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According to the National Association of College Employers, whose members mostly include large firms that recruit on campus, there are 22 percent fewer paid internships and 21 percent fewer full-time hires for 2009 graduates. NACE also reports that students who previously sought full-time paid positions are seeking internships instead. For these new graduates, competing for the big zero isn't easy, and site likes One Day, One Internship help postgrads navigate the choppy waters. One Bowdoin graduate, who claims unpaid internships are "the next big thing," laments that she "can't seem to get one."
University of California-Berkeley graduate Jonathan Hung endured an internship at a social media startup in San Francisco before volunteering his Web developer skills at a children's hospital. He was hired a month later. "Being unpaid sets up this psychological barrier from the get-go," he said. "It's not all about the money, but honestly it is. What's the motivation?"