Employers seek students with internships
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Employers have made it clear that they are looking to hire college graduates with internships on their resumes, which has led to greater numbers of students completing internships this year, Program Coordinator of the Student Employment and Internship Programs of the Career Services Center Scott Rappaport said.
“The more experience a student has, the more likely that the employer is going to be willing to offer them a full-time position, and students know that,” Rappaport said.
Since summer, internship postings on the Blue Hen Careers website are 26.5 percent greater than the same time frame a year ago, Rappaport said. However, he said this statistic does not reflect how many students are actually completing internships.
Students are looking for internships earlier in their college careers to gain valuable experience that can lead to a job or a more advanced internship, Rappaport said. They can also find out how well suited they are to a certain field and experience different industries, he said.
“It gives the student a sort of ‘tryout’ of different industries and different companies,” Rappaport said.
Jennifer Gregan-Paxton, an academic advisor in the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics, said most students within the school complete an internship to fulfill their Discovery Learning Experience requirement. Every department in the college, with the exception of the economics department, provides students with a class that allows internships to be taken for credits.
Some majors require students to complete internships in order to graduate, but Gregan-Paxton said she thinks mandatory internships are not always necessary since many students already have the drive to complete one through their own initiative.
Gregan-Paxton said an internship is valuable because it becomes a student’s first experience working in an office. Though a student may know the academic side of their chosen profession, he or she will learn much about the little things that are crucial to success in the job.
“You can’t learn in a classroom how to communicate with your coworkers, what lunch time etiquette is or how to dress appropriately,” Gregan-Paxton said.
Senior human services major Laurie McNamara, who is currently completing a 400-hour required internship, said she thinks having this experience on her resume will help her job prospects in a struggling economy.
“I feel like a lot of times, places that are looking for new employees want to see a lot of experience in different fields, and that you’ve not only learned about them but also applied them in the workplace,” McNamara said.
McNamara said interning for credit is a nice change from sitting in a classroom, and the field experience is a creative way to teach students. She also said due to the fact that her major can be applied to a large number of fields, interning has helped her gain insight into different job offerings.
Senior political science major Courtney Frink said her two summer internships in Washington, D.C. were similar in content, but the networking she gained upon completing them was invaluable. She is preparing to apply to work for many of the people she connected with during her internships, she said.
“I heard over and over again in D.C. that it’s not about the grades you make, it’s about the hands you shake,” Frink said.
Although an internship is not required for the political science major, Frink said students can still complete an internship for credit.
She said a possible reason for the large increase in students participating in internships may be that they are seeking to set themselves apart from other candidates who are competing for jobs. She said a bachelor’s degree may have set someone apart in the past, but an internship may be what puts a candidate ahead of the competition today.
Both McNamara and Frink said the majority of their friends have completed at least one internship.
“So many people do internships just because they get that experience and it’s something to put on your resume,” McNamara said.
However, Frink said she believes the competitive edge interning supposedly provides may be diluted by the high numbers of students who are also interns.
“Everyone else is also doing it, so what is enough?” she said.