8 in 10 execs say internships important when hiring new grads: Survey

Network, focus on details to ace internship
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/13/2012

Eight in 10 (80 per cent) chief information officers (CIOs) said internships are an important consideration when hiring new graduates for information technology positions, according to a survey by Robert Half Technology.

Only 10 per cent viewed these programs as unimportant, found the survey of 270 CIOs.

"An internship simply levels the playing field for graduates as they seek entry-level IT positions," said Lara Dodo, regional vice-president at Robert Half Technology in Canada. "There is currently high demand for skilled IT employees in areas such as networking and software development; however, employers are looking for professionals who can contribute to the company right away, and internships help college graduates hit the ground running."

Robert Half Technology offers these tips on acing internships:

Act the part: Rather than thinking of yourself as "just an intern," adopt the mind-set of a full-time employee. Get off to a strong start by clarifying core duties, priorities and goals with your supervisor early on.

Be upbeat: Accept assignments with enthusiasm, even when you're asked to tackle less-than-glamorous tasks. Ask for feedback on your performance, and show that you can take direction, collaborate effectively with others and respond well to constructive criticism.

Sweat the details: Small actions can have a big impact on the impression you make. For example, if you're tethered to your smartphone, you could be perceived as distracted and disengaged. Running habitually late, even by only a few minutes, could signal that you're not taking the internship seriously.

Network: Use your time on-site to forge new business relationships. You want to impress your direct supervisor and colleagues so that you leave with strong references. Go to lunch with co-workers, attend company events and strike up conversations at the water cooler.

Say thanks: Write thank-you notes to those who helped or mentored you during your internship and commit to staying in touch.

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