Internships can benefit graduates finding jobs after graduation
By: Lucy Malone
If you are a graduating senior and you are worried about finding a job relevant to your degree, you are not alone. The class of 2022’s spring graduation is right around the corner and students are filled with excitement, anxiety, and anticipation.
There are 26% of graduating students that said the job search after graduation caused anxiety, according to a study conducted by the National Union of Students. Seniors who have worked diligently on their degree want to find a high paying job that is relevant to their area of study. However, 55% of individuals report that their work and field of study are closely related, according to the National Survey of College Graduates.
“When I graduated from undergrad, my first job was working as a grocery clerk because I did not have any internship experience,” said Jennifer Heckman, a business management professor at the University of Washington Tacoma. “My application was not appealing because I did not have experience working in my major, even though I had a degree.”
Job search anxiety can be lessened, and higher career relation to degree can be gained by internship experience in your field of study. Internships provide a low risk environment to gain guidance on your career path, and test the concepts you have been diligently learning throughout your college profession.
“I wish internships were a degree requirement because of the valuable experience you gain from working within your major,” Heckman said.
Networking is one of the best skills for obtaining jobs and internships, according to Michael Maratas, the military-connected career coach at the Career Development and Education Center located in the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
“Start inward by telling your friends, family, classmates and professors what you want to do,” Maratas said. “Let the network work for you. People want to help other people and if they know what your plan is, they will find opportunities for you to succeed.”
Students who have had internship experiences prior to their job search are more likely to find employment after graduation than students with no experience, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers
“If I had not done an internship with an occupational therapist my senior year, I would not have been offered a job,” said Kelsey Summers, a University of Washington Tacoma alumni. “This industry is so close knit, where you need to have relationships to get hired. I was able to get hired at the office I interned at.”
Having a Bachelor’s degree has proven to acquire a higher salary than those with a high school diploma, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
“One of the things that helps about university education, isn’t just the major, but the critical thinking skills you develop along the way,” Heckman said. “These experiences strengthen your mental framework which helps your career because you are able to think through problems more efficiently.”
However, only having a higher education degree does not mean your application is the most attractive. Internships are the most effective college recruitment strategy, according to a focus group study posted in the journal of Marketing Education.
Degrees of Change has a local program called Seed Internships. Seed helps find internships relevant to an individual’s area of study in nearby counties.
“Be open minded and start early,” Mantras said, “Don’t limit yourself and seek out internship opportunities as soon as you’re interested.”