Internships: Valuable to Employee and Employer

Wed, May 26, 2010

Internship Information

Both students and employers can agree that interns bring something valuable to the table.

Value for Students

The most obvious value that internships bring to students is experience. Internships give students experience in their chosen career. It’s a good way to see the day-to-day activies of a particular company or field and find out what being a chef or financial advisor or zookeeper really means.

Many colleges accept course credit for interships.  An internship for credit might give you the flexibility to take a reduced class load the next semester or fit in more elective courses.

Internship supervisors are great references for full-time employment. Internships can be launch pads to full-time work.  A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that roughly 42% of college seniors who had an internship got at least one job offer.  30% of seniors without internships got an offer.

Internships can also be an effective way to build up your savings account or start to pat down those pesky student loans. Encouragingly, according to an NASE survey of employers, more than 90% pay their interns.

Value For Companies

Internships are a two-way street and they’re valuable to employers as well as students.  Internships can fill unmet needs, even if the company is unaware that the need is present.

According to this Wall Street Journal story, a growing number of students are approaching companies and creating their own internships.  The State College Spikes, a minor league baseball team, never had a graphic design intern before Ryan Scaife approached them and explained how they could benefit from his skills. The team was then able to put a professional touch on its publications.

Internships can give companies the manpower to try out new ideas that might otherwise stay on the drawing table.  Internships are obviously valuable to employers, given the space the The Wall Street Journal had dedicated to them recently. The Journal is focusing on internships now as summer approaches because it’s prime intern hiring season.

Another story talks about the value of interns for entrepreneurs. In small companies, interns can give a fresh perspective and a jolt to formerly static companies, helping to increase profits. Owners of smaller companies can have direct interaction with interns, giving them valuable guidance. If you’re approaching a company to create a new internship, do your homework! Clearly explain how you can help them. Make sure you translate that help into savings, improved operational efficiency and increased profit for the company.

Internships also help companies “test drive” potential employees.  The NACE reports “83.4 percent of employers said the primary focus of their internship program is to help them recruit entry-level college hires.” And after one year, 86% of former company interns hired full-time were still there, a 5% better retention rate than new hires without an internship.

By Danielle Bullen.

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