A Forbes article by J. Maureen Henderson argues internships aren’t worth the effort. Henderson explains the work performed during an internship doesn’t provide useful skills, are too expensive, and chances are they won’t even land you a job.
Want to know why internships are worth it?
Nearly 74 percent of employers prefer candidates with work experience. That is three out of four. I would say that makes Ms. Henderson’s position, at the very least, misguided.
To be competitive in today’s job market, college students must have internship experience under their belt upon graduation.
Employers want to hire experienced and skilled graduates — not people who were passive throughout their entire college career. As hiring managers read your resume, they want to see the results of your internship accomplishments. And the only way you’re going to impress the socks of employers is if you have the experience they desire.
Here’s just a few reasons why internships remain an important component of early careers:
You Build Skills Used Throughout Your Career
Internships definitely provide college students with hard and soft skills they’ll be able to use throughout their entire lives. According t0 a NACE survey, employers said 57.9 percent of their interns spend their work time on a combination of analytical/problem solving (35.9 percent) and project management (22 percent).
Does this look like the skills you gain from internships are useless? I think not. College students need internship experience because it provides them with a variety of useful skills that will help them be successful in the future.
Experience Is the Best Teacher
Although knowledge gained in the classroom is important, the experience you gain is invaluable. Experiences are impressionable — they show us what we want and don’t want out of a career and transform us into professionals. Without gaining internship experience, we wouldn’t know what type of professional we aspire to be, nor would we know which path to take. Much of what we learn is by doing and interacting with people. Regardless of whether the experience was good or bad, it will help shape your career path for the better. (Although, hopefully the majority, if not all, of your internship experiences are good ones!)
You Can Afford Internship Experience
Too many students forget how to hustle when it comes to gaining internship experience. It’s possible to make any type of internship experience happen, it just takes careful planning. All you need are good time management skills and you’ll be able to balance an internship, part-time job, class, and even extra-curricular activities with no problem at all.
Internships Do Lead to Jobs
According to NACE, 60 percent of internships lead to job offers. If you want to receive a job offer, you need to have the dedication and motivation to succeed. Many internship programs are created to evaluate possible full-time employees. Interns who outshine the rest are the ones who receive job offers. You have to be willing to invest your passion into your work and take the time to go the extra mile if you want to be noticed by your employer.
College students who do internships are only setting themselves up for successful careers. Internships provide you with not only valuable experience and skills, but also the opportunity to have a very bright future.
I would say that makes internships worth it. And it seems to be a no-brainer. Sorry, Forbes.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at HeatherHuhman.com!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.