Watching a child about to embark upon a career search can be as proud and frightening a moment as when that child first wobbled off on a shiny new two-wheeler: both experiences can be bumpy rides. Responsible parents dart forward to protect their children from mishaps and, with the proper guidance, send them off again on the right path. But for a child soon to graduate high school, technical school, college, graduate school, or professional school, the road meandering through a shaky economy can be precarious and circuitous. Investing aspirations and finances in their children’s college educations, parents justifiably expect to realize returns on their investments, and not solely for purposes of remitting the considerable debt incurred with student loans. Every loving parent desires his or her child to experience security and stability through a focused career path, and yet, our economy has proven that job security has become, if not an obsolete term, then a misnomer. Yet, in crafting high school student resumes, technical school student resumes, college student resumes, graduate school student resumes, and professional school student resumes, there do exist viable strategies and tools upon which parents can capitalize to safeguard their children from the worst potholes scarring the road of the post-graduation employment search. The best of these tactics revolves around crucial internship positions.
In healthier economies, it was common practice for employers to offer internship positions to students in their senior and/or junior years of college. So prevalent was this practice at one time that most students assumed an internship to be a “given,” an integral and once-unquestionable process of transitioning from the role of student to that of a contributing member of the workforce. Today’s market landscape, however, has made internships more difficult to secure. Grasping for solvency, companies undergoing downsizing and outsourcing initiatives can no longer afford to “give” anything away.
Armed only with their college degrees, future graduates attempting to enter the workforce will find this economy a harsh reality. Employers seek not merely a degree but real-world experience on student resumes; they need to deduce potential contributions of prospective staff members, based upon evaluations of candidates’ experiences and accomplishments. Enrolled in full-time curricula and frequently hustling unrelated, part-time jobs, students confront the dichotomy and challenge of presenting employers with germane, practical experience. College internships are more than the critical progression from knowledge gained solely in the classroom to on-the-job exposure to one’s chosen field. For a student, they are the vital distinction between these two elements.