Students at universities across the nation cautiously peer out from their fun and safe academic environment into a world that, at the moment, is downright frightening. Unemployment has shot up, the economy has shot down, and we are all wondering if we have a shot at all in the 'real world.' Well folks, I have some good news and some bad news.
The Good News...
According to Kelly Spors, blogging for the Wall Street Journal, "Summer internships are a way a small company can get specialized and unique help they otherwise couldn't get, or couldn't justify hiring permanently." What does this mean? Interns are desirable as they are often seen as a less expensive alternative with three great benefits:
- Interns generally have more motivation to not only succeed, but to go above and beyond
- Younger employees bring new ideas, perspectives, and experiences to the table.
- Interns require either a smaller paycheck or college credit, which helps businesses use their tight budgets to the fullest
Finding a summer internship now won't be impossible as you might have feared, but you can expect the competition to be fierce. It's simple economics. As quantity decreases, demand increases.
The Bad News...
You might get the experience of an internship, but you may be lacking the financial compensation. David Lapinski, assistant director of employer relations for the career center at Duke University commented that "internships have historically been about the experience over the pay, and that hasn't changed much today." The competitive college student may need to make some sacrifices due to the economy. However, the valuable experience that may result in a tighter budget now will benefit you later:
- You will have the upper hand when interviewing among other students who chose to sacrifice the great experience for a great paycheck
- You will be better prepared personally and professionally
- Quality intern or work experience enables you to bring actual value to a company when you do land that job in the 'real world' after graduation.
Still in search of a summer internship? Here are a few resources that have helped me:
- Your University's Career Center: A valuable resource that often goes unused. It's there to help you.
- Your Network: Professionals you meet at networking events, your family, professors, and older friends who have graduated can all help you, but you have to ASK!
- YouIntern.com: A Growing Site to Help Students Find Quality Internships
- Min|ternships: A site dedicated to creating “mini-internships” and bridging the gap between students and businesses