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15 Top internships to boost your career

Tracy E. Hopkins is an accomplished writer, blogger and editor living in New York City. She has expertise covering travel, fashion, health and entertainment.

Paid internships to get your foot in the door

If you’re a college student or recent graduate looking for a way to break into the workforce, an internship is the best way to get a leg up on the competition. And if you’re in the tech industry, you’re in a unique position to earn top dollar with an internship that pays better than most of the salaried jobs offered to seasoned professionals.

Woman intern at office

Nice work if you can get it

Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, the average U.S. household brings in about $4,400 per month, and Microsoft interns earn up to $7,050 per month (wow, that’s $84,600 per year). Meanwhile, a survey from talent agency The Creative Group showed that 58 percent of the advertising and marketing executives interviewed do not offer an internship program.

“Consider your options wisely. While internships that pay well are attractive, it's also important to consider whether the position will provide exposure to a range of projects, people and experiences,” The Creative Group survey advises. “The most valuable internships offer plenty of opportunities to learn and acquire skills that support your professional goals.”

Nathan Parcells, cofounder and CMO of InternMatch, an online platform that helps students find internships, adds that students seeking competitive, paid internships should apply early, use their network to get a referral from someone at the company and make sure to stand out from the rest of the pack.

"Top employers want the best of the best for their internship programs. You’ve got to stand out by bringing more to the table than the average intern candidate," Parcells says. "Think outside of the box when it comes to your cover letter and resume to ensure you’re going to 'wow' the reader. Keep in mind that experience and a fit for company culture are coveted by intern employers."

And the top 15 paid internships are...

According to reviews, ratings and salary reports shared by interns between January 2011 and January 2013 on the career website Glassdoor.com, the top companies that are currently hiring paid interns are:

  1. Google ranks number one among interns polled by Glassdoor for the second year. A software engineer intern earns $6,432 per month and a general intern makes $5,787 per month. So the premise for the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson buddy flick The Internship makes total sense.
  2. Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble pays interns $3,997 per month.
  3. QUALCOMM interns make $4,955 per month.
  4. Microsoft pays a research intern $7,050 per month, and a program manager intern earns $5,795 per month.
  5. Nordstrom interns make $2,006 per month.
  6. General Electric pays interns $2,874 per month.
  7. PwC interns make up to $4,873 per month.
  8. Intel pays $4,280 per month to an undergraduate technical intern.
  9. KPMG pays interns $3,729 per month.
  10. Cisco pays interns up to $4,077 per month.
  11. Ernst & Young pays $4,269 to an audit intern and $4,1565 to a tax intern.
  12. IBM pays a software engineer intern $4,609 per month.
  13. Amazon pays a software development engineer intern $5,564 per month, and a financial analyst intern gets $3,138 per month.
  14. Merrill Lynch pays interns $1,544 per month.
  15. JP Morgan Chase pays interns $4,042 per month.

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