Employers increasingly want to see experience in the new college grads they hire. A staggering 95% of employers said candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions, according to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Employers increasingly see their internship programs as the best path for hiring entry-level candidates. "Not only does participation in an internship make the student a more attractive candidate," says NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes, "but it can also be an avenue to a job." You may get paid more when you graduate if you've done one or more internships.

The benefits:

  • Command a higher salary. Graduates who have hands-on work experience in their field are paid on average 6.5% more than those without the experience.
  • Test drive your career choice. You may find it’s a perfect fit or perhaps it’s time to consider other career options. You may also discover that one niche of your field is a better fit than another.
  • Gain a valuable understanding of your major field. You’ll be better able to grasp how your coursework is preparing you to enter your chosen career.
  • Develop skills galore. You'll gain confidence. You'll build motivation and work habits.
  • Build your network. Make connections that can help you land a job in the future.