How Important Are Internships?

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  • If you’re a college student preparing to eventually kick off your career, you’ll need more than a great GPA, resume, and reference letters to set yourself apart from the competition.

    With the fierce competition for good jobs, you’ll also need at least one internship under your belt. According to the InternMatch 2014 Intern Report, in fact, post-secondary students are increasingly seeing internships as a no-brainer. The 9,000+ respondents from universities across the U.S. had lots to say about the importance of internships. Consider the following:

    1. 97.6% of interns recommend internships to other students
    2. 68.9% of seniors have completed at least one internship
    3. 68.5% of students believe that internships should be required rather than optional
    4. 58.9% of students wrap up their first internships prior to the end of their sophomore year
    5. 39.3% of graduates have completed at least two internships

    While it’s usually not a wise thing to follow the crowd, you should definitely get on the internship bandwagon since doing so will only help your career prospects.

    Interested in learning about exactly what you can gain by doing an internship? Read on to learn more about how an internship will benefit you and the company you intern for. Oh, and the benefit to the company can work out in your favor as well. How’s that for a win-win situation?

    Personal Benefits

    Again, there are loads of benefits you can derive out of an internship. Once you’ve considered them, you’ll likely agree that the sooner you get an internship, the better.

    • Real-Life Experience. When you do an internship, you’ll essentially get the opportunity to try out a career to see what it’s like and to figure out if it’s something you can see yourself doing after you complete your schooling.
    • Networking. You’ll have a chance to network with professionals in the industry you’re interested in being part of, which can improve your job prospects post-internship. These contacts can give you tips, make recommendations, and even serve as references.
    • Mentors. Interning will open up opportunities to connect with possible mentors. The mentor-mentee relationship can help you not only as you start your career, but also throughout your career.
    • Acquire New Skills. Doing an internship will allow you to acquire new skills even as you get hands-on experience in a real work environment. These skills will help you inside and outside of the work environment.
    • Build Confidence. When you do an internship, you’ll build up your confidence level. The reason, of course, is that you’ll be able to experience what the workplace is really all about and, as you get more comfortable with the responsibilities, you’ll gain more confidence in your ability.
    • Resume Building. Adding an internship on your resume will only make you look like a more suitable applicant when it comes to applying for jobs. It will demonstrate that you have initiative and drive, which are the sorts of qualities that employers look for.
    • Money (Maybe). While many internships are unpaid, some of them come with either a salary or a stipend. The real value in an internship lies in the experience aspect, but being compensated is a bonus.

    These are just some of the benefits that you can take advantage of when you do an internship. So in addition to getting your degree, taking your GMAT, and going to business school or to MBA school, ensure that getting an internship is a priority. It’ll pay off in the end.

    Benefit to Employers

    • Getting to Know You. First things first — employers don’t offer internships for purely altruistic reasons. That probably doesn’t surprise you. They get something out of it, too. Specifically, they get the chance to see what you’re like, how you perform in a true-to-life work environment, and get to assess how well you fit into the corporate culture.

      It isn’t at all rare for employers to actually hire interns that perform at a particularly high level. So your internship could really be like an audition to determine if you’re worth bringing on as an employee.

    Parting Words

    So, you definitely need an internship if you want to be competitive in the job market. Is it possible to get a job without one? Yes. But will you face an uphill battle without one? Yes, again. In this digital age where lots of applicants coming out of school are looking to kick off their careers, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd.

    An internship is the sort of differentiator that will make all the difference when you start applying for jobs. And with all the benefits you’ll get, you really can’t lose.

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