Though fall has just begun, students will have an ideal opportunity to secure a spring or summer position during Internship Week, which will kick off Oct. 3.
“The hope is that students are able to start this process early and really connect with employers during the fall,” said Lauren Opgenorth, assistant director of internships and special programs for the USC Career Center, which is part of Student Affairs. “If they can get their internships lined up for the spring and the summer, they will buy themselves a lot more time to focus on their studies, extracurricular activities, leadership programs and whatever else they do in their lives.”
Internship Week will host more than 75 companies, all of which are hiring interns. Eight different industries will be highlighted, including business and management, consulting and finance, marketing, entertainment, advertising and public relations, communication and social media, gaming and technology, and nonprofit.
Moderated information panels, followed by networking sessions, will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the Student Union basement. Students can ask questions, find out about company culture, learn about past student projects and submit resumes. No registration is required to participate in Internship Week events.
“At the event, the employers give out their contact information,” Opgenorth said. “I also put together a contact sheet with each of the employer’s names and list how students are able to follow up with them.”
Podcasts of the panels, as well as other helpful tutorials about securing internships, are available on the Career Center website. Students also can search ConnectSC, the center’s online database that lists available internships. Currently, 711 open positions are posted.
Internships can make a difference for students in the job market. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 42.3 percent of seniors who had an internship received at least one job offer. Only 30.7 percent of students with no internship experience received job offers. Starting salaries also receive a boost. The survey showed that students who had at least one internship earned an average starting salary of $41,580 compared to $34,601 for students with no internship experience.
To comply with federal labor law, students must be compensated for internships either monetarily or through course credit. For students who find that their ideal summer internships are unpaid, the center offers the Dream Dollars Scholarship program, which provides $1,200 stipends to approximately 10 students.
“We wanted to find a way to still encourage students to pursue their passions,” Opgenorth said. “The requirement is that the student needs to secure an internship first and then apply for the funding.” The deadline for this program is April 6, 2012.
For more information and a list of Internship Week participants, visit careers.usc.edu or call (213) 740-9105.