Contrary to popular belief, although internships are seen as not technically a job or a steady paycheck to sustain your lifestyle, it is highly recommended nonetheless. All graduates should be exposed to at least one internship upon leaving university and transitioning into the work world. Here are some benefits of taking an internship:
It prepares the graduate for the world of work.
Most students graduate with zero experience and as a result are at a disadvantage when applying for jobs which require that the applicant have 1-3 years of work experience in the field for at least an entry-level job. That is the hard reality and while internships do not seem as appealing as the starting salary, since the pay is either stipend or volunteer hours, one shouldn’t strike it out yet. An internship in your field or unrelated gives you that experience that one needs when applying for other jobs. Some persons are lucky to have an internship in their field of study and as such are equipped with the necessary tools to be a step above the rest when applying for other jobs that may come their way.
It steers the graduate in the right direction of their study/field to which they want to pursue a career.
We all wish that our degrees were not a waste of money (whether it came from parents, guardian, our pocket, or student loan) and that we pursue a job in our field and somewhere down the road, a career that we are passionate about having spent so many years obtaining the necessary qualifications. If a graduate decides to take on the opportunity of an internship, they are able to be immersed in their field of study and get hands on experience. This definitely helps them decide whether or not this career or job is right for them; if it is then they will feel more confident in applying for a better job or remain with the organization as a full-time staff member.
It gives them hands on experience (You can in fact put this on your resume. Companies look for experience).
Hands-on experience leads to this point. It cannot be stressed enough how much jobs look for experience. You might be a well-rounded applicant with phenomenal grades and extra-curricular activities under your belt, but if you lack in a very integral area such as work experience or experience in the field of study, then the person with that component without a great resume may just get that job over you. Although it is not a permanent or official job, it can nonetheless be added to your resume; companies do look at whether or not and where you interned, as it shows that you aren’t all about the money but you look for professional development and honing of your skills.
It develops integral life skills, both professional and personal.
Obviously we all don’t just come to work to work. Working with others and individually on tasks does indirectly allow you to develop life skills both professionally and personally. Professional skills such as responsibility, adaptability, teamwork skills, punctuality, skills in your field of study, etc., and personal skills such as creativity, innovation, conscientiousness, dependable, determined, leadership, etc. These are skills that you don’t need to study for, skills which with time will develop as you mature in the workplace and throughout life.
It increases the possibility of being employed or gain a permanent job within the organization.
Permanent employment is the ultimate goal, or at least owning your own company/organization. As such, taking up an internship will give you the foundation to obtaining that dream. If one survives the many months to which your contract for internship stipulates, there is a strong possibility you may be asked to become a permanent staff. If you were an exceptional intern, once they have the resources and space to hire you, why not?
Although the salary is called a stipend and you can still find 101 ways to negate the benefits of applying for an internship, do your research and see all the other benefits that are not on the list above. Also, find out why more organizations are using this outlet to provide graduates especially with opportunities to gain work experience with increased probabilities of permanent work.
By Alexandra Daley