What do employers look for when hiring recent college graduates? Internships. Internships are one of the most important parts of your college experience. Between all of the class time and hitting the books, you need the time to actually apply what you're learning in an environment designed to help you grow. Here are five key reasons why internships are important for every college student.
A Starting Point: There are plenty of opportunities available and many smaller companies are looking to take on younger interns in order to help them work their way up. It may not be your ideal job, and it may not even be in the industry or company you’re interested in having a career in, but those dream corporations are looking for experience. Your GPA and extracurricular involvement may be outstanding, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have any of the work experience they are looking for.
Companies are looking for experience: Getting an internship instead of working just another minimum wage job during the school year or over the summer could give your resume the extra padding you need in order to appeal to the Fortune 500 company you’ve got your sights on. Put what you’ve learned over the course of earning your degree to use by applying it during an internship. Having experience using the skills you’ve been taught and gaining new ones that you can only learn on the job will make you more appealing to recruiters.
Networking: Internships provide the perfect opportunity for networking. Your coworker or supervisor during your internship could be the reason you end up securing a job in the future. “Career experts say that one-on-one networking during a summer internship is a must,” according to a Bloomberg.com article. Having people in your network who have not only seen you in action and what you’re capable of, but also know you on a more personal level is invaluable. Only internships provide that opportunity to college students.
Figuring out what you like: You thought you wanted to go into advertising the whole of your college career, but after a week interning in an ad agency, you realize you hate it. Internships provide the perfect opportunity to figure out something like this before you’re held down by a job contract. You can add experience to your resume, and know that you actually prefer something else before you even step away with your diploma.
It might just be the key to your first job: More and more companies are tending to hire their interns full-time if they like what they see. In a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, they found that 90% of eligible interns who completed a second internship with the company received an offer of full-time employment from the companies they interned with.
These aren't the only reasons internships are important! There are opportunities everywhere for students to begin getting the experience they need for their dream job and the companies they want to work for. You never know, the company you intern with now could just end up being the company you stay with to launch your career.
Visit the Johnson Career Center to find out more information about available internships and to get help with polishing your resume.