Why You Should Take an Internship as a Student

After a long time in school, it isn’t unusual if you find yourself craving a little fun and relaxation. More often that you can’t wait for the holidays to roll by.

I was once a student too and I understand how precious holidays are to students.

However, holidays do not always have to be about relaxation and whiling away time. You should consider working as an intern during the holidays.

Slow down, don’t eat me up yet!

You must be wondering; “why should I intern? Holidays are for relaxing”. Right?

I’ll tell you why.

Experience is a very important factor for employers when considering who gets a job and who doesn’t nowadays; that’s where internship makes all the difference. Thus, it has become increasingly common for college students to have a paid or unpaid internship under their belts before they graduate.

Students need to think of new ways to differentiate themselves from the other equally qualified and skilled candidates because of the increase in graduate jobs. Candidates who have work experience relevant to the available jobs are valued by employers and stand a chance of getting the job compared to their peers.

What are internships, and why should you intern?

Internships

Internships are practical experience opportunities offered to interns; willing and capable beginners in a profession, by companies and industries. Internships are job-work experiences that are either related to your career interest or current field of study. These internships last a limited period of time; usually few months and are undertaken by students and graduates looking to gain relevant skills and experience in a particular field. Since the interns are students, they are not employees of the firm and have to leave the organization when the internship program is over.

Internships can be done during holidays or during the school year; research projects where a professor or a company wants a student to study a new topic of interest.

Who is an intern?

The word “intern” describes the job title given to persons who work in an organization which has internship programs.

Many students often complain of difficulty in getting a company or organization that is ready to intern them. This may be due to the fact that, many employers are unaware that, internships do not only benefit the students it also benefits them. Under-listed are the benefits of hiring an Intern.

  • It eases the workload on the employees.
  • Gives an employee the opportunity to prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
  • Complete finite project.
  • Gives the company or organization an opportunity to take advantage of students’ tech and social media skills.
  • Meet short-term staffing needs.
  • Brings a flow of fresh ideas into the organization.
  • Access highly motivated students that can fill staffing needs later in the future.

I often hear people mistake apprenticeship for internship and for the sake of clarity; I would like to bring to your notice the differences that exist between apprenticeship and internship.

Apprenticeship: Is a dedicated vocational program that combines work-based training and study towards a National Vocational Qualification or foundation degree. Traditionally, apprenticeships were reserved for trade occupations like; construction. But recently, they are offered in an increasing number of industries; from accountancy to marketing. Apprenticeship is a paid program where you will earn at least the national minimum wage. Apprenticeship takes a longer period of time and you will need to be committed for at least 12 months in order to obtain your certificate of qualification.

Types of Internship

1. Paid internship: this is common in professional fields such as; science, architecture, engineering, law, technology and advertising. Work experience internships occur during second or third year of schooling. It is done to expand the intern’s knowledge both in their school studies and also at the company. The interns are expected to bring ideas from the school into the company.

2. Work research, virtual research or dissertation: this kind of internship requires the intern to do research for the company. It is mostly done by students in their final year of school. The research topic is either chosen by the student or the company. At the end of the study, the result is usually reported and presented.

3. Unpaid internships: Is through non-profit charities and think tanks which often have unpaid or volunteer positions. State law enforcement agencies usually impose requirements on unpaid internship programs under Minimum Wage Act.

4. Partially paid internships: Students are paid a fixed amount of money on a regular basis. The money paid is referred to as stipend.

5. Internship for a fee: Some companies charge students to assist with research, promising to refund the fee if no internship is found. This type of internship is regarded as an unpaid internship for a fee. The program helps to provide internship placements at reputable companies. 

Why Should You Intern?

1. To build a solid foundation and gain experience: Internship provides you with the building blocks and sets the foundation for your career. Employers usually use internship as a recruitment tool to test out future employees and see how they perform in their jobs and how they relate with other people. If you do well, you will be able to secure yourself a job with them. As you build yourself, you also gain experience. The truth is, as a student, you lack experience without any form of internship and this is the way to get it. Internship is the best way to gain experience because you get to do a bit of everything and experience different roles that people play in certain organizations. This is good to take into the work force because you would have understood the elements of multitasking and would be able to perform well in any position you are given.

2. To learn, understand and put new things into practice: during your school time you were taught only the theoretical aspects of your field of study. Now it’s time for you to get practical knowledge. Internship allows you to take your time to understand; your role, tasks, industry and new concepts. You learn better during internship because you do these things yourself; well, under supervision. Your supervisors make sure to correct you when they find mistakes. You have to ask questions; a lot of them so that you get answers and equally learn too.

3. Build self-confidence: Internship helps you build confidence in different areas of your life; public speaking, giving presentations or even pitching a new idea. This helps you grow as a worker and a person. You have to be able to believe in yourself and your potentials but you can only build your potentials to that level of confidence through internship. Internship helps you gain independence and responsibility; which gives you the needed confidence to take on greater challenges in the future and next job. Be mindful that you do not become arrogant because of the experiences you have gathered being an intern because that will prevent you from getting jobs. I mean, who wants to employ an arrogant person?

4. Strengthen your resume: Academic success is very important but it’s not enough. Having more experience gives you a better resume, but most students and graduates don’t have work experiences thus, limiting themselves. An indication that you have interned once or twice on your resume already puts you a step ahead of all who did not intern. This tells the recruiters that you have a firsthand working experience and that you would be able to ease into the work environment easier than others who did not intern.

5. Secure a job before you graduate: Some students get their first job after graduation from a company they had previously interned with. While your peers are waiting for interviews in different organizations, you have gotten a job already because you thought it wise to intern. This saves you time that would have been spent going from one company to another looking for a job.

6. Networking: Who you know is very important. You have a higher chance of getting a job based on reference; having your name passed on by someone you know. Internship help you meet people and give you an opportunity to meet professionals. This already gives you an edge in the “labor market” because while you apply for a job in your dream organization, a word to the recruiters by someone you know immediately opens doors for you.

I strongly advise that students and graduates take the opportunity to intern. This would give you a competitive advantage over your peers by improving your chances as a job applicant. Having fun during holiday season is good, but interning is better. You would be thankful for all the opportunities interning would provide you in the future.