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Internships: a necessary step

T. Opinion

Set yourself up for success. Internships give you a leg up in today’s competitive job market.

Today’s job market is undeniably tough. Even entry-level positions require some sort of industry experience, and with so many recent graduates, employers can afford to be choosy.

Work experience, however, can be hard to get when you’re a full-time student. Between a hectic class schedule and a part-time job at the bookstore, working in the “real world” can seem like an unattainable goal. How do you get “real world” experience before you enter the real world?

Internships are the answer.

Internships are what fill the gap between college classes and a post-grad job. Interning gives students valuable experience in a professional environment. Skills learned in school, like time management, working under stress and meeting deadlines are tested in a real-world setting.

If you want to stand out as an intern, you have to work hard and prove yourself. Internships also teach you things you can’t learn in a classroom, like how to ace an interview and how to build a strong work ethic.

When you’re an intern, you have to roll with the punches, take every task thrown at you, and get it done with a smile. You have to be eager to go above and beyond to demonstrate the value you can bring to a company.

All this hard work pays off though, because internships open the door to a paid, full-time position. Employers want to know you’re a hard worker with a strong drive to succeed, and with an internship you give them a firsthand look at how you perform as an employee.

Forbes reports that 69 percent of large companies and 39 percent of small companies hired their interns on full-time. reports that you have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you intern for. Interning gives you a measurable advantage when it comes to getting hired. Internships are proof that when it comes to landing a job it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Even if you do not get a job offer after your internship, you can still walk away with a beefed-up resume and a professional refer- ence or two. Most companies are more than happy to give you a letter of recommendation for your time.

Interning also teaches you how to network and how to build business connections, skills that are crucial to any job. If the company you interned for isn’t hiring, they can direct you to someone who is — glowing recommendation and character reference included.

Some internships even offer college credit for your time with the company. While you won’t get a paycheck, you may be able to take a few classes off your schedule. Instead of taking a boring elective like pottery or basket weaving, you can spend a few days a week gaining valuable work experience and boosting your grade point average.

Want to test-drive your future career or figure out if a field of work is right for you? Internships let you try before you buy. Gauge the stress level and workload without the commitment. Internships are an inside look into a typical day at the office. They are snapshot of the 9-to-5 life that comes after graduation. At an internship you can decide what you want to do with your life, before you start the rest of your life.

Internships serve as a stepping-stone between college kid and full-fledged grown-up. Moving out, working full-time, and becoming a productive member of society is daunt- ing, especially if you’ve never worked more than a few shifts a week.

Having an internship or two under your belt makes the transition easier, since they give you industry experience.

You’ve been through the ringer, started at the bottom, and know the struggle of doing work for free. Now that you’ve graduated, you’re just happy to be bringing home a paycheck. You can leverage the lessons learned at your internship and anticipate some of the challenges of the job. Interning gives you a global perspective and helps make you a better employee.

Having an internship or two on your resume exemplifies your drive, dedication and work ethic. When it comes to landing a job, you have to set yourself apart from other applicants. Internships are what give you the skills and experience employers look for, they are what help you stand out.

Article by staff writer Erin Eskens.

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Internships: a necessary step