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Why Internships Pay Off (Even When They’re Unpaid)
In today’s job market, even an excellent education isn’t enough. Your student will face ferocious competition, and our global society means it will come from all over the world. The weakened U.S. economy means fewer jobs in many industries. Hiring managers can be picky—and they are. Increasingly they’re seeking candidates with solid job experience and business savvy as well as excellent academic credentials. Your student can pull ahead of the pack with an internship.
Paid, Unpaid—They’re All Worth It
Internships come in various types: paid, unpaid, for-credit, summer. All of them are worth exploring, even unpaid, because they offer opportunities to:
- Network: Your student will meet people in business who can help with jobs, references or introductions after graduation. The wider your student’s circle of influential contacts, the better. It’s impossible to know too many people!
- Learn: Your student will see firsthand how academic content is applied to real-world situations.
- Try Out a Field: An internship is a low-risk, limited-commitment way of previewing a possible career—and avoiding a possible mistake.
- Land a Real Job Later: Even if an internship is unpaid, some interns perform so well that they’re offered fulltime paying jobs after graduation.
- Earn College Credit: Some internships are worth college credits. Students win two ways: they save on tuition while enjoying all an internship’s benefits.
Find Them on Campus . . .
At most schools, the college careers center or job search office is internship central. The staff there has the experience, skills and resources to point your student towards appropriate internships and to put him or her in touch with alumni who may know of interesting opportunities. Encourage your student to visit the center early and often during college.
. . . or Online
Explore Jobs and Careers
Beyond internships, the campus career services center is also an excellent resource for summer jobs and career planning. Most colleges sponsor job fairs, where employers recruit on campus, and other career-related events. Your student can also browse through print and online resources at the center. Or, if your student wants to explore on his or her own time,students.gov is chock-full of information on both federal and private sector jobs.