College Internships: Gateway to Careers

Joining an internship is a great way of mentoring and teaching students or workers new ways of performing within a specific company. The rate of students joining internships has increased in recent years. This is due to companies offering more opportunities within their programs, along with universities acting as the gateway to opportunity. It’s important to know the relevance of internships today, and how you as parents can help your student make an internship possible.

What exactly is an internship?

There are many different types of internships but not all jobs qualify as such. They give great learning experiences for students within their specific field. Some of the work performed during an internship is viewed as minor, but it is important for understanding all aspects of the job. Some internships are available during the school year or during the summer. Some people even take part in programs after graduation.

The role of an intern is a mix of employee and student. Internships can either be paid, unpaid, may receive academic credit or none at all. The overall experience is meant to help the student bridge the gap between school and work force. The student and employer work together to help create goals that shape the internship experience. It will help to get both the intern and employer on the same page so to speak.

How can students find internships?

The best way for students to find out about potential internship opportunities is through their college Career Office. The Career Office helps students format cover letters, resumes, interviewing skills, and expectations within the workplace. Other sources of internship inquiries can be found on internship databases on line and personal contacts such as family or friends. You can even check out Career Fairs, which are often provided on campus from time to time.

Why are internships so important?

An internship is important because it takes what’s leaned in the classroom and puts it to practical use. On the other hand, there are many other reasons why your student may want to take part in an internship program during their college experience.

• According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), around 50% of employers would like to see an internship on a student’s resume.

• An internship can work as a gateway to a job within the company. Again, according to a NACE survey, almost 36% of employers hired employees from their own internship program. According to Matthew Zinman of the Internship Institute, IBM may convert as much as 50% of their interns into full time employees.

• An internship allows a student to “audition” for a job before taking a full on position within the company.

• Students who complete internships may find gaps in their practical knowledge, which may affect which courses they take in the future. They will be able to fill in gaps before they graduate.

• The experience of obtaining the internship may be an experience in its self. The student will have to write a cover letter and resume, complete an application, and interview for the position.

• Your student will gain experience about a particular job or field within the workforce that applies to them.

• An internship looks good on a resume, and employers expect to see one provided on the resume.

• Students may create contacts and have an opportunity to network themselves, which is important to find a stable job.

• Employers prefer to hire students who have completed internships because it increases job retention. They know that interns have a better understanding of their profession and know what lies ahead within the company.

• Your student can earn academic credit.

• Even if your student finds that they do not enjoy the work within the internship, they will gain valuable experience. They will be able to find a work environment best suited to their work ethic.

• Students who complete internships are more likely to receive higher salaries when they are hired.

• An internship may lead to a job offer.

• Many internships are fun and can be great self-confidence boosters.

As mentioned before, an internship can lead to a job offer. This is not always the case; there are no guarantees when searching for a job. However, students who take part in internship experiences, or multiple internship experiences, have an advantage when searching for a job. Employers are fully aware of the advantages that lie ahead once the internship is complete. It’s important to persuade your student to complete an internship at some point before finding a job.

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