How Important Are Internships?

We’ve all heard a lot about internships, but how important are they in the real world?

Some experts have noted that larger companies may hire as many as 90% of their workers from the ranks of their interns - but other companies are specifically advised against having interns.

The correct answer to our question is “It depends.” Let’s take a look at the factors involved, how they affect the importance of an internship, and whether or not you need an internship.

Your career so far

Have you held down a real job in the past? I don’t mean working part-time at a fast food restaurant when you were sixteen, I mean something that most employers would consider a serious, career-oriented position (even if it was just entry-level). If so, you may not need to bother with an internship because your existing experience fulfills the same basic role, and we can match your abilities to companies who are looking for this sort of real-world experience.

Alternative experiences

Internships are just one of the ways to make yourself attractive to a company. Hiking across Europe may not be very impressive (unless you’re applying to a hiking tour agency, anyway), but depending on your industry, volunteer work outside of the business realm could be equally valuable. For example, you could start a major community project and manage the entire thing from start to finish - the more impressive the project is, the better it’s going to look on your resume. Our teams can help you determine what sorts of experiences would look best on your resume.

Your skills

Many employers are more interested in broad knowledge and skills than just the talents related to your major. Or, to put it another way, they want to know what you can do besides your main job. Applicants who are good at problem solving, communication, and applying the knowledge they’ve gained to real-world situations are significantly more likely to get hired than people who know how to do their job, but have no ability to go beyond that.

Internships are often seen as a good way to develop these sorts of skills, so if you feel you’re lacking in this regard, they’re definitely worth considering. Keep in mind that internships are not created equally - for you, they should be a learning opportunity, not just a chance to work hard with no compensation for a few months. Don’t be afraid to ask an employer what you can expect to learn and how they plan to teach you - if they don’t have a satisfactory answer, you shouldn’t bother interning there.

Where you want to work

Some industries care about interns far more than others. Try contacting a few different businesses (10 should suffice) in the industry you plan to work in, and ask them how important they believe internships are and what effect they have on hiring. If eight of them say “you need to intern if you want to get hired”, that settles the debate right there. On the other hand, if most of them tell you “we don’t care about that”, you can spend your time on something that will impress them.

Our team can help you locate businesses, and we may even be able to give you an immediate response about whether or not internships are necessary in that industry. We work with hiring managers from companies in many fields on a regular basis and may be able to save you a lot of time.

In short…

The only way to determine the value of an internship is to look at yourself, your situation, and the place where you want to be. If an internship is the most likely route of success, then go for it - but if it doesn’t seem to matter, then drop the idea and move on to something better. Either way, CNC Jobs Inc. is committed to matching you with a company that desires your skills, and we’re glad to help as much as we can.


Vera Reed is a freelance writer who has contributed to several education and career sites. She knows how competitive today's job market can be and she hopes her tips will be encouraging for students as they explore majors and careers.