The Rise of the Internship

by | Nov 17, 2021


Internships are entry-level positions that are commonly filled by recent college graduates and college students on summer break. Internships offer excellent opportunities to gain on-the-job experience and build a network of connections that can help you further in your career. 


The prevalence of internships in the job market is on the rise. Companies can benefit from hiring interns for entry-level work because wages are significantly lower than permanent staff. Interns are also starting to understand how beneficial these positions can be for their future careers. More than 60% of college graduates have internship experience, up from just 17% in 1992. 


Discover why intern positions were created, how you can benefit, and where you can find high-quality internship positions to add to your resume. 




History of Internships


Labor laws in the 1940s created the modern internship, but internships were not prevalent until the 1970s. College graduates struggled to find full-time work, so internships became a popular way for universities to transition students from the classroom to the workforce. 


Colleges began operating internship programs to get students work experience while they were in school. 


The internship landscape changed again in 2011 when lawsuits were brought against companies offering unpaid internships that demanded more than 40 hours of work a week. As a result, the number of internships offering pay is increasing, making them more appealing to graduates. 




The Benefits of an Internship


Internships are the best way to break into a new career or industry. They offer a breadth of experiences that can help guide your career goals.




Gain work experience


Entry-level positions in many fields require applicants to have relevant work experience and education. Internships give new workers a way to gain relevant work experience. 


Studies show that businesses look favorably on internship experience. Applicants with internship experience are 14% more likely to get interview offers than those without internship experience. 




Refine your career goals through work experience


Interns often experience multiple facets of a company or job when interning. Many internships focus on education over productivity. This allows interns to try a variety of jobs without committing to one. 


Think of internships as a test run of the graduate jobs available to you. You will learn what jobs interest you and what work you will not pursue in the future. 



Industries That Commonly Offer Internships


The internships you look for should be related to the career fields that interest you. If you do not have specific career interests yet, then explore some industries that commonly hire interns.




Arts, entertainment and recreation


Companies in this industry put on live events, display art, and important cultural artifacts, and provide the public with recreational activities. In a study of business’ intern hiring tendencies, 94% of companies in arts, entertainment, and recreation were hiring interns.




Nonprofit organizations


If you are interested in doing philanthropic work, then consider internships with nonprofits. A nonprofit business is legally obligated to do work for the public good rather than to make money. No two nonprofits are exactly alike, so please check each organization’s mission statement and research their work to find the right fit for you. 


There are numerous internships in the nonprofit sector, including organizations like The World Justice Project, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and American Red Cross. 89% of nonprofit organizations were hiring interns in the Collegiate Employment Research Institutes study. 




Finance and Insurance Services


Financial and Insurance services provide every other industry with financial goods. 83% of businesses within the financial and insurance service industry hire interns. The tasks vary for each internship, but you can expect to analyze data, prepare detailed reports, and manage office supply inventory. 




Begin Your Career with the Right Internship


Internships can be the beginning of a life-long career. They get your foot in the door with future employers, increase your chances to get interview invitations, and give you a way to explore career options. If you are in college or are a young professional, now is the time to search for an internship.


Find the right internship for you with the easy-to-use search tool on Then visit the blog page to discover tips on crafting a resume, how to ace an interview and the purpose of a cover letter.