College students! Whether you have two years or one last semester before graduation, you are likely anxiously looking to the next chapter of your life. These days it seems increasingly more and more difficult to find a full-time job right out of college; every employer prefers someone with experience in their respective field. Perhaps the best thing one can do to secure a position in your field directly out of college is taking on an internship. Every college student nearing graduation is busy walking the fine line of balancing finances, coursework, and the social aspects universities offer. With these jam-packed schedules, any free time is valuable, and there are clear opportunity costs attached to each option. Here are three reasons why acquiring an internship should be the number one candidate on a career-oriented student’s list of ways to fill her free time:
Streamline Your Career Path. While internships are not usually the most glamorous or financially appealing option, they are immensely more valuable than another minimum wage job. Seek out an internship in a field, and if possible, a company that sparks your interest. Learning the groundwork essentials of your field before graduation will pay off later when your resume can be updated to include the exact experience with the technologies and responsibilities employers are looking for.
Make mistakes and learn from them. Internships provide the perfect environment for hands-on learning paired with an atmosphere that is more forgiving when it comes to making mistakes and allowing time to learn. As an intern, employers know you will ask questions and mess up, and great managers will welcome this. The key is to learn from these mishaps and adjust accordingly. I have gained more from my time as an intern because of the hands-on responsibilities, real-life applications, and chances to interview people around me than I would have by solely completing my coursework.
Gain valuable connections. Arguably, one of the most important keys to a successful career is who you know. If you can prove your worth in an internship setting, more often than not your employer will take notice. When you become a valuable asset to a company, and everyone knows it, don’t be surprised if an offer for a permanent position follows your internship. At the very least, you will have valuable, professional references that can vouch for your talents and capabilities. Add these connections to your LinkedIn profile and build that professional network!
Choosing to take on an internship likely means sacrificing some social activities and taking on more responsibilities than your friend who works as a waiter. However, by investing these hours now, I can say from experience as an intern at UE.co, your career will benefit in the long haul!
Are you looking for more ways to spark your career? Check out the Jason Kulpa Scholarship.