We are in the middle of graduate season, meaning many are looking for jobs and many are looking for experienced, driven and focused employees, especially experienced.
Today, there is a slim chance of being hired after graduation without an internship. Many companies go through extensive recruiting efforts to find the right college students to become an intern for their organization.
A survey conducted by Michigan State University found that, on average, the top reasons companies feel it is important to employee interns are:
Identify & develop talent - 60%
Supplement staffing for special projects& targeted assignments - 21%
Aid profession by developing talent - 14%
Fulfill social responsibility - 4%
Obviously to identify and develop students is the number one reason to hire an intern. By doing so you are making an investment into this person and expanding their knowledge learned throughout school through real life experiences. A student can be taught how to write, calculate, analyze, etc. but when they are asked to take a situation and find what it is they need to write about, calculate or analyze they are forced to use critical thinking skills, something that can not be taught. This helps the student to seriously develop the skills they have been taught and to learn how to apply them in an actual situation.
A common fear among college students is failure. Once they are close to graduation this fear is heightened, especially if the only practice they have in their field is from the classroom alone. In school, every task is an example or practice assignment with no repercussion of their work besides a bad grade. It is important for them to realize that when you are in the work force, there is not someone to help you correct your work and to guide you in the best ways of accomplishing these tasks you have been given. Once hired for a position, you are expected to be able to complete the tasks given to you accurately and in a timely fashion with out the help and guidance of someone throughout. As an intern, it is acceptable to ask questions and to be a lost puppy in the big business world. Your employer expects that you have never done this work in a real situation. This is why it is so crucial that students find an internship in their field of study before graduation.
Companies hire interns and give them the incentive of potential hire after the completion of their internship with this in mind. If the intern already has experience at this company, knows how everything flows and how to best complete the job, the company will save time and money in training and the employee will be able to get straight to work. On the other hand, if it happens that the intern is not the right fit for the job, the student has at least gained that experience and the company has aided the profession by developing the student's talent.
Among the reasons mentioned above, it is vital for students to participate in one or more internships due to these benefits:
Professional References - If you do not plan to work for the company you are interning at after graduation, then you will need to begin the job hunt. When filling out applications you will be asked to provide names and phone numbers of references. The best references to give are those you have worked for, they know your skills and how you conduct yourself as a professional.
Change of Heart – What if you go all the way through college thinking you know what job it is that your degree will get you and you graduate and find out that you were wrong all along, or, even worse, you get the job and hate it? If you take advantage of an internship while you are still in school and experience this change of heart, you can refocus your studies.
Finding Strengths - You may know that you want to do something in marketing for example, but not know exactly which part. Many professions have various categories that require a certain skill. An internship can help you find where you are best used and how to sell yourself as an asset to a company.
Confidence - This goes for both the student and the company. As a student you will gain the confidence that you know what your job will demand of you and how to complete these tasks efficiently. As a company, you get a trial period to determine if this student is what you need to fill this position and if so, you have the confidence that your new hire will be able to complete the needs of the job.
As a student or a company looking to hire an intern, I'm sure you will find there are many rewards in internships.
Please share your personal experience with an internship or having an intern with us in the comment section.
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