No matter where you are in your career journey, an internship could be right for you. While internships are commonly thought of as something only for active students, they are also useful for individuals currently in the workforce looking to change career paths or grow in their current job. Internships can be paid, un-paid or performed in exchange for school credit.
Why should you do an internship?
1. Get a Realistic Preview of the Job - Deciding the career path to follow is a big decision and with many options. There is no better way to understand your likes and dislikes than by gaining first-hand experience in a field. Consider an internship as a “test run” for the job that interests you. It allows you to explore and decide whether the job is right for you. Sometimes students or career changers can find that working in a particular career field is not what they thought it would be.
2. Build Your Resume – Not only do interns learn their likes and dislikes, but they also gain relevant work experience. Having professional work experience on your resume can help to make you a competitive candidate and get you noticed. Even if the internship doesn’t work out as planned, you still gain professional work experience.
3. Understand how a workplace functions - Internships allow you to work in a professional setting for weeks or months and provide insight into how a workplace operates. Observing how professionals behave, dress, and interact can help a you develop these behaviors and project them in an interview. This can be especially valuable transitioning from an education setting or a different field.
4. Build your Network - Networking can be valuable in finding future employment. Through an internship, you can build beneficial relationships for the future. These people can offer valuable perspectives, let you know of opportunities, or be a reference.
5. Get your foot in the door - Internships can provide you with a direct link to a job with the company. Many employers will first consider interns for open positions since they are already familiar with their performance and understand who they are hiring.