New College Grads Need This on Their Resumes

Posted By Terri Williams on May 9, 2017 at 7:31 am
New College Grads Need This on Their Resumes

Graduating students need a toolkit of skills to gain the attention of hiring managers and achieve success in the workplace. Soft skills and emotional intelligence are just some of the desired traits. However, companies also want employees who can hit the ground running, and there’s one proven way for new college grads to have that ability from the start.

According to a new report by iCIMS, 70% of recruiters and college seniors agree that internships are actually more valuable to employers than the GPAs of new college grads. In fact, these are the outcomes that seniors reported:

65% Learned better organizational skills, such as time or project management
61% Received a positive recommendation or reference for a job at a different company
40% Learned how to use a new computer program or software
26% Received a full-time job offer with the company they interned at


While the vast majority of employers believe that new college grads need internships (only 7% say they don’t), there’s not agreement on the magic number: 35% of employers believe students need three or more internships; 30% believe they need two internships, and 28% think one internship is enough.

So, why are internships so critical for new college grads seeking a job?

The importance of internships to new college grads

Internships are important to employers, but that’s not the only reason students should participate in them. They also can confirm that the student is making the right career choice – or not.

Amy Bravo, senior director of international and experiential education at the New York Institute of Technology, tells GoodCall®, “An internship provides the opportunity to develop skill sets such as written and verbal communication, teamwork, and problem solving.” She says these are all skills that employers want in job candidates.

An internship also allows students to operate in a real-world setting. “Students gain practical, hands-on experience, and bring to life what they have learned in the classroom for so long,” Bravo explains.

While there may be debate regarding paid vs unpaid internships, few question the role of internships in the educational process. According to Todd C. Lotcpeich, associate director of employer management and alumni relations at LIM College, “Along with other experiential learning activities, internships are a critical component of a student’s education.” Lotcpeich explains, “Internships provide a means for students to translate classroom concepts to real-life situations at an organization and gain actual job skills that will prepare them for the workforce.”

This practical experience is important because it helps students to develop self-assurance. “Many employers say an important skill that students lack is confidence, a belief in what they can do on the job,” Bravo reveals. “Students who complete internships have a big advantage – they know what they can do because they’ve done it.”

And that’s why students can gain a competitive edge. “All one needs to do is take a look at ‘entry level’ job postings to see that employers are expecting students to graduate with real-world experience,” Lotcpeich says. “By taking advantage of internships, a student is graduating not only with a degree, but also with a solid resume.”

Internships are so important that some schools make them mandatory. According to Steven Infanti, associate vice president of admissions at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, “All students – regardless of major – must complete 135 hours of an internship prior to graduation and that’s the bare minimum.” However, the students get to decide how they fulfill their internship requirements. “Students can complete up to three internships or they can do one internship, an out of class project and a research project,” Infanti explains. “As a STEM-focused university, these hands-on opportunities in meaningful positions give graduates a leg up in the job market or even grad school.”

Internships also help students in another way. Since a degree can lead to several career options, an internship can help students determine the best fit. “It’s a great way for students to test drive their career options,” Bravo says. “While there could be a number of different jobs, an internship can help students refocus or refine their goals for when they graduate.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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