San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Employers need to refine standards for internships and job applications

Application expectations are mentally draining college students as they search for early-career opportunities
Emily Augustine
Illustration by Emily Augustine

Have you ever filled out an entry-level application and see that you are required to have five years of prior experience, and then you immediately close out of that tab?

You’re not alone.

College students need transparency and a firmer definition of what entry-level means. They need reasonable requirements as they are scrambling to find internships and jobs.

Qualifications to get an internship used to be based on GPA. In my personal experience, I rarely have been asked what my GPA is when being interviewed for internships. 

A higher GPA shows that the student has the potential to apply what they have learned in their courses and that they are the best candidates for their field of internship.

Nowadays, it seems like GPA isn’t even looked at. Experience that closely matches the internship is the main priority.

According to a report that surveyed 800 employers, 45 percent of the employers will no longer require a bachelor’s degree in 2024.

The new process for college students is this: have prior experience to potentially land an internship. Once students get the internship, they have a stronger chance of getting the job they want. 

That’s the difficult process that college students have to navigate through. Some students go to school full-time. Some students work part-time. Many worry about tuition. 

Students who work part-time are overlooked because many of their jobs do not match the internship they are applying for.

The system is so broken. 

The fact that you have to have prior experience to even have a chance at the internship is absurd. Internships are where people are supposed to gain experience and skills.

Imagine if The Daily Aztec required prior experience. 

The Daily Aztec was my starting point to gain experience because they didn’t need me to be the best writer before I stepped foot into the newsroom.

Employers need to make entry-level positions actually “entry-level.” 

I understand that from an employer’s perspective that by lowering expectations, they get more applicants and thus, it makes it harder to choose  from a larger pool of applicants. But lessening the requirements can lead to employers missing out on applicants who can go the extra distance.

There’s a fine line. People need a starting point somewhere.

If employers give an exaggerated job title and description, people are going to give an exaggerated resume. Don’t exaggerate people with the job description and people won’t exaggerate their resume. That’s where the “fake it until you make it” comes in.

Employers require 2-3 years of prior experience for work  you can figure out in 10 minutes such as sales retail customer service.

You have to have several years of prior experience just to be considered for a position. It’s discouraging and intimidating.

We are asked to write different cover letters every time we apply, when in return, employers always say the same message: “unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with another candidate.”

Current college students need to be given a chance, regardless of their experience. They are willing to learn the skills to do the job if the employers can teach them. 

It’s like an undrafted NBA player getting a chance to make the team. They don’t know the playbook but are willing to learn it. Just like college students need to be given a chance, regardless of their experience.

People with little to no experience need to be given leeway. Give them a chance to learn the skills to be successful. 

Some people feel the pressure to go the extra mile to build their resume to stand out as a profitable applicant — even going so far as to fabricating their capabilities — in order to be considered by employers.

On my resume, I put “researched statistics and analyzed trends to integrate into stories.” That’s just a fancier way of saying “I look at a box score.”

Some people could care less about being the secretary of an organization — they just want the position because it looks good on their resume.

How about this: People that go the extra mile, go beyond the classroom and put their names into the internship should be in consideration for the internship, regardless of prior experience.

An internship can be based on GPA and a cover letter more than anything else. It would also mean that the internship requires applicants to be majoring in a field that is identical or similar to the field of the internship.

So, the next time a college student opens an entry-level application, hopefully, they see a description that has reasonable requirements and they have no second thoughts about exiting out of their tab. 


About the Contributors
Mac Pham
Mac Pham, Staff Writer
Mac Pham is a Journalism major and a senior transfer student from Palomar Community College. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2023. Writing stories, story telling, reading and talking to people is something he enjoys doing, so he figured why not talk sports with that. His favorite aspect of sports writing is being an analyst and breaking down the details of a football or a basketball game. In his spare time, Mac is an avid swimmer and likes to play basketball. He hopes to be a sports writer whose calling card is writing articles filled with sports analysis. Mac is bilingual in Vietnamese.
Emily Augustine, '23-24 Graphics Editor