While coursework, student life and athletics are key aspects of the college experience, completing a college internship can be crucial to your success beyond the classroom, providing you with a valuable foothold on the entry-level job market.
About 63 percent of graduates who completed paid internships received a job offer immediately after college, compared to 35 percent of those who did no internships, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. It also revealed that the average starting salary of those who completed paid internships were generally higher than those who didn’t have one.
If that wasn’t enough reason for you to fit an internship into your college plan, here are four more reasons you should get your resume ready for an internship or two down the road.
Internships set you apart in the post-college job search.
Sure, most jobs that students apply for after college are considered entry-level. However, many hiring managers want entry-level employees to have some experience. This is because these employers want new hires to hit the ground running — which may be challenging for someone who has never worked in an office or lab before.
Furthermore, without an internship and the relevant experience it provides, creating an attractive resume can difficult. However, if you have internship experience you’ll have a stronger resume and it can increase your chances of being invited to interview.
The reason for this is simple. When employers are faced with a stack of applications, they must quickly weigh their choices based solely on the information laid out in front of them. While most of their entry-level applicants will be straight out of college, the ones with relevant internships will find their way to the top of the pile much faster than those with part-time retail and restaurant experience.
You get the chance to test drive your career choice.
Many careers sound really great on paper. But when it comes to doing the job day-in and day-out, it may lose its appeal. Sometimes there can be aspects of a particular career that most outside of that industry don’t consider — like endless stacks of paperwork, a highly competitive culture or dwindling opportunities due to industry decline.
It’s always a good idea to gain an understanding of what everyday life is like in the field you’re perusing, so you can discover if it’s something you even enjoy doing. One of the best ways for you to get your feet wet is to test the waters of your career choice through an internship, while there’s time to choose another path while still in college.
Interactions during internships help grease the networking wheel.
Many times, getting a great gig really comes down to who you know. One tried and true way you can get to know people in your future industry is through internships. At its most basic level, every great interaction could lead to a new connection on LinkedIn which could be the key to your biggest and best job lead. So it’s important for you to treat each day on an internship like an extension of the interview.
If you knock it out of the park and impress your internship boss, that internship could turn into a full-time job after graduation. Or, at the very least, it could earn you a great letter of recommendation or reference for another future opportunity.
Interns get a soft introduction to workplace culture and etiquette.
Workplace culture and etiquette can be fickle beasts that may be intimidating to newcomers. There are a lot of written and unwritten rules and protocols to unpack, all while trying to learn the basic responsibilities of the job and find the break room and nearest restroom.
Getting an introduction to proper office decorum on an internship — rather than while you’re under the pressure to impress at a permanent job — can be priceless. Not only can it help you seem adaptable, it eliminates some of the awkwardness and jitters beforehand.