With the evolving nature of the modern job market, college graduates are struggling to know what hiring managers really look at when evaluating job applications.
According to USA Today, a 2013 study that surveyed hiring managers and recent college graduates found 50 percent of students believed they were ready for a full-time position, while only two in every five hiring managers believed the same.
“Instead of preparing our students for a particular job or career that would show more predictable and linear growth, they need to learn skills so they can adapt to whatever their job becomes," said Lesley Mitler, president at Priority Candidates.
Soyolmaa Lyhagvadorj, writing for the Daily Californian, said internships, both paid and unpaid, are becoming more popular as a way for students to gain work experience in their field of study while still pursuing their college degree.
“I do feel like I'm learning a lot,” Saumya Sharmma, a student at the University of California-Berkeley, told The Daily Californian of her internship with a law firm. Sharmma said the experience reading civil litigation and client files has given her a “better understanding of how each case can be potentially solved.”
The wisdom of applying for internships has been supported by a study from the Chronicle of Higher Education. The study found internships and work experience during college as well as extracurricular and volunteer experience were more important to hiring managers, while GPA and course work were not heavily valued by employers.
However, not all internships are created equal. CNBC reported that a survey from the National Association of Colleges & Employers suggests paid internships are best for students both monetarily and for landing future jobs. "The unpaid internship had no impact relative to having no internship, at least in terms of getting a job," said Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research.
Kelley Holland, writing for CNBC, said college career development services and academic advisers are good places for students to go in their search for good internships. Websites, such as idealist.org and internmatch.com are also resources students can use to search for internships across the country.
Leslie Corbly is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. She loves to read, write and run. Leslie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org