Are you a college student? Have you had an internship before? If yes, awesome! You’re ahead of the game. If no, what are you waiting for? Now more than ever, employers are looking to hire graduates with internship experience. According to a 2015 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, approximately 93 percent of employers are looking to hire candidates with work experience. Of that 93 percent, approximately 73 percent of employers prefer that work experience to be relevant to the field. If this isn’t compelling enough, read on to learn three reasons you should complete an internship as a college student.
- Internships help you decide if this career is for you and, if so, what path to take.
Much like a crystal ball, internships give you a glimpse into your future. Interns enter the real world: waking up early, dressing professionally, meeting deadlines and so much more. This allows interns to fully experience the type of work environment they may experience in the future. Students can then decide if they can handle that future job or if they should change their major and explore a better fit.
During my freshman year I, like many other college students, was unsure about my future career goals. I had no clue what I wanted to do. I chose public relations on a whim and knew little about what it would entail. The summer following my freshman year, I had an amazing, hands-on public relations internship in Atlanta. The experience solidified my decision to pursue public relations as my major. When it comes to internships, negative experiences are just as helpful as positive ones, because they direct you to another option. Did you know Conan O’Brien interned for a member of the House of Representatives? Without this internship experience, he may have never found his true passion for comedy. Once you have decided on your future profession, internships allow you to choose which path to follow within the field. Internships provide clarity in whichever field you wish to pursue.
- Internships give you a chance to learn classroom concepts by doing.
College is an awesome place that teaches you just about everything you need to know before entering the real world. One major thing it lacks is hands-on experience. Internships provide a chance to perform what you’ve learned by completing real-world tasks using classroom concepts. Executing these concepts enables you to get a tougher grasp on what they mean. These learning experiences will help to build your confidence in your desired field.
As a public relations major, I’ve learned how to understand target audiences, create social media campaigns, write in AP style and analyze case studies. While this is all necessary to learn, being graded on my knowledge by a teacher is different than being assessed by a client or boss. My internships have allowed me to work directly with clients, gain knowledge from my mentors and receive feedback from my boss. Check out “7 Ways Your Internship is Different From The Classroom” by Heather Huhman, career expert and hiring manager of Come Recommended, to learn more about the value of internship experience.
- Internships make it easier to get a job after college.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers focus on resumes, work experience, connections and education. Internships help with all of these. They fill your resume with work experience, expand your portfolio and give you the opportunity to network. Expanding your portfolio allows you to provide employers with examples of what you learned during your internship. It’s the best way to show the work experience that your resume describes. Building your professional network is almost as important as building your resume. Connections made during your time as an intern can become useful when you begin searching for a full-time job. The best way to keep in touch with connections you make during your internship is through LinkedIn.
I obtained my most recent internship as a result of a connection I had from a previous experience. There were many applicants for only a few positions and, while my work experience and education was useful, the connection that I had helped me stand out from other applicants. That connection spoke on my behalf, as I previously interned for her, and was a great resource when applying to my most recent internship.
Now that you know the importance of internships, what are you waiting for? Go apply for an internship today!