Internships are the new interviews

Nearing the end of October, this is the optimal time to start building persuasive internship applications. Over the years, colleges have been putting more and more emphasis on undergraduate internships. 

In our very own Florida A&M, some students are required to get an internship before obtaining their degree. While many may see this as an unnecessary hassle and a way to solicit cheap or free labor, internships are often very beneficial to undergraduates. A survey conducted by, found that 66 percent of employers believe relevant work experience is one of the most important elements when considering employees-even more important than grade point average.

In this tough economy, many recent college graduates are having a hard time finding jobs. This commonly known fact should prompt undergraduates to search for methods and résumé builders to make themselves more marketable.

One vital addition to any good resume is an internship. Nothing reassures a person more than knowing that you have done the job before. If you’re going to go skydiving with someone, would you rather it be someone who has only read about skydiving or someone who has actually skydived before?

According to, in 2012, 69 percent of companies with over 100 employees sought to hire their own interns. Obviously, companies are not just hiring interns for students’ sakes, they are searching for skilled and hardworking employees to propel their business in the future.
It is far easier for a company to pull from a pool of recent graduates who they know mesh well with their company rather than taking a gamble on interviewees whom they know little about.

Internships can also serve to build a better network of professional contacts. In this competitive market, employers go through hundreds of names on paper. It is difficult to distinguish yourself from the masses of black and white, even with well-written cover letters.

Sometimes a good voucher from someone within the career field can help you get a leg up. Business relationships can bring your personality and special skills that are not conveyed through paper to the table.

Finally, internships are a great way to determine if the field a student is seeking is right for them. Reading the course material and answering questions on tests doesn’t always relay the real life implications of a career. A recent poll taken by Gallup suggests that approximately 70 percent of Americans do not like their job.

You do not have to be one of them. You can test the waters of your career field to find out if it is worth jumping in and swimming upstream.

Now is the time for students to take the hands of people who are willing to hold out their hands and give us a lift. Once we enter the “real world,” we are just another part of the workforce like everyone else. It is imperative that we take advantage of all of the opportunities afforded to us. So, apply for internships. Even if you don’t think you will get it, the worst that can happen is they say no, the best that can happen is you a granted a smooth transition to a great career.