The importance of internships for college students

Kasheda Daum is a graduate of St. John’s University with a BA in journalism and minor in psychology. She is a native New Yorker living in Kauai, Hawaii. She takes great pride in being able to help others –whether it is through writing, listening, or conversing. Her passion for writing started at an early age and continues to be a favorite hobby.

With a recovering economy and a competitive job market, finding a position after college can be difficult. A decisive factor in making your resume stand out amongst the crowd is the presence of internship experience. Many careers start out with internships, often unpaid, to get your foot into that corporate door.
Landing an internship not only shows that the individual is dedicated and interested in one’s craft, but also that he/she has a sense of understanding, know-how, and ability to work. The time and work displayed in participating in an internship makes one a more eligible candidate for full-time employment. Applicants with internship experience included in their cover letters and resumes often have an advantage over applicants without since in the past years many hiring companies require them.
The sooner one finds an internship the better. Having completed one, two, or even three of these would prove to be impressive on a resume. Along with looking good to potential employers, this gives one the opportunity to really explore their desired field. Throughout the college years many students may decide to change career paths, majors, and minors. Working at an internship will allow the individual to in a sense to “test drive” their career to determine if it is indeed the best fit for them. It is a great way to investigate if one is comfortable in their work setting, how the staff interacts, and the overall morale of a company.
It is no secret that networking can play a huge factor in finding a job upon graduation. Interning is key in getting to meet new people whom share a common interest, establishing relationships with possible future bosses, and even finding mentors. Knowing the right people and demonstrating one’s abilities, hard work, and determination at an internship can certainly favor a candidate when it’s time to make hiring decisions. Creating and maintaining both a positive attitude and relationship with those in your future career field can lead to kind comments being exchanged about an individual, recommendations, and high praise –all things that can aid chances of locking in a job in a difficult work hunt.
Many internships offer college credit. This can be a win-win situation –one can gain experience and also opt out of a taking a course. In fact, many internships require that the undergraduate student will be able to receive college credit in retribution for the position being unpaid. What one lacks in compensation for their work will be made up in experience, networking, and accumulating new skills.
The very optimistic dream that having a bachelor’s degree and an outstanding cover letter leads to an immediate job upon graduation is just that –very optimistic. Many entry-level jobs require that the applicant have a minimum of three to five years of experience. It can be discouraging applying for positions without the work background. With an internship under your belt, that will better your chance for the desired position. It’s important to keep busy while in college with extra curricular internships and gaining experiences outside of classes to show an employer that you are well-rounded, able to handle multiples tasks, and determined in pursuing a career upon college graduation.

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