As each year passes, and more students are entering the postgraduate workforce, there seems to be a growing emphasis on the need for an internship. In fact, many universities are beginning to require an internship in order to graduate.
If it’s never occurred to you that you should be considering getting an internship, we’ve got 5 reasons why you should start thinking about it:
Decide if you’re on the right path.
Internships aren’t just for seniors looking to fulfill course requirements before graduation, they’re also a great resource for underclassmen. Having an internship in an industry you’re curious about can give you valuable insight into whether or not the industry is the right choice for you. Applying real-world experience, such as the experience gained during an internship, is a great way to decide whether to confirm or alter what you are studying in college or what career path you are on. Using these experiences early on decreases the possibility of earning a degree in a subject you later realize you’re not that interested in. The sooner you can find out, the better, which is why looking to get an internship early on in your collegiate career is a good idea.
Hands on experience.
It is important that you choose an internship based on your degree or a field of interest. Getting an internship in the field of your degree concentration allows for you to get hands-on experience applying what you have been learning in the classroom to a professional setting. “Through an internship experience, students have an opportunity to apply critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills in a real-world setting with real-world implications,” says Melissa Hall, Augusta University Career Services consultant. This kind of experience, and the knowledge that comes with it, can only be found in investing in opportunities like internships.
This one seems a little more obvious, but these days it’s pretty much a requirement by a future employer to have an internship, if not multiple, on your resume. In fact, Melissa Hall explained that “surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) in 2018 found that 82.9 % of employers seek problem-solving skills and ability to work in a team, both attributes that can be developed through prior work, internship and coop experiences.” The more internship experiences you have listed on your resume, the better off you are getting an interview for a potential job after graduation. Don’t be afraid to ask your internship leader to review and offer feedback on your resume.
Gain networking contacts.
Another underrated benefit of completing an internship is the business connections you make. Networking is one of the best ways to land an interview and is a great way to learn about unadvertised job opportunities. It also allows for more opportunity for you to be mentored by professionals in your field of study. Internships can expose students to professionals focused in several different areas, while they will work closely with their internship supervisor, this gives students the chance to witness other organizational cultures, team dynamics, and operations.
Have references for future job opportunities.
Your internship supervisor has had a chance to see your skills in action for several weeks and is, therefore, an ideal reference for a potential job or graduate school. Make sure you keep their contact information, know their professional title and ask them if they can write you a letter of recommendation when you need it.
At Augusta University many internships qualify to allow the student to receive course credit, and many programs and certifications with the university allow an internship to be your Senior capstone experience.
For Augusta University students finding an internship is easier than you think, thanks to Handshake. “Handshake is a job board available to all enrolled students at Augusta University,” explains Melissa Hall. “As of March 1, there are approximately 200 internships posted in Handshake in Georgia alone and over half of them are paid.” Augusta University students can access their Handshake account by using their student user ID and password.