School’s out, which means tens of thousands of students across the country are angling for summer jobs and internships. But given the woeful state of the economy, only a third of them will likely find work, according to a recent report by the Center of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, which predicts that employment will reach historical lows this summer. For a select group of overachievers who have snagged the most competitive internships, this summer won’t be nearly as bleak. Herewith, the nation’s most coveted internships, and the perks lavished upon their lucky recipients.
GOOGLE (Mountain View, Calif.)
Interns here don't just make copies and fetch coffee. They attend weekly meetings led by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They also enjoy the same perks showered on Google employees--free gourmet meals, spa treatments and laundry services. Interns bond at Google-sponsored scavenger hunts, baseball games and evening cruises. Tempted? Good luck. Google fielded over 5,000 resumes for fewer than 1,000 slots.
THE WHITE HOUSE (Washington, DC)
Arguably the most selective internship around, the White House received roughly 2,800 applications for the 100 positions available in three internship cycles, according to the Princeton Review. The job is mostly clerical work, but occasionally involves actual planning of events scheduled at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Plus, the program is capped by a sendoff by the President himself. The best part? Rubbing shoulders in the White House hallways with power players like Condi and Dick!
NORTHWEST AIRLINES (St. Paul, Minn.)
Ever dreamed of flying a plane? Northwest Airlines offers an unpaid internship program in Flight Operations, where students majoring in aviation or aeronautical science get hands-on experience handling a full flight simulator. Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, also offers internships in their Flight Operations division, in addition to Ground Operations Training, Finance and Graphic Design. Intern benefits include career development classes, holiday celebrations, and--wait for it--unlimited travel on Southwest Airlines for the duration of your program.
VIRGIN RECORDS (Los Angeles and New York City)
The music giant accepts up to 60 interns from a pool of 500 applicants from the US and London. It's an unpaid internship with pricey perks, including free CDs, concert tickets and entrance into listening parties and promotional events. Virgin Records also hires College Reps to pass out posters and CDs to campus radio stations. Reps are paid $200 a month and reimbursed for incidentals like gas and phone charges. They may also join a visiting band's entourage on public appearances.
ROLLING STONE (New York City)
An internship at Rolling Stone is one of the most exclusive in publishing. Only 18 interns are accepted from over 700 applications. In addition to working at the legendary mag, the (unpaid) interns score free promotional music samples and advance releases from their favorite bands. Unfortunately, you won't get a byline in the magazine unless your last name happens to be Wenner. The internship is a coveted springboard for any wanna be music editor.
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (New York City)
The NBA received over 1,000 resumes for about 25 internships in their 10-week summer programs in New York and Secaucus, N.J. Slots are available in Advertising, Communications, Entertainment, and Public Relations, among others. Perks include lunches and workshops with NBA executives and, of course, free tickets to basketball games.
ANHEUSER-BUSCH (St. Louis, MO)
The suds giant, which produces 44% of all beer in the United States, offers a paid internship to about 40 students, with compensation ranging from $375 to $700 a week. Internships at their 15 satellite offices are available in Brewing, Packaging, Marketing, Finance, and other departments. The company offers perks like housing assistance, social events for interns, and a discount on Anheuser-Busch merchandise. Careful: You'll need ID for the beer.