As a recent college grad or young professional, the easiest way to stand out in the hiring process is to have relevant work experience. Completing an internship or two by the time you're looking for your first "real" job after school could be enough to help you land your ideal position at a great company.
In the current job market, work experience is valued much more than education. If two job candidates apply for the same job, but one has a master's degree with no work experience and the other has a bachelor's degree and completed two internships within the industry, the hiring manager will probably offer the job to the candidate with work experience (if everything else is equal between them).
Basically, if you're debating whether or not to complete an internship as a college student or recent grad, it's in your best interest to get that experience now, while you have the opportunity. It will pay off down the road.
A recent study by LiveCareer set out to discover just how helpful internships are for young adults beginning their professional careers. Their findings further emphasize the importance of work experience in today's job market and give insight into current internship trends.
Here's what to know about internships in 2021.
77% Of Interns Completed A Paid Internship
Looking for a paid internship? Chances are you'll find one.
Unpaid internships are becoming less common. This is due to many different factors, but mostly because companies have slowly realized they'll miss out on talented young professionals if they offer unpaid internships instead of paid ones. Those young adults with a lot of potential could easily get a paid internship elsewhere. Why would they settle for an unpaid internship?
Nowadays, 77% of interns say they completed a paid internship versus an unpaid one. That proves there are many paid opportunities out there for college students and recent grads to get work experience in the industry of their choice.
93% Of Interns Had To Perform Menial Tasks During Their Internship
Even though your goal as an intern is to get valuable professional experience, don't expect to work on groundbreaking projects every day. About 93% of interns admit they had to perform menial tasks at some point during their internship. You might be bored, you might feel like what you're doing isn't important work, but it's still experience you can quantify on your resume when you go to apply for your first "real" job.
Any type of experience you complete in a professional setting outside of the classroom is valuable. There are many things school can't teach you, including how to get a job, so it's vital that you don't rely solely on school to get you a job after graduation.
Your internship might not be the most exciting experience all of the time, but you'll probably get to work on at least one project while you're an intern. Any menial tasks you perform will be worth it. Nothing can open doors for you as a young adult quite like a good internship experience.
47% Of Young Adults Have Completed At Least Two Internships
According to the study, most young adults have some type of internship experience. In fact, 38% have completed one internship and 47% have completed two internships.
Obviously, the more internships you complete, the better your chances of landing the job you want after graduation. It's a balance of quality and quantity, though. Don't expect to get a job in a specific industry if your only internships were in a totally different industry. Completing a couple of internships in a relevant industry is the way to go.
Remember: the amount of work experience is just as important as the relevancy of it.
68% Of Interns Said The Company Didn’t Have A Structured Intern Policy
One problem you can run into during your internships is a lack of structure. About 68% of interns reported the company they worked for didn't have a structured intern policy and made up tasks as the internship unfolded. This can make your internship experience feel hectic, or maybe even boring—if you have nothing to do.
The solution? Show initiative. Ask your supervisor if there are any projects you can help with or tasks you can take off their plate. Ask them if there are materials you should read or topics you should research that'll help you perform better as an intern. If you feel comfortable, you could even propose your own projects and ideas to help the company achieve their goals.
Just because you're an intern, that doesn't mean you have to act like one. Go the extra mile during your internships and you might just get offered a full-time position at one of those companies after you graduate.
78% Of Interns Feel That They Gained Useful Professional Experience
The main takeaway from this study? Nearly 78% of interns feel that they gained useful and valuable professional experience that later improved their employability chances.
If that doesn't get you to apply for internship opportunities this summer, we don't know what will.
The best way to set your career up for success as a young professional is to complete one or more internships in college or shortly after you graduate. It's never too early to think about your career goals and where you want to be in five or ten years. With a couple of internships under your belt, you'll be well on your way to accomplishing whatever you want to in your career!
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