Internships are becoming more prized in the workplace with every year that passes. Well over half of BA holders (65%) have been on one or more internship and used that internship experience to pick up real-world skills that they can put towards building their resumes and networking.
While the amount of college students doing internships has hit an all-time high, internships have also increasingly become more relevant in the post-graduation job safari.
Fortunately, the goals of interns and the needs of employers happen to align here in that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are looking for more than talent.
Student to Intern to Leader
Employers are getting the word out that they need interns who they can see as full-time employees ready to make a contribution right out of the gate.
Another thing that employers want to see is potential leadership in their interns – you may be much more likely to get hired if the employer perceives you as a future leader in your field.
In other words, more and more employers are viewing internships as feeder programs into leadership and development tracks for their organizations rather than treating you like a glorified Starbucks employee or human photocopier.
The Perks of Staying Connected
Another big plus from an employer’s perspective is an intern who can quickly forge deep connections within the company in particular and the field in general.
Even if networking is a relatively minor note in the internship that you’re on – because you’re in a more insular or less traditionally competitive field, for instance – networking allows you a gateway into other skills that can help you build your professional portfolio.
Effective networking clues you in to the prime movers and shakers in the field and steers you in the direction of the latest meetings and corporate events.
By getting this insider’s view into the industry you can save yourself a ton of time and meet the people who really matter in your field. Networking and being exposed to fresh faces and new opportunities also gives you the chance to put theory to practice and speak the lingua franca of professionals plying the trade.
Positioned for Success
Making the rounds at these events will give you much better footing when it comes to industry connections and letters of recommendation later as well.
Just like you probably needed a few prerequisite courses or training to land the internship in the first place, more solid references and practicum experience is only going to make you stand out from the pack and further enhance your future employability.
Put yourself in the shoes of an employer for a moment: You’re staring down two different curriculum vitaes. Identical GPAs – for the sake of argument – and generally pretty similar backgrounds. The only difference is that one candidate has niche experience in the industry and the other has just taken a course or two and crafted a nice essay.
Obviously, the former candidate is going to get the leg up in most instances because of that added real-world experience.
Improved Time Management Skills
On top of that, post-grads with an internship under their belt will likely have better time management skills, which is something that employers really emphasize when looking for standouts.
It’s likely a chicken or the egg scenario in that your time management probably landed you the internship in the first place, and your punctuality and attention to detail while on internship helped refine those skills. Either way, it made you a far more competitive candidate and helped seal the deal!