By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - College students and graduates know getting an internship can be the gateway to a job but landing one can often be difficult.
However, a new mobile app from Nokia is aiming to change that by showing them job opportunities nearby. By aiming a smartphone at a nearby building that houses companies users will be able to see available internships there.
The app is from Internship Lens, which was created by Finnish communications corporation Nokia for its Lumia Windows-based smartphones.
"You're able to point your phone at a building and see the jobs available at companies there, and also the people you know at that company," said Bryan Biniak, a vice president at Nokia, said in a telephone interview from Espoo in Finland.
"People are often looking for a place near their home, or along the transportation line," he added.
Nearly half of internships in the United States turned into full-time jobs this year, according to The National Association of Colleges and Employers.
The app uses augmented reality, a technology that overlays information on a real-world display, to show internship listings. Users can also browse for opportunities on a map.
The app connects with professional and social media websites LinkedIn and Facebook to identify people who might be able make an introduction to the hiring manager.
Biniak said the odds of getting a callback for an internship can increase greatly when there is a mutual connection.
"It might be a friend or family member or your friend's dad who works at that company," he said.
The free app lists more than 75,000 internships from 45,000 companies across the United States through a partnership with internship listings site Internships.com. Users can also upload resumes and apply to jobs through the app.
Biniak said the motivation for creating the app was to expand the number of unique apps available for Nokia Lumia users. The company also created JobLens, available in the U.S., Canada and the Britain, which has similar features but for full-time positions.
Several other apps, including career management website Monster's BeKnown, also help interns find jobs and show how they are connected to hiring managers.
BeKnown is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and a Facebook app. It finds mutual connections through Facebook. LinkedIn, which has apps on all major platforms, finds connections through their network.
LinkedIn also recently released University Pages, which provides students with information about alumni who have graduated from their school. Students can check alumni professions and skills.
Earlier this month it was announced that Microsoft and Nokia had reached an agreement for Microsoft to buy Nokia's devices and services business.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney, Bernard Orr)