“When employers are looking at job candidate, work experience is one of the things they look for.”
– Camille Luckenbaugh
Getting an internship (similar to a short-term apprenticeship) is an excellent way for college students to gain this important work experience… while building a strong network and possibly even making a little money.
Today, we will explore nine of the most important benefits of internships.
1. Enhance Your Resume
Especially in our struggling economy, job competition is keen.
Participating in an internship (or two) during college will give your resume an edge that will help you land interviews… and jobs.
Employers are looking for graduates who not only have the theoretical grounding of a degree, but who also have practical experience working in a related field.
2. Apply Classroom Knowledge
Internships provide the perfect opportunities to start applying your classroom instruction to the real world.
When you just learn from a professor or book, your knowledge is likely to be incomplete – like a gravel road.
When, however, you add practical experience to your theoretical understanding you will gain a firmer comprehension of the topic. It is as if you paved your gravel road – filling in the holes and creating a smooth street.
This work experience will help transform you from an academic specialist into a real expert.
3. Learn General Career Skills
Not only do internships help you become more proficient in your particular field, but they will also aid you in learning basic professional skills.
For instance, you might gain practical experience in…
- report writing.
- public speaking.
- customer service.
- problem solving.
- business communication.
These are skills that are crucial to success in any industry.
4. Become an Independent Learner
Unless your internship is completely within your comfort zone, you will likely be challenged by the tasks you are assigned. Most likely, you will have to learn new skills and study new topics… without classroom instruction. Internships can be very time consuming while also attending college. To learn more about having a more flexible schedule, click here.
This experience – while it may be difficult – will help you become autodidactic, or self-taught. Instead of listening to lectures and talking with professors, you will need to learn through your own reading and online research.
Once gained, this skill will help you succeed better in school, work, and even life!
5. Test Your Target Career Field
Especially in your early college years, an internship can help you decide whether you really want to spend the rest of your working life in a particular field.
Because you will get to see the inner workings of that industry and meet people already on your planned career path, interning will give you a rare opportunity to test your options before committing the majority of your life.
6. Network With Others in Your Field
Because you will be meeting others in your future industry, you will have many opportunities to build a strong network.
If you invest the time and effort, your internship could pay huge dividends through the large network of people that you meet.
In the future, you can use your connections to…
- get more internships.
- ask questions.
- find job opportunities.
- get recommendations.
Just remember, a strong network will not happen automatically; you must work at it.
7. Practice the Hiring Process
Although the process for getting an internship will not be as difficult or selective as that for job openings, it will help you get practical experience in marketing yourself.
Then, when you start looking for a permanent job, you will have a better understanding of…
- where to look for a job.
- how to design your resume.
- which employers are best to work for.
- what to say during an interview.
- how to dress for an interview.
Getting an interview will provide low-risk practice for job searching.
8. Get Your Foot in the Door
If you work hard and are an asset during your internship, you may quite possibly be offered a permanent position.
Even if you are not offered a job on the spot, you will know people inside the company and will, therefore, have an easier time getting a job after you finish college.
9. Pay for College
Although many internships do not offer monetary incentives (your main benefit is the experience), some companies do pay their interns.
Especially if you have a useful skill that sets you apart from your competitors, you may be able to find an internship that will help you pay for college.
Internships provide excellent opportunities for college students to gain practical experience, build healthy networks, start planning for future jobs, and even pay for college.
What are your thoughts on internships?