College students are told over and over again how internships can be the “golden ticket” to finding a job after college.
But, why are internships important? How do they do internships really help students find work after graduation?
In this internship guide, we will answer all your questions. We will also share the success internship story of one of our graduates, and give you essential tips on how to get an internship with no experience.
Why Internships Are Important
1. Internships help you connect the classroom to your career
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.
Haley Jones, a Crown College graduate, found that her internship did help her with this—and it impacted her professional life after school. While attending Crown, Jones pursued a Communications major and a Counseling minor, and she took an internship at Crown.
Jones describes this choice as one of the best decisions she made while attending Crown. While interning, she gained experience and furthered her knowledge in activities like marketing, design, and public speaking.
She even helped market and host the annual 360° Career Fair that involves more than 40 employers.
Jones found that an internship is all about learning valuable skills and competencies students will need to prepare for a job after graduation.
2. You learn more about yourself and explore your career path
Jones explains how her internship taught her more about herself. Participating in new events and trying different activities throughout yourher internship will exposeexposed more about yourher interests and dislikes. This is one of the reasons why internships are important.
Trying different aspects of your internship reveals what you enjoy doing and what you do not. This helps you discover a more specific career path—pursuing jobs that fit the activities you really like.
Besides, the process of applying to an internship can help you gain experience building your resume, provide opportunities to grow professionally, and help you realize what you are passionate about. Those are some of the most important internship goals.
“[An internship] is something that will give you hands-on experience on many levels, and will help you determine your interests in a 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.
3. It can land you a job after graduation
Jones learned what she could do to prepare herself for a career while interning. She confessed to having a perspective like many students: she wanted to avoid thinking about a career and only focus on grades and homework.
This is a mistake many students can make. Students end up graduating with little experience or no strategic plan to find a job.
An internship may take time during school, but it can eliminate 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.”
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 landed a job in her area of interest.
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 post-college life.
How To Get An Internship With No Experience
The good news is, most intern employers don’t expect you to have a ton of job experience before you apply. Whether or not you have had any paying jobs, you can boost your resume by including on it the following things:
- Part-time or temporary jobs: That summer you spent mucking out horse stalls? That counts!
- Student government positions: Any position you served in junior high or high school is fair game for your resume.
- Volunteer positions: Do you teach Sunday school? Serve at a soup kitchen? Sell Girl Scout cookies? Be sure to include all of that.
- Classroom-acquired skills: If you can type, design, proofread, build things, fix things, etc. all because of classes you’ve taken, you definitely don’t want to leave those things off.
So beef up your resume, have someone proofread it, and then start submitting it to intern employers! You will be on your way to completing your internship goals in no time.
When Do College Students Need To Do An Internship?
There’s no real right or wrong time to do an internship in college. To maximize internship benefits, you should apply at the time that makes sense for you.
If you land an internship in your first couple of years, that could be a great way to narrow down what you’d like to focus on for your resume and job skills. But if you do an internship in the last couple of years, you will find that to be a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry you want to work in.
Some degree programs require internships as part of the experience. On the other hand, some internships require that you complete a certain amount of college before applying for them. So be sure to check all the qualifications before applying for either a degree or an internship.
Darren Noble, Career Services Director at Crown College, recommends internships across the board.
“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.”
At Crown college, we integrate with employers to create Student Career Resources and provide internship opportunities for our students.
Become a Crownie to start advancing your academics and preparing for your future career path.