You can’t get the job because you don’t have the experience. But you can’t get the experience because you don’t have the job. Sound familiar? Many new college grads face this demoralizing situation, but there’s a loophole for those willing to give up summer vacation: an internship!

At Intouch, competition for intern spots has become fierce since we started our formal internship program in 2011. In 2015, we had nearly 870 applicants for 36 spots! And it’s no wonder. In our robust program, interns get unique opportunities to develop knowledge and skills that will be assets at any company. They also gain valuable real-life experience by working with teams of professionals who interact with real-live clients every day. And if the deal wasn’t already sweet enough, our interns get paid.

Last summer, we had the pleasure of sponsoring an amazing group of interns. They arrived eager to learn and accomplished great things while they were with us. All three Intouch offices — Kansas City, Chicago and New York — appreciated the hard work, fresh perspective and ambition each intern brought to our teams. So what’s better than having them for just a few short months? Keeping them.

At the end of our 2015 summer program, we hired eight of our interns for full-time associate positions on our account, planning, development, media, social media, strategic services and creative teams!

We recently checked in with our new team members to hear what it was like to intern and then transition to full-time positions, as well as what advice they’d give graduating seniors. This is what they said.

What was your favorite part of interning at Intouch?

“Working on our intern group project. It was a great way to learn firsthand about all of the different services that Intouch has to offer and how each of these departments must work together to complete a project.” — Claire Shadid, Account Administrator (Chicago)

“Getting to work on real projects with my team for actual clients. I was able to learn and get valuable experience while contributing something to the company, and I got to experience a little of what it’s actually like to work for Intouch.” — Alyssa Huff, Associate Marketing Analyst (Kansas City)

Tell us about transitioning from intern to full-time associate. Did you feel prepared for your new role?

“I would still say there were things I wasn’t prepared for. I think that goes hand-in-hand with the learning curve of transitioning into a new role. Obviously, I would be given more responsibility in a full-time position than I would have as an intern, and I think having prior internship experience made it a lot smoother than it would have been if I had gone straight from college to a full-time role.” — Becca Wilson, Planning Associate (Chicago)

“This isn’t a coffee-and-copying gig. As an intern, you’re given big roles and expected to work as a new employee would, so I didn’t feel a big change going to full-time. You work almost the same amount of hours with the same team and the same expectations.” — Maia Bridges, Associate Art Director (Chicago)

What is your advice for graduating seniors who are interested in an internship the summer after senior year?

“Do it! Everyone talks about how important internships are, and they’re right! There’s no way to know what you want to do unless you try it out. Having an internship has so many benefits. The great thing is that if you don’t like your internship, you’re done after the summer! And if you do, you can pursue an opportunity to be hired on.” — Katie Stone, Associate Analyst, Social Media (Kansas City)

“It may be intimidating in the beginning, but keep asking questions. An internship is a great learning experience, and no one expects you to know everything. Just because you graduate doesn’t mean you stop improving. Take an active role with your career and keep pushing yourself.” — Maia Bridges

What is your advice, in general, for graduating seniors?

“Don’t feel like your learning is over once you’re done with school. Continue to be curious, try new things, and use this time to figure out if it’s the right fit for you.” — Becca Wilson

“Balance is important. Although the job-search process can be stressful, don’t let it get in the way of enjoying your final year at school with your friends. You only get one senior year!” — Claire Shadid

We know all of our interns have bright futures ahead of them, but unfortunately, we don’t have the option to keep them all. To those we did hire, congratulations and welcome aboard! To those we were unable to bring on, thank you for the good work you did with us — we wish you the greatest success!

If you’re considering a 2016 summer internship with Intouch, check out this page for more info.