I know that no one reading this wants to work for free but there is a time and place for it. I have done two internships, one during my senior year of college, and the one I am doing now, 4 months post-graduation. While I would love to have my next position be a paid one, I can’t say I regret either internship. As different as they are, both have had valuable aspects which will help me in the future. So if you are considering applying for an internship, either during or after school, here are some benefits of an internship.
I hate this word. This word is what will stop you from getting your dream job and probably every other job you want after getting your degree. Scroll to the bottom of almost every job posting and you will see something that says “this degree… and 2 years of experience”. It may not be fair, but a degree is simply not enough to get you the job these days. Companies want people who are both educated and experienced. But the good news is one of the benefits of an internship is that it’s a great way to get that experience.
The more people you know in the field you want to work in, the easier it will be for you. My internship with the English department helped me build strong relationships with multiple professors who not only work in my field but also know many more people than I ever will. Build a network of professionals who know your work ethics and your passion, and it will most than likely help you at some point.
3. Higher Education
Internships look amazing on applications for higher education programs. If you are considering continuing your education past a Bachelor’s, you should try to find an internship program, even if it is only for 2 months. I know for a fact that my internship experience is the reason I was accepted into my school’s Master’s program.
I’d love to say that I always knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living, but that simply isn’t true and it’s probably not true for you either. Even if you know what field you want to work in, there are a hundred different careers in that field and it’s hard to know what you will love without actually doing it. Internships provide the opportunity for career clarity. As much as I loved my intern position with the English department, I found out I would never be happy doing Grant writing or any heavily research-based position. At the same time, the internship I am in now has confirmed my love of content writing and how much I would like to pursue that area.
Every internship requires different skills, and those skills will probably get used over and over during your time as an intern. For me, it was primary and secondary research. I researched from every angle I could think of that could possibly relate to the book my supervising professor was working on. But now I have that skill, and I can confidently list it on my resume. Taking an intern position will help you gain real-world skill sets that can’t be gained in the classroom.
If you don’t know about portfolios yet, you probably haven’t started looking for jobs. Portfolios are the new resumes, they are a collection of your work that showcases your knowledge and skill set. You can’t have a portfolio if you don’t have anything to put in it. Unfortunately, college essay papers are usually just not enough. So use your internship as a building block for your portfolio. Make sure you are creating work you are proud enough of to show to potential employers.
7. College Credit
It’s a dream come true… internships that count as college credit. Before looking for intern programs visit your academic advisor. Ask about college credit for internships and what hoops you would need to jump through. I ended up being able to substitute my internship for a 300 level English course. That pretty much saved my butt around finals.
Most places that offer internships know that you have other things going on. They are usually much more willing to work with your schedule. So if you are too busy for a 9-5 job but still want experience, an internship would be perfect for you.
If your internship is through the school and for credit, it will have a grade. As long as you do the work expected of you, you’ll get an easy A. There are so many benefits of an internship, it would be silly not to take advantage of the opportunity.
One thing I didn’t expect to gain from my internship programs was confidence. When you create work for people you admire, and they are pleased with it, it’s hard not to have it affect your confidence.