Academic research in the field of early career development demonstrates several benefits to interning during college and shortly after university graduation. Here are the reasons to apply for and obtain an internship according to the latest research. Internships:
+ help students make good career choices (Brooks et al, 1995),
+ provide opportunities to learn and apply specific job related skills under close supervision that were not taught in formalized educational programs, (Garavan and Murphy, 2001),
+ makes it easier to obtain permanent full-time work (Callanan and Benzing, 2004; Knous et al, 1999).
+ ease the transition from college student to full-time working professional (Paulson and Baker, 1999).
In addition to these positive features of internships, students and recent college graduates who experienced the benefits of internship programs, report the following:
+ greater job satisfaction than their peers (Gault et al, 2000),
+ greater job stability in the early years of their careers (Richards, 1984),
+ higher freedoms to express traits of ambition, a key success variable (Pedro, 1984).
Now that we have discussed the practical reasons why securing an internship is important, we'll review the theoretical reasons why internships are vital to your success:
+ hiring professionals value the diploma students receive upon graduation, but it has been argued that a university diploma alone may not provide students the skills necessary to solve real world problems encountered in the working world (Candy and Crebert, 1991).
+ the challenges in business and at work are more pragmatic than the topics covered in a more abstract and theoretical scenarios taught in school, causing a disconnect (Angelidis et al, 2004).
As such, it is believed that the internship experience is the one mode of learning and applying where students and recent graduates can both apply the theories they have learned in a real world setting. This real world setting of an internship serves as a laboratory where interning students and recent graduates can receive positive, negative and neutral feedback in real time and modify their approach.
Reduced hope of showing collegial camaraderie, decreased opportunities to build a long lasting social network, fewer chances to interact one-on-one with college professors, and decreased prospects for participating in college extracurricular activities represented just a few of the downsides of experiencing Covid-19 as a college student.
While these experiences lessened the overall enjoyment of college life, what was particularly detrimental to the traditional college experience was the lack of internship opportunities and subsequent job placement. Why was the negative impact so profound?
Because of the negative implications on current and future earnings possibilities.
Forbes suggested that widespread campus closures led to the dismantling of the traditional college internship during those years which we believe constitutes a basic failure to provide a rite of youth and young adult passage worthy of celebration and lifelong remembrance.
But where to we go from here? What should colleges and institutions of higher learning do now?
It can be argued that they should offer more remote internship opportunities or increase the occasions in which students can apply, demonstrate and perform work tasks related to an eventual job virtually. Why? Because remote work and working from home may be the wave of the future.
College students soon to graduate and embark on a career journey of full time work need to have exposure to remote work to demonstrate their employability. Presently there is a lack of clarity as to whether universities offer remote internships on massive scales to address real world job market conditions.
Just recently the Times Higher Education (THE) published an article begging universities and colleges to invest in virtual office and remote internship programs. THE argued that university systems have much to gain in doing do so. When promoting the availability of remote internships on their college campuses, they can make their college more attractive to top tier high school graduate applicants.
Zippia estimates that roughly 66% of workers based in the US work remotely, at least part of the time. Globally, 44% of employers still do not offer remote work at all. Still, given this figure, recent college graduates as soon to graduate college students would be remiss if they failed to obtain work from home, virtual, hybrid and remote work job experience.
Why? Because remote job experience is particularly important now as roughly 25% to 40% of all jobs can be performed remotely. It increases the likelihood that a job applicant will be hired by an employer when they also have experience working remotely. When remote job internships are provided these recent college graduates and college students can have the prior experience to demonstrate that they possess the soft skills (interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, diplomacy) to collaborate with their work colleagues remotely. Equipped with remote work experience, they can show that they have met performance standards when using and accessing digital technology. These skills are helpful to have and are proof that the student is employable and has added value.
What do students themselves think about remote internships?
Inside Higher Education provided the results of a 2,000 student survey showing:
- +38% of the student were at least somewhat interested in a virtual or remote internship while completing course requirements,
- +18% of the student were extremely interested,
- +34% would be somewhat interested in obtaining a fully remote job after graduation, while
- +15% would be extremely interested in securing a remote job after graduation.
Why is it important to give college students experience working remotely? They will be given the opportunity in a learning and non-financially punitive environment, the chance to develop these necessary skills:
- +time management,
- +self- determination and internal motivation, and
- +digital literacy.