Pros of Internships

Internships can make all the difference in getting started on a new career. And in today’s business environment, they are no longer just for college students. Whether you’re in college, just graduated or are about to make a career change, an internship may be a good way to find out if your chosen field is the right one for you.

Internships are important for many reasons, including:

Internships can make all the difference in getting started on a new career. And in today’s business environment, they are no longer just for college students. Whether you’re in college, just graduated or are about to make a career change, an internship may be a good way to find out if your chosen field is the right one for you.

Internships are important for many reasons, including:

  • Experience: You will probably not know if your chosen career field is right for you until you have worked in the actual setting and gained some experience. It is important to have some exposure to people actually doing the type of work you plan to pursue.
  • A More Accurate Picture: Classroom/textbook experience and work experience are two different things. An internship affords the opportunity to test the waters of your field, rather than just learn about it in school. This will give you a better idea of the work involved and whether or not you will find it fulfilling.
  • Competitive Advantage: More and more employers’ hiring decisions are based on demonstrated career-related experience. In order for you to be competitive in the job market, you should be able to show some experience in your field, either through paying jobs, volunteer positions or internships.

The Traditional Internship

College internships are generally one or two semesters long and are often completed for college credit. In most cases, you’ll earn little money but will gain great experience.

If you are a student, check with your college regarding their recommended internship programs, or contact specific companies that interest you. Be aware that some college and university internships are sponsored by an academic department and must first be approved. Check with your advisor about processes and policies regarding approving internships.

Some internships are sponsored by a local employer and in order for you to gain college credit for the experience, you must substantiate an academic link to between your field of study and the internship.

For more information on internships, refer to these possible resources:

  • A trade association in your career field (if you plan to go into information technology, the Information Technology Association of America provides sources for internship programs)
  • Web sites that specialize in posting internship opportunities, such as Internship Programs.com
  • Other students who have already had internships

Not Just for College Seniors

Internships are not always for college seniors. Many programs allow anyone to apply, and academic or previous work background in the field is usually more important than age or school level. A non-traditional internship can give you the opportunity to experience something new if you are planning to change or expand your field. No matter what type of internship you pursue, be sure the experience is a balanced mix of “grunt” work and participation in substantive projects.

Reaping the Benefits

Internships are an excellent way to build your resume while proving to potential employers that you have a strong interest in developing some “real world” experience in your field. As a post-internship job seeker, you can use it to your advantage in convincing companies to give you a foot in the door.

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