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5 great internships
These internships allow you to learn more, and do more, than simply pad your resume.
March 4, 2005: 9:49 AM EST
By Deshundra Jefferson, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Fetching coffee isn't much of a skill.

For many interns, though, it's their only task. The good news is that you can get a lot more out of an internship besides learning to order a dozen lattes at Starbucks or how to change copier toner.

"An internship is basically a requirement. If you don't have one, then you are at a disadvantage," said Samer Hamadeh, co-founder and CEO of, before adding, "The reality is if you don't do two you are really at a disadvantage."

A survey conducted last spring shows that 90 percent of the 1,272 graduating seniors queried did at least one internship. Of that, some 73 percent said that they did two or more.

Hamadeh says that the two or more internship rule holds particularly true for the more competitive industries, such as media and entertainment. Still, the more internships you have in any given field, the stronger your resume looks to that potential first employer.

The trick is choosing, and being chosen, by the right one. Not sure where to apply or how to catch the internship coordinator's eye? Hamadeh, co-author of "The Best 109 Internships," has a few suggestions.

Insure your future. Fed up with unpaid internships? Northwestern Mutual Financial Services pays, and trains, interns to start their own business selling life insurance and other financial services. It's a commission-based program, with their top 10 interns averaging $25,041, according to the internship tome.

The Milwaukee-based firm receives some 20,000 applicants a year for 900 to 1,000 openings and uses a series of sales aptitude tests and assignments to wade through prospective interns.

For more information on the program, visit Northwestern Mutual.

Meet Emmy. Entertainment internships often offer little more than a shot at secretarial stardom, unless you're big break is with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Hamadeh says the Academy has long been on his top 10 list as the work the interns do is comparable to that of an entry-level employee. And it's also paid; interns receive a $2,000 to $3,000 stipend.

Making the cut, however, is tough as the Academy receives more than 1,000 applicants for 30 slots. The program offers internships in a wide variety of areas, ranging from costume design to script writing. Potential interns need to submit college transcripts, along with three letters of recommendation and a 300-word essay.

Ready to make television history? Check out the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' official site for more information.

Click here for more on colleges

Serve your country. Government and politics is another industry, Hamadeh says, that often requires more than one internship. His top picks in this sector: The White House and the Supreme Court. Aim for both if you are particularly ambitious.

Approximately 240 applicants vie for six intern spots at the Supreme Court, while 2,800 students compete for 90 to 100 openings at the White House. Required materials for both programs include a resume, college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The Supreme Court also asks applicants to submit a two-page essay on the American constitutional system.

Visit the Supreme Court and the White House for additional information.

Or challenge the status quo. Common Cause, a nonpartisan lobbying group, offers internships in grassroots organization, research, development, along with a handful of other areas.

Some of the organization's key issues include pushing for further campaign finance reform, limiting media consolidation, and lobbying for congressional redistricting reform.

Roughly 200 to 300 students compete for 80 to 100 openings throughout the year. Again, you'll need to submit a resume and references, but applying early could give you a leg up over the competition.

Check out Common Cause to learn more.  Top of page


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