Here’s the thing: when an employer is deciding whether or not to hire you, they’re looking at a lot more than how well you know your stuff. More and more companies are paying attention to the gap between the knowledge you get from your degree and the skills you actually need to succeed in the workplace; in the last ten years alone, research has shown “75 per cent of employers prefer job candidates with relevant work experience”.
So what it comes down to is that it’s really hard to get a job when you don’t have any experience…and really hard to get that experience without a job.
Fortunately, there’s a way to break that frustration loop: Work Integrated Learning (WIL). You probably know it better as an internship, a tried-and-tested way to get your first step on the employment ladder. But while the idea has been around for centuries, the way we find work experience today is a whole lot different to the way it used to go…
Modern internships as we know them came about with the increase of people with higher education. In the US in 1970s, only one person in ten had a college degree; today, that’s closer to one in three. Back then, it was your degree that set you apart; now more people have degrees, it’s the experience you have outside the classroom that can make all the difference.
In fact, according to Time magazine, the internship has more or less replaced the entry-level job, with more than 62 per cent of college students securing them in 2017 (it was just 17 per cent in 1992).
We know what you’re thinking: doesn’t that just mean you’re competing with other graduates for internships as well as jobs? Up to a point, yes. A 2020 study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research showed that you’re only likely to get a positive response to an internship application once in every 17 tries.
At EIT, we commit to providing all our on-campus students 240 hours of work integrated learning at no extra cost*. This equates to a 6-week full-time internship or equivalent in part-time hours.
So relax – that frustrating loop isn’t a no-win situation after all. Now you can focus on your studies and still get the real-life hands-on experience you need to land a job at the end of it. Because while experience is important in getting a head-start for your career, so are contacts - and you get to use ours.
*Internships are conducted post the successful completion of the first year of your program. You must have passed (grade of 50% or more) all first-year units and have good financial standing. It is a prerequisite of graduation that EIT’s on-campus bachelor’s and master’s students complete 240 hours of work integrated learning.