Senior Advice: Internship experience provides future success for students

    Internships are valuable for college students aiming to stand out while gaining experience, and employers nowadays are likely to accept applicants with more than one internship on their résumé.
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), nearly 50 percent of employers would like to see an internship on a student’s résumés. Companies do not just look at students’ grade point averages anymore; they also look at what the applicant has accomplished outside of the classroom — which usually means experience in the business world.
Also according to an NACE survey, nearly 36 percent of employers hired employees from their own internship program. Matthew Zinman of the Internship Institute said that almost half of interns from the company IBM get hired as full-time employees.
There are many positives to having an internship. The first advantage is building a network of connections. There are many departments within a company that will hire interns, even those who interned for another section. If two applicants send their résumés and cover letters in for the same position, having interned for the company automatically gives you a leg up on the competition. The connection, in this instance, is significant.
The second reason why internships are beneficial is because of the valuable work experience that students can’t obtain in a classroom. More employers are looking at what students did in the real world.
Along with the benefits come some negatives. One reason an internship may be difficult is the time consumption that can hinder the academic performance of a student. If a student works at an internship all day, it may be hard to juggle homework and other extracurricular activities as well. Time management is a very important tool to implement when balancing an internship.
Another reason internships may not be the best is if the student doesn’t gain work experience. Again, even if interning for a certain company does not necessarily excite you, it may give you the most tools and knowledge for a future career. Employers want to see experience above anything else.
Whether you endure positives or negatives within your internship, in the long run the experience you take away will prove to be beneficial to you and your future career. Yet, along with the pros and cons comes the more important factor that students need to decide, which is what companies are right for them. Quality — not quantity — a rule to live by because many students intern for a company that may use their services, yet they may end up not gaining a whole lot of real world experience. I’m talking about the nine-to-five internships that have you stapling papers, licking envelopes, making coffee and not getting paid.
Students need to consider whether or not an opportunity is beneficial to them.For example, I interned for the Philadelphia 76ers, a pro sports team, and found myself more interested in the games than on-site learning. An internship with the governor or state senator could have been a more valuable experience. Though I enjoyed it, passing flyers out at a game did not give me the best work experience.
A student who has already completed internships should maintain communication with their bosses and any other connections forged during the process. By keeping the lines of communication with fellow interns and colleagues open, students can create a network of business contacts to develop their careers.
-Benjamin Moy
Senior journalism major

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