The Benefits of Being an Intern
Internships can be extremely beneficial to students, graduates, or anyone looking for hands-on expertise. As an intern, you can develop knowledge, competencies, and experience related directly to your career goal.
In addition to learning valuable new skills and getting the practical experience that employers want to see on your resume, you are also given an opportunity to explore your field of interest before “officially” entering it.
You may be surprised to find that you don’t enjoy your chosen career as much as you thought you would. Or, if you are lucky, you may find that you love the field even more than you thought possible. Either way, it is better to know before you have invested years of time and effort.
As an intern, you may also be able to secure a full time job. Recent surveys have shown that employers offer full time employment to more than half of their interns. In addition, almost half of the employers surveyed admitted that they offer higher salaries to applicants who have participated in co-op programs or internships.
Though an internship will not guarantee you a job in the future, it will give you the chance to work closely with professionals in your field of choice. This means that you can establish new contacts, mentors, and references. Securing a job will be much easier if you have a handful of recommendations from industry professionals.
The Downfalls of Internships
Internships are by large, beneficial. There really aren’t many disadvantages. If anything, the main downfall would have to be financial in nature.
Internships are an opportunity for career potentials to gain experience and receive free training. They are also an opportunity for employers to gain hard workers for little or no pay. Don’t ever enter an internship expecting to finance your college education. It probably won’t happen.
Where to Find Internship Programs
To begin an internship, you must first find a company that offers such a program. If you are a student, consult with someone at your college or university.
Many business schools offer field oriented internship programs or cooperative education to their students. Some schools not only encourage, but they also require participation in such programs. They may have a list of opportunities readily available for anyone who is interested.
If you are not a student, begin searching online and in newspapers for internship possibilities. Make a list and include any company that meets your career goal qualifications.
Create a sharp resume and an individualized cover letter proposing a mutually beneficial internship opportunity. Personally deliver or mail the packet to the Human Resources Department of your desired employer. Make sure that you politely follow-up on your request within two weeks.
When you meet with the employer to discuss the internship, don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you have. You will want to make sure that your chosen program benefits you and your future goals. If it doesn’t, what’s the point?
Also, if you have the time and the means, don’t hesitate to participate in more than one program. The more “real world” experience you are able to gain, the better.
In the End
An internship is a window of opportunity for anyone who wants to use it as such. If you choose to participate in an internship program, take full advantage of the experience.
Learn directly from the professionals who are already in the industry and make an effort to gain the confidence and experience that you need to achieve your goals.