Successful internships lead to full-time positions

By Nicole Osuch
November 29, 2007

A study completed by showed that 86 percent of college students complete at least one internship. Many students hope to secure a full-time position with their co-op or internship employer upon graduation.

According to Nancy C. Hutchison, director of cooperative education and career services at Cabrini College, 59 percent of graduating seniors who are in the co-op program are offered and accept full-time employment with the co-op employer.

“There are no guarantees this will happen for every student, this has happened for a good number of students because of the strong co-op program that Cabrini College has and our students are well prepared,” Hutchinson said.

Amanda Finnegan, a senior English Communication major, interned at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, which is owned by The Washington Post. Finnegan was asked to come back full time after graduation.

In the competitive workforce that exists today more students are choosing to intern or participate in a co-op program to increase their chances of getting hired after graduation. Hutchison believes that students can make a good impression with their co-op or internship employer by “doing above and beyond their job and that means doing what is assigned to them as effectively and efficiently as possible and asking what else they can do and how can they learn more.”

Finnegan agreed, “I believe one reason I was asked back was because I really like to learn and absorbed everything I could and I think they saw that eagerness to learn and that was something they were looking for.

Students looking to get hired by their co-op or internship employer should demonstrate that they are self-motivated, dress appropriately and act professionally. Hutchinson also warns that students should not be on email.

Being the intern that gets offered a full-time position over other interns requires that students take initiative and put in longer hours. During the average work week Finnegan spent all her free time working on projects even when she wasn’t asked. “Other interns worked just 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. I left personal business outside whereas other interns didn’t always do that,” Finnegan said.

Hutchinson said that students that she sees get hired through their co-op employer are professional, mature, reliable and offer a lot. They fit into the workplace environment and there’s a comfort zone. It’s a win-win for students and employers. If the student is a good fit as an intern, the employer doesn’t have to spend a couple of months training them.”

The Pennsylvannia Association of Colleges and Employers, chose Vincent DeFruscio, a 2004 Cabrini College graduate as the 2003 PennACE Student of the Year in the Non-Technical category. DeFruscio received this award for his work at his internship with CBSNews/Newspath.

During the “Blackout of 2003” in New York City DrFruscio did what most employees let alone interns didn’t do. He stayed and worked a 24 hour shift writing, conducting interviews and producing liveshots of the blackout.

DeFruscio said “I did it like it was my job and spent every holiday at CBSNews and just focused. By working during the blackout, I was able to get experience that other interns did not and doing things interns do not get to do.”

“Showing passion for the profession will be recognized and that has to be genuine you can’t fake that,” Hutchinson said. Finnegan showed passion for the profession by learning all she could about the industry so she could talk on a professional level with her editors and bosses.

DeFruscio said that students must realize that getting the internship is not the end, you really need to cultivate a relationship.

Finnegan recommends that “you go for an internship that you are really passionate about and really immerse yourself in it. Your job will pretty much be your life so you might as well start now.”

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Nicole Osuch

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