The moment you walk through the doors to your new college or university, it’s time to get focused on the next steps in life. Your college education will set the foundation for the skills you need to pursue your future career goals. It will not only provide you with the degree and credential you need to obtain the position you want, but it can open up a number of internship opportunities which can serve as steppingstones to a job in your preferred industry.
Why Do an Internship?
With so much going on in college, both academically and socially, during the years you may be wondering, why should I get an internship? The hard truth is that college is becoming more and more accessible to students, meaning a large percentage of those seeking the same jobs you are will likely also have a degree. This makes job pursuits after college significantly more competitive and it can be a lot harder to stand out in the pack.
Unless you have experience. And that brings up another point: You may not only be going up against other college graduates for a job, but also against applicants who have experience in the industry. That’s where an internship can do you some good. Internships allow you to learn the industry through actual job experience. To potential employers, that means they won’t have to expend as many resources to properly train you. Even better, many companies prefer to hire internally, which means many of their entry-level positions could be offered to current interns.
Statistics Don’t Lie
Statistics show that internships can give college students a leg up when it comes to securing full-time employment after college. In fact, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 56 percent of 2019 college students who interned while pursuing a degree turned that experience into a full-time hire with the company. And those who don’t secure a position with their internship company still walk away with real-world experience to add to their resume when they apply for other positions.
Not only do statistics show that student interns have a leg up when it comes to securing positions, but they also fare well when it comes to keeping the job. According to the NACE report, the retention rate for interns hired is 71 percent after a year. And for those who obtained a different job after their internship, the retention rate was 59 percent. Those who were hired without an internship or job experience only had a retention rate of 42.4 percent.
While having an internship in college is not a requirement for students looking to land a job, it definitely can help them stand out when employers are looking at recent graduates to fill entry-level positions. Still need a little bit of convincing, check out the many benefits of internship programs for students.
Benefits of Internships
While the statistics show how having an internship can help you gain experience, develop skills and stand out from a crowded pool of candidates, there are a host of other tangible benefits, as well:
Internships Give Your Resume a Boost
Having an internship can definitely give you a little more meat to your resume than a college education alone. No matter how hard you work on your resume, it’s important to realize that your resume is likely to be one in a sea of similar resumes, with numerous college graduates vying for the same position.
While the look of your resume is critical, it should do more than attract their initial interest. Once you have their attention, you need to show that you have experience and skills to do the job. Other candidates may not be as likely to have that “little extra” in terms of experience that an internship can provide.
Not only will an internship improve the experience section of your resume, but it will also allow you to provide examples of how you applied the skills you learned during the job to solve problems and accomplish goals. Being able to provide detailed examples of the utilization of your skills can help you to stand out in the interview process as well.
You Will Have Better Networking Opportunities
An internship is also one of the greatest networking opportunities you can hope to find during your college years. Make friends with everyone you can at the company—you never know when these connections will pay off. Always be valuable and show yourself to be reliable and professional. Someone in your network, in or out of your company, could know of an open position you’d be perfect for. If nothing else, you’ll be developing a well-rounded list of references who can speak to your professionalism and skillsets when applying for a job.
You Will Have a Better Chance of Working in Your Desired Industry
If you want to work in the industry relevant to your education, a relevant internship can help. Student internships are designed to place students in industries related to your degree and area of study so that you can learn what that career would entail. The good news is, that means you will be gaining skills and connections that are specific to that industry, increasing your chances of landing a relevant job and building a career in that industry.
You Stand a Good Chance of Being Hired In
A company is more likely to hire someone that has already been working for them for a number of reasons. First, institutional knowledge. They already know the ins-and-outs of the company as well as what the position demands to be successful. Training a new employee can be expensive. By hiring an intern, the company can save both the time and money that it would take to onboard a new employee.
Another often overlooked factor is the company culture. Company culture is becoming more important because the better employees fit in with a company’s culture, the greater the productivity. And, to be honest, less conflict. After an internship, an employer will be able to determine if you fit in well with the company’s culture and whether or not you would be a valuable asset to the team. Since an internship can be the quickest path to employment in a company, treat your internship as a real job at all times, no matter the compensation. The internship is not only for you to get experience but as a way for a company to try you out before they decide if you are the right one for the job.
You Can Gain a Valuable Skill Set
Even if you are not paid for your internship—something that is becoming rarer and rarer these days—it basically acts as on-the-job-training. Some menial tasks are part-and-parcel of internship jobs, but they can also involve deep immersion in the various day-to-day activities and tasks that will be a part of your career if you continue on in the field.
What is so beneficial about an internship is that you will be able to learn significantly more real-world skills than you may be possible in a classroom. It can also provide an opportunity to test what you learned in the classroom. You can apply classroom learnings to work issues in the real world. You may also even learn some tricks of the trade from co-workers and supervisors that would never be taught in the classroom.
You Can Discover Your True Career Passions
Before you apply for an internship, you likely have in your head an idea of what your dream job could be. With an internship, you will have the opportunity to see if your dream job matches expectations. It’s a chance to see if this is the career you truly want to pursue. Maybe it isn’t—and isn’t it better to find that out early? You may find you want to pursue a different career or industry altogether.
On the other hand, you could discover it’s exactly everything you hoped it would be. By having experience in the internship, you will be able to fine-tune your trajectory before you embark on the start of your career.
It Can Give You Much-Needed Confidence
A final benefit of a student internship is that it can give you the confidence you need for when you enter the working world. You will know what to expect when you get hired for a job, and you’ll be more confident that you can perform required duties, fit in with other co-workers, and do what you need to meet and exceed the expectations of your supervisors.
Landing an Internship
Now that you know an internship is a good idea, how do you pursue and win one? Fortunately, many schools offer resources to help current students prepare for and, hopefully, win an internship.
The Center for Career and Professional Development at Post University, for example, offers resume writing assistance, help scouting internship opportunities, practice interviews to prepare for the interview process, and much more.
Ready for Your Future?
Don’t get lost in a sea of applicants. Take steps now. Plan for your future now by applying for a student internship that can help give your post-college career a jumpstart.
Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. Although we actively support the internship-seeking efforts of our students through our Center for Career and Professional Development, not all of our programs offer internship opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!