Engaging in a college internship comes with a slew of benefits. While some provide financial compensation, there are multiple other reasons why internships are beneficial. Internships expose you to opportunities to learn new skills, network with professionals in your field, and can provide potential career possibilities after graduation. Read on to learn some of the benefits that internships bring.
Gain experience and new skills
While classes for your major are important, getting hands-on experience in your field through an internship takes learning to the next level. Internships put your major to the test, allowing you to see firsthand if you enjoy the type of field you are pursuing. They also give you a jumpstart on gaining real-world experience prior to entering the workforce.
Earn college credit
Many colleges award students credit toward their degree through internship work. While you cannot earn college credit and financial compensation simultaneously, earning credit outside of the classroom cultivates valuable work skills that you may not otherwise experience while fulfilling college requirements.
Beef up your resume
Internships look great on a resume as they count toward professional experience. Your role in an internship boosts the experience section of your resume while demonstrating how you applied newly-learned skills on the job to accomplish goals and solve problems. Don’t forget to add any internships you took part in on your resume.
Transition to a full-time position
Many companies hosting internships offer to hire you full-time after graduation. Employers often extend internships as a preliminary training and screening process to discover potential new talent and future leaders for their organization. An internship is an opportunity for you to shine as you demonstrate your value, strong work ethic, and willingness to learn new skills to a potential employer.
Mentorship and career goals
Serving as an intern may connect you with a potential mentor. Asking questions and seeking advice from colleagues can strengthen working relationships that lead to mentorship. These types of relationships can help foster guidance, encouragement, and goal planning that can set your career path in motion.
Add connections to your professional network
Meeting professionals in your field is invaluable, especially when you’re new to the workforce. Internships serve as a great way to broaden your professional network and potentially connect you to future job opportunities. Demonstrating your enthusiasm and curiosity to learn more can help put you in touch with the right contacts. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions or meet other professionals when offered.
Obtain professional references and letters of recommendation
During your internship, request a strong letter of reference from those you most closely interact with, such as a supervisor or mentor. References are valuable in your job search as they demonstrate personal interactions and experiences you’ve had during your internship. Letters of recommendation speak specifically to the skills you’ve learned and how you’ve contributed to the company during your internship. Keep in mind the more you’ve made an impression during your internship, the more likely you will receive positive references and letters of recommendation.
Not sure where to begin looking for an internship? Colleges and universities are a great place to start. Educational counselors are available to match you to a company and role that fits your field of interest. Some colleges also include job listings and internship opportunities on their website.
LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Internships.com, WayUp, and Idealist are other resources you can use to search for internship opportunities.
RELATED: Internship and Volunteer Opportunity Blogs
Transitioning from college to the workforce can be exciting, overwhelming, and intimidating at the same time. Internships can help bridge the gap between being a college student and heading into the corporate world while building your skills, confidence, and opportunities for success.