By Susan Adams, Forbes Staff
Full Article

If you are a college graduate and you are working at a paid internship, a new study shows, 60% of the time, that internship will turn into a job offer. For those who were working in unpaid internships, however, the news is much less encouraging. Thirty-seven percent of unpaid interns got job offers, according to the data. That’s just 1% better than graduates with no internship experience, 36% of whom got job offers.

The data come from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which collected survey results from 15,715 seniors at the bachelor’s degree level from mid-January through the end of April of this year. NACE, a Bethlehem, Pa. non-profit that links college placement offices with large corporate employers, announced the results of its survey today. It found that 60% of respondents in paid internships received at least one job offer.

According to NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes, the main reason paid interns tend to get better offers is that they spend more time getting hands-on experience, as opposed to handling clerical tasks. According to the survey, paid interns spend 42% of their time doing jobs like analysis and project management, and just 25% of their time on clerical work, while unpaid interns spend just 30% of their time on professional tasks.

I’d like to sound one note of skepticism about the NACE results: While it doesn’t surprise me that paid interns are more likely to land jobs, I do think unpaid interns have a good shot at using their experience and contacts to land a job. I’ve seen it happen here at Forbes many times. We’ve hired interns and they’ve gone other places and gotten hired. Also, our unpaid interns perform substantive labors, writing carefully researched articles for and even sometimes for the magazine. They also perform magazine fact-checking, a vital function.

We’ve run stories in the past about how to turn your internship into a job. Here are a few tips:

Choose an internship that requires substantial work. Before you accept an internship slot, talk to those who have done the job before and ask about their experiences.

Act professionally at all times. Stick to the company’s dress code and office hours. Treat everyone you meet with respect and leave your personal life at home.

Network. Take advantage of the chance to meet senior leaders. At the same time, make friends with your fellow interns. They can all be valuable job contacts.

Ask questions. Don’t be shy about asking for clarifications on assignments, and don’t pretend to know something you don’t. As an intern, you’re expected to be a sponge for information.

Set goals. Meet with your supervisor and lay out projects you’d like to tackle and skills you’d like to master by the end of your internship.

Volunteer. When you see a project in need of a worker, raise your hand. Don’t overextend yourself, but do take on as much as you can handle.

Follow up. Stay in touch after the internship concludes. Do write a thank-you note after you’ve finished work, and send casual emails every couple of months to maintain your contacts.

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Stamford Achieves (SA) acts only as an intermediary between employers posting internship and job opportunities and student candidates. All hiring and compensation for work performed by students is handled directly between the student and the employer. SA also reserves the right to refuse to post or remove internship or job postings.

We do not guarantee or take responsibility for (a) the truthfulness, accuracy, quality, safety, morality, desirability or legality of employer information and position listings, (b) the ability of employers to offer internship and job opportunities, or (c) the hiring, recruiting or other practices of any employer. Students are urged to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting employment.

For Students:

An internship, particularly for students at least 16 years of age, is a great way to get to know yourself a little better while building skills that will make you better prepared for the future. Internships can help you understand how a professional organization functions in the real world. While interning, you will have the opportunity to assess and refine your career goals. It is a “trial period”, an opportunity to test ideas about your interests and potential professions – whether it’s entertainment, non-profit, technology, health – without requiring a lengthy commitment. Just remember, no matter what you do and how long you do it for, do it to the best of your ability.

Some internships are “salaried” positions and some are strictly volunteer. Either way, you will likely gain valuable experience. Please note that most are highly competitive and you should pay close attention to the application deadlines.

Many organizations do not advertise the availability of internships or jobs and so it often requires some initiative on your part. With this portal, Stamford Achieves is seeking to aggregate internship and job opportunities for Stamford’s high school students.

Although we would ultimately like to post all student internship and job opportunities that is simply not realistic. Therefore, it is recommended that you conduct an internet search, look out for postings and check newspaper listings. Also, please use your networks – guidance counselors, teachers, parents, relatives, family, and friends – anyone who may have contacts within businesses or organizations that interest you.

For Employers:

The City of Stamford benefits tremendously from a large and diverse group of employers. These employers can and often do offer our high school students internship as well as job opportunities. However, employment opportunities are not typically aggregated so as to streamline the process for both the prospective employers and students. This portal is designed to be a simple and efficient way to maximize our tremendous resources.

We welcome your feedback as to how we can make this portal as productive and efficient as possible so please do not hesitate to email us at and thanks so much for participating.