What are the best ways to get an internship at a startup?

What are the best ways to get an internship at a startup? 11 answers on Quora

What are the best ways to get an internship at a startup?

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Think Social Media Is A Fad?

If you had asked me two years ago if I was on Twitter, and what I thought about it, I would have said, “No” and “What’s the point?” If you had asked me six years ago if I was on Facebook, and what I thought about it, I would have had the same response.

I am now users of both of those websites, and many other forms of social media. Both companies have turned down multi-billion dollar offers to be bought out. Both have received venture capital funding based upon multi-billion dollar valuations. Shares of Facebook are actively being traded on private, secondary markets. Clearly, there are people who believe these companies are worth a lot of money, and are poised for explosive growth. Are these people crazy? Why all the buzz about a couple of companies that allow people to announce what they ate for breakfast?

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Use Quora For Career Exploration and Research?

If it seems as if I am very excited about the website Quora.com, I am. I am always interested in hearing what others have to say about topics I am researching. I am even more interested when I am listening to people who have more knowledge in that topic than I.

This is one of the many reasons why social media/social networking sites are so great–they are able to connect me to so many other people/ideas that I might not otherwise be exposed to. While it can be a voyeuristic experience, it can serve as a massive sharing platform. Find the right people, and you can learn a lot.

There lies the caveat. This is one of the many criticisms of finding information on such sites–credibility. While established sites such as Wikipedia have been found to be incredibly accurate, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can tweet, or blog (ahem) about…well…anything. Is the information biased? Is it correct? Have the facts been checked? Is the topic being represented, or is just a portion of the topic being covered? Is there an agenda? To get around this, some of these sites solve this problem by retrieving information from many users. The more people submit information on a particular topic, the more likely you, the reader, will likely get a true representation of the topic, and various viewpoints. This is one reason why Wikipedia is accurate. Each searchable item is checked many times over by its readers/contributors. As time goes on, readers may add or challenge facts listed.

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Little Things You Can Do During An Interview To Convey Confidence

Just about every company relies on interviews during the candidate vetting process. Hiring managers and human resources staff do either in-person interviews, phone interviews, or both. Many companies choose to perform a round of phone interviews, then bring in the leading candidates for an in-person interview. What’s the obvious difference between the two interviews? During an in-person interview, you are face-to-face with the interviewers. This means that they are not only listening to your verbal answers, but they are also observing your non-verbal answers. What are your body movements telling the interviewer? What about your expressions? What about voice tone, inflection, etc? The interviewer is “tuning in” to your body language and any other cues that will eventually give them an overall impression of you. While it is easier to prepare verbal answers ahead of the interview, it is much harder to prepare your body language, especially when you are nervous. Interviewers are becoming increasingly savvy in paying attention to your non-verbal cues, as it is much Continue reading

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Become More Attractive To Employers

Regardless of whether you are a student looking for an internship or a first job after college, or a seasoned professional, it helps to make yourself more attractive to prospective employers. How do you do this? The idea is to make yourself more credible to employers, add to your overall marketability, and increase name recognition. If more people know about you and your skills, employers are more likely to take interest in you. The goal is to provide more information about yourself, and increase the number of people in your industry that can vouch for you. The list of action items involves a mix of online and physical actions. Like networking, it is always a good idea to mix traditional and new techniques, and not rely too heavily on one or the other (traditional=old fashioned, face-to-face meetings; new=online)

Join/Participate in Professional Organizations: If you haven’t already, find out where your professional peers meet. Find a few good ones that meet locally and online and join! These people are potential coworkers and managers. It may not get you a job tomorrow, but it is always a good idea to consort with others in your industry. If you are a student, please do not feel intimidated by meeting people who have been working for a while:

  1. People love to help students!
  2. Organizations that normally charge a membership fee usually have a discounted student rate!
  3. If you start now, you will hit the ground running when graduation comes! Continue reading
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Quora Q&A: Importance Of Utilizing Social Media For Job Seekers?

I have been checking Quora on a regular basis lately, and I must admit that it is both fun and useful. I set up an account and follow certain topics and/or areas of interest. As people post questions, others post answers. I have learned about quite a few different topics, and I have found that people that answer the questions tend to be fairly knowledgeable. I highly recommend the site.

I came across an interesting thread that discusses the importance of activity on social media for today’s job seeker. The original poster read an article on the WSJ that predicts recruiters have begun to rely less on traditional recruiting methods (i.e. job boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, etc), and use social media to find more of their new hires. The original poster asks:

Q: Since recruiters are using social media more to find top talent, is it essential for job seekers to be active with social media?

Click on the following link to follow the discussion thread: Since recruiters are using social media more to find top talent, is it essential for job seekers to be active with social media?

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Ways To Find Answers Online Other Than Google

Google is a great search engine, and it represents the bulk of online searches today. But it isn’t the only way to find what you are looking for on the WWW, and for good reason. While it is a good search tool, there are others that may find more relevant results than Google. This doesn’t mean that the alternatives are better than Google, just different. Sometimes you may find that searching on different engines may net different results. And for that reason, it can sometimes be advantageous to search on multiple engines. This is something I routinely did as a recruiter, and it may also benefit you. But where else to search other than Google?

Thanks to Lifehacker, I found an article that lists some other services (most I have used), that may assist in your quest for information. You can read the full article here, but here is the list of alternatives in an abridged version.

  1. Yahoo Answers Search questions, or ask your own
  2. Ask Reddit May not be safe for work, content warning
  3. Duck Duck Go Search engine
  4. Wolfram Alpha Search engine
  5. Wikipedia Probably no introduction needed
  6. Blekko Search engine
  7. Quora Search on discussions others are having, or start your own
  8. Ask Metafilter May not be safe for work, content warning
  9. Twitter Search on others’ posts, or post your own question
  10. Aardvark Ask a question and send out to those in your network

This is not an exhaustive list. Are there others that you have used? Do you recommend them? I’d like to hear of other alternatives! Please post in the comments section.

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Inappropriate Or Illegal Interview Questions

What questions can (and cannot) an employer ask during an interview? I often receive this question from students as they prepare for an upcoming interview. The next question inevitably is, “If an employer asks an illegal question during an interview, what should I do?” These are both great questions. And I advise all interviewees to familiarize themselves with legal guidelines around what employers can and cannot ask during the interview process. And it may also help to identify a strategy how you may handle this situation, should you encounter it.

The Ladders website has an article on this topic which may answer the two questions raised in this post:

  1. What questions can (and cannot) employers ask?
  2. What should I do if an employer asks me an inappropriate question?

Employers need to stay away from direct questions around these topics:

  1. Age
  2. Religion
  3. Nationality and Race
  4. Gender
  5. Health and Physical Abilities
  6. Marital or Family Status
  7. Residence

Equal opportunity laws protect you, the job seeker, from employer discrimination. Interview questions need to be focused on your ability to perform the job functions, rather than your social, political status, etc. There are certain times in which the employer may ask questions on these topics, as long as they relate to the job tasks. For example, it may be inappropriate for an employer to ask you how your health is, and what your physical strength is. But they may ask you if you are able to lift 30 pounds, if the job requires it. Another example: the employer may not ask what your residency status is, but they are entitled to ask if you are able to legally work in the United States.

How to handle the situation, should it arise? I often start out by saying that there are usually more than one person involved in the interview process. And not all those people are HR experts. It is possible that the person interviewing your does not know all of the legalities of interviewing prospective employees. It may not be malicious, it may just be lack of knowledge. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you want to answer the question directly. If you feel uncomfortable, it may be best to direct or steer the conversation towards legal territory. For example, if an employer asks what your visa status is, you may reply by saying that you are legally able to work in the United States.

Again, The Ladders article can be read here.

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Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions of 2010

As we reflect on 2010, for better or for worse, here is Glassdoor.com’s 2010 list of Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions. I always find lists like these amusing and just a little educating. And while most of us may not have to answer any of these questions during an interview, you can always expect to be thrown a few curveballs. Reading lists like these always motivate me to not only study before an interview, but to always have a good game plan going into the interview. You can never anticipate all of the questions, but there are always questions you should prepare yourself to answer (and more questions here). And if you have a general outline of how you would like to market yourself, you have a better chance of answering some of the personality-based and/or behavioral questions you may not be able to prepare for. You can get the full list of oddball interview questions here, but here are a few that I found most amusing/entertaining:

  1. “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” (asked at Goldman Sachs)
  2. “Explain [to] me what has happened in this country during the last 10 years.” (asked at Boston Consulting)
  3. “Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.” (asked at Capital One)
  4. “Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum numbers guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint “higher” or “lower” for each guess you make.” (asked at Facebook)
  5. “You are in charge of 20 people, organize them to figure out how many bicycles were sold in your area last year.” (asked at Schlumberger)
  6. “What would you do if you just inherit a pizzeria from your uncle?” (asked at Volkswagen)
  7. “You have a birthday cake and have exactly 3 slices to cut it into 8 equal pieces. How do you do it?” (asked at Blackrock)
  8. “If you could be any superhero, who would it be?” (asked at AT&T)
  9. “What is the philosophy of Martial Arts?” (asked at Aflac)
  10. “How many ridges [are there] around a quarter?” (asked at Deloitte)

Obviously, one may feel more comfortable answering some of these questions knowing more about the context (job title, what questions have been asked in the interview up to this point, etc). Some of these have a definite answer, some may require more of an estimation after coming up with a formula, and some are more personality-based questions. The Glassdoor.com page has some answers to these questions, along with more examples of interview questions from each company. As I start to figure out how I would answer each of these questions, I’d like to hear from you! How would you answer these questions? Please leave a comment with an answer or two. I’d love to hear from you!

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Good News For Aspiring Teachers In California

Are you interested in becoming a teacher, but discouraged by the latest economic and budget crises? The depression we are enduring has made all of our lives more difficult. Local and state governments are forced to make painful and severe cuts to budgets leaving, among other things, education funding short of expectations. Teacher layoffs have been well documented. And state politicians are taking aim at pension funds, including teacher pension funds.

But despite this unfortunate trend, there is good news for aspiring teachers. SRI released a study on the future of the teaching workforce in California, specifically, the Bay Area. Their results mirrored workforce trends in other occupations. As Baby Boomers retire (generation of folks born around and shortly after WWII), they will leave a substantial need to backfill vacant teaching positions. This, coupled with a decrease in enrollment in credentialing programs, may leave the Bay Area with a shortage of teachers. Because many school districts have shrunk their teaching workforce, the near term outlook is not positive. But according to the study, once the economy turns and education funding returns to pre-depression levels, districts will begin to hire again. We may see a large increase in teacher demand soon. Good news for those aspiring teachers out there.

If interested in reading the full report, please go to the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning website.

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