In the life of today’s college students, it is often recommended that they expose or place themselves in a real live work setting where they can gain valuable experience- an internship.
Internships are all about entering the real world. It’s when students get unplugged from the already struggling lifestyle of residential campus and face tougher challenges of budgeting and long commutes to 9 to 5 jobs.
So what is it about the sudden need for internships? Why is trying to get a job that you don’t get paid for most of time with some organization so damn important?
In a burrito wrap, internships provide you with insider status in the workplace. You might get to assist an ad agency with a commercial, or write for a web site or a broadcasting station or even interview Congress members for an op-ed in Capitol Hill. They also help establish potential networking relationships on the side and eventually filling you up with all the valuable knowledge you need in the workplace.
If you need more incentive to get into an internship, some organizations such as the one I work at hire up to 70 percent of their interns. That’s because employers get to know you better, have more time to evaluate your work ethic and save more money re-hiring interns for staff positions instead of spending resources to train new people
And if you are like me, a college student who has virtually no experience and has struggled to find work with every job application, an internship is the very thing you need to thrive in this job-ridden economy.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2010 Student Survey, individuals who finished U.S. undergraduate programs are most likely to receive job offers if they have completed internships.
“About 42 percent of seniors who had done internships received at least one job offer, compared to about 30 percent of seniors who had not. The ex-interns were also offered higher salaries and were more likely to accept the jobs they were offered.”
In addition, the percent of interns converted to full-time employees increased from 35.6% in 2001 to 50.5% in 2008 and the trend keeps increasing according to Gardner, Chao, & Hurst.
These are some of the main benefits of interning. However, the real challenge with internships is getting one and the only thing that stands between you and the internship you’re pursuing, is yourself.
My college was offering an internship program known as the Washington Semester through its Career Center. They provided uppergraduate students with potential intern opportunities from various organizations in relation to their majors. Also, the students would spend an entire semester working as interns. However, the beginning process for the internship was the furthest thing from easy. Like most internships, the Washington Semester required a substantial amount of demanding requirements and unforgiving deadlines. It seemed barely impossible. But I didn’t give up.
Remember, the internship is what you make it. You have to be motivated and determined. There are too many students who become discouraged by some of application processes. Like it or not, you will have to battle through the gauntlet of creating the resume, attaining a decent GPA, racking up reference letters, attending workshops, maintaining portfolios, meeting with your advisor and preparing for the dreaded interviews (Not to mention some of the fees you have to pay as well).
With that said, once you know you want to get an internship, you have to commit to these requirements. It may not be the easiest thing in the world but in my case, I saw it as my best bet as an up and coming post-grad.