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College Internship Pros and Cons

With unemployment dropping the pool of qualified candidates becomes smaller and more competitive. Finding good new employees with both experience and those who are willing to start at an entry level wage is difficult. An intern can be meet both requirements. An even better situation is for a company to have an established internship program to start training and evaluating potential future employees. An internship can be a win-win opportunity for both the company and for the graduate starting out in a new career.

The theory behind an internship is to provide practical experience to help a college student become more marketable to employers. Ideally an internship also gives the student a realistic job preview and confidence. Since most employers want to hire candidates with experience at the lowest wage possible- such as entry level, hiring a new college graduate with internship experience presents a good option over hiring someone with no experience.

When a company takes on an intern the student has the opportunity to show what they have learned and apply their skills to gain hands on experience. The company has the chance to evaluate the contribution of the student during the internship and could consider offering the student a job later at the conclusion of the internship. Within a company the internship provides employees with supervisory and mentoring opportunities they might not otherwise have for years to come. Unfortunately there are many internships that are filled with menial tasks that add little value to the overall internship.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has rules regarding interns and internships that a company should be familiar with before calling a college career services office to request an intern. Interns can be unpaid so long as certain DOL criteria are satisfied though the DOL takes a dim view of unpaid internships.

There is is no guarantee that the intern will be a good fit for a company. Fortunately there is no requirement a company must hire the intern once the internship is completed. Often interns have specific internship experiences that are required by the college to obtain the needed college credit for graduation. Internships are short term which can be limiting. By the time an intern is trained the internship may be ending.

The benefits of bringing on an intern far out weigh the risk for most companies. An intern can benefit from the experience through a realistic job preview while the company benefits from evaluating a potential employee with out having to go through a formal hiring process first. What more can you ask for when both get something from the internship?

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