Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Degree May Not Be Enough...5 Reasons Why College Students Should Complete An Internship

Guest post by Lauren Towle, Class of 2012

You’re about to earn your degree, so finding a job should be easy right? Well...maybe not.  Many employers prefer potential employees with some experience. 

Is there a way for students to acquire much-needed career experience during college?'s actually rather simple: get an internship.

Not convinced as to why internships are important? Here are five reasons to help you make your decision:

1. Gain Real World Experience.

With internships becoming more common, employers are starting to expect at least one completed during college.  They not only give an added boost to your resume, but they give you experience to apply to your actual career as well as a healthy dose of personal confidence. Having an internship can help eliminate the common fears students have about the “real world.”

2. Test Drive Your Career Choice.

Internships show an employer that you have an idea of what is expected of you once you're hired. Also, you'll get an inside glimpse of what you will be doing after you graduate. This allows you to test drive your career and can help you decide whether you're on the right path...or whether you need a course correction.  

3. Internships Can Turn Into Jobs.

Not only do internships provide you with professional experience, they may lead to an job offer upon graduation. Many companies use them as a gateway to hiring employees. If you work hard and impress the right people, you may garner a job offer! And if not an actual job offer, you'll have some great professional references and an increased professional network.

4. Earn College Credit.

Many colleges grant 3-6 credits for internships - the equivalent to one or two classes.  These internships can be completed during semesters or the summer. Colleges work with many companies to help students find experience opportunities and they offer many resources.

5. Make Some Extra Money,

There are many different kinds of internships, including paid ones. If you can make money while learning how to work in your career of choice AND get college credit, then I’d say you've got it made! While unpaid internships also offer amazing opportunities to enhance what you're learning in class, making money can certainly help to lessen financial stress a bit.

The bottom line is this:  with the workforce becoming more and more competitive among graduates, it is imperative to gain experience that will make you a stand out candidate.  The more experience you have, the better you'll look against the 100s of other potential job applicants.

There is no way around an internship! Visit your college career planning or experiential learning office for information on how to get started. Additional sources of internship information to follow in another post.  Stay tuned!

About Lauren Towle: 
Lauren Towle, Class of 2012, is a college senior majoring in public relations with a minor in marketing. She is two-time intern who has supplemented her in-class learning with real-world, practical experience and is looking forward to job searching, interviewing and beginning her next chapter.


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