College students are told over and over again how internships can be the “golden ticket” to finding a job after college. But, do internships really help students find work after graduation?
Haley Jones, a recent Crown College graduate, found that internships do work – and impacted her professional life after school. Here are three ways Jones says she benefited from an internship…
1. You connect the classroom to the “real world”
While attending Crown, Jones pursued a Communications major and a Counseling minor. She wanted to look for opportunities to gain experience and add to her resume. She decided to approach the Office of Career Services at Crown.
Meeting with Darren Noble, the Career Services Director, Jones learned how an internship with Career Services would involve gaining experience and furthering her knowledge in activities like marketing, design, and public speaking. Jones could not pass-up the opportunity to gain “real world” experience, while taking a head-start on her career.
Jones describes this choice as one of best decisions she would make while attending Crown. While interning, she represented Career Services to prospective students. She helped market and host the annual 360° Career Fair that involved more than 40 employers. She assisted fellow classmates in finding job opportunities after college. She spoke at multiple events, explaining the benefits of career development for students in high school and college. She even found herself coaching her peers with questions about how to prepare for a career.
Jones found that an internship is all about learning valuable skills and competencies students will need to prepare for a job after graduation.
“[An internship] is vitally important to any college experience because it gives you an opportunity to apply what you are learning in the classroom. While book knowledge and the ability to write a good paper are key elements to your college career, you don’t get the practical experience of applying [those skills] to your field unless you jump in,” says Jones.
2. You learn more about yourself
Jones explains how her internship taught her more about herself. Participating in new events and trying different activities throughout her internship exposed more about her interests and dislikes.
Jones describes how trying different aspects of her internship revealed what she enjoyed to do and what she did not. This helped her discover a more specific career path – pursuing jobs that fit the activities she really enjoyed. The process of applying to an internship helped her gain experience building her resume, provided opportunities to grow professionally, and helped her realize what she was passionate about.
“[An internship] is something that will give you hands-on experience on many levels, and will help you determine your interests in deeper way,” says Jones. “There is a lot of ambiguity during your college years in regards to your future; an internship is the most practical step you can take to work towards clarity in your future career.”
Jones also learned what she could do to prepare herself for a career while interning. College takes up most of student’s time while enrolled. Before pursuing an internship, Jones confessed to having a perspective like many students. She wanted to avoid thinking about a career and only focus on grades and homework.
Jones explained that this is a mistake many students can make. Students end up graduating with little experience or a plan to find a job. An internship may take time during school, but eliminates the risk of graduating without a plan for finding a career. The experience taught Jones how she could prepare more for college and grow professionally before graduation.
“Your professional life can start now; you don’t have to wait till after you graduate to grow into your career,” says Jones. Apply yourself to a good internship, and I guarantee you that you will be setting yourself up for success in your future jobs.”
3. It can land you a job after graduation
While this point may seem obvious, Jones explained how participating in an internship significantly impacts your success after graduation. After Crown, Jones began applying for jobs around her area. With the help of Career Services, she practiced interviewing. After a few tries and a lot of practice, Jones eventually landed a job at ELIC as a Candidate Advisor.
ELIC sends Christian teachers to locations in countries around the world to help communities work excellence into their classrooms. ELIC places only the most highly trained teachers to share their passion for education in countries like China, Mongolia, Laos, or Vietnam. Jones’s role requires processing applications, conducting interviews, and screening individuals who find interest in traveling abroad. She appreciates her previous internship with Career Services at Crown that prepared her for the roles and duties her current position requires. Ironically, Jones explains how now she looks for applicants that have internship experience.
“When I am screening resumes and applications, an internship sets an applicant ahead,” says Jones. “Even in my own job search, I was able to draw from my experiences in the Office of Career Services to better express my qualifications in my interview, and I certainly think that it made an impact on my receiving a job offer.”
Jones’s story and experience with an internship demonstrate how every college student should look for opportunities for an internship while attending college. While an internship may not be every college student’s “golden ticket” to a job, they can help develop and prepare students for the “real world.”
“An internship is extremely important because it provides a student with a valuable opportunity to learn in a real work environment with professionals in their industry,” says Noble. “A student is able to develop key competencies, skills, and work characteristics that employers seek. One gains a better understanding of what individuals in their industry do, and an internship helps improve self-confidence in one’s abilities and how to get things done in the workplace – outside the classroom.”