Internships provide an opportunity to expose yourself to a career that matches your academic and personal interests. Additionally, skills gained from practical experience will make you more valuable as an employee. Completing an internship will allow you to develop strong teamwork skills balanced with the ability to work independently. Here are some more specific and salient benefits of internships.
While interns are often assessed in the workplace for their skills and abilities, interns should also be assessing their employer and the industry. Practical experience in a position exposes the good and bad aspects of a profession including whether the company is one that you would like to work for full time and if the industry is the right fit. For example, you might have an interested in broadcast television, but an internship interview reveals a faster pace than you bargained for. An internship is a test-drive of your chosen career, but you are under no obligation to make a commitment.
The Beginnings of a Professional Network
Internships are a great way to build a professional network of contacts. Developing a good working relationship with work colleagues can be invaluable once you enter the workforce. Invitations to industry events, meeting others in your industry, and possible referrals to job opportunities can boost your career no matter what field you choose. However, contacts, like plants, must be nourished. When you move on from your internship or a future job, stay in touch with your contacts with annual holiday notes or send an email update on your recent career changes.
A Stronger Resume
Internships are a great way to improve your resume before you enter the workforce. Some schools require students to complete internships before graduation, and those who have can offer an employer skills from practical experience. Even if that is not the case for you, being able to list skills necessary in your chosen profession will set you apart from the competition and give you an edge in the marketplace. When describing an internship in your resume or job application, be specific about what tasks you performed and how you were of benefit to your employer.
A Stepping Stone to Full Employment
Many employers look to their own interns as the best potential candidate for a full-time position because they are a known entity, are familiar with the corporate culture, and typically require less training. For the intern, knowing what their job will entail by first completing an internship can make the transition to a full-time position a smooth one.
A Confidence Booster
Your first full time job can be challenging. You will not doubt be lacking in confidence, there will be a steep learning curve, and you must get to know colleagues that you have not worked with before. If you have already completed an internship where you worked in a similar position, or if you worked with the same company or in the same industry, you will be in a stronger position and will feel more equipped to take on new responsibilities.