What Can You Gain From an Internship?

by Rose Johnson ; Updated July 27, 2017
Some companies with internships offer students full-time jobs upon graduation.

Many college students are faced with the decision of whether to complete an internship while in school. Some students hesitate to work as an intern, because they believe the burden of balancing both school and an internship is too much. Also, many companies offer unpaid internships, and some students may not see the benefits of completing an internship of that nature. However, internships provide student with immediate and long-term benefits.

Real World Experience

Students working as an intern are able to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. Often, students gain a greater understanding of what it’s like to work in their chosen field. Working as an intern allows you to decide if your current major is what you desire as a career. If you are currently undecided about a major, working as an intern may help choose a major and career choice. Internships provide an atmosphere in which students can learn. Some companies require students to attend team meeting and shadow someone with more experience. With this real world experience, you can learn how to communicate effectively in the workplace and improve your business acumen.

Competitive Advantage

Completing an internship while in college gives you a competitive advantage against other students who finished school without completing an internship. Completing an internship and receiving a positive recommendation from the employer allow you to make a positive impression with recruiters. An internship is a great resume booster, allowing you to stand out from the crowd. When you interview with a potential employer, you can discuss all that you learned while working as an intern. Discussing the knowledge you obtained from your internship shows an employer that you possess an understanding of your field and know what it takes to thrive in the business world.

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Networking

Many employers depend on word-of-mouth to fill open positions, which makes it important for an individual looking for a job to network. An internship allows you to network with people in your field. Even if the company you intern with is not hiring, your mentor may know of other companies who are hiring. While working as an intern, you should let people know about your desire to work in your chosen field. Ask other interns and employees career-related questions. You may even come away with a recommendation that can help you land a job elsewhere.

Money during College

Some companies offering internships allow students to earn money while reaping all of the other benefits gained from interning. Paid internships often depend on the field and employer. For example, many business students can find internships that pay. Some companies limit the amount of hours a student can work, and therefore, the amount of money a student can earn. However, companies allowing students to intern there for multiple years, usually increase the hourly wages earned. Students can usually search for paid internships at their school’s career center.

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