Jun 13 2010
Only two things, the old saying goes, are for sure in life: death and taxes. I think Ben Franklin said that. Or was it Dickens? Well, I would like to amend that: death, taxes, and internships. Yes, you heard me. Internships. Because despite their inherent gnarliness – unpaid labor, after all; how is that legal? – they are necessary if you want to get ahead in this crazy, go-go Babylon we call “the world.”
Internships are a modern-day rite of passage, a mirror-maze, a trial by fire we all have been through, and for which our children, our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children must go through. Yet where, may I ask, is the one-stop portal for all internships? Why must I have to sift through annoying job sites to get to these internships? These are not rhetorical questions, so you can imagine my relief when they were succinctly answered in a word: Youtern.
Youtern is an online community that connects entrepreneurial companies and emerging talent through internships. With YouTern, start-ups and small- to medium-sized businesses have a unique resource to find enthusiastic talent. And it’s not so bad for the interns themselves: they now have a broader pool of internships to choose from, and as a result, have the luxury of choosing internships that suit them best. Interns, don’t fret: making coffee and photocopying stuff all day need not be your destiny! Cheer up!
Sufficiently cheered, I dove in. The first thing that struck me was the Search for Internships bar in the middle of the screen. How could I resist? So, to search, I had two choices: a quick search or an advanced one. I chose the latter (below.) There were tons of search choices, from Industry to State, to Telecommuting possibilities. Once an internship pops up, all the relevant info is there: company info, time frame, and a description of the internship itself (among, of course, other things.) Of course, you can apply for it online, and by creating an account, you can save all your internships in one place.
And it goes without saying, YouTern can be a boon to employers. How effective is Debby in HR in tracking down interns? I do not know. But I know this: without access to a portal such as this, it’s highly likely that some good ones slip through the cracks. Companies, therefore, should register with YouTern. In fact, YouTern offers registration to Students and Graduates as well. They also have what’s called a Career Center, which requires registration. The Career Center is a helpful tool to empower “guidance counselors” find the right opportunities for their students. And as anyone who remembers their guidance counselor can tell you, this is a good idea.
Flashback, February 1994:
Mike’s Guidance Counselor, Mr. Brown: So, Todd, how are your culinary school applications going?
Mike: My name is actually Mike.
Mr. Brown: Oh…Mike, yeah… So. How are those culinary school applications going?
Mike: I’ve never wanted to go to culinary school. You have me confused with someone else.
Mr. Brown: …
Or to put it another way, if Tammy from HR has minimal access to internships, do we have any more faith in Mr. Brown? (Who, I may add, means well.) But I digress.
Ultimately, Youtern is in a nice position. Aside from them, no one else seems to be providing this all-intern service. And as companies continue to look for ways to save money – like, say, not paying their workers – the market for interns, I imagine, will only grow. At the same time, this enlarged internship universe can warm the hearts of recent graduates, living with their parents while vacantly staring into the bottomless void that is their doomed career. More internships to choose from means the ability to work at cooler places.
If anything, the only person who loses out in this proposition is Mr. Brown; savvy students may no longer need his services. I compare Mr. Brown to those travel agents of bygone eras, now replaced by Expedia and Travelocity. They’ve become irrelevant relics of yesterday. But don’t feel bad for Mr. Brown. He’s just not good with names.