5 Reasons Why NOT Interning as an Undergrad Can Actually Cost You Time and Money


Summer vacation equals beach, no homework, and music festivals, right? But mixed in with all that fun, make sure that you’re not doing a disservice to your future career opportunities. For the 25% of students that don’t intern during their college years, the cost of summers often comes in the form of career potential, salary, and time spent job hunting.

Recruiters look at resumes for an average of six seconds. SIX SECONDS! Students with internship experience on their resumes are more likely to hold the attention of potential employers. Although all internship experience is important, international experience is increasingly beneficial.

Here are five ways graduates with global internship experience are more likely to succeed:

1. Getting an edge on other graduates.

According to a 2017 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 91 percent of employers prefer job candidates with work experience, and more than half of employee respondents prefer that work experience come from internships or co-ops. You can’t afford to not complete at least one internship before graduation.

In iCIMS’s 2017 Job Outlook Report, 76 percent of recruiters said that work experience was more important than college grades when evaluating potential candidates. More and more companies are also looking for graduates with a global mindset as they look to expand into the global market, either as U.S. companies look to scale internationally, or as foreign companies continue to expand to the U.S. An internship abroad is the best way to meet expectations of global employers.

2. Developing hard and soft skills.

Learning in the classroom is an important way of developing knowledge and certain skills. However, interning alongside industry professionals is a much better way to develop the hard and soft skills future employers are looking for in job candidates. Reading about go-to-market strategy and actually developing a go-to-market strategy are very different ways of learning. Students that are able to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and make a measurable impact on a company have a huge advantage with future employers.

Working in a professional environment helps students develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, time management, problem solving, and leadership. These skills can only truly be learned by doing and an internship is the perfect place to start.

Hands-on work also helps students to develop hard skills that are specific to their industry of interest. We’ve all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Nobody will ever be perfect at anything, but hands-on experience definitely helps to gain expertise in professional skills.

3. Building a strong professional network.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 70% of jobs are secured through networking. Not only do students learn valuable hard and soft skills during internships, they also develop strong professional relationships with their new colleagues, and often attend professional events. These new professional contacts can help students tap into job opportunities that aren’t statistically accessible to most students in the proverbial “resume pile.”

4. Figuring out what they like and don’t like.

Valuable time spent at the wrong job is one of the most significant costs of not interning before graduation. Internships allow students the opportunity to test drive certain industries and careers before leaving the comforts of college.

New graduates are often excited to get into the “real world” and put their degrees to work. However, 44% of young professionals are looking to find a new company or career, meaning they aren’t happy with their current professional situation. Participating in one, two, or even three internships before graduation allows students to figure out if they really want a career in their chosen field at a much lower cost than those that do not secure internships while in school.

5. Getting a foot in the door.

Companies often look at their interns as potential full-time hires before posting a position online to the general public. Good interns are able to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to employers in a lower-risk way than new hires from outside of the organization.

According to the 2018 NACE Internship and Co-op Report, the full-time offer rate for interns is 59 percent, the acceptance rate is 77 percent, and the conversion rate is 46 percent. After the first year of work, 70 percent employees with internal internship experience were likely to continue in their positions while 58 percent of employees with external internship experience were likely to continue in their positions. Employees with previous internship experience either inside or outside of their companies were happier in their positions than those without prior internship experience.

As students think hard about summer "vacation" away from school, they should seriously consider carving out significant time to spend towards their future careers.

Ready for an internship? Join us.