In today’s economy, many recent college graduates face an upward struggle. Attending a university and achieving stellar grades are critical steps to landing a career; however, gaining a competitive edge requires enhancing students’ knowledge outside the classroom as well. Getting an education through class lectures, textbooks and tests is all well and good, it’s essential to know how to apply that knowledge in the real world. That is where student internships play a significant role.
As a graduate of the University of Florida, I was fortunate to gain my internship experience with Pierson Grant Public Relations. The experience and knowledge I am receiving is invaluable and could not be learned in any classroom setting.
Finding an internship
Let’s face it, landing a job may be as much a function of who you know as it is about what you know. Students may begin by utilizing university career development offices, job fairs and job search sites. In addition, networking on sites such as LinkedIn can connect them with colleagues who may know of opportunities. Motivated students should use all the resources and contacts available to them when searching for an internship.
The Benefits of an Internship
Internships can provide an avenue to turn an inexperienced student into an experienced, well-versed professional. They are resume-builders that provide the kind of real-world experience employers seek and can set one student apart from the next. Employers may find those with internship experience more desirable candidates for employment, as landing an internship shows an employer that a student has drive, has gone above and beyond the requirements of maintaining a high GPA and can juggle a wide range of responsibilities. By finding an internship that suits their career paths, students give themselves an inside advantage for possible employment with the company they are interning for.
Obtaining an internship also provides students with networking opportunities that they would not otherwise get in the classroom, making themselves more visible to the outside world and meeting new contacts in their chosen field.
Students can ultimately save themselves time and energy through interning, as entry-level employment in a given field will show them if they are on the correct career path or if they’d be better off charting a different course. Finding this out early will give them the opportunity to switch majors if they so desire.
The Bottom Line
Interning is the way to go in this highly competitive job market, as it provides a wealth of opportunity, experience and knowledge. The bottom line is that students need to be strategic about getting the competitive advantage. Internships can give students a foot-in-the-door and play an integral part in landing the job of their dreams.
By: Jenna Leon