Internships have more relevance in the job market than ever.
Recent and near-college graduates who are trying to crack the secret code to finding their dream job after graduation have countless approaches: papering the town with their resumes and cover letters, scouring the classifieds for hours each day, calling everyone they know to see who can get them in the door at their companies and, of course, prayer.
While all of these tactics have proven successful to many a job-hunters in the past, there is one job-landing sweet spot too few consider: internships.
"Its a great way to break into a company. The managers we spoke to want to hire interns for full-time jobs. Basically, its one long job interview. If you perform well, in most cases, the job is yours," said Nathan Lippe, senior career advisor for CBcampus.com, the college recruiting division of CareerBuilder.com.
Students that secure internships over the summers that they are in college find themselves having an easier time landing a job after graduation than their non-interning counterparts. In fact, 61 percent of hiring managers in a Career Builder survey released Aug. 14 said they planned to hire interns this fall. Furthermore, nearly half (44 percent) said they would be willing to hire college interns as full-time, permanent employees.
Read here about Yahoos Idol-ized summer internship.
"Its never too early to start thinking about internships, and there are a great deal of opportunities that exist as long as you take the time to search and apply," said Lippe.
Most hiring managers (84 percent) said that they begin hiring college interns for the fall between the months of June and September.
"College students and recent college graduates need to take advantage of this so that they can gain hands-on experience to add to their resumes and build a professional network," said Lippe.
Once a student has decided to take on an internship, it is of the utmost importance that they treat it like a real, full-time job if they actually want it to turn into one. Students are encouraged to be on time and enthusiastic and to go above and beyond what is expected of them if they hope to stand out.
To read about the fierce competition faced by IBMs summer interns, click here.
Over one-third (35 percent) of employers said that the biggest mistake college interns made that caused them not to hire the intern permanently was to not show enthusiasm for the job. One-fifth said that the biggest faux-pas would be to just do the basics that they were assigned. Thirteen percent said tardiness was a deal-breaker.
"There are always a few students who dont realize the opportunity that theyre walking into; that the expectations for their internship are the same as they would be in any other job at the company," said Lippe.
More or less, Lippe agreed, that job offer is on the table at the beginning of the internship and from there on out, its theirs to lose.
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