Why Do Internships?

By LACEY ELLISON

These days many employers won’t even look at a potential employee’s résumé if the applicant does not have some form of experience – which in many cases means an
internship. While the number of jobs being filled is dropping and the number of
internships rising, college students are adding an internship to their list of activities. But do internships really help with graduates’ chances at succeeding as they look for a job post-graduation?

Many would say ‘most definitely.’ Many employers look at it as an advantage because it means potential employees will already have some of the necessary skills needed for the position they fill. This keeps employers from having to begin the training process from the beginning – if not cutting it out completely. Besides saving their employers time and money, former interns also know what an office environment is like. They know the guidelines for acting professionally and how to work with other office personnel. It also gives future employers a record of an intern’s job performance which can provide greater insight than any other reference.

Although a college degree is an asset for future career opportunities, the happenings of a
classroom are much different from that of an internship.

“At school, you can arrive in your pajamas, not interact with a single person the entire class time and play on your phone during class,” said Kennesaw State University student
Brianna Ledford. “In the real world, none of that flies.”

Ledford, a full-time student at KSU and part-time intern at a local marketing firm, said that if you pull any of the ‘slacker’ moves many students dare pull in a classroom, you
would be fired instantly.

“It has definitely prepared me for life after college. I don’t think I would be able to get the
experience I need to help me find a job just at school,” Ledford said.

And in the current economy, a college degree doesn’t seem to be enough. With a job market that is more competitive than ever, having an extra edge on the competition is vital.

Internships can also provide the foot in the door to companies that college graduates need. With employers sorting through stacks of résumés to fill a single job, an internship
can provide graduates with the foothold to beat their competitors. It allows employers to do a ‘trial run’ and to determine whether they can picture them having a future place in their company or not. In fact, 59 percent of employers are likely to hire their interns as full-time employees.

Plus, with the interns involved in the daily routine, it allows them to be aware of the office
happenings. If a position becomes available that they feel they are fit for, they may be able to go to their employer to discuss possibly obtaining it.

“After a year and a half at my internship, I heard about a job opening in the company and went straight to my boss to ask if he would recommend me for it,” KSU graduate Cat
Burton said. “He went directly to the head of the company and I was hired a week later.” There’s little doubt that without her internship, she would have never known about the job opening.

But not everyone is jumping in line to get an internship. Some college students simply don’t have the time or funds to take one on. Many college students are financially
independent, making it hard to do a non-paid internship. Others simply don’t have the time to intern on top of being a full-time student, having jobs and other obligations. Internship or not, students are feeling the pressure of a time when more than a college degree is necessary for life after graduation.

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