It’s no secret that the job market is tight. Especially if you are seguing to a new field, have just graduated or are entering the workforce for the first time, it can be hard to show employers that you have the skills they need, when you don’t have any direct experience. That’s where internships come in. Here are four key benefits of internships:
Internships Help You Learn Real-World Skills
Internships look good on a resume. Every employer wants to know that their new hire can jump right in and do the job. Most staffs are tight, and they don’t have the capacity to offer full-scale training that might be required by someone new to the position, industry or job market. That’s why an employer is much more likely to be interested in someone who has demonstrated that they have the skills to be immediately productive.
Internships Help You Meet Potential Contacts
Many times an internship turns into a real job, and while you can’t count on that, it certainly is often a goal and can be a wonderful benefit. You might find that the company is “testing” you out through the internship to make sure that you fit with the team and that you are hard working. But even if that position doesn’t turn into a job, it can be a great way to make contacts that you can parlay into other jobs. Everyone you interact with during an internship is a potential resource to meet other people who might be in a position to hire you. They can open doors through networking that otherwise would have been closed. The key to making sure that you mine these contacts is to perform the internship flawlessly of course, but also to be open to working with other departments and getting to know as many people in the company as you can. As an intern, you have opportunities that an entry-level worker might not have, such as being involved in meetings or planning sessions that are above your “level” so to speak. Because part of any internship is a learning component, this means that you are often privy to opportunities from which you would otherwise be excluded.
Internships Help You Earn Recommendations
One of the best ways to get a job is to be recommended by someone that a hiring manager knows or trusts — or even someone who has a position that conveys authority. A professional vouching for you can make all the difference to separate you from other candidates. An internship gives you the opportunity to prove yourself to colleagues who can offer wonderful recommendations.
Internships Help You Find Out What the Work Environment Is Like
This can go both ways — you might find that the job of your dreams is not what you had hoped for. Conversely, you might find out that the job and industry are a great fit. Sometimes the only way to know what a job is like is to try it out. Having an internship is the perfect way to be behind the scenes on what a job is really like. While you’re conducting your internship, make sure to keep a critical eye on what others in the company are doing — both those at the entry-level, which is where you will likely start if hired post-internship, and those a notch and more above you on the career ladder. Seeing where you will eventually end up, and how those people spend their days, is an important way to know if the industry and/or career path is the right one for you. Make sure that you take advantage of every opportunity to talk to people at all levels of the organization. Find out how they got where they are, and what they like about their position. This type of intel is invaluable in helping you see how a career in the company or industry might shape up — and whether it’s right for you.
No matter what industry you are investigating, chances are good that there’s an internship available. Approaching an internship with an open mind, a willing spirit, and the desire to do the best you can is the best way to make the most of the opportunity — and hopefully use the experience to propel you that much closer to where you want to be.
Articles on internships:
- How to Approach Your Internship for the Most Benefit
- 5 Skills You Need to Learn in Your Internship
- Need Experience? 4 Types of Internships You May Have Overlooked
- 8 Questions For Identifying The Best Internship For You
- Turning Your Internships into a Job, Even at Another Firm