By Christian Durfee
Nowadays, college is a vital part of the American education system. You’ve probably been told by countless peers, your parents, and your teachers that college is a necessity to land a well paying job and make a nice living for yourself. The thing they fail to mention is that experience is now required in corporate America and arguably more important than the degree (especially in any field of business). According to NACE, 65% of employers prefer relevant work experience when choosing a candidate. With that in mind, Save Our Livers wants to make sure that you are on the right track for success and can land your dream career with ease.
What is an internship?
First thing first, what exactly is an internship? According to UMBC, “An internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a student’s field of study or career interest”. Why might companies benefit from hiring interns instead of full time salaried employees? Great question, there’s a few reasons: 1 - College students have very fresh minds and have not had a lot of experience in the corporate field. With that being said, the intern might be able to bring a whole new perspective to the team and help reimagine tactics that corporate American might be struggling with right now. 2 - Most interns are young adults which is beneficial to most companies that hire them due to the company’s work force being above an age of 40. The intern can better help the company reach out and engage with younger generations. 3 - Interns are not committed to the company. If an intern isn’t working out, the company can eliminate the internship which is easier than laying off a full time employee; think of the internship like a trial run. 4 - The hiring is cheaper than a full time employee. Most of the time, interns are employees who are paid hourly (usually at a lower wage than full time workers) and are not given benefits. Some internships are also unpaid which is a key thing to look at when searching for one.
Why should I get an internship?
- EXPERIENCE: The biggest reason why you’d want to get an internship is for the experience. Stated above, companies are starting to look more into experience rather than the degree. We have heard countless stories (including people close to us) who got the degree but did not have an internship during college. Once they started applying for career jobs, the companies turned them down since there were other candidates that had more experience.
- PAY: Not only does the internship come with experience, most of the time it comes with better pay than a campus job. 60% of internships in the US are paid. A quick note on this, we were able to finance and grow Save Our Livers in college off of our internship wages.
- NETWORKING: Internships are a tool to get you on the inside of a company and work with all different types of powerful people in whatever industry you choose. Be sure to show them your skills and if you end up leaving the internship, connect with them on LinkedIn for future opportunities with them.
- LEARNING: School teaches you the basics of subjects but sometimes fails to have you put the theories and skills to test. With an internship, you are there to learn about how to perform in the major program you chose. Along with learning, you are able to test out new ideas and potentially help the company grow/connect with your professors more (see previous on networking, it’s all connected!)
How to look for an internship?
There’s a few different ways to find an internship:
- WEBSITES: This is one of the best ways at finding a bunch of different internship opportunities. Most of the time too, these sites offer one click applications which makes it easy to apply to multiple internships a day!
- NETWORK: Talk to your friends, others in your student group, your family, and other connections you might have to see if they know or work at a place that is hiring. That is mainly how the Save Our Livers team found their internships in college.
- COLLEGE: Use the resources that your college gives you in order to find University sponsored internships. Not only are these great internships, you can talk to your counselors about them and learn more before diving into the opportunity.
When should I look for an internship?
One thing I wish I would have known when I started college was that it’s never too early to start looking for internship opportunities. A lot of students believe that you have to be at least a junior in your major program in order to have their application taken seriously. 9 times out of 10, most employers are going to love and appreciate the aspiration and dedication of a freshman who applied. Not only does this show that the freshman is willing to learn and want to better their skills and knowledge, the employer looks at this situation as an opportunity to grow the freshman and continue to keep them employed all the way through college as an intern. If you can find the time and mental capacity to take on an internship as a freshman, we highly recommend it.
If you didn’t apply or work for an internship as a freshman, don’t worry, being a senior or 5th year won’t affect your professional path too much. Most internships only take in juniors and seniors in the first place.
Internships are a great way to gain experience, learn more about your major, network for future opportunities, and make some money. Time to time, Save Our Livers is looking to grow their team, sign up to our newsletter for updates about our hiring process. If you’re looking for a sign to start looking for internships, here it is!