Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Do Interns Want?

For some students an internship may be a requirement or a job, but for others, an internship can serve as a lifelong learning tool and possibly even lead to a career.

Because of this, it is important for employers to be aware of what potential interns will expect from an internship, notes Penny Loretto in an article.

"Developing a quality internship program within your organization is key to utilizing the wide range of talent that undergraduate and graduate college students possess," she states. "These students comprise the workforce of tomorrow and by offering them opportunities to gain experience while still in college, organizations will improve their odds of hiring competent, intelligent, and experienced professionals who are ready to take over when management and skilled employees retire."

In November and December 2007, more than 100 colleges and 12,000 students participated in the Northeast Internship Study, conducted by Intern Bridge and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers. The purpose of the study was to gather information about students' expectations and experiences with internships.

Of the students that participated in the study, 41.8 percent had completed an internship and 88 percent said they planned to take part in an internship as part of their college experience. Also, 64.1 percent said they believed taking part in an internship is a critical component to planning their career. Summer internships were the most popular, with 56.6 percent completing a summer internship.

The top four reasons for pursuing an internship were: gaining real work experience at 74.5 percent, building a resume at 65.7 percent, learning new skills at 65.3 percent and making new connections or networking at 59.9 percent.

Of those who had completed an internship, 70.4 percent said they would return to the organization for another internship, 64.2 percent said they would return for full-time employment and 80.2 percent said they would recommend the internship.

Of the respondents, 35.4 percent completed an internship for credit, while 58.6 percent received monetary compensation. Also, 58.5 percent said internships are mandatory to receive a degree.

Loretto says there are some things employers can do, based on the survey, to help interns complete a successful internship. Among them, employers should: provide meaningful work assignments, give an orientation, provide supervision, market to employees and colleges, stress the interview and selection process and, if possible, offer some sort of compensation.

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