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Alan Kotok , , ,

New Online Service Aims to Connect Interns to Startups

Students and recent grads hunting for internships often have problems finding internship opportunities, unless they are advertised on campus, broken out separately on job boards, or discussed in Science Careers. At the same time, many entrepreneurial companies can be a good source of experience for interns — but they may not have the recruiting resources to find interns. An online service called YouTern now aims to bridge this gap.

Officially unveiled last Friday at a Silicon Valley entrepreneurs show, YouTern aims to connect students and recent grads to internship opportunities with start-up or early-stage companies. Still in an early stage itself, YouTern is beginning in California, which has the highest concentration of startup-up companies and investments, the company says.

YouTern’s advanced search capability lets job-seekers refine their search by a number of criteria including industry, academic major, amount of experience required, location — within 5 to 100 miles of a city or zip code — and whether the internship is paid.  But a quick test of some of these capabilities revealed that YouTern is still a work in progress. A search for paid engineering internships within 100 miles of zip code 90210 (I watch too much television) returned 50 jobs. But a number of those jobs were located all over the country: New Mexico, Massachusetts, Virginia, far from 90210.

A quick search of the YouTern database looking for Los Angeles-based
internships with the keyword “science” also returned 50 hits. A few of these
announced opportunities to work in a lab or do research, but many
specified computer skills. And many, if not most, of the hits were with
large, established companies such as CNN, IBM, Sony, and
Northrup-Grumman — not startup companies. Very likely, working for a big established company would make for a very different internship experience..

Among the capabilities still in development is integration with a general job board, with which these sample searches apparently coincided. An e-mail from a YouTern spokesperson today says YouTern has been testing this feature, and noted: “Although the test was successful from an engineering point of view, the additional postings were not sortable by what we would consider standard fields (including zip radius). Also, we were not 100% able to suppress particular companies using [the job board’s] ‘Advanced Search’ function.”