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Understanding internships

Updated on October 22, 2014


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Understanding internships

The back-to-school season is a great time to focus on the academic future ahead. Most parents are busy getting supplies and clothes ready for their children, and planning their schedule for the activities and sports after school.

For older teens, this may be the best time to think about how to transition from school to work. During the summer months, teens may not want to give up their free time or they have dreams of a beach vacation and travel plans. But along the way, give some consideration to those interests or skills that could develop into a career.

Internships can open doors

If you are thinking about whether an internship is right for you, review the following basics and explore the resources below.

First of all, internship exist across a variety of different fields and professions (for example, medicine or law or business). An intern is usually taking the first step into employment by experiencing some on-the-job training that a company offers. Interns can be high school level or college/university students or post-graduates. Interns may decide to accept a short term role that is unpaid or for a small salary. The valuable exchange for low pay is for the work experience and access to the organization. Some technical fields such as the computer industry may offer higher pay.

As an intern, you gain access to view the inner workings of the company. You can also learn about the human dynamics of management and business interactions such as negotiations and problem solving. The time spent as an intern may provide a collection of contacts and networking opportunities for the future. Companies are more likely to hire an intern who has made a good impression.

So interns do really have an advantage over other new job applicants. In addition, most hiring managers will look favorably on a job applicant who took the initiative to spend some of their free time in a learning or working environment.

Start by taking a personal assessment of your skills and preferences as you begin to look at the intern positions that are available.

How to search for an internship

The following link is a helpful resource for exploring opportunities in your region or city. The website offers a national database that allows for a filtered search by zip code or keyword. It also offers an “internship predictor”, which is a self-test that will evaluate your personal preferences and help guide you to the best fit.

As you explore the list of internships, make note that some offerings will include those placements that are just for the summer months, some that are part time and some that may have a paid opportunity and/or college credits.

Note that the link at the end of this article refers to a recent survey conducted by "" and supports the positive reasons to consider this step during the education process.

Some well-known companies that offer intern positions

1. Hearst Magazine

They are hiring interns for the public relations department. The internship is for academic credit only but a great fit for those who are pursuing a degree program for journalism or an English major. Look for the full job description and requirement on the link above.

2. Enterprise

The company hires about 2000 interns every year and offers a summer intern position in "Sales Management Training". They have a paid rate of about $10 per hour and start in June. The interns are also eligible for rewards and incentives. Applicants must be currently enrolled in college. Check the link above for qualifications and further details. As they indicate in their introduction to interns, the position is not fetching coffee for the office. The interns will be expected to prepare a presentation.

3. Southwest Airlines

This intern program may be unique for those who are eager to travel and are familiar with the "fun" attitude of this company. The "NoLmits Internship" program is based in Dallas, Texas and is offered during the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. See the link above for instructions on how to apply. Applicants must be full time college students and be classified as juniors. Interns do get paid and are eligible for free unlimited space available travel anywhere that Southwest flies. You will need to write an essay for the application and look for resume and interview tips since this is a competitive selection.

4. Time Warner Cable

In 2005 the company "...created the Reach program, a scholarship-internship package awarded to outstanding high school seniors in the Burbank and Los Angeles County area with a passion for the entertainment business." The Reach program selects high school graduates that receive $10, 000 in college scholarship plus a paid internship. See the link above for more information and application instructions.

Next steps

  • If you are interested in applying for a summer intern position, get started early. It will give you more choices to review and time to prepare.
  • Select a company that you may want to work for or select the type of position that you want to explore as a future career. This is a chance to see how you fit into the field that you are studying. The added benefit of an internship will be to assess your education plan and make sure you are following the best fit for your career.
  • As you explore the available internships, review the intern job locations that may offer a change of perspective. Try a different city than your home town and you can explore a new city around the summer job.

Good luck to all students and interns. And make the most of your free time for fun and future.

Use Your Summer Wisely

Intern experience

If you had experience as an intern, would you recommend it to others?

See results

Internship Survey

The results of the 2012 survey conducted by

  • 53% of companies plan to hire more interns in 2013 than they did in 2012
  • 36% more companies offered internships in 2012 vs 2011
  • 86% if interns says their internship was a positive experience
  • 85% of employers say hiring interns was a positive experience

see the link below for the full report of the survey results.


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