Friday, 24 October 2014

Introducing myInternSwap

I recently had a meeting with the founder of myInternSwap, a website that launched in September which allows users to find and exchange work experience opportunities. As somebody who enjoys innovation and new ways of helping people to source placements, I was most intrigued and so invited the company to write a guest article. Please let me introduce to you myInternSwap


With three children in their late-teens, Nick, founder of myInternSwap, realised that there had to be an easier and fairer way for them to access work experience and internships.

A few years ago his daughter, Isabel was doing her A-Levels, and one of her school friends requested a placement at Nick’s London-based design agency. When, as a gesture of thanks and reciprocity, the friend’s father gave Isabel a placement at the think tank where he worked, an idea was born: myInternSwap – a website to find internships and work experience places offered in exchange by others.

The website was launched in September 2014 and you can get a FREE 6-months subscription by signing-up with promo code TP2543.

Asking those who want to secure a placement to offer one in exchange, adds more internships to a market where many more are looking for places than are available, and the website offers an easy way for people who are interested in each others offers to get in touch with each other. Internships can be offered through a parent, another relative or even a family friend – so, perhaps surprisingly, most people who are looking for work experience would be able to come up with an internship offer.

While many larger companies have formal internship programmes, they are often difficult or impossible to access for younger and less qualified students. In contrast, myInternSwap operates as an social network where members are empowered to communicate directly with one another in order to agree the details of mutually beneficial work placements. 

Its rapidly growing membership base already reflects the diverse and international nature of work in the UK, with hundreds of internships being offered in London, around the UK and already in over 30 countries around the world. Furthermore, the site offers work experience in anything from law, engineering and finance to farming, yoga and catering. The opportunities are as endless as there are young people looking for internships and work placements.

Ultimately, its founder believes that myInternSwap’s take on networking is now a reputable way to circumvent outdated systems‚ and replace the old boy’s network with one that evens the playing field, provides a more inclusive marketplace, and above all, reflects the networking style of the young.


So there you have it. Check out the myInternSwap website, and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the box below

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Knuckle-Rapping Time

In the three years I've been writing this blog, I've spent quite a lot of time encouraging students to be professional in their communications. Whether it be through email, social media or indeed voicemail, it is important to be courteous, and also self-aware that the profile you create for yourself is how recruitment professionals will make initial judgement. I've also tried to deliver a website and twitter account that is both informative and light-hearted and for the most part I think I've managed to achieve that. However it is a fine line to tread and it is quite easy to overstep the mark, which is what I did yesterday.

I won't go into full detail, but a couple of tweets sent with good intentions resulted in a spot of bother for a well-known internship provider. What might be considered banter on a one to one level, takes on a different dimension in the corporate world. A couple of my off-the-cuff remarks were not taken too kindly by the wider organisation and the net result has been that a recruiter who I have nothing but admiration for has had to extinguish metaphorical fires. Needless to say the offending tweets and associated messages have been deleted to alleviate further embarrassment.

So this is a lesson for me as much as my readership. As well as ensuring that you maintain a positive professional profile, take a moment to think before you tweet as your words could bear consequences for others.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Keano Test

When applying for jobs, we invariably provide employers with our telephone numbers. I put my contact details on a CV, and my students do likewise when they are hunting for placements. The important thing to remember that once you have given that information to an employer, a recruiter could at any time attempt to speak to you. The question is are you ready for that call?

There is a story circulating in the media today, of a footballer whose answerphone message essentially lost him the chance of a transfer. Around the time that Budweiser ran their infamous 'Wassup' campaign (see the video below if you're not familiar - be warned, it is infectious!) the then Sunderland manager Roy Keane was looking to sign Robbie Savage from Blackburn Rovers. Savage, known for his flamboyance, had recorded an answerphone message based upon the catchphrase from the ad, and it is safe to say it did not endear him to his prospective employer.

Here is an extract from Keane's book

Like it or not, first impressions count. Before you submit applications, make sure that your contact details lead a recruiter to the professional person they want to hire, rather than the person who wants to amuse their friends and acquaintances with a gimmicky answerphone message. Why waste your time crafting a strong application if on the first point of contact, you give a recruiter reason to throw you onto the rejection pile? An employer might not use Keane's choice language, but as they live and die on their ability to hire the right sort of people for their organisation, it wouldn't be hard for them to think 'I can't be hiring that person' if greeted by an unprofessional message.

If you plan to be successful in your placement search in the coming year, you'll need to adapt to the requirements of the professional world. Excellent communications is one aspect of that. Now go check your voice message to ensure you would not fail The Keano Test.