Internships allow students to gain real on-the-job experience before they complete their degree. Paid or unpaid, their duration can vary from one week to one year. But what makes this experience so important? Glad you asked! Here are five reasons why internships should be a part of your university education:
1. You can make great connections:
Most internships will require you to work closely with one specific team within the organisation. They will also give you the opportunity to meet a range of people in other departments, and possibly outside of the company. If you make a great impression, you may be offered a permanent role after you graduate, but if this is not an option, at the very least you will leave with some great professional referees. These referees are worth keeping in touch with in the future – they may be able to put in a good word for you for those hard-to-come-by opportunities.
2. They make your resume stand out:
Securing a graduate role is becoming increasingly competitive. Make sure you stand out from the crowd with a resume that includes real industry experience. This shows employers how keen you are to gain employment in that industry, and that you have the right skills and experience to take on a permanent full-time role. Aim to complete a number of internships – the more experience you can gain before you graduate, the better.
3. You can apply the theory you have learned at university:
University can tend to be quite theory-based - an internship is your first chance to apply this theory and knowledge to real-life situations. Not only will the experience help you to develop your skills, you’ll also learn the interpersonal skills you’ll need to work well with others. Try to go for as long an internship as you can to give you as much experience as possible.
4. You’ll learn more about what you enjoy career-wise:
Are you wondering whether you’ll enjoy this career path you have chosen? Complete an internship and find out. If you don’t enjoy the experience, it has still been valuable - now you know more about what you do and don’t like. You can always try another internship in a different organisation or completely different field and see how it fits. Every experience helps you to define your career path, and all before you graduate.
5. You’ll have a great adventure:
An internship could give you the chance to explore professions and opportunities you’ve always dreamed of, perhaps even overseas. Think outside the square – if you could intern anywhere, where would it be? Then go after it and make it happen – you have nothing to lose, and the experience will be unforgettable!
Please check your local regulations before undertaking any unpaid work - such as an internship, work experience or voluntary position.