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July 28, 2011

Alex Braun, Editor, Eye of the InternBy Alex Braun

A couple users have asked this on the Answers page, so I figured I’d frame it a little differently than we’ve done on the actual product page. Premium Advantage membership is one of two things students can choose to pay for on — and despite a notoriously cheap streak in college that included smuggling salad toppings back from the dining hall, it’s something I would have done back then if I’d had the option.

Intern Certification ProgramI don’t blame you for doing your research and being careful. That said, $20 for a full year of Premium Advantage features is extremely cheap (about $1.68/month) and easily worth it for most users.

Before you buy, understand what it won’t do: Being Premium probably won’t magically help you get hired if your resume is weak. But it can absolutely make you stand out against other strong applicants. The internships everyone wants here are going to be contested by tens, if not hundreds of applicants, and some of them are bound to have very similar credentials. At that point, it really becomes a question of who gets the employer’s attention first.

Other Premium members will rise to the top of employer searches with you, yes — but only if they’re in your career field, which can drastically thin the list. And at the time I’m writing this, not many Premium members have taken advantage of the Intern Certification Program — a useful course that, when completed, will badge your listing with a blue “iCertified” icon that makes your resume stand out against a sea of white and black text. If you complete that, you’ll be in a small club.

Company Directory gives you contact numbers and email addresses that you’re not going to find running a Google search. LinkedIn and other services can get similar information for premium members, but they’ll charge you significantly more for it: between $20-$100 per month.

If you have Top of the Pile, you may not stay at the #1 spot in an employer’s inbox if other Premium members apply, but you are virtually guaranteed to be on the first page, and probably pretty far up it. If you don’t have it, your application to a high-demand internship might slip directly to Page 2 and never be seen by the hiring manager.

I’ve only covered about half the features, but suffice it to say: If you get passed over for a great paid internship opportunity and have to accept unpaid work for an entire semester or summer, you’re going to look back and wonder if eating one less double cheeseburger a month to get a lot more eyes on your resume would have been worth it.

Just my two cents.

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