Internships Change In Today’s Economy

13 02 2009

Today internships are more valuable than ever before. In this economic climate, an increase in job layoffs has also signaled an increase in internship opportunities. Most internships tend to be unpaid opportunities for college students to earn credit. Employers are cutting costs left and right and providing more and more unpaid internships for students. Graduating college seniors who do not have internship experience are at an extreme disadvantage. They are not only up against their peers but also adults who have recently lost their jobs. Gen Y does have an advantage over adults in the workplace. They understand social media like no other generation and have fully integrated it with their every day lives. What do adults have over these young minds ? Experience. The best way for college students to gain experience is through internships. I am The Intern Queen and my goal is to bridge this gap between students and careers and provide them with internship listings, internship advice, and internship guidance to help them find these opportunities and make the most of them.

Ways Internships Have Changed In This Economy

  • Interns Don’t Need To Get Paid. When you can’t pay to hire more employees, why not hire interns that you do not have to pay ? For my company, the amount of employers seeking internships this summer has doubled from semesters past.

 

  • Higher Expectations. Due to the increase of layoffs, interns are expected to be responsible for more tasks than in the past. Many of my employers are including interns in brainstorm sessions, having the interns run their social networks, putting the intern in charge of several projects over the semester, and picking their brains for new marketing techniques.

 

  • They are Highly Competitive. Some internships have always been difficult to get. However, in today’s economy they are ALL hard to get. I receive about 200 resumes per day and many of them are  for the same companies, over and over again. Popular internships have almost tripled the amount of resumes they get in each semester.

 

  •  Students are Starting Young. When I was a freshman in college (2003) and had an internship, that was considered young. I get hundreds of resumes from highschool students (sophomores, juniors, seniors) that are looking for internships while they are still in school. By the time these students get to college, they already have several internships on their resume. This is the competition when college students are going out for internships.

 

  • More Internships are Turning Into Jobs. Because employers are on a tight budget, they are hiring these interns at the end of the semester. Why ? Interns can be hired at an inexpensive rate compared to someone who has already established a starting salary in the real world. Also, if a student has already interned at the company they are familiar with company employees, processes, goals, missions, etc.

 

  • Internship Awareness. Since I launched the new website in 2008, several internship companies have emerged. Career Counselors are encouraging students to check into internship opportunities, professors are speaking about them, parents are becoming more knowledgeable, and there is definitely a “buzz” about them among students.

 

  • Students Understand the Economy. Students can’t turn on the news, speak to their parents, or go to class without being constantly reminded about the state of our job market and the downturn of the economy. They understand that they are about to enter the workplace in a state of turmoil. Thanks to this knowledge, they know the importance of internships. Many students are postponing their college graduations to stay in school one more semester and participate in an internship.

 

  • Rise of Social Media. Gen Y has a complete understanding of most social media websites and networking tools. They use them to communicate to their personal friends. It is powerful for a business to take on these students as interns and be able to grow their companies via social media tools. Companies don’t need to hire anyone to run their Social Media  because they can simply pass them off as “intern tasks”. Several interns are running the social networking (Facebook, Twitter, MySpaces Pages, YouTube Pages) sites for companies.

Where can students find these internship opportunities easily ?

I created www.quarterlife.com/intern, The Quarterlife Internship Program Powered By The Intern Queen, to provide access to hard-to-reach internship opportunities. My site lists over 350 companies in the fields of marketing, media, film, public relations, finance, law, sports, government, non-profit, etc. Some of the most popular names on the site include Nascar, Sony, Universal, Seventeen, Rolling Stone, GQ, etc. I’ve also seen a surge of small business owners and entrepreneurs post both in-office and virtual internships on the site. Start-ups like handmedowns.com, How Cast Media, Resume Bucket are all using my services. Students go on the website, www.quarterlife.com/intern, click on the opportunity that interests them, and email me their resume. I take their information and forward to my specific internship coordinator/HR contact at each company. I have put a face behind a service and any student or employer can write to me with their questions and concerns. This is my way of delivering a personal and customized experience for the user.

If you have any questions about Internships in Today’s Economy feel free to email me at lauren@quarterlife.com.

I asked my Friends on Twitter About Internships In Today’s Economy:

“I hear from more students and GRADS willing to take unpaid internships than ever before…esp GRADS who didn’t expect this.”@toryjohnson, http://www.womenforhire.com/

 “Free labor.” @Devinarbiter, Katalyst Entertainment. 

“Because some people use unpaid interns.” @orlandosports, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/.

“Because it’s cheap/free labor.”@Darren_Heitner, http://www.darrenheitner.com/

“Free labor is the only one that comes to mind.” @onustees, http://www.onustees.com/onustees-home/.

“It’s cheaper to keep and intern than to keep a full time employee. In fact is cheaper to have 2 interns than one hired.” @jjaime, http://jjaime.tumblr.com/.

“Employers raising the bar, looking for folks who know exactly how to do a job. What better way to learn than w/ internships.” @panah,  http://www.bloggingot.com/.

“Web developers, designers and other web tech people are in high demand… they just don’t get hired as interns, more freelance.” @mattwilsontv, http://www.mattwilson.tv/.

“Free/cheap labor, which saves $ in bad economy and picks up slack of laid-off workers.” @AndreaSantiago, http://healthcareers.about.com/.

“I think  employers need a more effective way to source applicants.  Market’s too saturated with good candidates.” @sweetcareers, http://sweetcareers.blogspot.com/

“Company’s are taking a low risk approach to hiring. It makes it easier to cut ties if they don’t see it working out.” @jrdbryan, PRSSA President at WSU.

“No… only social media internships have increased. Why would other internships have increased as a result of SM?” @KathleenLD, http://kathleenld.wordpress.com/.

“Maybe because agencies and corporations know that students are willing to work for free. Free labor really, in my opinion.” @heatherdamico, http://www.linkedin.com/in/prheather, PR Intern.

 

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7 responses

13 02 2009
Laurie

Great post. It’s true. We’ve found we have a ton of internship requests coming in and we give our interns a great deal of experience. (Truth be known, that’s not because of the economy,but because we always have!) In fact, I’ve already hired our interns for the summer and it’s only February. This is a great time to gain that experience, if you are an intern. Take advantange! But, don’t just go in hoping to have someone tell you what to do. Seek out knowledge from everyone you encounter in the internship. You never know what experience you’ll gain that will help you land that job in the real world.

13 02 2009
Ashley

Great post. One question though-for those college graduates that can’t find a job, hav einternship experience, but take a second internship (unpaid)…what to do for a source of income?

17 02 2009
internqueen

Hi Ashley,

When I was a junior in college, I had two internships over the summer. Most internships are during business hours (9-5). My internships were from 9-4pm. I would work at Islands (Fine Burgers) at night. I made enough money waiting tables to support myself. I would work at night from 6 – close and on the weekends. It is possible !

Best,
Lauren Berger
“The Intern Queen”
http://www.quarterlife.com/intern

13 02 2009
@MattWilsontv

Our company is very concerned with having free interns–if they don’t have “skin in the game” will they lose motivation?

Sure everyone wants to have great interns who really care about their work–and most of them start off that way. If you are not paying your interns, go the extra mile to make sure that they are happy and getting an incredible experience, otherwise their work ethic and effort will diminish very quickly.

17 02 2009
internqueen

Hi Matt,
If you find the right student that is motivated and passionate about your company, you shouldn’t have a problem with unpaid interns. Also, make sure the student is able to get college credit. This will keep them under closer watch by both yourself and their college counselor. Many internships are unpaid, this is not uncommon. Great points !
Best,
Lauren Berger
“The Intern Queen”
http://www.quarterlife.com/intern

3 03 2009
D

If a Company has been known to offer paid internships in the past, and, because of the economy, switches to unpaid internships, what impact will this have on the Company’s image and branding, especially when the economy gets better?

22 06 2009
Benefits of an Unpaid Intern | College Jolt

[…] Here is the original: Internships Change In Today’s Economy […]

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