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Posted on 01.13.2015

Want a Job? Five Reasons Internships are Essential

If you’re a college student or a recent college graduate, chances are you’ve been told the importance of internships. The term permeates through college career centers, classrooms and job interviews. During my time at Vanderbilt, my peers and I often spent spring semesters in a frenzy – perfecting our resumes, sweating through interviews and receiving the rewarding (or disappointing) employer emails. Is the stress really worth it? Do internships merit all the hype?

I strongly believe yes, internships are that important. And while I apologize if this answer ruined your potential summer plans, I am certain you will agree with me as you begin your job search. Through internships, you gain work experience (more relevant than your high school babysitting gig) – an aspect of your resume that often makes or breaks a job offer. While I fall on the extreme side (holding five internships throughout my college career), each coworker and friend - in industries both in and outside of PR - with whom I have spoken held at least one internship before landing their full-time positions.

So why do internships matter? Here are five reasons why I believe internships are extremely beneficial in the professional world.

  1. Work Experience. Regardless of how many business classes and group projects you complete, nothing will provide a true working experience like an internship. While the experience is important to prepare for a full-time job environment, it is also tremendously important when future interviewers ask for examples of your leadership skills and past projects or work experience.

  2. Networking. Whether or not you end up working full-time in your internship office, or even in the same industry, the relationships you form with your coworkers will prove invaluable. I received two of my internships due to previous employers connecting me with other business acquaintances. Additionally, the references past employers wrote for me greatly enhanced my value as a potential employee and helped secure the job I hold today.

  3. Defining your interests. Only by working in an industry will you know if it’s for you. Internships offer you a special opportunity to see if you enjoy the work before pursuing a full-time position. And if you decide you do not enjoy it, lucky you! You were able to narrow down your interests before committing yourself full-time to a position that’s not right for you.

  4. Taste of an Office Environment. Interning for different organizations enables you to learn what you value and/or dislike in an office culture. When you interview for a full-time position, your internship experience will prepare you to ask well-informed questions about your potential office environment (an essential aspect of your job satisfaction).

  5. Potential Job Offer. In some cases, a job offer is rewarded upon the completion of a successful internship. An internship can serve as a trial period during which the employer decides if they have the time, resources and need for the intern to stay on full-time. If you are one of these lucky interns, congratulations! Your job hunt has ended!

As a last bit of advice, I encourage you to reach out to companies whether or not they discuss internships on their website. Some organizations do not publicly announce internship opportunities but would still consider meeting with you if you appear interested and qualified!

Do you have any internship experience or advice? Share with us below!

 

Jacqueline Miller is an Administrative Assistant at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Jacqueline's blogs here. Connect with Jacqueline at jacqueline@lovell.com or @JacqMills28.

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