“You need experience.”
You’ve heard that refrain from advisors, parents, and peers for years. Like generations before you, you answer with the same question: “Where can I get that experience?” Sure, you deserve credit for your high GPA. In a perfect world, your extracurriculars would validate your ability to manage time and “get the job done.” You’re young and hungry – and you have big ideas and a high ceiling. And you clean up well too. Isn’t that enough?
Afraid not. Employers want to see you in action. Hiring someone is a big investment. Two years ago, CNN calculated that an employee making $50,000 actually costs a company $66,000, when you factor in social security and Medicare tax, unemployment insurance, and health care and 401K benefits. And that doesn’t include the cost to replace an employee who doesn’t work out. Inc. reports that it can run as high as 150 percent of an employee’s salary. Bottom line: Employers want to be certain that you can apply your skills and work well with others.
That’s where an internship comes in. You can spend your summer – or time outside of class – working in a professional environment. You can practice your craft, notch some accomplishments, and build a network of people who can vouch for you. Of course, landing an internship is easier said than done. Not to mention, not all internships are created equal. Some involve working on significant projects, but others are simply glorified clerical jobs.
FACEBOOK TOPS THE LIST
To help students identify the best places to intern, Glassdoor recently published its “25 Highest Rated Companies for Internships in 2015.” Derived from reviews from actual interns, Glassdoor based its rankings on the highest average company score (on a five point scale). In addition, Glassdoor mined a composite score to cover the difficulty of each firm’s interview (again using a five point scale).
And the big winner was Facebook, with a 4.6 average (tied with Chevron and Google). What makes an internship at Facebook time well spent? Here are some recent thoughts from the interns themselves:
“The environment is really fast-paced, with a lot of freedom. As Facebook grows, there’s more and more of a spectrum of different types of work environments and managerial relationships–all the way from entirely hands off, to much more hand holding if you need it.”
- Former Intern – Front End Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
“You are working on a very interesting problems, which actually affect more than a billion people. You also learn a lot from people around you.”
- Facebook Intern (New York, NY)
“I was interning at the HQ. It’s a very cool place with many perks including a music room, arcade room, gym, outdoor courts, many restaurants and virtually any game you can think of spread across the campus. The salary is good and the housing is great. A great place to work with its policy to be open about everything going in the company to all employees – even interns. Also the intern program is really good – they have awesome people over there organising things for interns and helping us with intern stuff in general.”
- Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
Here, you have the trifecta: interesting work, freedom, and good people. While entry interviews are slightly more difficult than Glassdoor’s average (3.1 vs. 2.8), Facebook provides great training for handling more complex tasks and a sometimes-stressful environment.
FROM FOOD TO MENTORSHIP, GOOGLE LAUDED BY INTERNS
Chevron also earned high marks, with one Houston intern succinctly listing its benefits as, “Fast paced, high energy, independence, strong culture.” Culture, in particular, had strong allure to one recent engineering intern, who touted the firm’s intangibles. “The culture is just as it is advertized. Chevron takes care of its people, and makes sure everyone is a good fit to its culture. Is all about Team Work, Ownership and most importantly Safety.”
Past and present interns were especially complimentary of Google, with one intern summing up the firm’s charm as, “Great office culture, perks, company values, global footprint.”Among recent interns, Google’s freebies grabbed their attention. “The food! So many perks, too,” one intern gushed. “They’ll treat you like a princess, I’m telling you. It’s amazing.” Another cited Google’s legendary “bowling alley, juice bar, indoor rock [and] climbing wall.”