There has been a significant rise in college students searching for internships as a way to secure a stable job after graduation, according to a study by The Wall Street Journal. University officials say this trend has been seen in USC students as well.
Students at USC have been seeking out more internships, said Angie Sabido-Wood, director of employer relations and research at the USC Career Planning and Placement Center.
“In the last eight or so years, the number of students on campus who have been looking for internships has definitely been increasing,” Sabido-Wood said.
She explained that more students are realizing the connection between internships and the job prospects out of college.
“Students are becoming more savvy about how to get a job after graduation, and they understand the value of working at an internship. At USC, we’re seeing not just upperclassmen, but even freshmen looking for internship opportunities,” Sabido-Wood said.
In a study released by The Wall Street Journal, a quarter of the college recruiters polled said that more than half of their company’s recently graduated employees had previously interned for the company.
“The company can get a very valuable read at how good an intern could be as a potential employee there. It allows them to assess the intern with a ‘try before you buy’ mentality, and then hiring them full-time becomes a natural extension of that,” said Alec Levenson, a research scientist with the Center for Effective Organizations at the USC Marshall School of Business.
Part of this is related to the current trend of companies converting current interns into full-time employees after they have earned their bachelor’s degree, he said.
The trend of in-house hiring as a means of job recruiting has become especially relevant in today’s sluggish economy, as more applicants are using internship experience as a bridge to find a steady or well-paying job.
“With the recession going on right now, the supply and demand factor comes into play. Because there are fewer regular jobs available, the option of an internship becomes more important because it gives the person an opportunity to get their foot in the door and keep working in the field of their choice,” Levenson said.
A recent survey in the National Association of College and Employers Job Outlook 2011 Fall Preview showed that the Western region of the United States will see the biggest rise in hiring for college graduates in the next year, with a 23.5 percent increase from 2010.
Many students on campus have used their internship experience as a way to enhance their résumé and gain real world experience related to their major.
“Experience is so important these days because competition is so high. Kids are doing everything in the world right now, and if you want to remain a competitive applicant for graduate school or for a job, you really have to be able to show that you have experience in your field,” said Ana Emamian, a junior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention.
Emamian interned as a student researcher at the Perinatology Research Branch for the National Institutes of Health in Detroit for two months this summer.
Students can explore their internship options at the career center, located in the Student Union. The center’s resources include the connectSC job website and e-mail updates from the Internship Programs Office.
The career center holds an Internship Week during the fall and spring semesters, conducts mock interviews and reviews résumés for students throughout the year.
“USC students understand the values of internships and take advantage of them as much as possible.” Sabido-Wood said. “They’re going out there and getting that experience that will lead them to their job of choice after graduation.”