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Did you know that employers nationwide offered full-time positions to their interns nearly 65% of the time in 2013? And 79% of the interns accepted the offer.

I find these figures from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) fascinating because they are a testament to the value of internships. Many employers now treat internships as an extended job interview of sorts – training the next generation of talent in order to build their workforce. A 2015 survey by NACE confirms this trend. The report reveals about 70% of employers indicated that seeking full-time, entry-level employees is a main function of their internship programs.

An additional benefit to internships is the return on investment. A study cited by Purdue University Calumet showed that in 2012, college students with internship experience made on average 15% more money than those who did not complete an internship. More coin in the pocket at the start of a career sure sounds nice to me.

I knew internships were important coming into this position, but I didn’t realize to what extent. When I began searching for an internship to supplement my graduate school studies, I focused solely on the hands-on experience the internship would offer. While looking over job openings in the field of communications, I quickly realized that social media know-how is a must. I had dabbled in Facebook, but not much else in the way of social media. I definitely lacked the knowledge necessary to compete for the highly sought after positions with Indiana’s top employers – I needed Twitter and all the other popular social media sites. This position offered the exact experience I sought, and I predict the skills I develop here will benefit me for a long time to come.

With validation from the aforementioned statistics, I encourage you to consider completing an internship during college. Better yet, consider completing more than one. They can kick doors wide open. Here’s an excellent place to start your search: IndianaINTERN.net.

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