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The Value of a College Internship

Aug 23, 2008
Going to school is obviously an important step in anybody's life. A college student is expected to come away with a new bank of academic knowledge, a vast array of new friends and, of course, crazy college party stories. All of these things can be fulfilling byproducts of a college education, but one thing often overlooked when discussing a college education is real world experience.

The best way to get experience is through a college internship. Through these, students are able to learn things that have never been taught to them by their professors in the confines of a classroom. Things in the real world are not as cut and dry as they sometimes appear in the classroom and a college internship can teach students valuable lessons that can prepare them for life after graduation. When searching for an internship, a student should seek a company that utilizes their young college students just as they were regular employees, allowing them to learn a new craft, hone business skills and even grow as people. What most students do not know, also, is that when applying for a job after college, a company will be quicker to hire a candidate who took the initiative and found a way to better prepare themselves for a career. These candidates seem to fare better than the candidate who has gotten by with the bare minimum. After all, students who go to class, do their homework and get good grades are a dime a dozen to recruiters hiring new grads. Experience is what separates the good candidate from the great, well-qualified candidate.

Not all companies are the same, however. Unfortunately, many companies use their interns for miniscule tasks. This does not allow them to realize their full potential and learn new skills. A good internship will be one where the student is exposed to a variety of different situations, learns how to deal with situations and in the end, takes something away from the experience that they will be able to use later in their careers. While many companies, when evaluating candidates fresh out of college, are impressed to see an internship on a resume, it should not be just another empty resume filler. While this may impress a hiring manager initially, they will quickly realize that the candidate may not have the applicable skills and experience necessary to perform the duties of the position they are being considered for.

So, shouldn't you look for a college internship that allows you to acquire new skills, meet new people and get the satisfaction that comes from taking initiative in your position? The answer is most defiantly, yes! Never underestimate the value of experience when you embark on your first job hunt. Most new candidates just out of college will have no experience in the real world, so having the background that comes from a college internship will give you a leg up on the competition and allow you to perform to a higher standard than most new grads.
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