I’ve been working with students for 10 years and have noticed a trend amongst the most confident and successful high school graduates with regard to being college and career-ready. They are confident about their future career path because they have gained first-hand experience through internship opportunities. Today, I’m sharing seven reasons to complete an internship.
If you do an internship, you are building your resume with work experience relevant to your career field. Having industry-relevant internship experience on your resume will be recognized by employers and by colleges when you submit your admissions application. Internships are impressive and noticed!
What you learn in class during high school and college is different from what you will experience in the industry. The severity of this difference will depend on the major/industry, but this disconnect will always exist to some degree. Likewise, each company is going to operate a little differently. Completing multiple internships really gives you the most well-rounded experience and knowledge and can inform your job search in college and after college.
If you have spent your summers doing manual labor, lifeguarding, babysitting, etc., that is all good work experience; however, if you can have a summer job that makes you money and also gives you industry-relevant experience, take it! Internships often pay better per hour than traditional teen summer employment opportunities making them not only beneficial financially, but allow students to build experience as well.
When I recently asked a student, “Why do an internship?” his immediate answer was interaction with other businesses and professionals. He found the networking opportunities one of the most valuable aspects of his summer internship. You may have heard the saying, “It’s not always what you know but who you know.” The reputation and relationships you form during an internship can be extremely valuable to you as you begin your career.
As a student, it can be difficult at times to see how some of the course content in high school and college will be applied in the real world. Having the opportunity to do an internship will make past coursework make sense and give you the perspective to attach new coursework to as well.
An internship can be an excellent opportunity to “try before you buy.” For example, one student I worked with recently has decided to pursue a career in marketing. Now that she is confident in her major, she will complete an internship to learn more about different specializations in the marketing field. Trying this career will also help confirm that it is the right fit before years of time and money are invested in a college education. All things considered, the worst-case scenario, if you do an internship, is you don’t like it. You should feel good knowing you only spent three months (if it was a summer internship) rather than four years obtaining a degree to find out you don’t like the field.
Finally, a great reason to do an internship is it can turn into full-time or permanent employment. One student I worked with was not only offered ongoing employment during his final year of college but a full-time position after graduation as well. Imagine knowing you have a full-time job after college one year before graduation!
While not every internship results in an employment offer, employers have admitted that they prefer to hire current or former interns over other applicants because interns know the company and the company know them. It is another case of “try before you buy”!
If the seven reasons above have convinced you to complete an internship (and they should!), it is time to get started finding the opportunity for you! Here are a few free resources to help you get started with your internship search, resume writing, and interview preparation!
Completing an internship is one of the best steps you can take to set yourself up for career success! I encourage you to complete several, if possible, to diversify your experiences and gain different perspectives!
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September 30, 2023