The Value of Internships

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So you’re a recent college graduate equipped with an awesome cover letter, top notch grade point average and raving reviews from administrators & peers alike. In the work field, possessing all of the aforementioned qualities is fine but without real hands on experience you will placed in the bottom of the pecking order in the eyes of employers whom are engaged in the process of hiring new employees to add to their companies.

 

Graduates whose résumé feature paid or unpaid internships have a higher chance at landing a full-time position shortly after graduation. Most students are taking advantage of internships while pursuing undergraduate degrees, and it is not unusual for recent grads to take an unpaid internship with the prospects in mind that it will turn into a permanent position or at the very least make some industry related contacts while continuing to build their résumé.

The current depressive state of the economy is changing the nature and increasing the importance of the work given to interns. Employers happen to be using the interns as a fundamental resource to solidify areas where full-time hiring has been cut.

Job applicants usually put their best foot forward on paper. Their cover letter and résumé usually been screened by many eyes to ensure quality and appeal while remaining professional as possible, and nearly every employment seeker chooses references who will speak well of them.

While an interview or an assessment test can add to what an employer knows about an individual, an internship helps an employer evaluate how a person would fare in the actual workplace.

Companies that devote time and resources to finding, selecting and training interns are looking for a return on their investment. The benefit might be in the present (using the services of talented individuals without having to make a hiring commitment), or it might be in the future (the added ability to choose a person who will work out well as an employee).

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What they can lead to:
Outside of getting a foot in the door with a prospective employer and beefing up a résumé, internships have other benefits:

  • The opportunity to “test drive” a career (Would I be happier in sales or advertising? Am I more comfortable working with finance and accounting?)
  • Opportunity to network with Industry professionals
  • Establishing and building relationships with professionals
  • Possible college credit or certification
  • An introduction to the field’s culture and etiquette • Accumulating new skills
  • Gaining a “real world” perspective on an occupation

 How to find them:
Most high schools, colleges, and universities possess career centers where you can search for an internship. Often times, these centers will be staffed with employees who can aid you in your search, offer you advice, and assist you with writing your resume and cover letters.

 

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Job fairs held in cities are often great places to seek internship opportunities. At these events, companies seeking to hire employees or interns will have booths where you can apply or get more information. Look for job fairs in your area and be ready to attend. You should have a strong idea of what you’re looking for, as well as proper dress and a resume.

Many career fields will have professional organizations, associations or regional branches of those groups. These will often have online job postings or postings in their offices. Call the organization appropriate for your field and ask if they provide any information regarding internship openings.

Networking is one of the best ways to find internships and other work opportunities. Poll your friends using social media, ask your parents or your parents friends, or talk with acquaintances and employers about openings they are aware of or people they may know who would be open to taking an intern.

There are many websites which are designed to help people get internships. While you have to be careful, since like other job websites there are often people wanting to scam you, these websites can be invaluable tools for finding internships you might not have been aware of otherwise.

 

Posted By: Kyle Prince, Event Productions Intern

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