AFTER A TOUGH TWO YEARS, THE INTERNS ARE BACK!
The last Thursday in July has become National Intern Day.
As we move halfway through the summer, we are starting to come to the time when college students who have spent recent days in an internship opportunity (in person, remote or hybrid) will be returning to campus or entering the “official” workforce. Internships have become a critical part of the new graduate’s resume. These aren’t typically mandated graduation requirements, but job seeker newbies have discovered that interviewing without any professional, work-related experience behind them can limit their job offers.
Some internships are paid, some are unpaid, some offer the opportunity for academic credit, while others in certain industries are fiercely competitive. Some at prestigious companies offer all glamour, but no challenge and interns run the risk of being “gofers” who have a prominent company on their resume, but have learned nothing substantive from the experience, except perhaps the subtleties of office politics. Still others, are highly privileged and come with a heavy pressure to achieve and over perform.
Today, 60.8% of internships in the United States are paid, and 39.2% are unpaid according to Zippia. Many think that paid internships are a rarity, but they’re actually more common than unpaid ones nowadays, largely because recruitment has become such a challenge for many employers. Studies show the national average hourly rate for paid interns is approximately $21. And there is good news at the end of the internship rainbow because 70% of interns are hired at the same company they interned with following their internship.
College students who disregard the importance of internships may be hindering their chances for employment since more and more corporate recruiters are using internships as a critical tool in the hiring process. Zippia also reports that entry level job seekers have a slightly better chance of getting hired if they have some internship experience and roughly 57.4% have had at least one internship.
MAXIMIZING THE EXPERIENCE
With much of their work experience complete, it is not the time to coast. Departing interns need to do all they can to maximize the experience before they say their good byes.
- They should review what they learned as compared to their career goals.
- Those who have spent their summers in positions related to their majors should determine if they can now see themselves employed in this field on a full-time, ongoing basis.
- They should also immediately revise their resumes while the memory of the experience and the keywords relating to their responsibilities are fresh.
- Additionally, thank you correspondence should be sent to supervisors as well as senior leadership and now is the time to use these resources as LinkedIn connections and ask for recommendations. Supervisors can end up serving as important work references and networking contacts. If an intern wants to continue to work in the company or the industry, supervisors can be allies to help get a foot in the door, now or in the future.
Many employers enter into partnership with colleges and universities and review academic programs where the curriculum mirrors their labor needs. Those who truly leverage intern talent as part of their candidate pipeline structure rewarding programs to attract the best and brightest and create projects with established goals. Let’s remember too, this is a generation accustomed to rating their life experiences online – so too, for internships. Earlier this month, an article in The Wall Street Journal referred to “Whisper Networks” where interns rate their bosses and gather unvarnished information about potential employers. These websites (some run by universities) can broaden or narrow a company’s potential talent pool based on reviews. A site like Symplicity, does not allow employers to read or respond to reviews.
INTERNS AS “EMPLOYMENT BRAND” AMBASSADORS
Mike Munyon, Lloyd’s Director of Operations Staffing and Talent Programs says an employment brand can be shaped by your interns. “They are a powerful marketing tool and function like Brand Ambassadors for your next year’s program. If you think you’d want them to join you full-time post-graduation, consider giving them a soft-offer or discussing your intentions. While they are with you permit them to engage and share their internship experience with their connections to keep your organization top-of-mind and encourage them to discuss the experience with their classmates.”
PAYING IT FORWARD
Barbara Cohen Farber, Executive Director of Lloyd Administrative Support & HR Talent places all levels of corporate support talent, but especially new grads, “Those who have maximized their internship experience and have used it to truly gain new skills and a better understanding of their field of study, will ultimately interview with a different confidence and knowledge than those students who went through an internship experience just because they thought it was expected of them. The student has as much control over the experience as the employer does.”
For those interns seeking solid learning experiences in the upcoming semester, be mindful of good work ethics. Employers repeatedly say that the biggest mistake college students can make that causes them not to hire an intern permanently was to not show enthusiasm for the job. Other mistakes included just doing the basics of the job they were assigned.
Says Farber, “I’ve had more than 30 interns in the last decade and approximately half have gone on to pursue HR or recruiting careers. I am still in touch with almost all of them. When the internship turns into a career, I feel the mentoring and coaching I did during the internship experience was a success. It’s paying it forward.”
THE END RESULT
One of Farber’s former interns is Kristen Cretella, a 2015 Penn State grad who interned with her in the summer of 2014. Cretella, who earned a B.S. in Labor and Employment Relations said, “My career as a Recruiter started at Lloyd Staffing under Barbara Cohen Farber’s guidance. She gave me the opportunity to better understand the industry and see the details first-hand of what it takes to be a successful Recruiter. My biggest takeaway was learning that recruiting is very fast paced. Lloyd gave me a real world experience of seeing what it means to be successful in such an environment.” After graduation, Cretella spent nearly six years in Human Resources and Recruitment at top New York City law firm, Proskauer Rose before moving into a Recruitment role at Meta, formerly Facebook. Says Cretella, “My best piece of internship advice is to ask questions. Successful interns are not afraid to speak up because they want to learn how to go above and beyond their role. Ask questions, stay curious!”
If a Lloyd Staffing internship interests you – in areas such as Talent Sourcing, Recruitment Methods, Recruitment Marketing, Business Operations or Tech Support, please send your resume to Jason Banks, EVP at JBanks@LLoydStaffing.com