When I first graduated from college I thought, “Ok, great I have my B.A. in English-- bring on my writing/editing jobs.” As I researched the jobs I really wanted, I saw that I was lacking one very vital thing, experience. All of my experience had been in the banking and business world. In spite of it having always been my dream, I didn't have any recent or tangible experience in the writing, publishing, public relations, or any other field where writers are heavily used. This could have been avoided if I would have done one simple thing… completed an internship. Internships are where you, the student, work for a company-- usually without pay-- but you are paid in experience and sometimes college credit. You work the job as if you are a paid employee of the company and gain hands-on experience. There, you develop the skills you need to land that first job in your dream field. Many companies look favorably on internships and see them as real life experience that cannot be obtained in a classroom. According to an MSN article, “Why Are Internships So Important”, Beth Braccio Hering writes, “Graduating students with paid or unpaid internships on their résumé have a much better chance at landing a full-time position upon graduation. Students are doing internships as undergraduates, and it is now not unusual for recent grads to take an unpaid internship with hopes of turning it into a permanent position or at least making some contacts and building their résumé.” Adult Learners Need Internships Too A non-traditional student is a person usually over the age of 25, who has gone back to college. For the adult learner you often have to balance college courses with a full-time job, home and family obligations. If you are attending college to prepare for a career change, then it is important that you find a way to complete an internship in your new chosen field. Having the degree alone is usually not enough to successfully change careers. Companies want to see that you have tangible experience in their field before they will hire you for the job you desire. Some companies are willing to let students intern on the weekends, or on a flexible schedule. You could also look into volunteering with an organization to gain new skills and experience that would make you more marketable in your new career field. Some degree programs require the completion of an internship, but most do not. It is up to the student to make sure that they gain as much real world experience as possible before graduation. Places to look for internships: Your school's career office--They don't just have information about part-time work at your local pizza place. This is a great place to be matched with internship opportunities. Fastweb -- Simply complete a profile on the website answering questions about your interests and Fastweb will link you with internships that match your goals and skill level. MonsterCollege – Click on the “internships” tab to find internship opportunities in up to 20 different states at once. In the local newspaper--Mixed in with paying jobs there are sometimes internship and volunteer opportunities listed.