How Internships Increase Your Starting Salary

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If you are a college student, internship experience is crucial. Why?

  1. Higher Volume of College Grads: Each year, roughly 2 million students graduate with a Bachelor's degree in the US and roughly 19M students are enrolled in college.  Over the last 10 years, the number of people graduating college has increased from roughly 1.6M to 2M each year.  This means there’s more competition for every entry-level role.
  2. Competition: Higher numbers of students mean more competition to land competitive internships, making it necessary for students to start earlier.  If you don’t have an internship freshman year, the sophomore internship is tougher to land.  If you don’t have one sophomore year, landing one junior year is even more difficult.  It’s estimated that students often spend 10-20 hours per week applying to opportunities to land just 5+ interviews.

33-35% of entry-level jobs are filled through the Junior-Senior summer internship where the interview process often starts Sophomore year.  Many students don’t realize how early the process starts and often are caught off guard without the skills and experience needed.

  1. Technology and Automation: Companies now use complex software to run almost every process within each department.  Gone are the days where companies hired entry-level college grads to do grunt work.  They have software to do that work.  Now, we need graduates who understand the underlying processes and can use the software to carry out their jobs.  These software packages are often not taught at the university level.
  2. Modern Hiring has Changed: The ability to apply to jobs online has increased the volume of applications for every job opening.  These days, 98% of large companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems to manage the influx of resumes.  Applicant Tracking Systems use complex algorithms that read resumes and rank them so recruiters often only look at the highest matched resumes for each role.  If you don’t have relevant skills and experience, your resume won’t get through the bots that have been built to screen you out.

The Benefits of Internships

Internships are a great way to find your future career. They provide you with the chance to explore different fields and decide on what's right for you, all while developing key skills that employers need. Both students and companies have something substantial to gain from interning too.  Internships provide:

  • Hands-on work experience and real world application of skills
  • Access to networking contacts
  • An opportunity to build relevant skills to put on your resume

Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships provide benefits as well, even though students hope for more-paying work with higher chances at success. Although you won't get compensated monetarily, there might still be other perks such as valuable experience and networking opportunities which could lead to future job prospects. When it comes to your starting salary, the more experience you have under your belt, the better.

Paid Internships

While all types of internships can have value, paid internships have benefits that successfully lead to higher starting salaries, more job offers and a shorter search after graduation.

In fact, 79.9% of eligible interns receive a job offer.

Paid internships are an increasingly popular way to bridge the gap between unpaid interns and full-time workers. Employers interested in hiring from a pool of interns frequently offer paid internships, which provides the opportunity for interns to take on real work and demonstrate their skills.

The Salary Difference

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) studies show that students with internship experience have higher starting salaries.

Students with at least one paid internship made $15,000 - $20,000 more in their starting salary than those with no internship experience.  Top internships pay $6,000-$9,000 per month ($72,000-$108,000 per year), making them highly coveted, as they also lead to starting salaries of $85,000-$110,000 per year.

While internship experience can be invaluable for students, employers find that internships give them more time to look at a candidate’s skills from afar, rather than having to rely on an interview alone to learn about a candidate. Employers now use their summer internship programs as a temp-to-hire process so they have 10-12 weeks to see how students work before extending offers of full-time employment.

Having internship experience boosts your resume, grants you more job offers, higher starting salaries, and a shorter search process. Who wouldn’t want that?

If you’re looking for help on how to get started, click here to see how PathMatch helps students land top internships.

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