With internships up, students get new job opportunities
By Megan Maginity ~ email@example.com July 29, 2012 9:16AM
News reporting intern Natalie Vitale edits footage as she works at Naperville Community Television on Thursday, July 26, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Job Market Statistics
More than a quarter, 25.5 percent, of the Class of 2012 that applied for a job already have one in hand
42 percent of 244 corresponding organizations said 2011 college hires came from their own internship programs
Majors most likely to get offers: accounting, engineering, computer science, economics and business administration
Bachelor’s degree level students studying engineering and computer science earn the highest average wages among paid interns, with engineering averaging $20.79 per hour
Reports from National Association of Colleges and Employers
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:08AM
Working for Naperville Community Television this summer, Lewis University senior Mary Carroll believes her internship will give her a leg up in the post-graduate hiring process.
Graduates are not able to pick and choose jobs anymore, said the 21-year-old student from Naperville, compared to years ago when there were more available jobs open.
“I think the hardest part for most graduates is walking away with a college education but not knowing what they exactly want to do in their field,” she said. “It’s important to take what you are able to get.”
However, the job market may not be as bad as most interns anticipate. According to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, new college graduate hiring is up 10.2 percent over last year. This is the second consecutive year in which employers have adjusted their hiring expectations positively.
“An upward trend in hiring is coming back,” said Mimi Collins, director of communications at NACE. “It’s been a slow process, but the job market has really been building over past couple of years. Employers held back from hiring, especially new college graduates who didn’t have much experience. But now we are seeing many more graduates in the job market.”
However, according to “Get Off the Couch and Into the Cube” author Nancy Shenker, most college graduates think they are going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg — which is likely not the case.
“Graduates believe they are going to walk in the door, get paid a lot and get a huge office right away,” Shenker said. “More realistically, it’s about a trade-off. Do you want a paying job after college or do you want to wait for awhile for your ultimate dream job?”
A paying job may not be enough support, though, for a new grad. Though NACE reported the median starting salary of $42,555 rose 4.5 percent from last year, these 20-somethings seem to be more hesitant to leave their parents’ house.
Shenker said not leaving home for years after college is now socially accepted compared to years past.
“Graduates are too comfortable,” she said. “People didn’t live with their parents back in the ‘70s; it just wasn’t done. It’s not right or wrong, but some graduates that have jobs now have this mentality that they don’t have enough support to move out. So, parents today need to remain positive, encouraging and helpful. Their children may not be doing their dream job right after college, but it’s a foot in the door.”
That “foot in the door,” in fact, might be an internship.
Employers expected to hire more college students for summer internships this year, Collins said. NACE also reported organizations paying bachelor’s degree-level students an average of $16.21 per hour.
“Employers have a big list of what they look for, but one key thing they want you to have is work experience,” she said. “That relevant work experience shows you have the right skill set.”
and Natalie Vitale,
Working in the NCTV marketing and development department this summer, Carroll has gained experience that she needs under her belt in order to succeed in the job market. In the same building is Natalie Vitale, a news intern from Naperville who will complete her last semester of school at College of DuPage this fall, and is determined to succeed in the entertainment world.
As a public relations major and marketing minor, Carroll searched for an internship that would provide work experience. “It was tough to get an internship for the summer,” she admitted. “So I think that’s just an example of how difficult it’s going to be to get a job next year.”
Putting in around 15 hours each week, she works closely with the community relations representative and the organization. She creates press releases and deals with contact information.
“I’m really getting involved with the community,” she said. “I will absolutely benefit from my internship, not only on my resume, but I’ll be walking away with knowledge about what it’s like to build a family in a department.”
Vitale hopes it will be easier to find a job after completing the NCTV internship.
“I’m not just tagging along and observing,” the 22-year-old said. “I’ve been doing a lot of hands-on things and putting together different stories each week. It’s so different than a corporate internship, where I wouldn’t be able to touch anything or report.”
That experience is something Lewis University, located in Romeoville, requires of all public relations majors. Each student needs to complete a 150-hour internship prior to graduation. Carroll works with not-for-profit organizations, which gives her a chance to work with outside organizations.
Another component that can be learned through an internship is building interpersonal relationships. Carroll feels like she will now be more comfortable communicating with her future boss.
“Getting this internship was huge for me,” she said.
With short, middle and long term career goals, Naperville North graduate Lakshay Abbott hopes to gain a full-time position from his internship.
The University of Iowa finance major earned a spot as a financial service professional this summer for the Hoopis Financial Group in Chicago. Abbott will graduate next May from Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, which is ranked within the top 50 business colleges.
“I wanted this internship to get my feet wet in the finance industry and get a more practical feel for it,” 21-year-old Abbott said.
So far, he’s had a successful head start bonding with the company, and has built rapport with the firm’s associates. After completing his internship and graduating in 2013, he hopes to become a full-time financial service professional and earn his 63 and 67 security licenses. He feels the economy has “actually improved my work ethic” as he anticipates the internship evolving into a full-time position.
“If I don’t stay with the same company I am interning for,” he added, “my work will transfer into searching for a full time job so much that the search becomes a full time job.”
To gain even more experience, Abbott holds a management position with Iowa’s Andhi Bollywood Dance Team Student Organization. He plans to live and work in Chicago after college.
“But if I don’t find a feasible living situation in Chicago,” he said, “I will live at home.”
Ali Kashani, Elgin
Community College intern
It may be tough for some students to find a job because they do not know professionals in their acquired field. That is why Ali Kashani, Elgin Community College intern, insists networking is crucial.
Currently living in Crystal Lake, 22-year-old Kashani travels to ECC twice a week to intern in the Student Life office. But this isn’t the first time he’s worked at the college. Kashani went to ECC for three years and was an orientation manager with the school’s student worker program. This internship, he said, “has taken me behind the scenes.”
Now an Illinois State University student, he will return to the Bloomington-Normal campus after his summer internship is completed as a senior communications major.
“I want to work with student activities,” he said. “The staff at my internship is very knowledgeable, and they are able to answer all my questions and concerns. They know a lot of people and staff at other schools, so I am able to network.”
During the summer, Kashani has worked on organizing first-year programs and community service projects, such an Relay for Life and a back to school supply drive. He’s confident this resume will prepare him for the job market, but at the same time, he knows there will be some struggles.
“Everyone,” he said, “can say that it will be difficult for them to land a job at this time.”
volunteer and nanny
Aurora native Andrea Bermes has filled her resume with several volunteering experiences and a full-time job over the summer. Since her anticipated career field does not typically provide internships, the 21-year-old decided to work with children near the age of her future patients.
Bermes, a communication sciences and disorders major who will graduate from ISU next May, plans to be a speech pathologist. And she’s convinced her summer job as a full-time nanny for a 10-year-old girl, as well as her stints baby-sitting in Bloomington, will help her reach her goal of being a children’s speech pathologist.
Bermes, who is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and ISU Student Speech and Hearing Association, also volunteers for the Normal Public Library’s “Partners in Reading” program; and is a reading buddy at a Bloomington elementary school. Bermes is also active in her social sorority and is president of Rho Lambda, an honors sorority.
“All of my activities have made me a very independent person,” she said proudly. “I think going away to school and having my own apartment also will definitely make the transition into the real world a lot easier for me.”
After graduation, she plans to live at home to save money while going to graduate school.
Bermes knows she’s one of the lucky ones: The employment rate for those with master’s degrees in speech pathology is high.
“Anytime I tell someone my major, they always tell me it is a great field to get into,” she said. “I would have to agree.”