BY CHARLEI BAYLOR
Internship experience is a must for college students of this generation, according to many employers and colleges.
“Many schools are requiring it, it’s probably in response to what employees want or need or expect,” Salisbury University career consultant Gloria Horner said.
Many universities have required that their majors have some sort of internship requirement in place for students to graduate. It may be called practicum, clinical or something else, but in almost any school, some sort of experience training is present, according to Associate Director of SU Career Services Charlie Endicott.
Often their are questions of whether the internship will be paid or unpaid, credited or not credited, but either way internships are the highly encouraged route.
“Employers see internships as value,” Horner said. “They know it wasn’t just a job where you weren’t just a server.”
Though employers see a part-time job as something that builds work ethic, customer service and interpersonal communication skills, internships are viewed as a direct hands-on experience in a field of study.
Many things were reitterated by Endicott and Horner as the main benefits of internships:
- Employability. It is going to be relevant to your field. Often times if a student does well in an intern position and there is an opening in the company, the employer is likely to hire them. “It’s almost a no brainer,” Endicott said. 60 percent of students that do internships get asked to come work for the company that they interned for. According to Horner, with gained experience, when students get into post-graduate workforce, they have more negotiating power.
- Increased Skills. “A really good skill is learned by doing it,” Horner said. Internship experience allows you to gain new skills and enhance the ones you already have.
- Compensation. Sometimes it is a grade for a class, other times, it is money. In addition to skills and experience to add to a resume, internship experience pays. “If you’re lucky, you can get both,” Horner said.
- Real-World Experience. When students come to college, they flex their new freedoms, like skipping early morning classes. However, an internship can change the bad habits. “You’ll skip far less work days, believe me,” Horner said. Students also get the chance to build their networks. “80 percent of the jobs are not even posted, it’s a matter of networking,” Endicott said.
Recent graduates of SU agreed.
“No matter how long you sit in a classroom, you’ll never gain the full experience of doing it on your own,” SU graduate Taniesha Hines said. “You’ll learn the basics of the job in the classroom, but you’ll never fully understand until you get to do it hands on. Books won’t be able to give you all the scenarios you’ll face in a day to day basis.”
Endicott said that participation in internships make students much more employable once they graduate.
Career Services encourages students to start looking for internships the second semester of sophomore year but if they can, even earlier.
Career services also helps students find experience training through resume building and heavy promotion of internship and job openings.
At least 4,000 employers list available positions in the career services database and some come to campus for on-campus interviews.
Job, volunteer and internship fairs are also held on campus quite regularly.
“There is an ‘it’ for each major,” Horner said. “Afterwards, every job is the same.”
According to Career Services, the number one thing a potential employee or intern needs is definitely excellent verbal and written communication. After that, five additional characteristics are important: being a team player and independent worker simultaneously, good interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, adaptability and flexibility and leadership potential.
“It’s a diverse world,” Horner said. “We are all snowflakes. We have to get along to build the snowman.”
“I think (students) like doing (internships),” Endicott said. “They sit in class so long now they get to go out and see if they actually like it.”