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How Could an Internship Benefit Me?

The importance of internshipsWho me? An internship? But I'm already accomplished in the working world. Surprisingly you’re also a good candidate for an internship, especially if you’re enrolled at Colorado Technical University (CTU) to earn another degree so you can switch careers. Or if you’re attending CTU to reenter the job market after a hiatus with updated skills.

If you are in the working world, you probably know why an internship can be so important.

Here’s a familiar scenario: A manager has just given his two-week notice. And like most companies these days, the staff is at a minimum doing the maximum work load. If you were the hiring manager, who would get their resume noticed? The answer: Someone who has done a similar job and will have a minimal learning curve.

Did you go straight to work or join the military after graduating from high school? Another good reason to have an internship. You’ll have the knowledge and degree from CTU and gain valuable, internship experience that can be added to your resume.

Hold on, isn’t there a stigma attached to a seasoned person doing an internship? Although that may be what you think, it’s not true. In fact, an article on Time.com from March 2015, states that many companies, including PwC, Regeneron, Harvard Business School, MetLife, and McKinsey have internship programs that are specifically geared for older students.1 For a longer list, Time suggests visiting irelaunch.com.

Finding an Internship Aligned with Academic Goals

Each student has a different reason for working toward a degree, but there’s one thing all students should consider—finding an internship in their field of study during their time in school.

Participating in an internship related to academic goals can be advantageous for a variety of reasons:

  • It gives you a chance to combine your previous knowledge or work experience with the skills you’re learning in class.
  • An internship might offer the opportunity to network with others in your field.
  • It may provide related work experience to include in your resume.
  • An internship also may put you closer to that promotion or job you’ve had your eye on.

Research Shows Internships Pay Off

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed a selection of students from the class of 2015 and found that 65 percent of the graduates participated in an internship, co-op, or both. From that 65 percent, 56.5 percent got at least one new job opportunity. Compare that to the other segment of students, the ones who did not complete an internship, and you’ll see a significant decrease—only 37.5 percent of this group got at least one job opportunity.2

In Bloomberg’s Businessweek 2014 Undergraduate Business School Rankings report, 75 percent of students interviewed said they had an internship and 61 percent of them had a new job opportunity in hand close to their graduation date. Those who didn’t participate in an internship didn’t fair as well, with only 28 percent of them having a new opportunity in the same time period.3

Based on these surveys, you might want to consider finding an internship while you pursue your degree program. You never know what it could lead to when you graduate.

Employers are Looking for Candidates with Internship Experience

According to a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), “More than four in five employers believe that completion of a supervised and evaluated internship or community-based project would be very or fairly effective in ensuring that recent college graduates possess the skills and knowledge needed for success at their company.”4 That’s an impressive statistic—and it shows that employers value internships when they can see first-hand that students can competently apply the skills they’re learning in their courses.

Experience Beyond the Classroom

In addition to increasing your chances of securing a new opportunity or promotion after graduation, internships may provide a variety of other benefits, such as:

  • Networking with like-minded professionals in your industry
  • Establishing mentor relationships with peers or managers
  • Putting your academic knowledge to work in a real-world setting
  • Getting experience in a new field if you’re coming from another industry

Paid or Unpaid Internship?

The NACE study of 2015 college graduates shows that more than half of interns were paid, and that they also enjoyed the highest job offer rate of more than 72 percent. Students in the report who had unpaid internships did not fair as well, with only one-third to one-half getting job offers.

Overall, the most highly regarded skills in interns and co-ops were their ability to work in a team, the ability to obtain and process information, organizational and planning skills, verbal communication skills, and decision-making and problem-solving skills.2

Whether you’re an adult learner, come back to school to get trained for a new career, or are active military or a veteran, it might be worthwhile to investigate internship opportunities as part of your educational experience.

If you’re ready to look for an internship, the first step is to polish your resume and cover letter. Here are some tips or visit CTU Career Services to see how they may be able to help.

1Time.com, March 2, 2015, http://time.com/money/3725034/jobs-older-workers-improved/ (last visited March 29, 2016)
2The National Association of Colleges and Employers, The Class of 2015 Executive Summary, September 2015, https://www.naceweb.org/uploadedFiles/Content/static-assets/downloads/executive-summary/2015-student-survey-executive-summary.pdf (last visited March 29, 2016)
3Bloomberg.com, August 15, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-08-15/skipped-your-college-internship-youre-far-less-likely-to-get-a-job-in-business (last visited March 29, 2016)
4American Association of Colleges and Universities, Peer Review, Fall 2010, https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/new-research-internships-and-experiential-learning-programs (last visited March 29, 2016)

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