If you think internships are all about getting coffee and making copies, you’re wrong. Internship or cooperative education (co-op) experiences should provide you with an opportunity to gain real world experience in your field. According to the Job Outlook 2016 produced by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 64.2% of employers prefer to hire candidates with relevant work experience. Likewise, 57% of employers prefer students gain this relevant experience through internship/co-op opportunities. It’s not surprising then that, “those serving internships/co-ops enjoy a distinct advantage in the job market over those who lack such experience. Overall, 56.5% of students who performed an internship/co-op received at least one job offer” (NACE, 2015 Student Survey).
Simply put, completing internship/co-op experiences can put you at a distinct advantage over your peers and give you the relevant skills employers want. Even if you don’t land a job with your internship/co-op employer, you have now had an opportunity to expand your network and build your resume. In addition, internships/co-ops can help you solidify your career goals and put theories learned in the classroom to practice in the real world. In summary, here are our top 10 reasons to do a co-op/internship:
Top 10 reasons to do a co-op/internship
- Learn about the career you’re interested in
- Put theories learned in the classroom to practice in the real world
- Build your resume—gain relevant experience before you graduate
- Get an edge in a competitive job market
- Network with future employers/colleagues
- Possibly land a full-time job
- Enhance your job related skills
- Build confidence and competence in your field
- Earn college credit*
- Possibly get paid
*Wondering about #9…so how do you earn college credit? Check out the steps to get started on our website.
Once you have determined you meet the eligibility requirements to complete an internship/co-op experience, you can now start searching for, and applying to, opportunities. We recommend that you start by making an appointment with a career counselor via Career Link to have your resume reviewed. If you do not already have a resume, or it’s been awhile since you have updated it, please view the resume resources on our website for guidance. Career Link is also the best place to start your internship/co-op search. In addition to over 300 job postings from our employer partners, you will find resources, such as the A to Z database, that can help you research companies and find further opportunities.