The importance of internships

As college students, we’re not new to the world of commitment and diligence. It is what we all practiced to make it to the University of Miami. While we were in high school, we worked really hard so that we could make ourselves viable candidates for prestigious colleges and universities.

Of course, once we made it to our Coral Gables campus, we all realized our work is far from done. We always knew that we’d have to be studious in college. But to make it in today’s job market, you need to do more than just work hard. It’s a tough world out there, so tough that it’s not uncommon for students to remain jobless for some time after graduation. There is hope though, as the class of 2018 and 2019 graduates are entering one of the healthiest job markets in decades. There will be tough competition among graduates for jobs because of the continuous growth streak among the college labor market, according to Michigan State University’s Recruiting Trends, the largest annual survey of employers in the nation. Even though the job market has good prospects right now, it doesn’t stop us from worrying about whether our time in college will prove to be a good investment.

There is a collective anxiety among college students: We know it’s hard to get a decent job out of college, and we know we need to constantly be doing something to help our post-grad job prospects.

What this means for us as students and future graduates is that we indefinitely need to do more to stand out to future employers. Internships are one way for college students to gain experience while still enrolled in classes. Internships give you a glimpse into the workforce and allow you to put your classroom knowledge to use. We know that getting jobs and internships, especially in your desired field, looks good on your resume and helps build the foundation for your future career, but they do other important things as well.

Having an internship gives you critical skills. You get to interact with people in a professional setting, and your employers also get to witness your knowledge in action. We might not think that this is important to employers, but they are really looking for skills that we cannot necessarily acquire through a college education. A report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities states that employers are looking for “general workplace skills” such as creative thinking and interpersonal communication. However, these same employers often find that students are missing these skills.

Internships also allow you to network. Forming relationships with people in your field can prove to be a great investment. Networking has opened up doors for many people and can even lead to another internship or a permanent job opportunity. Networking can lead you to a mentor or a professional contact who can guide you along your college career. It can even propel you forward long after graduation.

It is officially #internshipseason, as most applications are open, and their deadlines are approaching. You may or may not have thought about it yet, but take this as your sign to start applying.

If the internship is big or small, apply. If it’s in a far-away city, apply. Even if it’s not in your field, apply.

Visit our very own Toppel Career Center for help with applications. They also have student-peer advisors to assist you with interviews or resumes. Attend Toppel’s Spring Career Expo this Tuesday to meet recruiters, take professional headshots and potentially get an internship. Go above and beyond, and you just might make it.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.