Colleges and universities are naturally busy times for students.
Not only are most college students balancing comprehensive coursework, they are also balancing sports, extracurriculars, jobs, and social lives. As such, it is easy to overlook the value of internship experience.
Internships are incredibly valuable and more indispensable than you know. Although the job market has improved, it is still very competitive.
That being said, relevant internship experience can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to applying for jobs.
An internship can also help you see if a particular career field is for you. Moreover, it can lead to a potential job offer or at the very least, provide a reference letter for future jobs.
Even if you are just doing coffee and lunch runs, filing, or other menial jobs, an internship should not be taken lightly.
Internships are great ways to learn the ropes of any industry and provide you with connections and skills you may need later on.
If you are still doubtful, we have put together this list of reasons why you should do an internship.
Take a look and see the other ways internships can improve your chances in the job market.
- 1 REASON 1: YOU GET EXPERIENCE
- 2 REASON 2: YOU CAN NETWORK
- 3 REASON 3: YOU CAN SEE HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS
- 4 REASON 4: YOU CAN POSSIBLY TURN IT INTO A JOB
- 5 REASON 5: YOUR PERSONAL LIFE IS IMPROVED
- 6 CONCLUSION
REASON 1: YOU GET EXPERIENCE
Like we mentioned above, the job market is good, but competitive. The advent of digital technology has widened the job market and decreased unemployment.
However, the number of college graduates is steadily increasing and flooding the labor market.
In other words, the number of applicants still outnumbers the number of job openings. That being said, an internship can give you a leg up on the competition.
More specifically, an internship could be a reason you get a job, and someone does not.
Essentially, internships provide you with practical experience.
Some of the most important things you can get from an internship are learning new skills.
Through internships, you tend to learn strong communication skills, time management, and discipline on top of learning skills that are relevant to your specific career path. Moreover, internships can also help you hone skills you already have.
Additionally, internships give you the opportunity to take what you have learned in the classroom and apply it in the workplace.
You are able to put your knowledge to the test and get hands-on experience in a specific industry that is difficult to learn in a classroom.
That is not to say that academics are not useful. Academics are helpful in that they provide the basis for developing marketable skills.
However, unless you go to a trade school, academics rarely show you what an industry is really like.
Think about it this way. An employer is more likely to hire someone with a low GPA, but who has worked two internships in a relevant field than someone with a perfect academic record.
Employers look for candidates who have skills that easily transition to the workplace. Internships experience shows employers that you do, in fact, have a strong work ethic and commitment that can be backed up by reliable sources.
At the end of the day, employers favor candidates with real-world experience.
In the end, an employer does not want to spend time transitioning an inexperienced candidate from being a student with a student mindset to a full-fledged worker.
They want someone who can acclimate quickly and easily, and an internship can get you that experience.
For more tips on how to stand out in a competitive job market, check out this article.
REASON 2: YOU CAN NETWORK
Another reason an internship is valuable is their unique ability to help you network and build connections. Developing a strong professional network is something that will benefit you in the long run.
Networking will lead you to industry leaders who can aid you in the future. It can help you develop new skills and stay on track with the latest industry trends.
Networking can help you closely monitor the job market and keep an eye out for potential clients, partners and mentors.
Lastly, it can help you access special resources that can help your future career development.
Networking allows you to connect with different mentors and advisers who are outside of your specialty.
This can give you an opportunity to develop your areas of expertise and vastly refine your soft skills.
On another level, networking can help you improve your standing in your current company.
In other words, if you are looking to get a promotion, networking in your office can improve your visibility to senior management.
It should be mentioned that networking is in no way a simple task. The art of networking requires a lot of effort and planning. However, the payback is massive.
Here are some tips to successful networking:
Know Your Audience
Before you network, it is important that you identify the people or person of interest.
Whether it is senior developers or recent graduates, you want to find the people who align with your particular goals or who seem to have many resources at their disposal.
Single Out One Person to Talk To
After locating the right crowd, you want to zero in on a single person. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin trying to make friends with everyone in the room.
Instead, focus on fostering a strong relationship with one person. Also, before you approach, make sure you are not interrupting anything important.
Invite Them Out for Coffee
This can be done a number of ways. During an internship, you can try and approach the individual in a common area of the office, such as the breakroom.
Bring up a topic that might spark common interests, then lead that into an invitation for coffee to delve into the topic more away from work.
This way you can stark building your network without interrupting the typical work flow.
You can also try to invite them out simply by approaching their desk or by sending them a friendly email. It depends on how well you know the person.
Meet Up Outside the Office
When you finally get to meet with that person, it is now time to get to know that person. Cover all the bases: learn their passions, what they do, and a little about their personal life.
The point is to listen. When you are listening, you are learning and that’s the point of a networking and internships.
You want to focus on showing appreciation for their work so they will be happy to share more about it with you.
After your chat or meet-up, make sure you follow up. A great way to do it is by finding something relevant to something you talked about, like an article, and send it to them.
This way you open up the possibility for more conversations in the future.
After your follow-up, continue to do so a few times a year. Even if you do not talk to them everyday, try to maintain contact or remind them that you remember them.
Then, you want to repeat this whole process several times with more people. As time goes on, some of these connections can grow into something unexpected and fruitful.
For more tips on how to network, check out this video.
REASON 3: YOU CAN SEE HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS
Like we mentioned before, academics and school function differently than a real workplace.
There are some things that you have to just learn that cannot be taught. If you want to truly get a grasp of how an industry works, an internship is the way to go.
An internship can help better define your career goals. When you are in college and start entertaining different career options, an internship can be your test-run to figure out what career is for you. Internships give you the opportunity to take everything you have learned and apply it to see if you are really focusing on the right career.
As such, when you go looking for internships, make sure you find an internship that aligns closely with your career interests.
This is the best way to see if the career may or may not be for you.
And if you find out that your so-called dream career does not meet your expectations, don’t worry. You didn’t just waste your time at an internship for nothing.
As a matter of fact, hating your internships can have its benefits.
Realizing an internship did not work out quite like you expected it to put things into perspective. It forces you to look at your career field more realistically and understand truly what you are getting yourself into.
Moreover, it teaches you how to embrace or discover your own workplace personality. In other words, internships help you see if a workplace environment is healthy for your personal development.
You might love the people, love what you are doing, and where you are, but a bad work culture that stifles creativity and motivation can easily put you off.
If you did not love your internship experience, there are a few things you can do. First, don’t lost all hope. Instead, analyze your time at the internship and ask yourself what was truly the issue.
Narrowing down the issues can help you put your experience into perspective, like we mentioned above. The negative experiences you have at an internship can help you zero in on your values and what you really want out of a job.
However, it is important to not overgeneralize and try to think every internship and job will be as bad as the last. Instead, these perspectives should help you make more informed decisions about internships.
If you loved your internship, however, here are a few things you should do instead. First, you want to closely reflect over your time at your internship and see what you actually liked.
Was it the work?
The people? The culture?
By focusing specifically on what you really learned and enjoyed will help you better articulate your accomplishments to future employers.
Additionally, try your best to stay in touch with people from your internship. You never know when you will need a recommendation, advice, or a contact.
Moreover, maintaining contact is a great way to grow your network, improve your communication skills, and show your continued dedication to your career field.
For more tips on what you should do after an internship ends, check out this article.
REASON 4: YOU CAN POSSIBLY TURN IT INTO A JOB
Employers who have internships have them usually to recruit new employees.
This way, employers can see a candidate’s potential, work ethic, and how they fit into the corporate culture before extending an actual offer.
While this saves a lot of time and money for companies, internships can be your doorway to a full-time job offer. Granted, if you approach your internship in the right way.
Here are some techniques you can try to help you stand-out and improve your chances of being offered a full-time job.
Get Feedback from Your Supervisor
While at your internship, set up weekly meetings with your supervisor. This is a great way to get feedback on your work and learn how to improve.
Moreover, the regular contact can increase your visibility within the company and give you an established contact.
Ask for More Tasks or Responsibilities
Although the tendency is to pigeonhole interns with delivering coffee and filing, it does not mean you cannot ask for more responsibility.
Typically, employers hesitate to give interns a heavier workload because they don’t know how they work.
If you have extra time on your hands, do not be afraid to ask for more work. You can be sure employers will appreciate your initiative over everything.
Observe & Learn from the Best
During your internships, try to keep an eye on the people who are working your dream career track.
Watching them will help you gain insight on what your dream career entails and shows you what skills and abilities you will need to succeed.
If you want their job someday, put your best foot forward by developing the necessary skills.
Learn to Work Alone & As a Team
One of the most valued workplace skills is being able to work independently and in a team.
As such, take initiative to help out on projects to show your teamwork and collaborative skills.
This way you can show your boss how adaptable and multi talented you are.
Be Friendly & Network
You should be polite and friendly at your internship. It goes without saying that everyone enjoys working with people who have an upbeat, positive attitude.
Simply being a pleasant person is an easy way to turn your internship into a job.
Additionally, be polite and friendly to coworkers to establish a strong professional network. The more enthusiastic you are, the more likely people will want to spend time to get to know you.
Record Your Accomplishments
An internship allows you to work on a variety of tasks.
As such, make sure you keep track of everything you have achieved. They will greatly improve your resume and boost your qualifications when it comes to finding a job in the future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More Experience
One of the easiest ways to improve your chances for a full-time position to ask if they need more help after your internship is over.
This is an opportunity to share everything you loved about the company, what you have learned, and why you would like to stay on for longer. You never know if they have a position you could fill.
Make sure you take the initiative and ask yourself.
Don’t wait for them to come to you. Your self-motivation will be key in helping them decide to keep you, Additionally, you would want to be polite but firm in asking for full-time employment.
For more tips on how to turn your internship into a job, check out this video.
REASON 5: YOUR PERSONAL LIFE IS IMPROVED
While internships are usually geared towards professional development, internships can also help with personal development.
Not only can internships upgrade your working life, it can upgrade your whole perception of yourself. Here are the ways internships can improve your personal life.
First, internships help you feel more confident in yourself. With an internship, you are faced with many challenges and in order to succeed, you have to learn to rise above them.
There will always be surprises around every corner, but you have to home in on your strengths and prove you can adapt.
Whether it is presenting ideas or simply voicing your opinion, internships help you develop your self-confidence, which can easily carry over into your personal life and motivate other relationships or projects.
Second, it also teaches you time management skills.
During an internship, you will understand that every minute counts when it comes to pursuing your dream career.
You will understand that there is no room for procrastination or waiting. In turn, in your personal life, you will be able to manage your time more effectively.
You will be better skilled at focusing on important tasks but making time for personal time when you need to.
More importantly, you will learn how to make the most of every minute in your day. It will teach you how to detach yourself from unimportant matters and really be present and in the moment.
Thirdly, internships will push you to think more creatively and to try new things.
As an intern, you are more than likely at the bottom of the pyramid.
So, if you have a good idea or a creative one, you have to be more authoritative than ever. If there is value in what you have to say, you have to treat it as such.
Whispering won’t get you anywhere. In turn, you will find that you are more confident in sticking up for yourself in your personal life. You will find that your interpersonal skills are also much stronger.
Fourthly, an internship will push you to new limits. You will develop new skills and be pushed to give more of yourself. So much so, you might surprise yourself.
However, this only invites you to constantly grow, learn, and improve. It will teach you to not limit or underestimate yourself in any respect.
In turn, when challenges get in touch, you will find it easier to step up to the plate and adapt.
Lastly, internships teach you to not linger on your mistakes or the little challenges. With how busy an internship is, you will likely have little time to even reflect on the mistakes in the first place.
In turn, this will develop your resilience in your personal life. If something doesn’t work or you experience a disappointment, you won’t let it dictate the rest of your life. Instead, you will know how to pick yourself up and move on.
For more on how internships can positively impact your life, check out this article.
Nowadays, securing a job is not just reliant on your academic record.
Employers are looking for candidates who can bring real-world, transferable skills to the table, and an internship is the best way to do that.
An internship can help you get experience, learn, and network.
In this competitive job market, internships can help you stand out amongst your competition.
Moreover, it can be the perfect opportunity to figure out your career goals and discover what career field is perfect for you.
Not to mention, internships are also valuable opportunities for personal development. With every professional skill you learn at an internship, you also improve your interpersonal communication and strengthen your self-confidence, creativity, and resilience.
All that being said, you can be sure an internship, good or bad, will always be worth your time and effort even if it does not pay you actual money.
What were your internship experiences like? What did you learn? How did they help you in the long run?
If you have any interesting internship stories or tips you would like to share, please let us know by leaving a comment!
5 Reasons Why You Should Do an Internship