Internships 101  |  FAQ


What is an Internship ?

An internship is an official program offered by an employer to potential employees. Interns work either part time or full time at a company for a certain period of time. Internships are most popular with undergraduates or graduate students who work between one to four months and have a goal to gain practical work or research related experience.

The modern concept of internships essentially springs from the medieval apprenticeship, in which skilled laborers (often craftsmen) would teach a young person their trade and, in exchange, that person would agree to work for the teacher for a certain length of time.

What is the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship ? 

Internships are typically exploratory – ie:  you are not bound to work for an employer after the internship is over (although many interns do receive job offers).  If you start early enough to do a few internships throughout college, you can use the first ones to get a feel for what career you’d like to pursue and the later ones to build your experience.

What is the difference between paid and unpaid internships ?

Internships can be paid or unpaid — though, if they are unpaid, they’re usually subject to stringent labor guidelines. In the U.S., federal law mandates that unpaid interns must not benefit the company economically or be used to displace the work done by paid employees.  Some states have their own regulations regarding interns. For example, in California, unpaid interns must receive college credit for their work.

Most American internships are work experience internships — essentially on-the-job training in a field that the student or young worker wants to learn more about.  But there are also research internships, more common in scientific fields, in which a higher-level student examines a particular topic on behalf of a business before producing a written study or presentation.

Though employment isn’t guaranteed at the end of an internship, many employers use internships as a way to train and evaluate future employees.  In fact, a 2009 NACE survey of U.S. employers with interns found that 67% of those interns were given job offers after their terms were complete.

What kind of internship should I get?   

Not sure how to get started?  Some people look for an internship based on their major.  If you aren’t sure, you can ask school advisors for ideas about industries and types of positions that might be of interest to you.  Use the results to help jump start your internship search.

Will I get paid?   

Some interns are paid – paid by the hour, the week or with a stipend (meaning: a chunk of money paid, in general, once during the internship).  Other interns are not paid.  You will have to decide according to your needs and finances what is feasible for you.  Keep in mind, you shouldn’t automatically dismiss the idea of an unpaid internship – it could help your post-graduation job search.
Will I get course credit?   
You should talk with your school and the employer about the process to get credit through your internship.  This will vary by school, internship and employer.  Start by talking with your school so you understand what it takes from you and the employer to get credit.
How do I make a resume?   
Creating an intern resume doesn’t have to be hard.  You need to think about your work experience and your skills, and how to best present them to an employer.  Good news, you can build a profile on PremierInterns.com and in a few steps get an attractively formatted professional resume.

How long is a typical internship?   

Most internships last about 10 weeks to three months or the duration of one quarter or semester. They can also happen during a school break-summer and winter internships are popular. The length of an internship is flexible and should be agreed upon by both the student and the setting, taking into account school requirements about internship duration.

 



View Intern Job Descriptions & Project Work Ideas:

What types of projects should you assign to interns?

  • Premier Interns perform best when they can work projects with clear instruction and limited supervision – think ‘Entry-Level’ and define start- / end- points.  
  • Once projects are completed to your satisfaction, you can always add responsibilities and/or complexity.

TIP:        Days of mindless, boring or unwanted menial work is not an internship program – instead:  THINK PROJECT WORK.

•   Project Work is where Premier Interns Excel  –  FT / PT, Paid / Unpaid:     Project Work is a WIN-WIN.  

Here’s why:

1.    Everyone can use some extra help around the office.  

2.    Students are looking for experience – internship work and job experience is divided by project work.

3.    Students and Interns need to learn at least 5 skills to place on resumes, college and scholarship applications, and job applications – of course.  

4.    So divide a ‘Job’ into projects – it’s an easy way to delegate and get jobs done with limited supervision.

5.    Give them a shot – here are example projects, where your intern will feel comfortable applying to work:


Sample Project Work  /  Job Task Examples:

    • Research competitor programs, campaigns, or initiatives – compile and present statistics.
    • Add fresh life to a project that has been forever ‘ON-HOLD”.
    • Create a new social media approach, a new strategy, evaluate other social media platforms, or plan how your current social media strategy could be improved.
    • Critique your company’s website:   page by page.   From a new and fresh perspective, collect ideas for enhancing User Experience (UX).
    • Propose ideas to a mid-level problem – create a new perspective.
    • Research and report on the most successful companies in your industry – start with companies in other markets first.  
    • Scan industry media for news items; provide regularly scheduled updates.
    • Join team members at a client, sales, or another outside meeting – purely in an observer role.  Request notes and feedback after the meeting.
    • For Techies:  Find new ways to improve efficiency, streamline programs, or cut costs.
    • Give 1 real job or task – although it may be incredibly simple and/or basic (such as answering the phones during lunch hours) it shows they are willing to go 110% and take full responsibility.

 

    • Create new versions of a PowerPoint presentation, such as refreshing charts and graphs, or changing slides from old 3:4 to 16:9 HD format.
    • Schedule, plan and coordinate, and attend an event or meeting – you can always use an extra hand.
    • Update a marketing plan, financial forecast, or another report that needs a new life.
    • Produce a video or slide presentation.
    • Perform a study or survey; analyze and present results.
    • Write internal communications.
    • Compile employee manuals or develop process directions for tasks with high employee turnover.
    • Source goods or search for lower-cost sources for high-volume materials.
    • Clean up a database.
    • Serve as a liaison between the company and clients or vendors (freeing up staff members to communicate on only more crucial issues).
    • Aid in the modification or enhancement of your internship program.
    • Help screen and train replacement interns prior to departure.

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