Just in time for back-to-school, the number of interns being hired by U.S companies is rising sharply, according to a new poll, with nearly half of firms expecting to be on the look-out for student talent this year.
The survey by CBcampus.com, a division of recruiter CareerBuilder.com, found that just under half of hiring managers said they expected to hire college interns through to the end of this year.
More than a third of the 1,000 hiring managers polled also planned to increase pay for interns to above 2005 levels, it said.
Nearly six-in-ten hiring managers said they were likely to offer a permanent position to a college graduate who interned at the organisation and performed well – evidence, if more were needed, that an internship is often a passport to a full-time job.
"Internships offer college students a great alternative to part-time jobs," said Rosemary Haefner, HR vice-president for CBcampus.com.
"In addition to offering real-world experience, 83 per cent of employers say they typically pay their interns, with 37 per cent paying more than $10 per hour.
"The key is to treat your internship search with the same professionalism that you would if you were looking for full-time employment," she added.
Interns, she warned, should never try to "wing it" in interviews, but should come fully prepared.
It was also a good idea to spend a few hours scouring the company's website to get a feel for the company, their product and their industry.
Interns needed to dress the part to create the best impression and investing in a good quality, conservative business suit and shoes was usually money well spent.
It was also vital to be on time for both interviews and work, as showing up late would only serve to tell an interviewer or employer that you are apathetic and irresponsible.
Both during the interview and the assignment it was also a good idea to make sure you ask intelligent questions, she advised.