Are Internships Worth It? Unlock Its Amazing Benefits!
To most people, internships mean a chance to work without laying down roots or being held accountable for errors resulting from inexperience. After all, interns take orders. They don’t make them. When it’s time to take your first steps up the ladder of employment, internships will look good on your resume; maybe add a little color to it. Starting your career with some experience would be good, and that is what you gain from being an intern.
So much has been said or written about the subject, but the final question rests with you. Is an internship worth your time? For the most part, an internship is a turning point in a young person’s life, especially one who plans to have a career. But wait, what is an internship?
An internship is a period of work experience where a trainee or student gains transferable skills for a future career. Sometimes, internships make the difference between getting a job and keeping it. True, businesses would just as quickly employ people with internship experience as those who do not have one. But as young people compete with each other to land well-paying jobs, internships make all the difference.
Although there are various types of internships, it all boils down to two broad categories – paid and unpaid.
Paid versus Unpaid Internships – you choose
Whether paid or unpaid, internships have the same objective – to award needed experience for a future career. Have you ever heard of the phrase “You need experience to get experience”? Ultimately, that matters in internships, not whether you are paid or unpaid. But between when your internship begins and when it ends, there are benefits and issues that you cannot trivialize by tying them to financial gain. The pros and cons of internships are subject to your goals as an intern. Generally, every intern would agree that internships are like a rite of passage, a chance to experience the world outside the classroom. This advantage may compensate for any disadvantage being an intern may throw your way.
Advantages of Internships
Why intern? Let’s take a moment and think about it. If you plan to gain experience, working as an intern is the best way. A few months of internship could make the difference between getting a job and losing it. Let’s look at a few benefits.
1. For Self-discovery and Improvement
Internships help you discover yourself, know your strengths, and use them to become a better career-driven person.
2. To gain Exposure and Experience
When you intern, you meet people and likely learn from them. If it’s a small business, you can learn how small businesses work and how to grow a business. Along the way, too, you can pick up workplace ethics, and though you may need to be conscious of them, these soft skills come when the time is right.
3. To expand your Network and establish Relationships
Being an intern helps you develop and build connections with professionals who will be helpful if you decide to pursue a career in that industry. You would typically not be able to speak to these people personally.
Disadvantages of internships
An internship is an exciting experience but comes with unexpected or unpleasant hardships. For a student who has a lot of expectations, it can be disheartening. Let’s look at a few of them.
1. No assurance of an employment
Most employers will not promise you a job after graduation. However, some businesses take on interns as part of their corporate responsibility to their host community. If this is the case, no matter how capable you are as an intern, your employer may not offer you a job after school.
2. Your academics may suffer
Suppose you plan your internship to fall outside the summer or a convenient time. In that case, it may interfere with your studies and result in unnecessary pressure. In addition, some internships stretch longer than the school holidays, and it becomes difficult to juggle work with your studies, especially if you’re well paid.
3. You may acquire skills you cannot use
No knowledge is a waste, but do you have the time to intern where you will not use the skills you will learn? Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your internship will give you the desired experience. In the end, you may find that you wasted precious months.
4. The internship may be unpaid or underpaid
Most employers see interns as cheap labor and tend to exploit them, squeezing them for all they can. There is little or no compensation for taking a break from school and social life if there is nothing to show except work and more work.
Is a Paid or Unpaid Internship worth your time?
The argument has always been in favor of paid internships, but if you had to choose between valuable experience and a reasonable salary, wouldn’t you choose the former? Most people take up internships to build a good resume and prepare for employment when they graduate. With valuable experience, a good resume would retain its quality. Moreover, interns can use this training period to go on a journey of self-discovery and improvement, becoming better people along the way, and picking up skills they can transfer to their careers when it’s time. With an internship, you can choose a career path you will enjoy when hunting for jobs. The experience you gain, whether you are a paid or unpaid intern, is still the same and effective.
However, denying interns a salary is unfair, especially when an employer can comfortably pay. Interns work just as hard as regular staff because they want to prove themselves and secure a future position in the company for when they graduate.
Is your internship worth it?
Now, this is a question that only some interns ask. Yes, an internship is good, but it’s more than just about earning a salary.
Here’s how to know if your internship is worth it.
- Your internship is worth it if you can acquire practical knowledge.
- You can reinforce classroom knowledge.
- If you can learn how the industry where you will eventually build your career functions.
How can you make your internship worth it?
You can start by making yourself indispensable to your employer and senior colleagues. There are a few ways you can do this.
- Provide a fresh perspective to your employer, especially if you’re coming in as a novice.
- Observe everything that happens in the organization, and identify problems and solutions.
- Document your observations and put them in a report format. You can also use it as an internship report afterward. Your employer may also use it as a reference point after your internship. Who knows, he may decide to recruit you on the strength of your housekeeping skills!
How can you find suitable internships?
Internships don’t just happen. You have to go out there and get them. However, there are ways to place yourself strategically in today’s employment market to attract suitable internships.
1. Craft a good resume
For now, this is your best call card. A good resume is the best way to create a first impression; your resume will introduce you to potential employers.
2. Back it up with a cover letter
A good cover letter will give more details about all that you have in your resume. However, be careful not to be too revealing or talkative in your cover letter. Here’s how to nail that internship with a good cover letter.
3. Use social media to your advantage
You can use social media to accomplish a lot. Most employers want to know their potential employees behind the mask of resumes and cover letters. You can show an aspect of yourself that you cannot show otherwise through your social media handles. So, while you should be honest about yourself, remember that your potential employer can also view what you post.
You can get a job at home. It’s true because there’s such a thing as online networking. But it would be good to take part in physical events too. The most time-tested way to get an internship is by telling a friend who knows a friend. Meeting the right people, and exploring old links, will surely do the magic.
5. Use recruiters
Recruiters can match you more quickly with the right internship. If you want to use one, you can specify the type of internship you want, and they’ll reach out to you once it’s available. By using a recruiter, you can secure an internship that suits the career you plan to pursue.
A final word!
Now that you have your internship, who better answer the question – is an internship worth your time? It’s just a matter of choice, but finding one that is right for you, will make all the difference in how you answer this question. Ultimately, it’s all about making the best of your internship.