5 Reasons 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.
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 for an internship, especially if you were working for free?
Oh hey, by the way, I’m Amber—a marketing intern here at Snagajob and a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University.
As a college student, I've done a ton of internships. Some were paid, some were just for credit and some were totally unpaid or not-for-credit. What I've learned is that none of that changes the value of an internship, because each one helps you gain experience.
No drama about it, internships are an investment in your future.
What’s an internship?
Really quickly, let’s look at what an internship really is, versus what many students think they are. Internships come in many forms and are evolving all the time, so the one you land may or may not look like what I’ve experienced.
Regardless, there are some common concerns most of us have about internships before we get one. So, first and foremost, let’s “myth bust” a few of the typical doubts you might have about taking a job as an intern.
Internships are just summer jobs for college students
Not true! The best internships give you real-world experience in a setting that is student-friendly. They understand that you’re still in school. They know that you’re learning. They know you didn’t have to pursue an internship at all…so they’re more apt to make it worth your while by working with you.
Unlike a lot of summer jobs, you won’t just be flipping burgers or mopping floors. Many companies have dedicated internship programs with tailored training. They may even assign you a mentor to help you navigate the ins and outs of the company. And often they let you help with fun projects that you can feel good about long after the summer is over.
As an intern, I’ll just be making copies or getting coffee, so why bother?
You might feel reluctant to pursue internships, what if you get stuck doing menial tasks like getting coffee or making copies? That's absolutely a legitimate fear! But the odds are, your internship will be a great experience that you will benefit from for years to come as mine has been.
Refer back to #1. The bottom line is most companies that offer internships really want you there. They know that you bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, and your enthusiasm can breathe life into their company. Plus, they’re equipped, ready, and willing to help you learn.
If it isn’t paid, it isn’t worth it
What if you can’t find any great paid internships? That’s another totally legit concern. Let's face it—no one wants to work for free. But if you invest your time and energy into an internship, paid or otherwise, you can still get a ton out of it.
Although not all internships pay in cash, they do pay in other ways.
Benefits of internships: are they worth it?
Now, let’s look at how an internship will benefit you. Here are just a few reasons why summer internships are investments in your future:
Real-world experience with 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 to be the expert. Of course, do your best and work hard.
This could be your potential employer in the future, so 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 as well.
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. But the commitment is short. You’ve only signed on for a summer, so if it’s not the right path for you, you can always switch gears when the internship is over.
It’s better to learn that a certain path isn’t for you before you get a degree in it!
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 and increase who you know through attending meetings and events.
By meeting with professionals, you get new connections and learn how to communicate in a professional environment. I speak from my own experience. My summer 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 also helped me acquire references and find new job opportunities. Internships can even provide you with a professional mentor to learn from as you finish school and start a career later on.
Building that resume
Without a solid resume, you’ll find it harder to be considered for a position. And when something comes along that you really want, you want to be ready to put your best foot forward.
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 any real experience.
Think of it this way—something is better than nothing. Even an unpaid internship gives you the experience they’re looking for.
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 that 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 someday.
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. They test out future employees, get to know their strengths and weaknesses, and see if they work well with everyone else on the team.
The sweet part? In many cases, companies hire their interns after graduation for full-time positions.
In general, internships are an awesome way to improve your chances as a job applicant and make you a better future employee. They open doors for you that might have otherwise stayed firmly closed.
I know...watching Netflix or hanging out with your friends by the pool (all day, every day) 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 still have plenty of time to chill poolside, and you’ll be thankful later when you’ve got better job opportunities!