Turning in a resume that boasts a GPA of 4.0 is something to be proud of, but it’s not enough to make you stand out in a job interview. When you’re ready to start a career, there’s something that matters more: experience.
Nine out of ten employers look for students who completed an internship. Internships lasting at least three months are the most desired. College seniors who interned accepted higher salaries after graduation than those who did not intern prior to graduation. Recent trends show internships are on the rise.
Internships are quickly becoming the new interview. If you secure an internship with an organization, you have taken the first step towards getting a job there. You should consider each day you walk into the office another interview.
A good company recognizes interns as the future. If your skills and attitude meet expectations, and they have already invested time in teaching you about the company, you are likely to fair better in a post-graduate interview than someone who never interned at the company.
Working in a professional environment has its perks, and one of them is free training. You may learn to use a program or earn a certification that others would typically have to pay for in order to add to their resume. Internships allow you to take advantage of free training that you won’t find in your college courses.
The more interviews you complete, the more confidently you can answer interview questions. When an interviewer asks you how you handle certain situations, or inquires about a specific skill set, you have the ability to show how you used certain skills in a professional environment. This speaks volumes for what you are capable of. Experience and confidence are a winning combination.
Connections are important in any industry. If you aren’t offered a job at the company you intern at simply because there aren’t any openings, use the connections you made as references for other employment opportunities. In addition to asking for references, ask your boss if he or she has any connections they might be able to put you in touch with.
Choosing a Career Path
It should be said that internships can also help you determine what you absolutely don’t want to do. You may be thrilled that you were hired as an intern, only to find out a few weeks later that the company or the job just isn’t right for you.
Internships enable you to test the waters before jumping too far in. You may even decide to change your major or try new courses as your interests change and develop.
Interns often get special perks you wouldn’t get at a normal student job. You may be offered a travel opportunity, VIP passes or other free items. While these won’t help your resume, they’re a nice perk. Just be sure you’re on your best behavior when receiving or using them. Remember, your internship is an interview.
Completing an internship provides you with experience that a classroom simply cannot. Take advantage of this stepping stone while you’re in college to open more doors and gain a better understanding of the path you want to take as a graduate.