It's the time of year when many college students are trying to secure internships for the summer months, when they'll be out of the classroom and ready for some real-world experience.
Hilles Hughes, director of Marietta College's Career Center, said there are many benefits to completing an internship.
Although not all of the programs at Marietta College require that students complete internships, staff members in the college's career center strongly encourage all students to do so.
"For college students, in this type of economy, internships are a way to get your foot in the door and prove yourself before having a company make that longer term commitment," Hughes said. "It's a creative way to deal with a more difficult economy."
Lyndsay Offenberger, a December graduate of Marietta College, got her foot in the door through an internship at the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and now works there full-time as communications and public relations coordinator.
Offenberger also completed internships in Marietta Memorial Hospital's marketing department and through AmeriCorps.
Tips for landing
Let professors know you want an internship.
Check with your parents to see if they know anyone who has connections to an industry you're considering.
Do community service. A lot of service groups are connected to national organizations, so this can lead to a lot of contacts.
Don't be afraid to talk to a speaker after a lecture or symposium to find out if he or she has any projects you might be able to help with.
Attend career fairs. If you know ahead of time which groups will be there, visit their Web site to find out what internships they offer.
Get business cards.
Choose just a few companies you'd like to do an internship with and do some in-depth research on those companies. Tailor your resume to that organization.
Get a campus job. It will prepare you for an internship.
"I think that (an internship) is important because you want experience and that's what employers are looking for and it allows you to see things about your major you like and don't like and where you want to take it," she said.
Statistics show that in many cases, an internship leads to a full-time job with the same company. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, this happens approximately 60 percent of the time.
Offenberger, 22, of Marietta, said she was able to obtain her internship at the convention and visitors bureau through networking.
The bankrate.com Web site indicates this is a good way to get an internship and those who want to secure one should network with professionals by visiting career fairs and getting connected with national organizations by participating in community service.
Hughes noted that, especially if an internship is for college credit, a student should work with his or her academic advisor to ensure the internship is a meaningful educational experience.
"Once (the students) have a supervisor off-site, it's important for that person to be in the loop...so there are common goals of what the learning outcome of experience will be," she said.
Peter Keim, owner of Keim Financial Services in Marietta, said he has had one intern from Marietta College and he and the intern mutually benefited from the experience.
"It was fantastic because...she was able to bring her skill sets in - she had double majors in accounting and computer science," he said. "She did a number of things I found very useful."
While Keim taught the intern about investments and insurance, he also taught her about more practical things. Ultimately, he also helped her get a job at the Deloitte financial firm in Pittsburgh.
"I taught her techniques about how to interview...and I taught her the value of a functional resume," he said. "I think that helped tremendously."