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Internships are often a way for aspiring students to learn more about an industry they hope to work in. Whether paid or unpaid, internships offer real-work experience while providing students with the opportunity to connect with real industry experts that they can build relationships for future networking purposes. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of internships.
1. Make contacts in your industry.
Regardless of whatever industry you’re in, most of your career opportunities will likely come from the people that you connect with. The relationships we build allow us to create a stronger social network that we can use to help us progress in our careers. While some people avoid unpaid internships due to the lack of compensation, in many cases, these internships lead to a more defined skillet, as well as strengthened relationships with industry experts.
2. Strengthen your resume.
Oftentimes, students that are just leaving college don’t have a lot of information to include on their resume. While they may have some volunteer work or job experience from their earlier college or high school days to include, internships offer them the opportunity to strengthen their resumes even further. Even if the internship is unpaid, future employers will see the time spent at an internship and realize that you aren’t just another inexperienced applicant.
Moreover, having an internship at a prestigious company may be the sole reason an applicant gets a call back, whether or not it was a paid internship. Oftentimes, it’s what’s on your resume that employers look at—not really what the level of compensation was.
3. Learn how to apply your academic knowledge in the real world.
Many students feel as though the lessons they’re learning at university aren’t applicable to the real world. With internships, a student is able to apply what they’ve learned in their classes to the work they do at their internship. As they connect these lessons to the experience they’re gaining, they’ll be better equipped to determine if they want to work in the field or not. If they do stay on in the industry, this experience will better prepare them for their future careers.
Many students find that the internship they choose helps to paint a better picture of the future careers they hope to have. For example, a student studying medicine may find that after an internship at the local hospital they’d rather not work in the medical industry. Similarly, a student that is trying to decide between two fields of study may agree to be an occupational therapy volunteer and learn that this industry is the one that they’ve fallen in love with.
4. Take advantage of rare opportunities.
As competitive as the job market is, it’s often quite difficult to break into an industry with no prior experience or connections. Internships allow an individual to get their foot in the door and make connections while doing so. Most companies are much more likely to accept a new intern than they are to hire someone fresh out of school. Whether this position is paid or unpaid, internships offer opportunities that may otherwise be missed in any other scenario.
5. Transition into a new job.
While some internships are over once the semester ends, for many interns, their first internship is the start of a lifelong career. Many companies take on interns in a tentative capacity to determine whether or not they are the right fit for the company. Interns that are able to perform their responsibilities exceptionally well may find that they are offered a long-term position after their internship ends.
Though all internships don’t end in a career opportunity, the connections made through an internship present many recruitment opportunities. An intern that doesn’t get a position with the company they interned for is often able to use their contacts from the internship for referral purposes for future jobs.
Internships offer real benefits for anyone aspiring to work in a specific industry. If you’re considering an internship, be sure to keep these five benefits in mind.