The Benefits of Internships

College means more than just attending classes and holding together a decent academic record. Internships prepare you for the “real” world and give employers something additional to see on your resume. Most employers will appreciate this preliminary experience in your career field of choice. Occasionally internships pay, but more often than not you’ll find yourself working for free. This might seem like some form of indentured servitude, but it’s very common and in fact hugely helpful. For one, they help you get your foot in the door of a job market that is becoming increasingly competitive. Internships provide experience but also connections and in some cases a future job! If you work hard at the internship, you might just put yourself in a position to be employed straight out of college. Internships can also help you diversify your skill set. Having a major in a specific concentration is great, but an internship on the edge of that field – and maybe leading into another – will give you an edge in the market and make you employable to a wider range of companies. For example, you may have decided to be a dance major with the intent to join a professional dance troupe. But if you intern at a dance studio for children, you also add skills in early childhood development and education to your resume. On the other hand, you may choose to participate in an internship before you even select a major. In this case, picking an internship that only requires general skills or knowledge can help you test drive a field before committing to it. For example, if you’re considering going to law school, you might get an internship working as an aide or assistant at a law firm. You might spend most of your time answering phones or filing, but you’ll get some face time with the lawyers and have a chance to ask them questions. You’ll also get to see how a typical day looks for someone in a law office so you can assess how you’d do. Regardless of what specific benefit peaks your interest, you may want to consider doing more than one internship over your college career. Many schools allow students to do internships for college credit and in place of other classes. Oftentimes you can participate either during the school year or over the summer, depending on your schedule. If you can fit more than one in though, you’ll be better off for it.

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