10 Reasons You Need an Internship BEFORE You Graduate

By: Lauren Weber

Increasingly recent college graduates are seeking internships after they have graduated when they should have full-time positions within the workforce.  Internships are often part-time and pay significantly less than full-time jobs.

So why aren’t these grads getting hired?  The main reason is that they simply do not have enough real world experience to be appealing to a potential employer.  Students really need to make that extra effort to complete an internship in while they are still in school and here is why:

1)   Some employers will hire their interns full-time after they graduate.  This is the best reason to intern while in school.  Assuming you are an asset to their workforce and there is a position available, you could very well be first in line for an entry level job since you have already had some level of training.

2)   Many colleges and universities require it anyway.  Most companies will comply with the specific rules around your school’s internship program.  You also get school credit if it is a requirement and in your field.

3)   You might make a few bucks. In 2013 the laws around internships changed which means that there is at least some compensation for the majority of interns.

4)   You will meet people in your future industry.  Even if you do not end up a full-time employee at the place you interned, you will have met individuals in the industry. You will also hopefully start building your network so you can find a job when you graduate.

5)   You will develop skills and gain understanding in your field.  Just having the opportunity to work day in and day out in your field will build the foundation for your career.

6)   You will learn about time management.  When you have to commit to a job and college, you learn to manage your time, which will soon become an invaluable skill when you join the workforce.

7)   An internship will bolster your resume.  Internships on your resume will set you apart from the other recent grads looking for work with only Gap and Footlocker listed as previous employers. Employers are looking for experience and an internship is a great way to gain industry experience while in school.

8)   See if you are on the right career path.  You are essentially able to test-drive your career.  Since internships only last a few months, nothing is set it stone and you don’t have to stress about finding another job right away.

9)   You will meet people with common interests. Many internship programs will introduce you to recent graduates or other individuals who have recently been involved with the program.  A friend in the industry when you’re just starting out can be helpful when you start job hunting after graduation.

10)  You gain real world experience.  Sure, you had a job at Hollister over the summer, but that isn’t the same as an internship in your field.  Regardless of whether you are in marketing or the automotive industry, real world experience is key in landing that first real full-time job.  An industry-related internship is going to carry more weight on your resume than any retail or fast food job on a resume.

By interning while still in school, you are laying the foundation for a solid career. Many local design and marketing firms post internships several times a year including Ad Fed and AIGA, who post opportunities for several businesses in one place.  You can check out our available internships here: http://www.leapagency.com/about/careers-culture/careers.

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