Over the past few years, our understanding of internships has evolved. However, many students and prospective graduates still wonder what internships encompass, and if they even count as work experience.
Well, we’re here to inform you that yes, internships do count as valuable work experience. In fact, today, many internship programmes are considered incredibly fruitful for early career development and a key component of many young people’s professional development.
Wondering why? Read on.
Internships Provide Career Opportunities
If you aren’t already aware, internships are short-term, real work experience programmes, offering invaluable career opportunities. For instance, internships provide you with the chance to:\
Test Drive Your Career
Whether your desired field is law, marketing or engineering, internships offer you the opportunity to learn all about your dream industry, absorb information from professionals in the field, and test drive a role – all in a relaxed environment where you can make mistakes and enjoy the working process.
1. Build Your Professional Skill Set
Through an internship, you will be able to acquire important professional skills relating to your desired industry. For instance, if your dream job lies within the marketing field, you will be introduced to important systems like Google Analytics, Hootsuite and WordPress – all of which will contribute to your professional skill set.
2. Learn Soft Skills
The ability to empathetically and professionally communicate with colleagues, adapt to complex situations, be organised, or take initiative to solve problems at work are all soft skills that employers look for in applicants. Therefore, gaining real work experience, such as through an internship, where you are able to develop your soft skills is incredibly important and an invaluable component that shouldn’t be overlooked.
3. Fast Track Your Career
Internships often award you with the ability to fast-track your career due to industry exposure. For instance, post-placement, many interns often have the experience and tools needed to gain an advantage over other applicants in the job-seeking process as recruiters often don’t want to train employees from scratch. Therefore, it’s better to gain relevant industry experience through an internship if you’re looking to ease your entry-level job-searching process and accelerate your career.
4. Job Possibilities
Depending on performance, it’s quite common for employers to offer full-time positions to their interns at the end of a programme. This offer is often due to two variables: one, training has already taken place, and two, relationships, trust and familiarity have already been established. As such, many internship programmes can lead to job possibilities in many career fields.
Internships Build Your Network
Alongside career opportunities, internships are highly regarded in the working world as they establish and expand your professional network. For instance:
1. Professional Connections
Throughout an internship, you will connect with a variety of professionals across a range of different departments. These connections are incredibly significant as they make up the initial branches to your professional network, often acting as mentors/champions/endorsers of your capabilities.
Also, in the future, these professional connections could work at a company of interest to you and may be able to assist in terms of recommendations or insight. Alternatively, your professional connections may also be able to provide you with glowing references for future positions or even put you in touch with other valuable connections to help bolster your career.
2. Networking Events
During your internship programme, you may also be encouraged to attend events or grasp opportunities where you can further expand your professional network. These functions are incredibly beneficial and a fantastic way of accelerating your career as you will gain additional industry insight and make connections with potential future employers/colleagues.