Internships: the quest for a REAL work experience

This post was originally published on February 7th.

Whether a requirement from your university, a need to get your foot in the door or just plain curiosity that you picked the right major, internships are a necessity. Even if you’re an older-than-expected student with work experience, an internship can give you a glimpse on the ins and outs of your industry of choice.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the number of students that complete an internship gets higher and higher every year. In its 2015 survey, 62.8% of the 39,950 students surveyed did an internship. Most importantly, 75% of the employers that were part of the survey said they preferred to hire someone with ‘relevant work experience’, with 60% saying that “they prefer work experience gained through an internship or co-op experience.” And if you’re looking at the hiring ads for entry-level positions, you know the struggle is real.

An internship opens the door to access restricted to current employees. If a company is looking to hire, they’d prefer to hire a known candidate, that’d need less training because he/she is already familiarized with the company. Plus, if you have zero work experience, an internship would also become a life learning experience on how to apply, how to conduct yourself in an interview, even how conduct yourself in the workplace. Your resume, which in many cases is your introduction to the industry, will certainly attract more employers once you’re able to add an internship (or more!) before your graduation date.

A place like Parallel18, currently accepting internships applications, gives you even more bang for your buck — so to speak. Your exposure wouldn’t be limited to just a certain department or group, but to a conglomerate of startups from all over the world. One of the first interns to ever be a part of P18 was Rodolfo Romañach. Reminiscing his summer in Santurce, Rodolfo pointed out that the access, mentorship and network he acquired during his internship proved to be an unparalleled learning experience. It also pushed him to trust his instincts more while trying new tasks not particularly attached to his major, another side benefit of a well-placed internship.

More importantly, internships give you an invaluable opportunity to find out if you have chosen the right career path before you forge your way. Let’s say you’ve been into marketing and that’s the internship you get. After a few weeks of arduous work, you realize that you’ve been enjoying more and more learning about graphic design. Before your mind starts running about how much time you’ve “wasted” in the major, you mention it to your mentor and he or she can guide you on how to combine the two careers or how to use your degree to focus more on your new found interest. You network with like-minded professional, your mentors put the word out for you; all this before you’ve officially start your career. That’s the power of an internship.

An internship will not only expose you to the career you’re working hard to start but will also expose yourself to an industry that’s eagerly waiting for the new batch of professionals.

Ready to get some REAL work experience? Send your resumé to