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Jan 09, 2017 09:20 AM EST

Internships: Providing The Work Experience Employers Want From Job Seekers

Interns learn job skills the classroom could never teach
Internships provide fresh graduates the work experience today's employers look for in a new worker.
(Photo : Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Internships provide students with an avenue to expand their networks or additional credentials to be listed in their resumes after graduation. It also adds a job experience that according to research, is the leading factor why workers get hired.

Work experience, according to Wharton professor Peter Cappelli, is a very important attribute that employers want from students, reports FIUSM, the student media publication of the Florida International University.

Cappelli, who authored a paper focusing on job skills, found out through a research conducted in 2014 that when employers do look for new hires in college, the main factor that matters is a student's work experience and not entirely their academic performance.

Cappelli, who is also the director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources, told the Association for Talent Development in a recent interview that there's a steady decline in the training of employees, and a growing investment in "predictive analytics." He goes on to explain that it means employers are trying to find people with certain job characteristics.

For example, Cappelli said there are employers who are looking for Java programmers with experience in working on mobile applications tailored for some context. Their criteria would be that specific job experience.

FIUSM notes that recently, employers have become more selective in choosing employees. As is, internships are the "go-to" section if employers are looking for new hires. Probably this goes along with the decline in employee training, as Cappelli has noted.

Skills Gap

This trend might cause problems to many college students. Since high school, students are pushed to achieve good grades and high GPAs so that they will gain acceptance in college. In college, students work hard to receive proper education that will prepare them for a great career ahead of them.

But if they leave college with high GPAs but no work experience, how's that going to play out for them?

Cappelli noted this problem in his paper in 2014, saying we are faced with a future where employers get frustrated because they cannot hire job seekers with no skills and experience. Job seekers, on the other hand, cannot receive the experience and skills training they need because there's no employer that would want them.

Internships would be a great place for students to receive the initial job experience and skills training they need. So before a student leaves college, an internship is crucial.

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