Where do you even start when looking for work? Some people turn to internships, but why would you take on an internship instead of a job?
Before entering the workforce, you already have plenty of opportunities to make the transition from college to post-grad less daunting. These opportunities may include joining organizations, networking or taking on an internship.
A dreadful feeling may arise in your gut when the possibility of taking on an internship crosses your mind.
“Do I really have to look for internships?” you groan.
Before you start imagining yourself glumly dressed in a sad blazer, let me tell you that getting an internship may do more for you than you think!
What is an internship, anyway?
Internships are mostly entry-level jobs that you may take on before, during or after your undergraduate studies. Obtaining one is a similar process to getting a job, but the two are different.
The reason they’re called internships and not jobs is because you’re going to intern for a specific amount of time. The length of time depends on what internship you’re taking on. They can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to even a year.
And, about payment.
Most internships are unpaid, but that trend is quickly changing. Then comes the usual question: Why take them on if not for the money?
Ah, yes, knowledge
Simply learning about a particular field of work is basically the same thing as earning money. Knowledge is priceless. Obtaining an internship allows you to explore various careers in the most direct way possible.
Not only are you experiencing the work you might do in an actual job, but internships allow you to see if you’d actually enjoy doing the work. And if you do end up liking it, the internship just gave you free stuff to put on your resume! Woohoo!
On the other hand, if you don’t like it, that’s totally valid too. Dipping your toe in the water and exploring your options is never a waste of time. It’s a very valuable thing to do when you have the chance.
The power of friendship
During the limited time in an internship, you still have the chance of building connections with your colleagues and superiors.
This may sound impossible to some of you, and that’s okay!
When you’re starting your internship with nothing but a job description and a dream, talking to new people seems scary. But as you strike up more conversations with people, it’ll slowly become less scary! Who knows? Maybe you’ll make a friend to enjoy the internship with.
Having these connections may also help you professionally later down the line. Let’s say you decide to stay within this field of work after your internship. The people you previously met could give you an awesome referral or letter of recommendation for a future job.
This is the beauty of networking. Soon, you’ll finally become that person who says “I know a guy!” at a party. Everyone loves a guy who knows a guy.
Becoming a more professional you
Internships are a one-way ticket to experience having a professional job. They’re kind of like playing ‘grocery store’ as a kid, taking plastic fruits and placing them into small plastic baskets for mock groceries. Good times. Good practice for the real thing.
But you’ve grown up, and ‘grocery store’ is now called ‘getting hands-on experience.’
Being placed directly into a workplace environment can help you build lots of confidence before pursuing your first grown-up job. You’ve already experienced something similar, so there will definitely be less nerves when faced with the real thing! Also, your work ethic may improve during an internship, and entering your first job with good habits is beneficial. Your first ever real boss is going to think you’re super professional!
But an internship doesn’t have to improve only your professional personality. You can simply grow as a person. By allowing yourself to become comfortable with the workplace, you can learn to become flexible and adaptable for the future. Your communication skills will also see improvement. Go you!
So, do you really need an internship?
In the end, pursuing an internship should absolutely be your choice. You can still be successful without one, but your future self will thank you for having their back. So go submit those applications and slap on that intern name tag!