If you’re looking for an internship that’s more than fetching coffee and making copies, you need to know about YouTern. NYCi spoke with Mark Babbitt, CEO of YouTern, to find out how he helps students find internships that are productive, educational, and relevant to their career goals.
CEO of YouTern, author Mark Babbitt is a passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, a strong advocate of mentorship and co-founder of “Hired for the Holidays“. You can contact Mark directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.
What inspired you to start YouTern?
With 45% of those under 25 unemployed or under-employed, the days of getting your degree and just walking into a job are over. Careers must now be planned; for some, starting during their freshman year. So when we launched YouTern, our primary motivator was to help those entering the workforce understand the need to secure career-enhancing internships, and to be far better prepared to compete in today’s job market.
As we began building YouTern, however, our focus became the huge discrepancy between the desire of Millennials to create and contribute in their careers, including during their internships – and the menial “Go-fer” internships offered by large business where there often was no real opportunity to learn.
What are YouTern’s goals?
Our goal is to provide intern candidates with a resource – both through our blog and the internship opportunities posted on the site – where high-quality, mentor-based internships are considered the norm. We’ve only been around a few months. And we already hear candidates say they gained more through their mentor-internship at a fast-paced start-up, or perhaps a dynamic non-profit… than they have ever learned at school, or at their past “coffee and copy” internships.
How does YouTern connect students and employers looking for interns?
YouTern integrates “matching” technology that compares the needs of the employer with the career aspirations of the intern candidates. In a way, we are eHarmony.com for interns and start-ups, entrepreneur-driven small business, and change-oriented non-profits.
What advice do you have for students looking for internships?
To compete well, you must focus your efforts on internships that will enhance – perhaps even verify– your career choice. Taking an old-school internship at a big financial company just so you have a prestigious company name on your resume will not help you be a better employee. Take your time, and find an internship where your passion will enable you to excel, and execute.
What do you wish you knew when you were in college?
I’ll tell you what we hear most from today’s interns and college students. Almost every candidate we talk to says there were two things they wish they started much earlier: networking, offline and online (and no, the standard use of Facebook – keeping in touch with friends – doesn’t count) and building their personal brands through social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
What is the best part of your job?
YouTern is an easy one… it’s not like we’re building a widget that may or may not change people’s lives. It’s pretty easy to get up in the morning when you know you’re making a difference by connecting emerging talent and the small team executives who bring them onboard as interns and team members. In some cases, we’ve already helped developed life-long mentor relationships – traditional, reverse and mutually beneficial. That’s pretty cool.