While undergraduate interns begin to wrap up their Summer job experiences, many other internships will proceed uninterrupted due to the increasing number of graduates who began their careers in positions once reserved primarily for college juniors.  Internships have become the proving ground for individuals seeking full-time, entry-level positions. 

This phenomenon has made an internship harder to land for everyone.  Since hands-on experience is required for most entry-level positions, many have given up on finding paid internships and now target relevant unpaid positions. 

Gerry Shih, a paid summer intern at The New York Times, wrote about this growing tend in yesterday’s newspaper.  Gerry’s article notes that internship desperation has led many to pay for help in getting an unpaid internship. 

The University of Dreams received more than 9,000 internship applications this year, up 30% over last year.  The guaranteed-placement internships include eight weeks of housing, five meals a week, seminars and tours around New York City for $7,999 and significantly higher for European cities, according to Shih.

While the University of Dreams is the leading for-profit enterprise, many other clearing- house services exist, including USAIntern and Internship.com.

Before paying for internship assistance, you should try your best to land a job through traditional avenues.  I am impressed with InternSearch.com, a national directory of internships that is free to students and universities.  Many universities also provide career services such as intern placement.  Three that have been mentioned by Culpwrit readers are at Syracuse University, Miami University and Princeton.  The Princeton site provides an excellent tutorial on how to find internship opportunities. 

Also check out nonprofit services such as The Washington Center, Idealist.org and NASPAA’s Public Service internship placement program which help individuals find internships in government and NGOs.