Internships provide students with hands-on learning experience as they gain a glimpse into the real world, giving them a front-row seat to a potential career choice. They go into the internship thinking they want to work at a specific company or in a specific industry and come out of the internship either having confirmed those thoughts or having decided to pursue something completely different. The idea is that they get to know now if they like a job rather than when they graduate. So many people move into jobs they dislike after graduation because they didn’t know any better.
Summer internships are usually eight to twelve weeks long and follow school semesters. Depending on when the student gets out of school, a summer internship usually starts in May or June and continues through August.
Reasons an Internships
Experience a professional working environment
Obtaining real-world working experience is essential, especially if you’ve never been employed. When you intern in a new workplace, you’ll gain first-hand knowledge about how a professional environment works. Through interaction with co-workers and your supervisor, you’ll begin to ‘learn the ropes’ as they differ depending on the employer’s process methods. If you’re interning for a large company, you’ll learn how multiple departments work in relation to each other and how your career of choice impacts the overall goals and operations of the organization.
Receive Credits for College
During the regular school year, college students may be averse to taking on an internship due to heavy class schedules. During the summer – instead of using the time to play – take advantage of your smaller class load, or your break from classes, to engage in an internship. And, if even when summer internships don’t pay, they often offer college credits – reducing the number of college hours you need to complete your degree and allowing you to graduate sooner. Most degree programs require students to take an internship to obtain the necessary skills to succeed in their chosen career.
Interns are potential candidates for a new hire
Getting hired by the company where you’re interning is probably the best, and most sought after, benefit of an internship. Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, it’s advantageous to do the job correctly and to the best of your ability. You’ll also want to fine tune your communication skills and style to create positive relationships with other employees. Managers and supervisors will be watching how you interact with others. Specifically, they’ll be monitoring your performance to judge how well you are able to:
- Work under pressure
- Take the lead on assigned projects
- Make decisions and complete goals
- Collaborate compromise to facilitate group decisions
Build your resume with hard and soft skills
For college students, internships are critical to future job search success. They provide the information you need to fill out your resume with relevant experience. When you’re adding internship information to your resume, dig deep into that experience and pull out the stellar information that sets you apart from other candidates. The only thing you don’t have to mention is if the internship was paid or unpaid—this is something the employer doesn’t need to know. Of course, there is a point when you don’t need to list internships on your resume, and usually, that’s when you have sufficient years of experience that makes up for it. However, for new graduates or those switching into a completely new career, it’s recommended that you add your internships to your job history to show relevant job experience.
Learn time management
Time management, and handling your workload, is another important skill you’ll learn as an intern. During your time as an intern, you’ll start understanding how to manage your time effectively to complete your internship duties so you can meet deadlines, participate in meetings, and do research. Many people struggle with time management – having an internship experience is a great way to learn how to make the most of the time you have, especially if you’re working with tight deadlines.
Make industry contacts
Networking is crucial to finding your desired job with the salary you seek. When you’re doing a summer internship, you’re also there to forge key business relationships. Networking is an essential part of the internship experience, especially if the company where you’re interning isn’t hiring, or you already have another company interested in hiring you. The business contacts you make as an intern can serve as sources for recommendations, testimonials, or references when you apply to another company in the same industry.
In today’s digital world, making industry contacts and keeping in contact is easier than ever before. Nearly everyone is online and most people have a LinkedIn profile. Connect with people in your industry through LinkedIn during your internship and be sure to maintain your connections once the internship is over. As a bonus, your LinkedIn contacts can send you referrals or job leads directly through the app, should they find something that matches your skills.
Build and practice new skills
Gaining new skills is the best reason to pursue an internship. It’s necessary for anyone entering a new career to build the specific job skills required by their desired role and then spend the time necessary to perfect those skills and talents in order to successfully land a new position. All jobs require experience in certain skills, no matter the industry or position.