Paid internships give students edge in job market
ASSOCIATED PRESS August 6, 2012 12:12PM
Paid internships are paying off for this year’s college graduates with more than half converting their experience into job offers.
In all, 60 percent of college grads who earned paychecks for their internships received at least one job offer, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2012 Student Survey.
The numbers hold steady from last year’s survey, but association officials said the results show how valuable paid experience is for graduates entering the workforce.
Nearly four in 10 who held unpaid internships received job offers, according to the survey, while 36 percent of grads without internships received offers of employment.
Students with a paid internship have a decided advantage in the job market over those who did an unpaid internship or didn’t do an internship at all,” said executive director Marilyn Mackes, in a statement announcing the survey’s findings.
Mackes said paid interns spend much of their time engaged in professional tasks such as analysis and project management.
“Employers prize that kind of hands-on experience,” Mackes said.
Marcie Kirk Holland, a project manager at the University of California, Davis, Internship & Career Center, said the graduates’ success detailed in the student survey mirrors that of UC Davis grads.
“We’re absolutely consistent with that. That’s why we’re such proponents of internships,” Holland said.
She said graduates participating in internships “have a far greater chance of landing a career position.”
Paid or unpaid, internships are an important step toward a graduate’s career goals, Holland said.
“An internship helps assure an employer that you know how to communicate in a professional work environment,” Holland said.
It can also focus the graduate’s career choice.
“A lot of people’s concept of what a career is is based on what they’ve seen on TV or in a movie,” Holland said. But after interning, grads are “clear about what it is they want,” she said.
That impresses employers and increases interns’ odds when it’s time to hire, Holland said.