A typical college experience involves lectures, group studies, living with roommates, and hanging around with friends on campus. While commitment to studies is essential in college, merely having a degree is often not enough to secure a graduate job offer. Gaining relevant work experience is just as valuable as a college degree to build a successful career. Internships help individuals gain valuable real-life work experience by applying the knowledge and skills gained in their college courses in the workplace. According to a2019 surveyby the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 53.2% of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job, received at least one job offer. Within the group, 57.5% of students had internship experience.
Here are a few of the many reasons internships are beneficial for college students:
Gaining career-specific experience
Knowledge acquired in a classroom gains value when applied in a professional setting. Students with internship experience are more likely to be offered positions upon graduation than those who did not seek additional work experience while in college. Many companies prefer to hire graduates with previous internship experience for entry-level positions. It is important to gain applicable experience for your future career while still obtaining your degree.
Expanding transferable skills
Internships help individuals develop a variety of transferable skills like verbal communication, problem-solving, and even empathy. You may have had the opportunity to flex these skills at college, but in a real work environment, these skills are often applied in a different way. For instance, during your internship, you’ll learn about the differences between business and academic communication and how to apply the concepts and strategies learned in the classroom to tasks in the workplace.
Internships provide a variety of great networking opportunities. You will be introduced to professionals across all departments and verticals within your industry. You will be able to learn more about the aspects of a job that can’t be taught in a classroom setting. The relationships you build during an internship often prove to be influential in developing leads for future job opportunities. Many companies will pair interns with a mentor who can provide valuable input on transitioning to full-time employment.
Building a well-rounded resume
College internships were once regarded as a bonus for entry-level positions. However, over the years, it has almost become an essential resume component for most industries. Leading companies often overlook recent graduates who do not have any applicable real-life work environment. Respondents in a2022 surveyby NACE claimed that internship experience is the most important factor when making a tough hiring decision. This is applicable to internships within the organization as well as those with other organizations within your industry.
Accessing more top-notch job offers
While having internship experience doesn’t guarantee you will get any job, it certainly increases your chances of landing a better offer than graduates without internship experience. AnApril 2021 surveyby NACE revealed that 8 out of 10 employers extend job offers to their interns. The rate of acceptance among candidates is more than 83%. This shows just how important building strong relationships and performing well in internships can be for graduates seeking their first job opportunities.
Improving your opportunity to earn a higher salary
Internships usually help graduates earn a higher starting salary once they are officially offered a position. While the average pay varies between professions, graduates with internship experience can negotiate for a higher package, leveraging their relevant work experience and understanding of workplace practices.
Achieving better job stability
Though internships are typically short-lived, the job opportunities thereafter usually lead to strong career trajectories along with a stable income. Organizations will often hire interns for full-time positions upon graduation due to the candidate’s first-hand knowledge of the job responsibilities.
Internship exposes graduates to several professionals, settings, and situations that can help them succeed in their future career. It also helps students develop the skills to make a mark on their chosen career path and build their confidence in the workplace. As with all major transitions, it’s natural that graduates may experience some trepidation before starting their professional careers. However, gaining valuable work experience through internships can help ease the transition from student to full-time employee.