Everyone at one point or another will need to do an internship to gain experience and knowledge about their desired field of work. You might be thinking to yourself, “I go to college for this. Why do I need to do even more work outside of my classes?” Although that is a good point to make, why not try to learn more, make connections, and see if your ‘back-to-the-future’ looking professor actually knows what he’s talking about. Chances are you’ll grow in your field, gain a beefy looking resume, and have a clear idea of what you want for your future. Need more convincing? Read these 10 reasons why you should do an internship below. You’ll thank us later.
Gain Real Life Experience In Your Field
So this is a given of course, but I can’t stress enough how just going to classes, completing homework assignments, and memorizing terms for your test will not be enough to get you in the door to your dream job. In fact, employers would prefer you have more work experience than just a 4-year degree. You need to have hands-on experience and an internship is where you start. This is perfect because it doesn’t require you to know what you’re doing right away. You’re in an amazing place to learn, to make mistakes, to grow, or to change your mind. You’ll be able to see the inside scoop on how things get done. I know when I got my first social media internship (I work in social media and writing) I learned very quickly that there is way more into social media than content creation. Some of the other interns learned the same thing and changed their minds. I ended up loving all the planning, data, and metrics that went into it. How would I have known without my internship?
Build Your Work Ethic
At this point in your life, you probably have had a job or two. It could have been at a coffee shop, babysitting, or working retail. Your first job experience will always teach you a lot about the working force, but chances are you haven’t had enough to build a work ethic. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ‘work ethic’ as the belief in work as a moral good, a set of values centered in the importance of doing good work, reflected around one’s determination to work hard in order to succeed. As an intern, you will be asked to do a wide range of tasks. Everything from coffee runs, data entry, taking notes in a meeting, scheduling appointments, and helping the team complete projects. There will be days in your internship where you feel like you’re doing nothing important, and days where you are contributing to a very important project. Both will show you who you are, what you’re willing to do in order to succeed, and how hard you want to work for your dreams. Take this time to learn more about yourself, and go even further than you thought you could go.
Have A Better Understanding Of Your Degree
When you’re in school learning about something specific, every day you are taking in more and more information. It can be overwhelming at times. You may feel like you’re in information overload, and you are. But if you want that information to stick, to become real, to really resonate with you – ding ding ding! An internship is your golden ticket! Apply what you are learning in your lectures in a real-life work setting. You’ll probably know more than the employees there. The knowledge is fresh and at the forefront of your mind. The work you’re going to be creating will be that much more amazing and you’ll be able to really impress your employers. This might be a good time to see if this is the industry you really want to be in. You’ll be able to see all the glamorous and the not-so-glamorous parts of the job. Internships are great as a “trial-career.” So go for it, what do you have to lose?
Learn From Professionals In Your Industry
There is no other environment that allows you to learn from professionals in your career than an internship. Your professors know a lot, they may even be in the industry as well, but most of the time, they only teach and don’t work in that field anymore. Getting the chance to work in the same office as professionals in the industry you want to be in is amazing because you’ll get a glimpse of what your future could potentially look like. You get to see what their morning routine is like, what they do in meetings, how they behave during stressful times, and how to invest in their team. So sit back, take notes, observe everything around you, and make a list of what you’re looking for in a workplace.
Make Connections In Your Industry
There are so many reasons why you should do an internship, or three while you’re in college. One of the biggest reasons is this one right here. MAKE CONNECTIONS. You have no idea what that will do for you in the long-run until you get there, so sew your seeds now and watch them grow later. The assistant junior producer could be the senior producer by the time you graduate and they will remember your work and how you treated them at the start of their career. Make friends with everyone. The janitor, the receptionist, the entry/junior/ and senior level people. Seriously. Be nice to everyone no matter how they treat you in return. Be professional to anyone you come in contact with. Be humbled and do any task asked of you. Remember names, birthdays, special events in people’s lives that you hear about (someone got engaged, adopted a new puppy, built a new home, etc…) These small ways will really elevate your reputation and will pay off in the end.
Build Confidence And Understand Your Value
Going into an internship in college, you may feel you’re at the bottom of the food chain. Some places may make you feel that way, but guess what? You’re not. You’re learning and growing, and evolving as a person every day. Through the projects, daily tasks, multiple internships, and interactions with people around you, you will eventually build confidence in yourself you never had before. This confidence will carry you into your next job. When someone knows who they are, are confident in their skills, and understands their value to a company, nothing can stop them. In fact, they will stand out in a crowd and most likely land the job they are interviewing for. You may have to fake it sometimes, but overall internships allow you to see your strengths and weaknesses and be confident in what you have to offer.
Learn How To Work With Different Personalities
No matter what field you go into, you will be working with people. Your fellow employees, your boss, your clients, and people you have weekly interactions with (the delivery man, the janitor, etc…) There are so many types of personalities and they all have to work together. It’s important during your internship to be observant of everyone around you. You’ll learn how they listen, learn, and respond. Your boss may be so busy they don’t have time to chit-chat. Learn how to get to the point, in a professional and kind way. On the other hand, you may have a boss who is more hands-on and wants to hear why you chose to do certain things. They may want to understand your process. In this case, be gentle, speak slowly and be as detailed as possible. There are so many more personalities you’ll come across in your career and your internship is a great place to learn about them.
Beef Up Your Resume
We all know that jobs are looking for people with related experience. If you’re in college you’re probably wondering where that’s going to come from. Obviously, internships but not just one. Do as many internships as you can throughout the course of your college career. There are paid internships, internships for college credit, and internships that you can do remote, so there’s no excuse here. The more you have to show, the better your chances are at landing a job after graduation. Some can be done part-time, some are full-time, and some are during the summer (even better.) Find what type of internship works best for you and go for it. If you want to work in social media, work for content creation companies, marketing companies, social media agencies, influencer marketing companies, and more. By the time you graduate you’ll have a wide range of skills to show and you’ll be ready for anything that’s coming your way. Employers will be so impressed that you didn’t just party and vacation all those four years, but you really wanted to learn.
Extra Income, College Credits
Most internships are unpaid, we know this. That is no reason to turn it down though. You’ll need to gain work experience and an understanding about the industry you’re trying to go into. But, on the rare case, you do get paid, or you get college credits, take the opportunity and run. Extra income is great for anyone, especially if you’re in college. If you’re smart, you could use that to help pay off student loans or put towards your living expenses. Even if the internship only offers a stipend, find out what it is, what’s required of you, and decide if it’s the best fit. Most places are very flexible with your class schedule, and understand that you need something from the internship as well. If it’s the summer and you’re not taking classes, look for paid internships and make that coin! There may even be internships overseas, and you get some free travel out of it too!
Potentially Get A Job
Now you may not want to work at every place you intern with and that’s okay. If you start an internship and end up loving the company and the people, that’s a great way to potentially get a job. While interning, look at your company’s career page and see what they are looking for. Do you fit any of those descriptions? Do you know the people in that department? Could you do the job well? If so, then go for it. Ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation and an email introduction to the head of the department. It’s an inside connection that outsiders won’t have, which will put you ahead of everyone else. I got a full-time job out of my last internship and moved to NYC with it. I had only interned with them for three months (and remotely), and it was such an amazing learning experience.