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Do You Need an Internship to Get a Real Job?

Do You Need an Internship to Get a Real Job?

The short answer is "yes" -- find out why.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

March 02, 2017

If you’re looking for a yes or no answer, the response is, “Yes, you need an internship to get a job after college.” While that hasn’t always been the case, employers today are expecting college students to graduate with work experience already under their belt – and not just any type of work experience either. Employers want to see an internship.

Forbes reports that the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce learned that 63% of students who completed a paid internship received a job offer after college. They also found that former interns got paid more. Those without internship experience made 28% less than those that completed a collegiate internship experience, according to Forbes.

If you’re hoping to land an internship in 2017, now is the time start searching, applying and interview. Here are a few tips to get you started.

The Internship Search

There is no perfect time like holiday break to embark on the internship search. You can start on Fastweb, where we’ve already matched you to internships based on your location, field of interest and year in school.

Another great place to look for internships is your campus career center. Not only do they have connections with corporations around the world, but they have an entire network of alumni with whom to match students for internship opportunities. Over holiday break, you can email your campus career center and set an appointment for early second semester.

Applying for an Internship

Just like applying to colleges, it’s not in your best interest to apply to a single internship. Put your application and/or resume out to several different offices and corporations. You may not land your “dream internship,” but any internship is better than no internship.

Prepare for the application process by updating your resume, drafting a general cover letter and contacting references. The application process can move quickly with some internship programs, and you don’t want to be scrambling to gather materials and people – you want to be prepared.

Conquering the Internship Interview

Finally, it’s time to prepare for the internship interview. Don’t just walk into the interview thinking that you’re only going to answer questions about yourself. While that’s mostly true, your answers must be poised in a way that not only showcases who you are as a person but who you are as an employee.

Approach an internship interview like you would a real job interview. Research the company so that you’re educated on its mission, products and services as well as its performance. Come with a list of prepared questions – ask about the day-to-day responsibilities of the internship, benefits of the program and where interns go on to work afterwards. Practice answering questions with a parent, peer or counselor at the campus career center.

2017 can be a big year for you – for your future and your career. Start it off on the right foot by starting your internship search now.