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Benefits of a Fortune 500 Internship

By Laura Labovich

Smart companies hire interns. And, Fortune 500 companies hire more than most (in fact, statistics show that approximately 80% of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies employ them).


Benefits to the Employer

That 80% of the Fortune 500 employers hire interns is no surprise, really, since interns are desirable to companies for many reasons, including:

  • Interns bring new life and energy to the company that may be introducing a new product/service or simply needs a fresh perspective. Interns may come from all over the city, state, country or even world, and bring that perspective to the company.
  • Many companies can get a sense for their intern’s work ethic and performance before making a decision to hire them full time.
  • And, interns can be groomed to be company ambassadors and can take the message back to the campus and spread the gospel of how "great it was to work there!"

Benefits to the Intern

It is certainly a win-win strategy for all involved.

As a former intern-turned-full-time-employee of the Walt Disney World College Program, I’ve seen first-hand how students benefit from their internship experiences, even those who do not land there full-time.

  • You get to see, first hand, how a Fortune 500 company operates from the inside. Some people love this kind of environment, but some people hate it. Being an intern gives you a chance to see if you are comfortable there, a try-before-you-buy experience.
  • A slot in a Fortune 500 company can be a "checkmark" for your resume, even if you don't stay there for more than a couple of years. It shows that you can work "in the big leagues."
  • The Fortune 500 company is usually a big name for your resume. Most people know those names. It can, however, be the proverbial double-edged sword if the company has massive bad publicty or goes bankrupt later (e.g. Enron, Lehman Brothers, etc.).
  • Other curious companies want to know what you did, how you did it, and what it was like!
  • And, of course, one great (huge!) benefit of getting intern status is the possibility that you’ll be considered for future openings. I mean, you are now on the inside, right?

It’s true. Interns often become a passive candidate database for internal recruiters, and the ones who fit in, stand out, and perform best, will be considered first, in many cases, before a position is ever posted to the "outside world."

So, it is crucial for new grads to take the process of finding, and securing, an internship very seriously. Check Job-Hunt's Fortune 500 links for links to Fortune 500 recruiting pages plus links to each company's internshp programs, if internships are available.

Making the Best Impression During Your Internship

A few tips on how to impress others during your short stay at the Fortune 500 ranks:

  • Put your work first (ahem: not your trip to the local pub at 4pm on Friday). If there’s work to be done, offer to do it.
  • Make a positive impression, every day. Arrive on time, be prepared (with pen and notebook), and be intentional about your appearance. Finding your finest Casual Friday attire should not be on your agenda.
  • Consider how you will be measured at the end of your internship and figure out who the key stakeholders are who can help you get there! Fortune 500 companies place a high value on the work of interns and seek future talent among their ranks.

Bottom Line

An internship can serve as a great way to get your foot-in-the-door of a Fortune 500 company. It can give you an "insider's perspective" on that company and on large employers. Don’t be fooled: an internship is really an interview and audition, dressed in summer job attire!

About the author...

Laura Labovich, MLRHR, is a Guild Certified Five O’Clock Club Career Coach, speaker, networking coach, social media enthusiast, and award-winning resume writer with more than 12 years of Human Resources leadership experience. Feel free to connect with Laura via Linkedin and follow her on Twitter @LauraLabovich.

Guide to the Fortune 500 Employers:

Fortune 500 Job Search:


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