Reasons why an internship rocks

Whether an internship is paid, for credit, unpaid or not-for-credit doesn't change its value. Internships are investments in your future.

Amber Shiflett
Categories: Career Advice

Summers are your time off from school, a chance to relax and hang out with friends. I get it! Why would you want to spend it working in an internship...possibly working for free? 

Oh hey, I’m Amber—marketing intern here at Snag and a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

As a college student, I've done a ton of internships. Some paid, some for credit and some unpaid or not-for-credit. What I've learned is none of that changes the value of an internship because each one helps you gain experience. Internships are an investment in your future. 

You might feel reluctant to pursue internships because you worry you'll get stuck doing menial tasks like getting coffee or making copies. That's a legitimate fear! Let's face it—no one wants to work for free. Although not all internships pay in cash, they do pay in other ways.

Here are just a few reasons why internships are investments in your future:

Real world experience + less pressure

As an intern, you get the chance to work hands-on in a professional environment with less pressure than even an entry-level employee. Everyone knows you're there to learn, not be the expert. Of course, do your best and work hard. This could be your potential employer, but take advantage of being the "learner" while you can! While you might run errands or grab the occasional coffee, you'll gain actual work experience. Internships help teach you more about the career path you’re pursuing, too. Think of it like this—internships are a way to test drive possible jobs and explore different job markets.

Networking

This a fancy word that says who you know is as important, maybe even more important, than what you know. Why? Because people get you jobs. You have a higher chance of getting a full-time job through knowing someone, or having your name passed on, than just applying for a random job online. Internships give you the opportunity to network through attending meetings, events and increasing who you know. By meeting with professionals, you get new connections and learn how to communicate in a professional environment. I speak from my own experience. My internships have introduced me to a lot of useful resources and have given me the opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in my field. Networking helped me acquire references and find new job opportunities. Internships can even provide you with a professional mentor to learn from as you start a career.

Build that resume

Without a solid resume, you’ll find it harder to be considered for a position. As a college student, I know the importance of a strong resume and I know you’re probably wondering how you can have a strong resume without any experience? Internships are the key. They let you build experience as a student or recent graduate. Employers are more likely to hire someone with internships and work experience than someone with a generic resume, lacking experience. Think of it this way—something is better than nothing. 

Time management

Employers want to know they’re not wasting money on hiring someone who sits on his or her phone all day. Yes, that’s an actual problem! If you can prove to your future employer that you manage time well, you’ve got a leg up on the competition. As an intern, you'll become a master of time management. When you're working in a fast-paced professional environment, every minute counts. Time management is important in every circumstance, whether you're attending meetings, finishing tasks on deadlines, making phone calls, picking up your boss' dry cleaning or walking her dog (just kidding about those last two). Use your internship experience to master a skill you can sell in future interviews. 

A solid foundation

Internships provide you with the building blocks you need for your future. Internship opportunities help set the foundation for your career. Choose your internships with your interests and career prospects in mind. Apply for what excites you or for an internship position you think will give experience in a company you’d love to work for. As an intern, you’ll have the opportunity to get your foot in the door with a company if you do well.  Employers often use internships as a recruitment tool to test out future employees and see if they work well with everyone else. The sweet part? In many cases, companies hire interns after graduation.

Internships are an awesome way to improve your chances as a job applicant and make you a better future employee. I know...watching Netflix might sound like a more relaxing way to spend your summer. But make the investment now in your career and apply for internships. You’ll be thankful later when you’ve got better job opportunities!