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- The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Class of 2015 Student survey indicates that sixty-five percent of bachelor’s degree graduates from the Class of 2015 participated in an internship and/or co-op, the highest percentage recorded for any graduating class since NACE’s Student Survey report was first published in 2007.
- College students continue to realize how much employers value work experience in the candidates they recruit. In fact, nearly all of the employers taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 survey said they prefer to hire job candidates who have work experience. Furthermore, relevant work experience is preferred by almost 75 percent of employers, and 60 percent of employers say they prefer work experience gained through an internship or co-op experience.
- Because your internship experience will generally be tied to your academic discipline, supervised by a faculty member, and sponsored by a qualified practitioner, you will gain greater understanding of the knowledge being imparted in the classrooms.
- Placement in business environments provides the opportunity to observe professionals in a work setting, and gain valuable social skills, confidence and career insights as you experience the corporate culture and the office climate. You will also be provided with additional networking opportunities in order to obtain a job upon graduation.
- Interns typically have more freedom to make mistakes. Employers don't expect as much from an intern as they do a new hire and are willing to overlook "small" judgments in error. Hopefully, interns can learn from their mistakes and be a better future employee as a result.
- Every student would prefer to be paid for an internship situation. However, a future employer who reads your resume is more interested in the internship experience than with how much or if you were paid. An advantage to an unpaid internship is that you typically have more control over the workload and hours which could be important if you are trying to incorporate an internship into an already over-crowded schedule. Also an unpaid internship one semester could lead to a paid one the next. Factors affecting your chances of acquiring a paying internship include your GPA, previous leadership experience, and/or having a personal reference to an individual or organization.
- It is much easier to obtain an internship if you can identify areas in which you exhibit leadership and responsibility in existing and prior experiences. This would include volunteer work and involvement in student organizations. Many employers rank this higher than GPA in hiring priorities. If you are having trouble obtaining an internship, spend the semester volunteering or getting involved in leadership and school organizations to enhance your hiring potential for the next semester.
- Overall, the most highly regarded skills for interns and co-ops are the ability to work in a team, the ability to obtain and process information, organizational and planning skills, verbal communication skills, and decision-making/problem-solving skills.