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Internship Boot Camp & Auction

Create a boot camp that immerses students into the job preparation process -- discovering career path options, teaching resume and cover letter writing best practices, conducting mock interviews -- without any competing obligations. Students can then bid on jobs listed in an auction with their 1,000 allocated points. The auction approach makes it easy for students to discover new internship opportunities targeted at them, especially from startups and non-traditional trajectories that may not be featured on “Fortune 100” lists. Meanwhile, by limiting the supply of points, participating companies can be confident that only students that have researched and prioritized their company have applied, thus saving time and churn for both parties.

Photo of Liz Barnum
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The Problem: Students aren’t equipped with the know-how and employers don’t have the time to find the diamonds in the rough.
  • Students – Many students are not equipped with the knowledge of how to apply and pursue jobs, let alone know which companies to apply to. Without knowing how to prepare their resumes and cover letters, and without guidance on interview techniques, these students are not putting their best foot forward in a competitive job market.
  • Employers – Meanwhile, employers have trouble carving out the time to post jobs, vet applications, and conduct lengthy interviews. Employers express frustration about spending time recruiting candidates that end up not accepting offers because the candidates change their minds about what they wanted to do or applied to a multitude of companies.

This process is inefficient for all parties.

The Solution: Create a boot camp that immerses students into the job preparation process, without any other classes or obligations to compete for their attention. Once the boot camp concludes, students can participate in a job auction where they bid on roles with allocated points.  

The phases would look like the following:
  • Discovery – Over a number of days, different career categories will be presented to students through alumni and company representatives who will speak about their career and company. A moderator will help steer the conversation and make sure to ask the tough questions to give students a comprehensive view of each career trajectory. “Real world challenges” proctored by company representatives could also be used here to let students practice the type of problem solving that the company utilizes. 
  • Planning ­­– Students will then learn about resume and cover letter best practices and will be given time to draft up their own versions. Students will first share end edit each other’s drafts in small groups, then sign up for one-on-one sessions with instructors and/or advisors for feedback.
  • Practice – Students will break out into different groups by career path where they will learn best practices for interviewing and learn about common questions. Here, students will be given time to craft their individual stories and participate in mock interview sessions with students who are in the class ahead of them (e.g., seniors mock interviewing juniors).
  • Auction to Apply – Once discovery, planning, and practice phases have been completed, students are ready to apply through the school-run auction. Students will be allocated 1,000 points that they can use to bid across a number of participating companies that have open internship roles. The top ranking bidders will have their resume sent to the company, which can choose to interview one (or all) of these candidates.

By limiting the supply of “points” through the auction, this approach ensures that participating companies don’t become overwhelmed with resumes from students with varying levels of interest. The nature of the point-based system requires that students research and prioritize their interest in companies before the application process, thus saving time and churn for both students and employers.

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Job seeking students and employers.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

Enables access to resources to prepare for the job search process and provides a platform to connect employers and students in an efficient and fun way.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

You could test an auction with a small group of employers in a pilot.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

I found the "real world challenges" idea inspiring!

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • I'm more throwing the idea out there to inspire potential implementers


Join the conversation:

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave

Your idea looks awesome! I like how you built the resume/interview skills part into it. That's something schools should be teaching anyway, regardless of the industry challenge part.
Actually, my school has a project where you get an inanimate object (pair of shoes, lip balm, frisbee, rolling pin, I was a wooden spoon) and then you make a cover letter and resume for the talents/experiences of that object. You also needed to make a job description and interview questions. The end result of the project was an interview with a panel member, all from the perspective of your object. It was a fun way to get some of those skills!
The points system is also interesting... how many points would one application cost you? How many different companies do you see each person applying to (if they were interested in that)? Are some companies worth more points than others?
I'd love to collaborate further!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Love the inanimate object exercise, Gavin – awesome! Liz – lots of fab thinking here. A lightweight prototype is likely to highlight lots of opportunities to iterate. Here's some tips for you and others here to consider: Looking forward to seeing more of you on conversations across this challenge...