Internships help prepare the younger generation for the big transition from classrooms to cubicles. In school, students are always told they have it easy in comparison to the real world, but what exactly awaits us in the real world and how can we best prepare ourselves for it? One possible solution, internships.
When most people picture an intern, they picture the theatrical version of a young college student running around an office with coffee spilling every which way. Overwhelmed with phone calls, and stacks of papers drowning themselves in their desk, which is not a very appealing image. This is not typically the case. While I am not glamorizing the role of an intern, I am simply suggesting the benefits are often overlooked. Interns are gaining real world experience, something their friends back at home lounging around the pool may soon come to envy. When graduation comes around the corner, everyone lines up with their carefully edited resumes, dressed in their most professional clothes, waiting to impress companies during their highly anticipated interviews. What more than often impresses the employers though is past experience; having a grasp on the workplace and the demands that come with it.
Today everything is about connections, who do you know? You’d be surprised how far you can get simply from building and maintaining relationships. Not to mention your reputation, how you present yourself and the impression you leave. People talk and people listen, but make sure they are listening to positive things pertaining to you. Success in your internship can make you memorable to employers. If you did a particularly good job, they can help set you up with another company, or their own, helping you down your very own career path. This will provide a smooth transition from the help of professionals giving you tips along the way because after all, they went through the same experience at one point in their lives.
Many college students, maybe yourself included, are very indecisive. Often doubting their decisions, changing their mind, and second-guessing themselves. It is rare you find something you love and have a passion for straight from the gecko. Often, you will experience several wrong turns to ultimately find your right path in life. If you find you have not quite reached your destination yet, don’t get too frustrated. You are not alone. Internships are a great solution to this. They allow you to dip your feet into the water without making a permanent commitment and helping you realize what you like and what you do not like. Last summer I was able to intern at an insurance company, unsure if it was the right path for me. I am glad I tried it; it helped me understand what I should be looking for in a job and what skills will help me get there.
Above all else internships help you gain confidence. Work experience is the best way to do this. Networking with real employees, and learning to sell yourself forces you to act professionally. Along the way you learn tricks of the trade and constantly improve upon yourself in a professional way. It may sound silly to stress things such as eye contact, shaking hands and breaking informal habits such as “um” or “like.” Without using these informal habits, it can make you appear worlds apart in the professional world during the ten minutes you get to impress that employer.
Simply put, with the economy today the job market is competitive as ever; an internship can never hurt you so why not try it out for yourself?