Erin Berthon

Erin Berthon, MA Career Advisor, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, at Chapman University

How important is it for college students to complete an internship before graduation? College students who perform well in internships have long had an advantage with hiring managers once they graduate. Remote work during the pandemic made it more challenging for recruiters to connect with college students over the past year, so I have seen more companies hire their interns for full-time positions, even if the internships were remote.

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recently released their survey from the class of 2020, and employers were much more likely to make offers of full-time employment to graduates with internships than the previous year. The data showed that for the class of 2020, 79.9% of interns received offers compared to 2019 at 68%.

Landing a job through an internship has become a rising trend because of the difficulty companies face onboarding new employees remotely; pre-existing knowledge of a company gained through an internship is now a huge asset. As the career advisor at Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, I have seen an uptake in employers hiring from their intern pool, especially in jobs that require writing and critical thinking.

When talking with two of our recent graduates from sociology, Javari Hunt and Ashley Lee, they underscored the importance of an internship. Hunt’s internship, at HBO Max as an editorial strategy intern, led to her getting a full-time job. She explained, “Having the internship definitely helped my chances. I was able to get to know the team and demonstrate my skills that would lead me to be there permanently.” As for Lee,  she interned at the Chinese American Museum summer internship program (Public Programs and Digital Engagement Intern) she said, “My internship is the reason why I have a full-time job now, and I do believe it increased my chances of getting a job during the pandemic. I’ve already built my connection with my employer through my internship, and they offered me a full-time position based on what I’ve done as an intern. They were able to skip past the reviewing of new resumes and scheduling more virtual interviews.”

Remember that getting an internship after graduation is also a possibility. A post-graduation internship allows you to explore career options and network with potential employers. Your first job is never your last job. Remote work has increased during the pandemic and is here to stay in many industries, consequently, the pool of available internships has widened because interns and employees can work from anywhere.

So, can an internship lead to a full-time job? The answer is, Yes! An internship allows you to network, gain new experiences, increase marketability, learn how a professional workplace operates, and build your resume. It will help you figure out what you like and don’t like. Most importantly, landing an internship increases the chances of you getting a job.