The Value of Internships for Recent College Graduates
Internships are an extremely important addition to a college student’s resume arsenal. An internship can be paid or unpaid and can be a great opportunity to develop industry-specific skills, gain real-world work experience, try out a chosen career path, establish professional networking connections, and enable a recent college graduate gain an advantage over your peers. developing character and professional development.
College graduates have spent 4 years learning vast amounts of information on a variety of topics. They have narrowed their interests to a specific area and have been instructed by the best professionals in their field. A veteran college student has learned how to perform certain roles and what is expected of him as a young professional. An internship allows that same student to put their knowledge into a real-world application. By spending time in the work environment, the student has the opportunity to develop some quality portfolio additions and participate in events that students without an internship do not have access to. College students who are interested in finding a quality internship should assess their career goals and find an internship that can help them achieve those goals. Not all internships are paid or at well-known companies, but the long-term benefits of smaller organizations should be considered. In a smaller company, the intern is usually responsible for more tasks, but this is an opportunity to DO more. While searching for an internship, a college student should approach employers instead of waiting for them to find him. Most organizations have many different perspectives for a single internship, but you’ll need to prove yourself before and after you’re awarded a position.
Completing an internship allows a college student to get a taste of their chosen career path. Most recent graduates have never worked in their field of interest. Internships allow a young professional to experience everyday life in their future career. The subtle etiquette of a work environment is a big change from campus life and the more experience a person gains, the more comfortable they will be when it comes time to apply for a professional job. Applicants who have spent time producing in an office can easily show their value. This value is evident through quality portfolios, enthusiastic recommendations, and the trust that can be earned through hard work in a paid or unpaid internship.
When planning an internship, it’s best to consider the rest of your school load. Many students choose to complete their internships during the summer semesters when their course load is much lighter. Another method is to plan your internship around classes that are less strenuous in a student’s schedule. If you still choose to complete your internship during the spring or fall semesters, I suggest you let your professors and internship manager know about your full schedule. This should not be used as an excuse, but rather as notification that you will be required to adhere to a strict and regulated work schedule. Another piece of advice, don’t get left behind. Murphy’s Law will ensure that many deadlines will inevitably overlap with each other. This problem is compounded to disastrous proportions when you are behind on school and work assignments. This creates a sink or swim situation. A college student who is taking classes and completing an internship at the same time must reorganize and reprioritize her life, or fail and lose all the time, money, and effort it took to get this far.
Internships open the door to many networking opportunities. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” applies to many job search situations. Take this for example; Two recent graduates are looking for a job. Student A has superior qualifying scores, but has not connected professionally at all. Student B has average grades, but has spent countless hours participating in clubs, student organizations, and has volunteered his time in exchange for hands-on experience. Student A has to apply everywhere in the hope that someone will see the value in his resume and mock portfolio. Meanwhile, student B receives a phone call from a former intern who has a position available. Student B has an advantage because he or she has already proven himself or herself to the prospective employer. This situation can work in many ways, and the tenant does not need to have worked with the applicant to see its value. Including these professionals in the network as a reference can achieve the same results. Interns also have access to quality mentors who are more than willing to share their knowledge with interested and valuable young minds. Mentoring opportunities can be found by being genuinely interested in the work being done and those with whom you are working. Asking relevant questions and getting things done will earn you the respect of those you come across while in the office. Then engage those around you with intelligent conversation, but it’s important to listen more than talk.
A college internship is a valuable source of work experience and portfolio additions. Listing a professional internship on your resume is a great way to set yourself apart from other recent graduates. An employer automatically knows that the prospective employee has been “battle tested” and will be able to perform basic office tasks with the ease of practice. This is more evident, in my opinion, with internships in smaller organizations. These internships allow the college student to take on more responsibilities instead of having coffee and making copies at larger and well-known organizations. Nonprofits and small businesses are happy to have interns. Their small budget makes them perfect for a cheap or free internship. Another feature that helps these organizations be a good fit for an internship program is their ability to allow an intern to experience a variety of work situations. These varied assignments enrich a college intern’s skill set and professional portfolio.
There are facets to work experience other than work experience and fattening a portfolio. This opportunity to spend quality time in a professional office environment should not be taken lightly. This is an opportunity for a college student to communicate on a personal level with co-workers and superiors. Observing what these professionals actually do and how they behave is a great way for an intern to transcend from a trainee to a doer. This personal development is invaluable for a young professional. Confidence is earned when a challenging task is completed through hard work and perseverance. The fact that an employer has entrusted a job of value to an inexperienced worker must weigh heavily on the mind. Take the pressure and use it as motivation. Resist the urge to panic when work gets tough and deadlines get tight, because this is distracting and can block professional creativity.
There are many codes of conduct that are not taught in a college classroom. Putting yourself in an office environment allows you to learn to coordinate your schedule with others. Things that seem insignificant, like lunch breaks and days off, should be scheduled with co-workers and supervisors in mind. Be available for the shifts that no one else wants, because you make a great impression if you make the job of your co-workers and superiors easier. This keeps you from seeming self-righteous and shows others in the office that you’re here to be a helping hand rather than a hindrance.
College is the perfect place to learn self-sufficiency and independence. An internship is a perfect place to put those qualities to work. During the college years, students shape their intellect. During an internship, a student begins to mold her character. A good mix of the two can have a huge impact on the rest of your career. Procrastinating during class can help you get through your lessons, but procrastinating in the real world will teach you a lesson! One must find the necessary motivation to concentrate on the work at hand. If a boss assigns a project, then it should be a top priority. Hanging out every night, then starting a project a day or two before the deadline will get you a passing grade in school, but to an employer, the lack of effort will show. Mistakes due to lack of preparation, research, and proofreading are drastic when it comes to an internship because an honest manager won’t give you a letter of recommendation that you don’t deserve.
Internships can be paid or unpaid. The vast majority of them are unpaid, and for a reason. Employers see unpaid or low-paid internships as a good way to ease strains on a budget. However, the term unpaid can be misleading. The rewards earned during the internship can come in the form of money and work experience. Both rewards have value and substance in the real world. Practical lectures and training sessions can be expensive, and an intern gets similar results for free. In order to put in the amount of time it takes to be successful in an internship, it is sometimes necessary to leave all other jobs. Most college students and recent graduates are already struggling financially, and this is often a difficult situation. If a paid internship can be found, the burden mentioned above can be avoided. Paid internships are rare and in a slow economy, highly competitive. Don’t worry though, because studies show that unpaid internships tend to be more challenging and therefore more rewarding.
To conclude I would like to highlight the importance of applying oneself to the tasks given during the internship. Good opportunities don’t come around often in life. An internship is a good opportunity that can be very beneficial for the professional future, but if not taken seriously, it can make it very difficult for a young professional to enter the world of work.