Top 6 reasons why internships matter

A college degree is important in attaining your career aspirations, but with increased competition for nearly every position out there it’s vital to do something to set yourself apart from everyone else.

That something different could very well be an internship, which provides you vital experience in your major that can differentiate you from the tens of thousands of college graduates across the country entering a flooded job market.

Sign reading, "Careers, Next Exit". Today’s graduates also are competing with job candidates who have many years of experience and may be unemployed or looking for a career change. There has never been more competition for jobs.

Why do internships matter? Sixty-nine percent of companies with 100 or more employees offered full-time jobs to their interns in 2012. That number is on the increase compared to 2011.

So, here are six reasons why a college internship can give you a leg up in a tight job market.

Build your resume and interview skills. An internship on a resume looks impressive, and can set you apart from another candidate who doesn’t have that extra experience.

Instead of having a resume that just  includes your degree, perhaps a strong GPA, some work experience in retail or another area, and maybe some volunteer work, your resume will have real-world experience in your major. An internship will also give you an opportunity to share real examples of how you’ve applied the skills you learned both in class and on the job.

Build your business network. An internship affords you the opportunity to build your business network.

Make friends with everyone because you never know when the copy center person has a brother who owns a company and could hire you. And remember, everything you do during your internship is a reflection on your employability after graduation. Be respectful to everyone you meet and always put your best foot forward.

Build your references. In order to get hired, you’ll need people who will vouch for you. An internship offers you the great opportunity to develop references.

Many students do not realize how the job search process works. First, you send out resumes, then if you’re lucky, you get a first interview, and then maybe a second or third interview. Once a company is ready to offer you a position, you will be asked for references.

During your internship you have the opportunity to impress your boss or any other key employees with your great skills and attitude. When it comes time for references, you’ll have people willing to provide them.

Employers may hire you! Employers frequently use internships as an inexpensive tool to preview future employees. They can try you out before they hire you. So treat your internship as a real job. It may pay off in a huge way.

Demonstrate your work ethic, dedication to company success, and desire to learn as much as possible. Whether they have a job opening right now, when you graduate, or in the near future, you want them to think of you and hire you.

Learn new skills and build your experience. Internships are a perfect way to take your classroom knowledge and apply it in a real-world work environment. You can also learn new skills in the work environment and have experiences that the classroom could never provide. This is great for you as a developing professional and looks great on your resume, and will give you something to talk about on a job interview.

Explore career interests, occupations and environments. Whatever your college major is, there are multiple jobs and careers that you could embark upon. An internship gives you a chance to see firsthand if you are interested in a certain occupation. Even students who think they know exactly what they want to do after graduation are sometimes surprised when they try it, and realize it isn’t what they wanted. An internship can help you fine tune your intended career path.

Internships are not a requirement for a college student to secure a job, but they are one of the most important things employers look at when evaluating recent college graduates. Statistics prove that you are more likely to get a job if you participate in an internship.

Have you participated in an internship in college? Did it help you in securing a job after graduation?

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