Even for graduate job offers, many employers want to see what other qualification you have apart from your degree. Gone are the days when good grades are enough to land you a job. The current job market puts great value on relevant work experience
There’s stiff competition for jobs across the globe, so employers have to find a way of filtering thousands of applicants and picking only the best candidates to fill vacancies in their institutions. One filter they’re using is experience through internships. Read on to discover why taking an internship is a good step in your career.
- To Apply Classroom Knowledge
You certainly master a lot of theoretical concepts in class. However, you have to be able to apply them in real-life scenarios as well since that’s what they’re meant for. A relevant internship gives you the opportunity to practice doing just that.
For instance, say you’re a civil engineering student and you’ve taken lessons on how to design open channel drainage systems. An internship with a storm water management company will expose you to data such as rainfall amounts, soil types, and land slope, which you have to scientifically analyze so as to come up with the optimal channel cross section.
- To Connect With Industry Professionals
Taking an internship also helps you get started in establishing relationships with relevant professionals in your industry. That’s what people call ‘networking.’ It’s such a critical component of your career since it’s the same people you make connections with now who can give you a job later on.
As such, you should network in a smart and calculated manner. If you’ve finished an accounting course and your interest is working in the banking industry, look for an internship in a bank and start cultivating relationships with bankers.
Similarly, if you’re eyeing government employment, consider government internship options and connect with relevant people in government offices. Did you know that the federal government is the biggest employer in the US? That’s why interning in a government office sets you up for great opportunities.
- To Further Define Your Interests
Given that change is constant, certain circumstances and factors may affect your current career goals. At some point, you may end up changing your mind about what you want to achieve as a professional.
For example, you’ve always dreamed of working in road construction, so when it comes time to look for an internship, you go with a company specializing in that area. However, three months down the road, your ideologies begin to shift. There’s no denying that many people find road construction jobs interesting, but after trying them out, you realize that they don’t bring you the satisfaction you expected them to. Or perhaps there are aspects about them that you end up disliking, such as travelling to remote road construction sites on the daily.
If that’s the case, for your next internship, you can take a different route and try building design instead. Basically, internships allow you to determine what works for you and what doesn’t.
- To Better Understand An Industry
Classroom lessons are insufficient when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the industry you’re in. You also have to be in the field to learn other things you may not find in your books.
A typical course may teach you how to make a balance sheet. However, you may encounter numerous tasks and issues before and after balancing accounts. An internship fills you in on the actual process of preparing balance sheets. In class, it may take you only an hour to complete one. In a real-life setting, it may take you two to four weeks to complete a similar balance sheet due to the long process of gathering data and meetings with the client.
- To Get An Idea Of Organizational Culture
The workplace is highly dynamic. It’s not enough to have a broad knowledge of technical concepts if you want to survive in a company.
Every workplace has its unique way of doing things. Organizations built around physical fitness may require you to work on standing desks and use the workplace gym at least once a day. Others may require you to go on seemingly endless lunch meetings with clients and partners. And on top of that, you have to deal with office politics. An internship gives you a good introduction to such aspects of work culture.
- To Build Your Resume
As stated earlier, most of today’s entry-level jobs require some sort of professional experience. Taking an internship is the best way to prove to potential employers that you have relevant professional training in your area of expertise.
By adding the details of what you did during internships to your resume, you stand a better chance of getting employed compared to another candidate with only their degree to boast.
- To Get Professional Criticism
Having a college tutor assess how well you do on school tests is no doubt a great way to evaluate your grasp of the course content. However, it would be even better to have professionals in the field check your progress, which is what happens in internships. You can expect their feedback to be more critical as it’s based on real work.
Your final rating in the eyes of professionals will give you a clear indication of what you need to work and improve on. It may be that your technical skills are nearly 100% but your interpersonal skills lag behind at 20%. That’s the area you need to put more effort into for you to climb up your career ladder.
- To Start Enjoying The Fruits Of Your Labor
The thought of spending years in school and not earning a single cent despite all your efforts may disturb you, as it does many individuals. Fortunately, you can start getting paid when you take an internship.
But take note that not all internship programs come with monetary rewards. You’re certainly lucky if you land one that pays. If you decide to go for an unpaid internship, however, be sure that you’ll earn significant college credits and good grades. Those will help you get a high-earning job once you’ve graduated.
- To Transition Into Real Employment
Last but not the least, the firm you work for as an intern may consider you for a full-time position. That’s a dream come true for a lot of people.
Many firms have formed the habit of finding prospective full-time employees by offering internship positions. This way, they’re able to assess your worth without making big financial commitments in terms of a job offer. If you impress your employer as an intern, you stand a high chance of working for them full-time.
Put your best foot forward and make your internship program count. College credits, good grades, and money are all good reasons to get an internship. But what’s even more important is the ability to get a deeper insight into your specific industry and make connections with people who matter.