The One Thing College Grads Need that Makes Them 3 Times More Likely to Get Job Offers

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Want the inside track to getting a job after graduation? There is one thing you can do that will make you more hirable, in fact, three times more likely to receive job offers: having completed an internshipmore specifically, a paid internship.

Also See: What Recent Grads Need to Do With Their Cash

It's obvious -- competition in the job market is stiff.

While nearly two-thirds (65.3%) of seniors were already looking for work in April of this year, just under 17% had received full-time job offers, according to a survey of 9,000 students across the country fielded by InternMatch. One quarter (24.9%) of those with offers in hand had completed a paid internship, compared to only 8% that had participated in unpaid internships.

 

Also See: The Coolest Internships in America

"Side jobs, online course work and meaningful side projects had some influence on job offers, but not quite to the extent of GPA scores, internship experience and paid internships," the report says.

Nevertheless, compensation for an internship is not ranked by students as a high priority, falling outside of the top five most sought-after attributes. More than two-thirds of respondents are more interested in gaining opportunities for long-term career advancement as well as the relevance of an internship to their field of study. Additional top-notch considerations were access to executives and mentors, work-life balance and clearly-defined assignments.

Paid internships are particularly hard to find, according to the InternMatch study. Less than half (48.3%) of seniors were paid during job training, while 6.5% received a stipend. Male students were more likely to be compensated (60.6%) than females (40.2%).

The top industry picks for internships for male students were technology (43.1%), including hardware, software and web companies. Only 19% of females put technology at the top of their list, instead preferring marketing and PR agencies, healthcare, education, community organizations and the hospitality industry.

Multiple internships make the odds of getting a job even better: 10.4% of seniors with just one internship had already received job offers, compared with 24.0% of those with four or more internships. And getting an early start is key, with 58.9% of students beginning their first internship before their junior year.

Undoubtedly, plum internships are difficult to score. Of the one-in-four students (41.5%) who haven't yet snagged an internship, nearly three-quarters (71.5%) have attempted to get a foot in the door. Though so far unsuccessful, they've tapped from five to seven different tools and resources, including internship and career websites, university career centers, personal networks, alumni, career fairs and more.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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