How much would you pay for your child to work for free? Internship placement agencies are betting parents will gladly pay a hefty price to help their children land the (unpaid) jobs of their dreams.
There’s no doubt internship experience can be a valuable addition to a recent graduate’s resume. And in today’s weak job market, competition for internships has grown fierce.
Employers plan to hire 7% fewer college graduates from the Class of 2010 as compared to the Class of 2009, according to a survey published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. As job offers become increasingly scarce, the pressure to gain work experience has convinced many students to seek unpaid internships.
Enter the middleman. Despite the abundance of free resources for landing an internship, agencies like the University of Dreams and The Washington Center insist they can provide premium services to students.
To help you decide if hiring an internship placement agency is worthwhile, here are the pros and cons behind two popular companies.
University of Dreams
What You’ll Get: Open only to full-time students between the ages of 18 and 26 with a 2.5 GPA or higher, University of Dreams provides guaranteed internship placement, housing, one unit of academic course credit through its partner university and access to group events.
Those who intern in the summer receive additional perks such as a meal plan, trips to tourist sites, a weekly seminar series, resume advice and daily transportation to and from the work site. The internships last from eight to 12 weeks and interns work an average of 40 hours a week.
The benefit of using University of Dreams’ services, explains Chief Marketing Officer Eric Normington, is getting ahead of other applicants and being certain your resume has been reviewed by numerous companies.
“We provide a network for people who would otherwise be trawling the Web, sending hundreds of applications,” said Normington from his office in California. “Since we began [working with students] ten years ago, very few people have failed to find a place they liked.”