When Robin Richards watched his daughter struggle to find an internship several years ago, a light bulb went off in his head.
The entrepreneur, who had previously created successful Web ventures and then sold them to such companies as Blackboard,
noted how complicated the process was. He saw his daughter go through multiple channels to find internships and make connections with future employers. After watching this, Richards decided to launch a Web site that would help young people everywhere find the perfect internship.
His daughter ultimately “was able to secure an internship in the field she was interested in, but when I looked at the process she went through, I knew that not everyone had the same advantages she did,” Richards says.
This idea came to fruition on March 1, when Richards launched Internships.com, of which he is now CEO. The Web site lists thousands of internships at no cost to the employer. The site also offers free tools to help students on the hunt for a job.
“We found a huge gap in information and preparation, ranging from the year in school that students get their first internship to how students transition from internships to careers,” he says.
As a result, the site offers the Internship Predictor, which helps job seekers determine the field, type of manager and work environment that best suit them and their needs. The site also offers the QuickBuild Résumé and the QuickBuild Cover Letter, two free services that help students present themselves in the best light possible. Both of these tools were created with the help of college career counselors, Richards says.
“These tools, in addition to the robust resources available about internships, give students the best preparation for landing an internships and succeeding at an internship,” he says.
Internships.com also offers a wide array of videos and articles aimed at helping students choose a job and a career path. For example, the site plans to post “day in the life” videos showing students what goes into succeeding in different careers. The articles provide interview tips — including what to wear — and how to transition from a company’s intern to a full-time employee.
“Internships.com provides everything a student needs to find the perfect internship,” Richards says. “And it levels the playing field by providing students with tools to make sure they can put their best foot forward.”
While the Web site was designed with students in mind, it also plans to provide tools for employers. Besides the free internship listings, the site offers advice on starting an internship program from scratch. The site will eventually allow employers to search for candidates using specific criteria such as grade point average and location.
“We’re helping students find opportunities,” Richards says. “But we’re also helping employers at organizations of all sizes find interns and run successful internship programs.”