Finding a job can be a daunting challenge, especially if you don’t have any work experience. But to get a job you need work experience. It’s a nasty catch-22 that can be difficult to conquer. An internship just may be your key to landing a job.
An internship is an agreement between a student and a company or organization. The student works for the company for a fixed period of time, such as a semester or quarter, and the company agrees to supervise, mentor and teach the student.
Most internships are organized through college and high school programs. Some internships are unpaid, but others offer a wage. A study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that performing a college internship not only increases job opportunities, but also helps students keep a job. The 2012 survey revealed that 63 percent of paid interns received at least one job offer upon graduation, while 41 percent of the unpaid interns received at least one offer. In contrast, only 36 percent of graduates who had no internship experience received at least one job offer.
Internships function like “working interviews.” While serving as interns, students get the chance to apply knowledge they have learned in a classroom in a professional job setting.
Internships provide a number of additional benefits to students as well as employers:
- Working as an intern can help students make more informed decisions about what they want to study during high school and in post-secondary education — a career “test-drive,” if you will.
- If a student is not sure if a career choice is right for them, working as an intern is a great way to give that career a try. Conversely, many students are sure they want to pursue a career path — until they experience the actual work. Internships give the advantage of recognizing this reality before spending more time and money on an unfitting career.
- Students working in internships gain a distinct competitive advantage over other job applicants through their hands-on experience and business contacts.
- Internships offer employers a glimpse at potential future employees.
- Creating an internship program within a business is an excellent way to give back. Hiring interns not only enhances the educational experience for students in the community, but it also enhances the local workforce as a whole.
Internships are important to employers who are seeking well-prepared graduates for the workplace. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, recently proposed legislation to develop closer partnerships between business and education and invest in “career pathways” including internships and apprenticeships.
A recent Rutgers University study found that two-thirds of recent college graduates would have chosen a different college major if they had known more about their major. Don’t let this happen to you!
Learn more about your career choice by signing up for one of Lodi Unified School District’s Career and Technical Education courses. Many of our classes offer internships to high school and adult students. For more information on these courses, call 209-331-7605.