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“You need experience to get experience.” This seems to be the biggest issue for young adults transitioning into the workforce these days.
Employers in today’s labor market rely heavily on resumes that illustrate a relevant work history, whether that’s from internships, volunteer work, or actual job experience.
A practical work background carries a major significance when attempting to enter the job market. It’s all about competition.
Not only are businesses competing against each other for a competitive advantage, but people are also competing to land that coveted position in a company.
Even your buddy who graduated with you in college has become your competition.
Take a moment and think about it. If you’re looking to gain experience, working as an intern is arguably the most advantageous plan of action.
That one internship you did over summer could be the difference between winning a job opportunity or losing it.
If that information alone isn’t compelling enough, we have compiled a list of reasons why partaking in internships are important for your future career.
1. Get Real Life Experience and Exposure
If you’re lucky enough to snag a beneficial internship, it can be remarkably valuable towards your career.
An internship enables you to gain first-hand exposure of working in the real world.
It also allows students to harness the skill, knowledge, and theoretical practice they learnt in university.
You can acquire endless amounts of education in your life, however, that knowledge doesn’t always translate to the working life.
The great thing about internships is that it teaches young professionals about the specific industries and companies they are interested in.
Even the experience of trying something new is extremely beneficial.
A lot of people get stuck in routines, staying in the same town, attending the same schools or surrounding themselves with the same people.
Doing an internship exposes you to new people in a more controlled and stable environment.
An intern isn’t thrown into the wolves but rather given proper training, assignments, and duties without the added pressure.
Internships provide a nice learning curve for students with little experience of the professional world.
2. The Opportunity To Learn More About Yourself
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
The experiences we go through are what shapes us. Your internship will not only encourage personal development, but also greater understanding of self.
To know yourself is to know your goals and how to best achieve them.
Finding this level of clarity is difficult, but sometimes all it takes is trying someone new, out of your comfort zone.
For example, take a Business Marketing student who decides to do an internship related to his field of study.
That internship will give them a chance to explore what a career in business marketing would be like. Sometimes, reality does not meet expectations.
At this point, the student is given a chance to decide whether they wish to continue with their current career path or try something else.
3. Get Connected and Develop Your Professional Network
Networking is an exchange of information between people, with the ultimate goal of establishing acquaintances and relationships to advance your professional career.
Sure, you can attend a networking event without doing an internship, but you would be limiting yourself.
Partaking in an internship allows you to establish deeper relationships than you normally would talking to a stranger one-on-one.
Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build connections with company professionals that can be very beneficial for your future career.
According to Timothy Butler, a professor at Harvard Business School, “The biggest mistake that people make networking is that people don’t do it.”
Even if you think you don’t need it, it’s always good to have a backup plan. Life is unpredictable and a time may arise when a network may come in handy.
Make sure to carry some business cards at all times because networking can occur anywhere or anytime, even at a local coffee shop you frequent!
4. Prevent CV From Going To The Trash
While you may get second chances when talking to someone face-to-face, your resume will not.
Think of your resume as an extension of yourself and how you would want someone to perceive you.
Instead of thinking long term about landing that job, switch up your mindset to short term. Your short term goal should be to secure a job interview.
Once you get an interview, then you’re able to elaborate on why you’re deserving of working with this company.
So now you may be asking, “How do I get a job interview?” Well, there is one specific section on your resume that employers will be more interested in than any other section.
Experience! Internships are the perfect way to enhance your resume through relevant experiences.
When an employer sees that you’ve completed an internship over the summer, for a hefty 6 month span, or even abroad, it will go a long way to convincing them that you are an asset to their company.
It’s not enough to simply show you’ve spent some time as an intern. List the tasks you’ve done and projects you’ve participated in to demonstrate your value.
During your internship you can acquire new skills and abilities which can improve yourself as a young professional, and furthermore enhance your resume.
The more experience you acquire, the better you position yourself for success in landing a job.
5. Transition Into A Full-Time Position
Sometimes graduating from college and immediately jumping into a new job position has it’s disadvantages.
When you start out, you are the most vulnerable employee when it comes to layoffs.
If you have never worked full-time before, the change may be difficult or overwhelming. In a working environment, not every boss is tolerant of mistakes.
In an economy where you likely cannot afford to lose your job, not being able to quickly adapt can be devastating.Internships offer opportunities to transition into full-time positions.
Although, it is not guaranteed, most employers are always seeking to add value to their organization.
With an internship, you’re given the opportunity to showcase your talents, commitment, and value to a prospective employer.
Furthermore, employers are more inclined to hire you once they have invested time and money to train you.
Given these points, an internship is more than crucial for your future career. An internship is the building blocks necessary for creating the path to a successful career.
So next time you’re on a gap year or summer break, you might want to consider indulging in a meaningful internship and build towards your future.
Article updated and co-edited by Dennis Scharpf and Mariya Gainsford.