You're a recent college graduate with a killer cover letter, a stellar grade point average and glowing recommendations.
But if one important item is missing from your résumé, good luck trying to get a position at The McTigue Financial Group in Chicago.
You need an internship.
This network office of Northwestern Mutual turns to its highly competitive internship program for new talent. Erika Milonas, director of campus recruitment, reviews more than 1,000 résumés in a given year and interviews 400-plus candidates to recruit 40 for McTigue's year-round internship program.
The good news for those fortunate enough to earn a spot: One in four become a full-time financial representative after graduation.
Internships and the economy
The hope of gaining an advantage for future employment has increased both the number and quality of internship applications.
"Internships have become key in today's economy," says Melissa Benca, director of career services at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
"Graduating students with paid or unpaid internships on their résumé have a much better chance at landing a full-time position upon graduation. Students are doing internships as undergraduates, and it is now not unusual for recent grads to take an unpaid internship with hopes of turning it into a permanent position or at least making some contacts and building their résumé."
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