College Advice Blog

Oct 7, 2010

College Internships: 3 Reasons To Participate

Right now, while at college, you’re not just studying to fill your head with facts and figures, theories and case studies. After graduation you’re going to take that learning and apply it in your future career to be successful and succeed in your chosen profession. And if your goal is long-term success, no one can emphasize the importance of college internships enough. In today’s job market, internships set you apart from the sea of other freshly graduated college students walking off campus. But more than that, internships give you a solid base from which to grow the rest of your career. 

Hands-on Learning
Whether your internship pays in salary, stipend, or college credit, the one thing you can count on bringing home at the end of the day is hands-on experience. It used to be that a college education was enough to get you a good job after graduating, but that’s not true anymore. Increasingly, employers are not only looking for a diploma, but the skills and experience to back up that diploma. Working in your chosen field as an intern at any level will help you get acquainted with the culture, language, and practices that exist in that career, giving you a foot in the door during interviews and a head start when you begin working in that field.

Learning Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Sometimes the most important lessons you’ll learn from an internship are about yourself. Because internships allow you to work in your chosen field before you get your degree, they give you a chance to flex your muscles, try the profession on a little, and see if it fits, and—maybe more importantly—if you like it or are good at it. There’s nothing worse than getting a degree in something you think you are interested in only to find out, upon graduation, that you don’t like doing it 40 hours a week. On the other hand, you may find out you like aspects of that career more than others, which may guide you to seek out a specialty or work in the same field, but in a different capacity. These are all lessons you can learn before you graduate, giving you more direction and focus as you head back to classes or out to find a job.

Excellent on Resumes
Hey—let’s be honest—sometimes an internship is just a steppingstone to something bigger, and internships look great on your resume. Even if an internship was not beneficial to you, or it was not in your chosen field, an internship on your resume tells potential employers that you are driven, willing to try new things, and are eager to get out of the classroom and get your hands dirty. In addition to looking good on a resume, many times internships can lead to full-time employment or can earn you great recommendations or referrals when you finally go out job hunting.

All in all, internships provide you with a great base of experience from which to build your career once you leave college. While you’re in school, try a number of internships in different fields. You have nothing to lose, and only valuable experience to gain.

About The Author: 
Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and online classes.


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