From an observant point of view, internships and entry-level jobs sound like distinctively different positions. The truth is, they blend with each other in many aspects. If you are looking to join the workforce, you know your first job will be the foundation of your resume. Does an internship or an entry-level job have more value? Do they provide the same experiences? There is much to consider when choosing the right opportunity to advance your career.
It’s hard to nail it down. Internships have varying aspects, depending on how a company structures their internship program. According to the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions, “A detailed and standardized definition for what constitutes an “internship” experience does not exist.” However, we best know internships as an educational experience and professional development with little to no pay. If you’re impressionable, the company might even hire you onboard. Your tasks may also consist of a lighter load, typically to relieve the burden of full-time employees.
This short-term experience can provide a plethora of benefits despite its time frame and general position. Even so, it also comes with its negatives.
While no study proves if employers tend to have a bias over internship or entry-level experience, internships still look appealing on a resume. To make sure you choose the right internship experience, you will need to evaluate your options. If you have the luxury to wait out for better opportunities, you should do so. If you are on a time constraint, pick the one that seems most beneficial to you. Whether you’re pressured or not, follow these tips to secure the best internship possible to gloat about in your resume and interview:
Internships are the easiest way to find out if you like a particular career choice or not. If you manage to synergize well with your employer, you may be granted the opportunity to work as an entry-level. This is the best outcome, considering that you are already accustomed and trained to perform a seamless transition from intern to entry-level. In support, the CCWT mentions that “[interns] have higher rates of job satisfaction… which [results in] the reduction of “entry shock.”” However, they also report mixed evidence when it comes to proving that an internship can impact employability in the long-term or on wages. When using an internship experience on your resume or during an interview, you have the upper hand. You can leverage the fact that you’ve committed to an unpaid internship because of your passion for personal and academic growth.
Entry-level jobs, unlike internships, have a set definition and an expected amount of experience. They are positions, like internships. However, they are meant for people who are entering the workforce with little to no professional experience. The main difference between an entry-level and an internship is the pay.
Entry-level jobs may sound better because of the payment opportunities. However, there are still things to look over in your job searching process.
If you have the luxury to do so, choose an entry-level position that aligns with your career path. It will build the foundation for your skills and allows easier access up the ladder to your success. Remember to look around you for your school; if you study education, try to be a teacher’s assistant. Some jobs don’t consider internships as professional experience, too. If this is the case, it is best to go with an entry-level position.
Despite internships and entry-levels offering the same experience, it may be harder to qualify for an entry-level. Both options will introduce students to the workforce. However, entry-levels are starting to have stricter barriers. According to a 2018 study by TalentWorks, 61% of “entry-level” jobs require 3+ years of experience. They also estimate that number to increase in the near future. However, there is still little evidence of an internship or entry-level job having more value on a resume.
The barrier for entry-level jobs is getting more and more strict. So, you can use that to your advantage on your resume or during an interview. If you are or have already taken an entry-level position, you may stand a better chance amongst other candidates. You can leverage this success in future interviews.
It’s not just professional experience that is gatekeeping entry-level jobs, but they may also require other qualifications beforehand like degrees. Some internships are lenient, but there has also been a rise to stricter qualifications for internships. Regardless, internships and entry-level jobs seem to have a similar reputation when hiring managers go over your resume.
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