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The Best Advice for Your Last Two Years in College
Consider an internship while you are in college as a necessity, not an option, to practice what you have learned. Many majors offer them as an option and it gives the student the impression that an internship is like, icing on the cake.
Internships, whether paid or not, are so necessary and vital. The sooner you find one in your area of study the better it will be. Find one in a place that you would not minding working after you graduate. Do not waste time on interning at a place that you know you would not like being an employee of.
The reason is that in today's job market, grads compete with so many older and more qualified opponents. Just because you got a degree in the field means little in the real world because experience really is the king to recruiters. Practically, all the applicants have a degree. It is to be expected in today's world. Period. But, do you have the experience to work at the job the way they want want you to? (not how your college taught you).
Today, companies that hire will take 40% of the applicants from their internship programs first before interviewing those not from internship programs for entry-level positions. Five years ago, it was only 30%. From their point of view, it makes more sense to hire an intern who has learned the culture and tasks of the job after the graduate. They make loyal employees and training is nil.
At the huge consulting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, out of 4600 new hires from college, 2000 had been interns with them before graduating. It is a war for talent with miminal cost.
Getting an internship is not easy, even if unpaid. Competition is stiff even for them and students start searching in their freshman year, which years ago, sounded insane. Usually one does not declare a "major" until their junior year. But times are changing and securing an internship increases your ability to convert from a student status to employee after graduation. Think long term, past four years, which will fly by. If you do not intern, you may be one of the thousands of new grads saying, "WTF, this degree does not mean much". Worse, you will either be in a dead end job or looking for it.