The Long-Term Benefits Of Internships

By Gretchen Kernbach on March 30, 2016

College internships seem like a way for quick money and short-term work. However, there is more to interning, more that most students do not realize. The cash or college credit might only help for a year or two, but the long-term benefits are there forever.

The first thing you should consider when applying for internships is what will the company potentially offer you in years to come. That is right, a simple summer internship can turn into a full-time position. According to textbookdollars.com, “the most direct path to landing a full-time job with large corporations is through their internship program.”

Internships provide employers with a closer look at prospective workers. Think of an internship as an “extended interview,” as textbookdollars.com puts it. It allows you to further showcase your abilities over a set amount of time. Companies are more likely to hire someone who has previously worked for them than a total stranger.

Remember, if you do exhibit bad office behavior or poor work habits, an internship can ruin your chances of getting a full-time position with the corporation you want. Your coworkers will get to know you more and more, so make sure it is the side you want them to see.

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Another long-term benefit of interning is the possibility for more job offers. By that, it means you have more to put on your resume which then makes you look more appealing as a job candidate.

When comparing two resumes, an employer will be more impressed with the one who had one or two internships. You do not necessarily have to work full-time for the company you interned with; it is important to not limit your choices.

Do not let the word “unpaid” scare you off. A recruiter would rather see an unpaid internship than none at all. Looking at the big picture, a paid vs. unpaid internship does not make one better than the other. You are looking for experience, not money for Chipotle.

Furthermore, one of the greatest takeaways from an internship is the set of skills you learn from it. From the practical hands-on experience interns endure, they are then able to apply these newly learned practices to real life occurrences.

These job-specific skills will come in handy and look attractive to employers. For example, a future broadcaster will learn more useful knowledge for the future from a TV station, not a sophomore statistics class.

According to study.com, “learning from textbooks is very different than handling a company’s actual financial records in a corporate setting.”

You will most likely increase your skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, analysis, creativity, or strategy.  These will stay with you for many years and are not just math formulas you memorize for one semester.

Additionally, internships provide that up close and personal look into the career you want – or thought you wanted. Many times internships open up students’ eyes and make them realize that this field is not really something they want to do. According to textbookdollars.com, “Perhaps the greatest long-term benefit of college internships is the guidance that they offer students about their prospective careers. There’s no better way to find out if a certain profession is right for you than by seeing it up close as an intern.”

Networking. The term that never fails to show up when we read something about internships. Making professional contacts is something you should strive to do while working short-term for a company. These highly-ranked employees could potentially end up writing a reference letter for you one day.

In the following example from monster.com, 22-year-old Michael Charron, a recent communications graduate of Worcester State College, interned for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper during his senior year.

“One of the benefits I took away from my internship was the personal references I can use when [future] employers ask for them,” Charron said. “That’s important, because now I have an actual reference letter from a work-related person rather than a family friend.”

“Plus, I’ve also been able to do some networking and get prospective leads on other workplaces that might be hiring,” he added.

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Life skills can also be taken away from internships. With one or two internships under your belt, there is no doubt your confidence will increase. Having the necessary references and experience should shy away any doubts in your mind of not getting a job.

The power to be completely comfortable with yourself and believe in your capabilities is something that is hard to come by. Internships allow students to develop a peace of mind with the career they want to pursue. If you can successfully handle an internship, then the real-world does not seem as scary.

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