year school, that is a savings of $25,880. Taking advantage of this program means that a New York state resident could complete college debt free. You could complete college debt free. A debt free college education. Imagine that!

If you are already attending another school and have two or three years left, I would strongly consider transferring to a public school. Consider the money you could save.

The Excelsior Scholarship is a “last-dollar” grant. That means that the scholarship will be applied only after any Pell Grant and New York state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) money is awarded. As a result, the amount each student gets in funds will vary.

The maximum Pell grant for 2017-2018 will be $5,920. Low-income students getting already receiving a max Pell grant and aid from TAP will not likely not benefit from this program. Families in the middle income bracket who are not Pell eligible or TAP eligible will benefit most.

The Tale of Two Graduates

Student 2 who graduates with no debt, could instead choose to invest that same $392 for 10 years at a 5% rate of return and end up with $61,000.

Imagine for a moment two recent college grads with the same degree with the same starting salary of $45,000 per year. Student 1 graduates with $37,000 in student loan debt, while student 2 finishes college debt free.

Student 1 starts life with a student loan payment of $392 per month for 10 years. At the end of those 120 payments at a 5% interest rate, that would be over $47,000 paid back.

Student 2 who graduates with no debt, could instead choose to invest that same $392 for 10 years at a 5% rate of return and end up with $61,000. Who would you rather be? 

If student 2 chooses to buy older cars and avoid car notes and credit card debt, that monthly investment of $392 could easily be doubled. Even if they chose to not invest it, an extra $400 per month can be the difference between living in your parents basement versus moving out.

In Rochester, NY you can buy a house in the city for as little as $75,000. With no student loan payment, in less than two years you could have a down payment on a house. Student 1 who graduates debt free can move quicker to home ownership, save more towards retirement and start investing to take advantage of compounding interest. They could also just have more money to blow on some great vacations and other life experiences!

Not a Perfect Solution

The Excelsior scholarship does not include room and board which varies from campus to campus at an average of $15,000. If you want to live on campus, you have to pay those costs out of pocket or with financial aid. Most college students dream of living on campus and having the complete “college experience”. While yes, college does provide a time of personal growth, learning and exploration the bigger picture is about becoming employable.

The main reason you go to college is to get a job, or more specifically, have a career.

While living on campus is what everyone dreams about when they think of college, taking on debt to do it may not make it worth the “fun”. The memories and experiences will always be with you, but unfortunately, the debt sticks around for a long time too. 

For the students and families who are smart enough to forgo the need to live on campus in return for the long term gain, this plan is a no brainer.

Also, don’t buy into the hype that private automatically means better. In addition to my Bachelor’s degree, I also earned my Master’s from a public school. To round out my experiences, I worked in college admissions for five private liberal arts colleges and one public institution. Taking it a step further, I’ve recruited students from every corner of the United States when placing interns with major companies like ESPN, HBO, Showtime, AMC Networks, the NBA and others. Your success is about you, not the name of the school on the diploma. 

Brighter Future

Making wise academic and financial decisions is the key to a brighter future.

There are multiple pieces to the puzzle of how a student can be successful during and after college. Getting this gift of debt free tuition does no good if you go out and rack up $20,000 in credit card debt and a $32,000 new car. Making wise academic and financial decisions is the key to a brighter future.

Graduating debt free means the financial freedom and flexibility to choose a rewarding career. A graduate who desires to work at a lower paying non-profit organization can do that, rather than taking a more lucrative and unfulfilling position just to pay back loans. An artist or performer can afford to live frugally while pursuing their dreams in New York city without loan payments taking a chunk of their funds. For students looking to get into law, medical or dental school which all have prospects of heavy debt burdens, they are starting $25,000 ahead.

The advantage of not carrying around student loan baggage opens a new world of choices for recent grads, so I hope they choose wisely and embrace this opportunity.