From college to the “real-world,” there is no telling where you will go, what you will achieve and how you will do it. A lot of students, however, don’t enter the real-world known as their preferred industry workplace. According to Pew Research, 44% of college graduates in the U.S. are currently working in jobs that do not require a degree. In many fields, employers do not hire fresh college graduates into their entry level positions. Why? Because school doesn’t mean experience.
According to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 95% of employers rely on the candidate’s work experience when considering new hires. Where do students get experience? From internships or co-op programs.
Internships help students receive this real-world experience while still in school. Internship programs provide quite a few benefits. Asides from experience, they help add content to a professional portfolio, build up resumes and offer a way to apply what students have learned in a work setting with guidance from real professionals.
Still don’t believe me? Well here are 5 important reasons why you should get an internship.
- Learn more about your industry
School provides a lot of knowledge that builds the further your classes are. However, when entering the workforce, you may also discover gaps between your classroom learning and what you need to know in your industry. You may not have realized accounting required more communication, or that marketing required common business practice knowledge. Internships can help strategize ways to fill in what you haven’t learned yet. Employers can even describe courses or skills they didn’t think they would need, but now use way more than they expected.
- Apply classroom knowledge and practice
Again, there’s a big difference between learning about strategies and tactics and actually applying them. Interning for an organization helps students learn how their classroom knowledge applies to real situations and reinforces concepts taught in classes. Plus, you’ll learn more. You can further your knowledge on industry related tasks, but grow as a problem solver and leader, or maybe even get a front seat on a new research project.
- Decide if it’s the right path for you
You think you want to work in a hospital, or maybe for a nonprofit? Well, how do you really know if you haven’t worked in that atmosphere before? Industry related work can give you valuable insight in determining if your degree is a good fit, or if your dream job is indeed your dream job.
Better yet, you may even discover another area of your field to enter into. Maybe you’re a marketing major and you discover you hate research and data reading, maybe try out public relations or social media marketing. Maybe you have an undecided major and want to test out career paths. Getting an internship can clear up whether a desk job is in your interests.
Being hired by a professional organizations shows that someone is interested in your skillset and that you can work in a business setting. This is a resume booster as well as a way to add additional references. Your internship supervisor will have firsthand experience on what skills you bring to the table, and also works with you to further develop new ones, making them an ideal reference for future jobs. Other coworkers can add on to that list as references for reference letters and more.
Employers expect to see some sort of industry related work on a potential employee’s resume, and having other employers who can vouch for your work ethic can add that extra push when searching for a job.
- Maybe you’ll get a job
It’s not always likely, but if you take an internship as a good learning experience, you fit in well with the corporate culture and your workplace skills match the job description, employers occasionally hire former interns for full-time positions. This is just another reason to take the job seriously and make a great impression. Of course, you want your performance to be excellent whether or not it does will lead to future employment.
Ultimately, an internship is a valuable source of education and experience. Gannon students, with the assistance of the Career Exploration and Development center, are supplied with a variety of resources to support students exploring possibilities and developing professionally. Resources for College Central Network, My Plan and What Can I Do With This Major, can all be found at gannon.edu as well as additional links and contacts to get your future after college headed in your desired direction..