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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Apple" At-Home Advisor

Job Title: At-Home Advisor

Apple’s customer support group, known as AppleCare, has a long-standing record of providing the world’s best customer support in the industry. The At-Home Advisor program is an opportunity to be part of this exciting team while you are in college — and best of all, you’ll work from home.

As part of the AppleCare team, you would be responsible for providing world-class technical support for Apple’s products and accessories, from software to hardware. Some of the products AppleCare supports include iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, AirPort, and Apple TV.

The program begins summer 2012 and is one full school year. You must be enrolled in classes at the designated college throughout your employment and have a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or greater. You must be a current student enrolled in at least one class at the designated college for the duration of the one-year program to be eligible. You should be able to balance your planned school load with work. All majors are considered.

Your home office must be within a specified radius from your school. At home, you must have a quiet, distraction-free room with a door that can close to keep out ambient noise. You must have or be willing to get a desk, ergonomic adjustable chair, dedicated telephone line, and an Internet connection meeting minimum requirements.

Training will take place at your home office. Training lasts for four weeks (full-time), and the content is delivered in a virtual environment by an instructor. The topics covered include Apple product lessons, advanced troubleshooting, customer support essentials, job-specific tools and processes, and much more.

Having some experience on the Mac OS is beneficial, but if you have experience working on and troubleshooting other operating systems such as Windows and you’re willing to commit to training on the Mac, you could be a good fit for this program. Apple will provide you with a business-use iMac and telephone to be used for all work functions.

You will be working full-time during your four weeks of training and during the remaining summer break to ensure you become familiar with the job. Once you get your class schedule, your manager will work with you to establish a part-time schedule. During school, you are only required to work a minimum of 16 hours per week, including at least one weekend day.

As a support business, AppleCare experiences a large customer demand for help on major holidays. This requires AppleCare to have staff available to work on holidays. A holiday coverage schedule will be provided. Opportunities with Apple are available throughout the year depending on the business need. After completing the At-Home Advisor program, you will have many of the qualified skills that would make you stand out as a candidate when you apply.

An ideal fit is someone who is passionate about technology and experienced with computers, and who likes helping people and putting a smile on someone’s face. You must enjoy troubleshooting and fixing problems, working independently without in-person supervision, exercising multitasking skills as you manage multiple systems and applications, and giving people yet another positive Apple experience. If you are interested in applying for the At-Home Advisor program, visit

Compensation: Competitive salary & benefits DOE, monthly reimbursement of up to $50 for Internet and phone service.

Apple’s “At-Home Advisor” position is the rare type of internship which considers only student applicants but doesn’t necessarily count for course credit: Whether or not it does is entirely up to the university at which the student is enrolled. The description says that the hire will be paid a “competitive salary,” thereby meaning equivalent of minimum wage unless you have enough work history troubleshooting Apple products to make this internship a redundant experience. (Perhaps returning interns get a raise above the minimum starting salary, which is undisclosed.) It could be worse: Many internships are entirely unpaid.

However, Apple requires each advisor to have his or her own equipment, including “ergonomic adjustable chair” and “dedicated telephone line.” This apparently means that your work will not be credited if Apple catches you providing any advice over your personal cell phone or lounging on your couch as you guide the caller through whatever problem-solving steps are in the product user guide. (I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that meeting such furniture requirements is verified not only by an on-site inspection but also regularly monitored via the built-in iMac webcam / photo lens.)

So although Apple reimburses up to a combined $50 monthly for your Internet and dedicated phone line, you must pay up-front to establish such services, including installation fees, as well as purchase or borrow both a desk and the specified type of chair. Neither of those $100+ purchases are reimbursed. The successful applicant might search for those items at a Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul store, but just like a pair of second-hand shoes which fit, they are rarely stocked.

As with any internship, once you graduate, you are booted out of the position. The description says that the experience will make the incumbent into a “standout candidate when you apply,” but for what positions? Store sales associate? Help desk jobs which focus exclusively on Apple products? (Good luck jumping to Microsoft if Apple doesn’t hire you for any positions after serving as “At-Home Advisor.”)

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