Whether you’re in college or simply a young adult trying to figure out what kind of career to get into after high school, you should look into internships. This type of work experience can be instrumental in helping you find a job you love. If you’re not sure it’s worth your time, take a look at the five benefits you can expect when you get an internship.
1.Build Your Resume
It’s not uncommon for young adults—especially current students—to have very little work experience on their resume. This can the job search intimidating, since you won’t have much at all to add to the work experience section. But an internship can change that, as you’ll have at least one solid example of work you’ve done for a company.
In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers discovered that almost 91 percent of employers it surveyed prefer job applicants to have work experience, and 56 percent prefer that the work experience come from internships. So just having one or two internships on your resume can greatly help you when it’s time to look for that dream job once you’re done with school!
2.Start Developing Your Professional Skills
If you’re new to the workforce, you need to start learning professional skills as soon as possible in order to excel in your career after school. When you’re an intern, you have the chance to start improving important skills, such as time management, communication, and conflict management.
Then there’s the fact that you’ll learn certain skills that are specific to the career you’re interested in. So, if you want to be a teacher, your internship should get you experience using certain teaching methods and technology—such as software or apps—that you’ll need to use in the classroom. If your intended field is science, your internship should get you time in the lab using the equipment you’ll be expected to be familiar with when you get a job. This way, you’ll have an advantage over the applicants who have no idea what to expect on the job.
3.Decide Which Career Is Right for You
One of the most important advantages of an internship is the chance to find out firsthand if you really want to stay in the field you’re interested in. You might think you want to be in a job where you’ll help people every day, but then realize that exhausts you and you’d rather be in an office behind a desk on a regular basis. Or maybe you think you want to be in an office environment, but find you get bored and want to interact with customers more.
These are facts you won’t find out about yourself just by studying a subject in school. You’ll have to truly experience the job to determine if it’s right for you. It’s better to do this while you’re still in school so you can switch your focus as soon as possible and end up with a job that works well for you!
4.Make Helpful Connections
Another benefit of an internship is that you get to meet plenty of people in your field. This can help you in the long run. After all, if you get hired at the company, the people you met during the internship could be your coworkers and bosses, so you already have a head start before you officially accept the job.
Even if you’re not hired at the company after the internship, you should stay in touch with the connections you made. If they know you’re a hard worker and a pleasant person to work with, they might send you job opportunities and even recommend you for a role in the future. In fact, one study found that 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking, so it’s definitely worth it to stay in touch with professional connections from your internship!
5.Get Compensated for Your Time
Many internships are paid, which means you’ll see a direct financial benefit for the time you spend working. Furthermore, you might even end up with a job after the internship, since many employers recruit their best interns for full-time positions. In fact, a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that paid internships result in job offers 65 percent of the time, and unpaid internships result in jobs about 39 percent of the time.
But even if you get an unpaid internship or don’t end up with a job from this experience, you’ll typically get college credit from approved internships. So if you’re in school, check with your career center or academic advisor to find out how much credit you’ll get from internships with local businesses. This way, you’re still getting some type of compensation for your time, aside from the other rewards you’ll reap from your internship.
If you need help getting an internship, check out our guide to get started: 6 Steps for Youth to Take to Get an Internship. And if you’re between the ages of 16 and 24 and live in Phoenix, you should look into our Workforce Development Program for help getting an internship, learning job seeking skills, and more!