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Internships.com, an internship marketplace with over 40,000 internships, announced the results of their Fall Employer Survey.

The results detail employer hiring preferences, average intern compensation, and trends for the internship market in 2011.

The survey finds that when it comes to hiring interns, 93% of employers indicated that the most important qualification is “Relevant internships or experience.” The next two highly-rated qualifications were “Strong Resume/Cover Letter” and “Interview Performance.”

“Attendance at Preferred Schools” and “High Academic Performance” were the two lowest-rated qualifications, indicating a preference for relevant experience and interview skills vs. a student’s educational pedigree.

The survey pointed to a significant increase in employers starting their own internship programs. Almost half (40%) had brand-new programs this year. This is in contrast to the 26% of employers which have had internship programs in place for at least 5 years.

Using the web to source for interns is becoming a top tool for employers. Approximately 41% have posted 3 or more internships on Internships.com. Of these, 99% of employers have already received at least 1 application from students, and 53% found their interns using the site.

In addition to posting internships online, 52% of employers look up applicants on Facebook, Google, MySpace, LinkedIn, and other sites.

With regard to compensation, 40% of employers offer their interns some form of compensation – whether it is an hourly wage, flat rate, or stipend. Attesting to the value of internships beyond compensation, 43% of surveyed employers have made a full-time employment offer to at least one of their interns.

“Employers recognize that interns have a positive effect on their business, and that Internships.com is the best place to find the most qualified interns,” stated Robin Richards, CEO of Internships.com. “Students who are looking for an edge in this difficult economy should look no further than internships to provide that advantage.”

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