Written by Jesse Schaefer – Manager, the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service
The verdict is in: even short-term internships are a wise investment for students. Here’s a list of ten ways in which internships benefit students looking to bridge the gap between college and a career.
- Assess your interest
You may think this is the career you want, but it’s hard to know until you experience a job day-to-day. An internship gives you the chance to test the waters in your chosen field before committing to a full-time job or an advanced degree.
- Earn valuable work experience
In addition to specialized skills, you’ll be honing transferable skills like communication, time management, and problem solving.
- Get a foot in the door
Internship experiences provide a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your skills to a prospective employer. Impress them now, so that you’ll already be on the list of top candidates when an entry-level job opens up.
- Master office etiquette
As an intern, you’ll have the chance to observe professionals in an office environment – take notice. This is your chance to practice things like writing a concise email, answering the telephone, or greeting clients. You will make mistakes, but learning the ropes now will prevent you from making faux pas in your first full-time job.
- Meet peers with similar interests
Internship programs can introduce you to other students and recent graduates who share your interests—a good thing for your career and your social life.
- Boost your confidence
Getting experience in your field is a surefire way to build confidence in your abilities. This confidence will go a long way toward convincing an interviewer that you can do the job, especially when you’re able to back up your answer with examples from your internship.
- Gain awareness of your strengths and weaknesses
Internships offer a unique opportunity to examine your strengths and weaknesses. Set goals and seek feedback from your supervisor on your performance.
- Increase your marketability
These days, a college degree does less than it once did to set you apart in the job search. The candidates who stand out are those who also have work experience; employers take this as a sign that you require less training and are able to handle more responsibilities.
- Apply your education
Nothing is more rewarding than putting your studies to practical use. You may even find your understanding of an issue deepens with the chance to learn by doing.
- Acquire references
During an internship, your supervisor and colleagues spend time with you in a professional setting and become familiar with your work. Perform well, and they can serve as references or provide letters of recommendation to help you secure future opportunities.
Visit www.DCinternships.org for more information on our internship programs.