Thursday, June 28, 2012

First generation community college grad starts

As you may already know, I recently became a solo-preneur (full time writerspeaker, and consultant). 

And on that journey I immediately looked online for a community to help me navigate this new office-less and coworker-less world as a young woman especially. 

With the help of Google, I immediately found They had a Facebook book club, a Twitter chat, and a TV show!

I was amazed that exactly what I was looking for existed! And it's founder, Jenn Donogh is a community college graduate.

So, naturally, I just had to interview her :)

Jenn graduated high school in 2003 and was the first in her family to go to college. Her parents did not push her at all, but she felt this overarching pressure towards college. She took all of the necessary prep tests and applied to the University of California, Santa Barbara.  

But one day, she just started crying in her room; she was so stressed. Her mom walked in and said: "Do you really want to do this or do you feel like you have to?" It was in that moment Jenn realized she really didn't want to move away and attend a large college. So instead, she enrolled at Bellvue Community College (now called Bellvue College) and won enough scholarships to cover her first two years completely. 

While in community college Jenn joined the Model UN club and fell in love with studying political science. “I just studied what I was interested in.” And that worked really well for Jenn. She loved her classes at BCC, and eventually transferred to earn her BA in Political Science at the University of Washington.

"My transfer experience was effortless. BCC really did a great job of preparing me for everything." 

Jenn finished college a year early and spent some time exploring: "I really liked politics, but had no idea what I wanted to do with politics."

"Isn’t that the hardest question? Actually figuring out what you want to do with your life?"

Jenn got married when she was a junior in college, and after returning from a honeymoon backpacking trip across Europe, she decided to become the Director of Operations for Ovaleye Cloud Services, her parents' web hosting business. The idea had come to her randomly on a paddleboat in Prague, and when her parents casually approached her with the offer, she knew it was what she wanted to do. 

So what about Jenn's political science major? Is your major a "waste" if you don't get a job using your major exactly? Absolutely not. 

"Studying political science gave me an informed worldview, and what I really studied was the idea of bringing people together and working together to create something for the greater whole."

"My major has benefitted me in building a business and building YFE. The college experience teaches you how to sit at a table and talk, debate, and speak intelligently with people. It builds confidence and teaches you how to work with people, something vital in business." 

"I love being able to help create change. It sounds kind of silly, but I really feel like if I were to have gone off into the political route I don’t feel like I would have been able to help as many people as I am now. I have found I love helping people get a website off the ground that helps them create their business fulfill their passions."

Indeed, choosing your major is often separate from choosing your job. Because how would you know you loved helping people build their business websites if you've never tried it before? 

Jenn was so grateful for the opportunity she was given with her parents' business, and started as a way to give back, a "passion project." 

Using your free time to develop a side project like this is no easy feat; in addition to her full time job Jenn is also a wife and mother. Jenn is a great example that "I'm too busy" or "I would if I could" or "Maybe one day" are just excuses. It can always be done today if you really want it. 

Jenn's parents were mentors to her, and it is her hope that YFE can provide that same mentorship to other women, free of charge. Jenn doesn't make any money from YFE - it is truly her way of giving back and building community. And I believe she is building online community in one of the most unique ways I've ever seen (i.e. book club, twitter chat, and TV show).  

Jenn's advice for college students? "Take time to figure out what you’re good at and what you’re interested in, and match your interests and strengths when looking for that first job; understand what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and what you want out of life. Spend time on yourself, learning about yourself. And with every experience, build confidence."

You can check out Jenn's blog and follow her on Twitter

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How a week-long student leadership experience brought me back to life

Last year I attended a week-long leadership experience as a Cluster Facilitator -  it was one of the best weeks of my life.
Me and my cluster family of 13 students. We still keep in touch :)
LeaderShape is a 25-year-old leadership experience that you can attend by traveling as an individual student to a national session (you get your college to pay and sponsor you) or it is an experience your college can bring to your campus. I recently wrote about my LeaderShape experience in a guest post for their blog, and I wanted to share it with you: 


“LeaderShape is a gift.”

That is what I texted my boss on Day 7 in Boston, MA, May 2011.

Because him telling me to apply as a LeaderShape Cluster Facilitator felt like a gift – because in many ways, it brought me back to life.

I am a writer at heart, and I can measure my feeling of vigor in any given state of my life by looking back on my journal. And from May 2009 - May 2011, my journal was blank.

In May 2009 I graduated college.

And during my first two years...Finish the Article on the LeaderShape Blog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Former Teen Mom Attends Harvard Latino Leadership Institute

Channel Baez inspires me more than I can say, and I today her story is featured in an article I wrote on Fox News Latino

I'm in Hawaii this week and so my blogs are set on a schedule; therefore I'm writing this weeks before this post will go live and don't have the exact link. If you go to my Fox News Latino archive you will be able to find it! 

Thank you so much Channel for your sharing your amazing story!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do you need to go to college if you want to be an entrepreneur?

There are many millionaire and billionaire entrepreneurs who did not go to college. Billionaire and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has become well-known for his anti-college rhetoric. He even has a grant for entrepreneurial students - the only catch: they have to drop out of college. (Interesting note: Thiel holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a law degree from Stanford).

With the rising cost of college, many are debating its worth. If you are an entrepreneur or have an entrepreneurial idea, you may wonder if college is a worthy investment for you, since you won't technically need a degree to "apply" for a job with your business.

I recently interviewed Jerry Ross, the Executive Director for the National Entrepreneur Center. And as a new solo-preneur myself, I was excited to hear his ideas about how entrepreneurship and education connect. I think you will enjoy his story. 

Jerry attended Heidelberg University in Ohio. "I wasn't really sure what I wanted to major in and so I majored in communications and in business. But I had always been an entrepreneur because I come from a big family; there were 11 kids in our family, so I had to be an entrepreneur to pay for college. I cut grass, painted houses, and shoveled snow. Then when I got to college I continued working many jobs; I became a DJ and worked at the local radio station,  I was the box office manager, and I worked for the athletic department. I did just about job that someone would pay me to do."

"Doing all of those different things at the college exposed me to a lot of things I liked doing, had a skill at doing, or what I wasn't good at. I was an actor  in theatre dept and found out I really wasn't very good at it. But I also got to learn about the stagecraft and building the lights and running the sound, which ended up becoming very important to my entrepreneurial future. 

Jerry's first job out of college was as part of the Ohio Bell Telephone company (part of AT&T at the time). " I learned systems and corporate systems and discipline. Because even while I had been an entrepreneur, I didn't have a lot of experience in the corporate world. I picked up skills there that were very important."

From there Jerry worked at a software company, and then moved to Florida to start his own business with a partner. "It didn't work; it was awful, and I lost just about everything." 

But like any successful entrepreneur knows, failure is part of the game, and resilience is key. "Within a year, I started another business."

And here Jerry's stagecraft and lighting experience came back into play. Have you ever been to Disney World in Orlando and seen the massive lights in the sky at night? Ever seen the lights that light up the Space Shuttle at night on TV? Jerry's second company provided those. 

This venture "drew on all of the experience I had done up to this point. As a student you have lots of ideas and there are a lot of opportunities, but you don't always have a lot of experience (it's not your fault, it's just part of being young). I'm an old guy now, and have learned that everything that is part of your experience you will use later in life. You've got to engage in that experience and use everything you get."

"While some people look at my college experience and say wow you had to work really hard in college and didn't get to party a lot, all of that experience helped me later. Even my radio DJ experience in college helps me when I am on TV and Radio as an entrepreneurial expert." 

Jerry's business lit up Universal Studios, the Olympics, SuperBowls, and more. He eventually sold the business and, after a stint as a small business coach with UCF and founder of Maverick Business Magazine, the Entrepreneur center recruited him to run the center. Last year the organizations located at his centercoached and trained over 10,000 small business people; representatives from over 34 countries have visitedthe center, and Orlando, has been named one of top 10 cities in America to start a business. 

Jerry has such incredible and unique experience that I had to ask him a couple more questions that would yield more advice for you:

What is the first thing a student who is considering being an entrepreneur should do?  "They need to reach out and find advisors and mentors outside their circle. I've never met an entrepreneur who wasn't willing to help another one. Find mentors who are successful entrepreneurs, maybe someone you know in your community. Find someone you want to be like, and sit down and ask them for advice."

How do college and entrepreneurship go together? "We are entering the innovation economy, and the innovation economy requires entrepreneurial thinking. It doesn't matter where you work, you are going to be required to be an entrepreneurial thinker. So in any class, you must apply what you are learning to everything. Create a curiosity about whatever it is that you are passionate about and engage deeply in the classroom - ask questions and apply your knowledge. The future of our economy is incumbent on students today to be entrepreneurial thinkers. Though there is much chaos in the economy, in that chaos there is opportunity."

What majors would you recommend for aspiring entrepreneurs? "You can major in almost anything. Major in business if you really like business, but be sure to find what you like. The most important thing is that you engage in a lot of extra-curricular activities and learn what you're good at and where you can offer something of value to the marketplace. I didn't know much about lighting, but I saw an opportunity to apply my skills, education and experience in a unique way."

What is one thing you think my  readers should do as soon as they finish reading this article in order to be more successful? "Be here now. Improve your entrepreneurial skills (you can great a lot of free business coaching from the groups located at the NEC if you live in Central FL). Quit worrying about yesterday, quit worrying about tomorrow, and be here today! Whatever class you are in, go deep. Whatever person you are next to at lunch, learn from them. Soak up all you can, because you will use it tomorrow."

You learn more about Jerry, his speaking, his books, and more at

And for a great place to look for internships at start-up companies to get an up-close look and experience with entrepreneurship, check out

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Transfer success story: From a 2.0 HS GPA to American University

Jose Aristimuno recently graduated with a Bachelors degree in Political Science, Cum Laude, from American University

In the Fall of 2007, he enrolled at Broward Community College in South Florida.

When he graduated high school, he had a 2.0 GPA. 

Jose's story is packed with some of the best community college transfer advice I could ever recommend. Everything below is in his own words:  

What led you to community college?
I moved to the United States with my family from Caracas, Venezuela when I was 10 years old. At the time, I barely knew a word of English. Throughout my childhood education, I experienced a long period of culture shock, and struggled with my personal identity and race, as I tried to figure out whether I was Latino, or American. I struggled to find my place in middle and high school, and always found it confusing whether I should be hanging out with the Latinos, or the Caucasian-Americans. And many times, I felt as I didn’t completely fit in with either group.

Thus, during my high school years I became a rebel. I skipped school regularly, didn’t pay attention in class, and was both rude and disrespectful to teachers. I got in trouble often, and was suspended various times. Although my family always supported me to strive academically, as a teenager, I refused to listen to their advice.

To this day, I’m not quite sure why is it that I acted the way I did in high school. I think it might have been the absence of my father who, though I saw yearly and has always been there for me, lives in Venezuela. My mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer during my years in middle school, and once again during high school.

I graduated high school with very poor grades and barely graduated. As a result I didn’t aspire to go onto college - I didn't even attend my high school graduation.

As the summer began, I worked long hours as a waiter to sustain myself. That same summer, I was encouraged by family and friends to continue my education at a community college since I did not have the grades to be accepted at most 4-year colleges. I began my first semester of college and took two classes the first semester.

As I began my life as a student at Broward Community College, I was determined to try my best. Despite getting a “D” in my first college writing class, I stayed motivated and promised myself not give up.

In my second semester of college, I decided to take three classes. That semester I was able to pull all A’s and B’s, and it was during moment, that feeling of getting good grades, that I  began to realize my potential.

In high school I attended a small private school and was one of very small minority population. In community college, there was such diversity; the majority of the students were African-American or Hispanic. I loved and felt comfortable in that diverse environment, and felt like for the first time I was comfortable and able enough to express my myself and my opinions.

I got involved with Phi Theta Kappa and became Vice-President of our local chapter. A year later, I was selected to be a part of All-USA Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding students all around the United States.
Phi Theta Kappa allowed me to discover the many scholarships, academic programs, volunteer opportunities, and helped me in motivating me to transfer to a 4-year institution.
Jose with PTK Executive Director, Dr. Rod Risley
How did you choose your major and what influenced your transfer decision? 
Choosing a major is certainly not easy. I began as a marketing major, but  quickly learned it wasn’t for me. I spent hours analyzing and researching various options. As the economic meltdown was starting to take a toll on all of us, and I felt a need and desire to better understand these problems and how to contribute to their solutions. I became very politically active in 2008, and felt so engaged in the political conversation, that I decided to change my major to Political Science and transfer to American University in the Fall of 2010.

What were your biggest obstacles in adjusting to your transfer institution?
At first my obstacle was fear; I was afraid that the magnitude of the workload and academic demands would be too great for me to fulfill. As community college student, we are sometimes afraid that we won’t be able to keep up in a 4-year institution. However, we are so mistaken as one of the main roles of community college is to prepare us for 4-year universities, and many of them do this very well. So I deeply believe that if you work hard in community college and take advantage of all the opportunities that they  offer, such as clubs,  honors societies, professors, and advisors, community college students will be very well prepared to transfer and be successful at any 4-year institution.

My second obstacle, or at least what seemed like an obstacle at the time, was being able to successfully integrate and adapt to a new school, such as making new friends, joining a variety of clubs and organizations, and making sure that you’re taking advantage of all the great opportunities your institution has to offer.

What helped you the most in getting adjusted at your transfer institution?
As soon as I got to American University, I made commitment to join a variety of clubs that I felt an interest in. In addition, I took advantage of the school’s Transfer Student Network, which allowed me to talk to incoming transfer students before arriving to the university. Although this network isn't available at every university, I advice students to try to get in contact with some of the students who will be transferring as well, as you will have something in common, and it will allow you to live the transfer experience with others who are going through the same thing.

What helped you make friends at your transfer institution?
What helped me to make friends was to first get out of my comfort zone, and push myself to be social and interactive with others. At American University, where classes are very engaging, and all the students are eager to participate, it motivated me to do the same. 

In addition to getting out of my comfort zone, I joined a variety of student organizations that helped me meet a variety of students that share some of my same interests and values. For example, I became the Political Editor for the School’s Student Magazine, AmWord. I also became the Advocacy Director for the Latin American Student Organization, was a member of the College Democrats, and attended Harvard University for an Economics & Politics of Russia and China summer class. I also did a congressional internship. Without a doubt, being active in these organizations allowed me to meet a variety of people who share my same interests.

What advice can you share that you wish someone would have shared with you before you transferred from community college to a university?
Don’t panic, and be confident! Confidence can really go a long way. Be yourself and become active in your new campus as soon as possible. Joining organizations and clubs that are important to you will allow you to meet people that share your same interests. In turn, this will allow you make new friends, and have a support group within your college community.

What advice can you share with readers based on what worked well for you in transferring? 
Do your research, and don’t rush it. Transferring to a 4-year university is an important and sometimes, costly investment. Therefore, make sure you look at a variety of universities that focus on your career field, and are in-line with your personality. A couple of questions to consider:

Would like to be a part of a big campus, or something more intimate?

Would you like your campus to be in a big city or a small town?

Will you be dorming, living nearby, or staying at home?

Be open to new ideas, get out of your comfort zone, and don’t give up.
At times, the transferring process can seem long and tedious, but it is task that is well worth it.
Take your time to look around at all your different options. Looks at universities that have programs that play to your interests and major. In addition, make sure you look at all your scholarship options. There are a good number of scholarships out there, it’s just a matter of taking the time to find them.
Jose's graduation from American University May 2012
Jose currently works with the public relations firm, Dewey Square Group, and will be joining the Obama Campaign as Fellow this June 2012. 

In addition to working these two jobs he will be working on a certification paralegal program at Georgetown University. At the same time, I will be preparing for the Law School Admissions Test, in hopes of attending Law School in the Fall of 2013.

 And if you have a story to inspire readers (and I bet you do) visit to share it with me. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CC Students Win $25,000 to Solve College Dropout Crisis

Below is Part II to the article I wrote last week on the incredible conference. This one is all about the students and their amazing projects. Check them out and I'm sure you'll be as inspired as I was, remembering that we can all have an impact on our campus, or whatever you call or your small corner of the world. 

"The room buzzed with anticipation as 100 Millennial students waited excitedly for the 13 student presentations to begin at the Target 2020 Community College Completion Summit in Miami, FL.

"The first group of students stepped on stage to present the first project called Students Helping Students. And for the next hour students stepped on stage, spoke into the microphone, and presented their solutions with professionalism, poise, and deep conviction....Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to get into Harvard Graduate School after community college: an interview with Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran Jared Esselman

Jared Esselman graduated Palm Beach State College in 2007. He graduated Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2011.

And you can too.

I recently talked with Jared and heard his incredible story. His approach to college offers a lot of great advice for what it takes to make the most of your community college experience so that it will catapult you to wherever you want to go next.

In 1998 Jared graduated high school and attended Brigham Young University for a year. By the end of his second semester, Jared said “they sent me a letter essentially saying ‘we appreciate your time, don’t come back.’ The feeling was mutual. It wasn’t a good fit. I didn’t really do well in the classes, and at 18 years old I just wasn’t ready.”

So Jared joined and served in the military for a while.

And in 2006, eight years later, he decided he wanted to go back to college. He applied to the College of Charleston: “but they said no. They said I had no recent grades, no recent college experience, and they suggested I go to community college to get that experience. So I said ‘ok’ and enrolled at Palm Beach Community College.”

When Jared got to PBCC (now Palm Beach State College), a community college academic advisor changed his life: “I took classes randomly when I first started because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But my advisor really took me under her wing. She walked me through what community college could provide for me and what was beyond – including graduate school.”

Jared was also impacted by his community college professors: “They are there because they love it; they want to be there and they want to share their experience. I had a political science professor who was so passionate about his subject; he lit a fire in me. His passion for politics and getting to the root of the political problem (e.g. policy) and ability to teach us to think about how to solve those problems started me on a path to Harvard.”

As his passion for politics grew, Jared did more “extras.” Despite his full time job at the airport, he “never missed a Town Hall meeting. I was a familiar face among people who worked at city hall, among elected officials both on municipal and state levels, and maybe a little bit in the county. I didn’t do much, but I was there talking to people and learning things! Just being there, just showing up is 80% of the solution.”

Jared graduated Palm Beach State College with a 4.0 and a great resume. This time when he applied to transfer to the College of Charleston, they said of course! While at the College of Charleston Jared also interned with the White House, which he believes was integral in helping him later get into Harvard.

And it is these extras that make all the difference. Jared said that getting the White House internship taught him that places like the White House and Harvard “want to know what you’ve done EXTRA. You have all A’s? Great! But what else? What did you do extra? What is unique?”

Jared said the summers are a great time to build the kind of experiences that will make you stand out.

After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree Jared was going right on to Harvard. Using the formula of making the most of his summers, he called Harvard to ask their advice on what he should do over that particular summer. Harvard said “don’t do anything over the summer; relax. Because for the next two years you won't get to."

Jared gave a really great overview of the intensity of Harvard Graduate School: “You have to do everything perfect, plus a little more. When you are there you have to go to class, and do a little more. I would get up at 5:30am every morning and start studying at 6am. I would leave at 7:30am and get to school at 7:45am, studying by 8am. Classes would be 8:45am-3pm. Then I’d study a bit more in the library before I attended some kind of study session or seminar or group think or some other visitor who was coming to the school as a guest lecturer, until 8pm. Then you’d study for 2 more hours. You were lucky if you got in bed by 10pm, more along the lines of midnight, and you do that 5 days/week."

"Weekends were sometimes free, but we’d also get policy projects sprung on us on a random Thursday and would have until Tuesday to solve it. Then all of your spare time is dedicated to solving that problem, hours and hours and hours in the library. A week would go by and I didn’t see the sun.”

While this schedule seems intense (and it is), I think it gives a great picture of what is expected, and the kind of dedication and hard work necessary for success. It’s not easy. But Jared was able to manage because he had been living that kind of schedule ever since he started community college.

Work/life balance is essential, but I encourage you to look at the time you currently invest in your studies. Are you working “Harvard-hard?” You should be – because that kind of work can get you to Harvard or wherever it is you want to go. Community college is a fantastic launching point for those willing to put in the work, like Jared.

And one of those launching destinations can be graduate school: “When I was going to community college I didn’t know anything about Harvard or graduate school. I really didn’t know I could shoot for a Master’s degree from community college. Going from community college to a university seemed big enough, and I didn’t think there was much beyond that for me."

"But once I finally started learning about what a Master’s degree was, and had people to encourage me towards that direction, I realized I wanted to go farther. A Bachelor’s degree is very ambiguous and general, and a Master’s degree specializes you and gives you the details on how to accomplish greater things, step by step – that is what I wanted.”

After graduate school Jared ran for Mayor in his hometown: “I was able to implement the techniques and strategies I had learned at Harvard into a real campaign. Even though I lost my election, it wasn’t necessarily a failure. It was a 54%/46% loss, and I did it with 1/3 the money in 1/3 of the time!”

Jared hopes to go back to the College of Charleston and work at their center for civic engagement in order to help students engage in service learning – to understand the cause of the problems and how they can solve them.

His best advice for community college students? “Just go to class every day and decide ‘I am going to listen, I am going to do all of my homework, I am going to learn this.’ That determination is the SINGLE most important factor for success. Eighty percent of the solution is just showing up. Go to class, go to the study sessions, find a spot in the library and go to it every day and just work."

"A lot of community college students (like me) have to work full time, and they get out of class and just keep working to build up money. But working too much in college is a lesser of the two investments. Investing your time in the extras (like an internship) will produce opportunities and a career that will pay much more than your current part-time/full-time job in the long-run. Summer jobs produce cash, but summer internships produce careers.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

When should you consider an internship as your first job out of college?

When most of us think of internships, we think of work experience you get while you're in college (some college's even offer credit for internships). However, internships can also be a great opportunity after you've graduated college.

Tim Groth, 25-years old and currently the Development Specialist for the Minnesota Wild (NHL), is a great example of how taking an internship after college can be a great investment in your future career.  

Tim attended the University of Kansas and majored in Sports Management. 
During his first two years of college he volunteered a lot in the sports world - refereeing rec sports and volunteering at big relays. "I was always willing to volunteer my time so I could learn how they ran these events and build more relationships with people who were running the events."

Very smart.

Tim's professors in his sports management courses became his mentors. Tim needed an internship as part of the curriculum, and one of his professors knew the community relations manager for the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and helped him get his first internship. 

Tim graduated college in May 2009 and moved back to Minnesota, where he is from. He had been "applying for jobs left and right, lived at home, and worked a summer job to figure out what was next."

When working in his first internship he had met someone who had interned for  the Orlando Magic (NBA). Tim saw an open position in web design with the Magic, and while he didn't have any design experience, he applied anyway and also noticed their internship positions. 

His friend helped him get an interview for the Orlando Magic internship program. "Someone sent a quick email. Who you know really can help you get an interview, and having that personal connection to get that initial opportunity is huge." 

While having a personal recommendation helped Tim get an interview, he still had to compete with the 300-500 students that apply for these kinds of internships. 

Tim's previous experience with the Kansas City Chiefs and his extensive volunteer work in sports helped him get the internship. The internship was paid, but, like many paid internships, "it was just enough to pay the bills and rent." 

But Tim believed it was worth the risk. 

The Orlando Magic internship program helped Tim get set up in an apartment with three other roommates - all Orlando Magic interns. All of these guys had traveled from other states to take advantage of this internship opportunity. 

Tim moved to Orlando and started work the next day with his roommates. 

"The guys were my brothers. We lived together, ate ramen together, and we really became close friends because of our extensive work together."

Tim did the internship for a little over a year, and then applied for and was offered a full-time position with the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation

The job Tim got was posted internally only, meaning it was only available to current employees and interns. This is one of the best reasons to consider an internship even after college. It is almost impossible to get a job at a big, well-known company in your early career without having that kind of insider/intern access. 

Even being an intern, however, you're competing with many other current and past interns with similar expereince. I asked Tim how he stood out and what advice he has to turn an internship into a full time job: 

"My work ethic I think is pretty strong. When I was an intern I strived to be the first one in the office and the last one to leave. I would never say no and always say yes to tasks, even if I didn't want to do them. I realized I was at the bottom and that this is what I had to do. I repeatedly asked my supervisor what can I do to help you? I'm free right now, what can I do to make your day any easier? It shows that you care and that you want to work hard. Supervisors have contacts and can help you get interviews elsewhere even if your organization isn't hiring."

"When you get an internship or starting a new job you have to be aware that everyone is paying attention. If you are just kind of hanging out, people see that. You need to be working and try to figure out something to do, whether it is the off season or not. Do your job really well and you will get a promotion, a full time position, or a great recommendation."

Internships are an incredible inroad to companies and industries that are difficult to break into (e.g. the sports industry). If a company has a relatively large and competitive internship program, it is a good sign you will need to be an intern in order to be considered for an entry-level job as your first job out of college in that organization. Otherwise, you'll be competing against interns with company-related experience and most likely won't have a chance.

Below are links to learn more about internship programs at some of the top ranked large companies where Millennials want to work

1. Google
2. Apple
3. Walt Disney Company
4. Ernst & Young
5. Deloitte
6. JPMorgan
7. Nike
8. PwC
9. Goldman Sachs