Never Underestimate the Value of An Internship Program

With the employment market noticeably improving over the last few months of the financial year, there is a demonstrated need for companies to ensure that they can attract the right talent in 2014. Job opportunities became more prevalent in 2013, and for some industry sectors, the challenge is not in just filling an open position but in finding a candidate with the right experience. In that sense, well designed internship programs can offer numerous benefits to employers and students alike.

Naturally enough, a well-written resume can help a hiring manager determine the suitability of an applicant, but with a new wave of college graduates due to enter the workforce in the near future, offering internships can be an even better way to ascertain whether an individual will be a good fit. A recently released survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 71 percent of the HR professionals interviewed were planning to hire interns over the next financial year, with 93 percent of respondents stating that they consider internships as valuable work experience.

Of course, the value of that experience is dependent on how employers design their internship programs. If employers tailor the internship to cater to areas in which they could benefit from an extra set of hands, their interns will have a better opportunity to interact with experienced staff and gain exposure to how a business runs. Ensuring internship programs offer this type of experience is important because it helps educate the intern on what to expect when they enter the workforce and what skills they may need to develop. These programs also give employers the perfect opportunity to mold interns into the sort of employees they would want to hire full-time.

Valued experience
Internships are also growing in popularity amongst students. In fact, recent data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 63.2 percent of seniors from the undergraduate class of 2013 participated in internships this year. Since more students are pursuing internships, the job market will be more competitive for first time job seekers. Graduates with internship experience will have more of an advantage than those who do not.

Those who participate in internship programs and make sure they make a full effort can gain a lot from the experience. For instance, internships offer students the opportunity to apply what they learned in the classroom to the workplace, allowing them to gain some concrete work experience. This will help interns gain an understanding of what skills they need to develop to be successful in the workplace.  Internships additionally allow students to get their foot in the door at an organization, expand their professional network, and see if they enjoy working within a certain industry or role.

In fact, the SHRM survey also stated that 71 percent of organizations polled had either hired or plan to hire their interns this year. However, even if one does not receive a job offer from their internship, the experience and network of references and contacts they have gained cannot be overlooked and will be advantageous in their future job search.

While the future of any intern can be dependent on how well the internship program is designed in addition to how that individual performs in the eyes of the company, internships remain an excellent way for both parties to see if there is a fit. They also give forward-thinking job seekers an opportunity to gain valuable experience that can help put them on the path to finding the career they want to pursue.