2011 grads have a leg up in the current job market, unlike in past economies where experience was more important. An onslaught of new technology and the increasing importance of social media and a web presence are making savvy, new grads attractive to cash-conservative organizations looking to get the biggest bang for their buck.
Today's graduate is educated, comes with training and if they've made the time and space to fit in a meaningful internship, they're also able to offer some experience and hopefully a handful of decent work samples.
So what is a meaningful internship? It's one that offers the student an opportunity to develop a realistic learning experience and measure the results of that experience with take-away lessons that will serve them in a real-life work situation.
The IRS is cracking down on employers who utilize interns to replace paid employees, so the tasks that interns are assigned have changed in some cases. Interns are no longer given entry-level jobs to take the daily burden off employees. This may change the parameters to protect the student, but it doesn't have to mean that internships cannot still be meaningful in terms of work experience.
--> If you know of a student who is getting ready to graduate, consider spoiling them with a gift that will give them an edge in the job market. The Creating Job Security Resource Guide, 2nd Edition, is now available online and in local book stores.