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Add an Internship to Your Resume
Q: Are my chances for getting a good job after college higher if I have an internship?

A: To compete in today's job market a college degree is essential. But if you really want to be competitive, you should add an internship to your resume.

Some college degrees already require internships. To receive a state teaching certificate you must spend a specified amount of time in the classroom teaching the subject you are endorsed in. Journalism majors are often required to intern with a newspaper, magazine, radio or television station. And more colleges are beginning to require internships - also known as work-study, cooperative education, service learning, and externships - in order to graduate, whether it is required in the field or not.

An internship generally refers to "any temporary work experience, in a for-profit or nonprofit setting, with the dual purpose of learning while working." There are both paid and unpaid internships (unfortunately, usually unpaid). You may have an internship while still taking college courses; you may elect to take a break from school while you do the internship; or you can finish off your college education with an internship. You may be able to receive college credit for your internship, and then, you may not. Paid or unpaid, college credit or not, pursuing an internship is an excellent decision.

This is a great opportunity to learn! Think of it as a hands-on "testing zone," an experience that allows you to test your skills and knowledge, likes and dislikes, in a specific field. In the process, you will learn things about the field that a textbook can't teach you. You will be exposed to the "real-world" atmosphere of the workplace, where meeting deadlines and high expectations mean more than getting a good grade. An internship is a step into the professional world. Keep in mind that your future employers are not only looking for great grades; they are looking for well-rounded individuals who have solid work experience.

It may be difficult juggling an internship with classes, extracurricular activities and life in general, but it is worth the sweat-drenched effort you put into it. A successful internship will bring you great letters of recommendation and contacts that could very well land you a job once you graduate.

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