Why Intern?

Are internships worth the effort?


You’re earning a University of Washington degree, and that is a great credential. But so are thousands of other students. How will you distinguish yourself when it comes time for you to apply for jobs?

Recent research shows that more than 70 per cent of new college graduates securing career-track jobs have completed one or more internships. Sometimes, the internship turns into a paid job, but more often it serves as a resume builder, a way to gain professional skills, an avenue for networking, and a source of job recommendations.

An internship – any internship – or volunteer work shows a prospective employer that you are dedicated, committed, accustomed to a professional environment, and actively building skills. Even if the internship is for just a few hours a week and not directly related to the job you’re seeking, it is an opportunity to show what you’ve been doing in the community and the professional world. This is very meaningful to employers, who are eager to hire “self starters” who’ve gone above and beyond their coursework.

Take a look at the two attached resumes. If you were an employer, which applicant would you call first for an interview? (Note that the internships listed in the first resume have not been very time consuming or of long duration, and the volunteer activities are primarily one-day events; however, they help to show an active, engaged, community-minded applicant.)

Resume 1 (with internships and volunteer work)

Resume 2 (same education & honors, but no skill-building experiences)

Many internships don’t require a huge time commitment, and some, especially with non profit organizations, are fairly easy to secure. Academic credit is available through the Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media Studies Department and the English Department.