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Want an internship? First know the Myths and Facts
Kylie Tielke
Antelope Staff

You’re too young, you don’t have enough experience or you don’t want to work for a few months doing grunge work and not get paid. Students use these reasons and others when they decide not to pursue internships.  


Most students, freshmen to seniors, do more than just contemplate future internships by getting a summer internship, searching for a future internship or listening to peers talk about internships.


College students all have many preconceived notions about internships, but now it’s time you know the facts and examine a few myths about internships because they do influence job placement in a big way.


A 2009 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who had applied for jobs had one by the end of April. In contrast, 23 percent of graduates who had done an internship had a job at that time. For those who didn’t do an internship, the job market was especially harsh: just 14 percent of those who hadn’t been interns had jobs as of April.


MYTH 1:  I will never get an internship with the declining of the economy.


According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers are expecting to hire 7 percent less interns come 2010. The general job market is declining, which is making it harder for graduates and undergraduates to obtain the career they want within the first year.


According to Nancy Kneen, director of career services, it will be harder to find internships but certainly not impossible.


“From an employer’s perspective, they are now makings cuts with the general job market being down. They are not recruiting employees, and in general there is no need for employees, therefore no need for interns,” Kneen said.


According to Kneen, one way to get an internship is to offer your services without pay.


“To me, it is more important now than ever for students to get the experience. There are still a lot of companies offering programs, so volunteering is always a good idea,” Kneen said.


According to Kneen, summer internships have decreased, but according to NACE, more interns are hired in the fall than in the spring.


Last fall, there was a 6.1 percent projected increase of hiring in the fall and a 21 percent decrease in spring. While many students believe that internships are only for the summer, in fact more interns are hired on in the fall. According to NACE, employers said that overall 60 percent of college recruiting will be conducted in the fall, and 40 percent will be in the spring of 2010.


More importantly, the overall college graduate hire intention this year for the class of 2009 will decrease 15.1 percent, and for the class of 2010, it will decrease 39.7 percent.


“Are there fewer internships? Sure, but there are still internships to be had, even in the downturn of the economy,” Kneen said.


MYTH 2:  Interns get stuck with the grunge work.


Contrary to students’ beliefs, interns do not have to be experts at making coffee and stapling papers. According to careerconnections.com, most employers treat their interns as possible full-time employment candidates and therefore do not want to give them a negative impression.


To make the most of their internships, students should look at the possibilities. “Students need to have goals in mind before they start their internships. They must know what they want out of it,” Kneen said.


According to Kneen, students should always ask the employer questions about the internship before they start, but also show willingness to jump in and staple papers, shows a good work ethic.


“I do know students who have gotten good internships. Just in the last few weeks I have been doing practice interviews, working with students from the athletic department who have received pretty impressive internships,” Kneen said.


MYTH 3:  Internships are always unpaid.


“A lot of companies do pay, but another alternative is to volunteer,” Kneen said.


According to Kneen, Career Services hired three volunteer employees full time.


According to a new study by NACE, employers expect to increase the pay they offer college students for internships; they will offer bachelor’s degree level interns an average hourly wage of $17.13, a 4.9 percent increase from the average they offered last year’s interns.


“Most employers use internships as a way to try out potential permanent employees,” Kneen said.


Hiring date confirms that internships are an important aspect of a college student’s life, whether it’s to gain the experience they need for a future career or to steer them in the right direction at settling on a career.


One last tip:  persistence plus networking equals internship. Internships are the first step to full- time employment!

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