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internship coach3 Top Tips from an Independent Coach      by Sandra Long

As a former sales leader and business executive, I am now enjoying my work with college students and new grads. I help them find internships and jobs through professional networking and social media. Millennials just soak it all up!  Here are the top 3 pieces of advice that I typically give to students and recent grads:

1. Use college or university resources first. You might be surprised how many students contact me looking for an internship or first job. The first thing I do is ask them about their involvement with Career Services at their university.  A great number of these students had not yet visited so I encourage them to do that first. Often, I will send them links to their own Career Services events or workshops.  The students also need specific advice about how to network with alumni and professors, because many students are unaware of how to go about this professionally.

2Leverage social media for your Career. Most college students are using social media to keep up with friends, music and sports. Few of them are using social media for their career. I teach them how to create great profiles and to network with industry professionals. The best social site for this is LinkedIn. Even though some of the students have profiles, they are often very rudimentary.  College students need to create a complete LinkedIn profile that will accurately and enthusiastically reflect their personal brand. Learning this properly helps them become “found”  by recruiters and hiring managers using a LinkedIn search. I teach students how to network with industry leaders using all the search and communication features on LinkedIn in combination with basic business etiquette.  We also work on integrating Twitter, LinkedIn and in-person networking for great results!

3.  Master Networking Early. College students need to create their own personal team of friends, advisors, coaches and mentors. Most of them have a network but haven’t leveraged it fully.  I coach students to develop and grow their relationships with industry experts and professionals.  Students need to be reminded that a great relationship is mutual.  We all need to be helpful and resourceful to benefit our networks. I help students to clearly focus on their network and thereby becoming referred or recommended for positions. 

Many of the students and new grads arrive at my door step very frustrated or discouraged. Most of them have been applying to positions online and are getting nowhere with that strategy. I encourage them to use different tools, resources and approaches. Once they get on a new path, it is very gratifying to see their confidence grow!

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