Nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult for college graduates to secure an entry level position within a company with only holding a bachelor’s degree and having no professional work experience.
During the school year, it can seem overwhelming, with classes, homework, social engagements, events, and extra-curricular activities to find the time and, more importantly, energy to take on a professional internship and still succeed at getting good grades. Schedules are limited. That is why it is important to start looking forward to summer break, not because it can be a time to relax and take it easy without the stress of assignments and team projects building, but rather utilizing this time to the best of your abilities to advance your career prospects.
With the rising costs of tuition and ensuing daily expenses, it is no wonder that students are perplexed between the want to get experience in the professional field of their study by taking an internship versus the traditional summer job bartending, babysitting or life guarding at the local watering hole. Internships may or may not be paid. In recent history, they are more likely to be low paid or offered without any compensation. While it is easy to slip into the routine of serving tables or shaking drinks, where the nightly income will help diminish those heavy student loan debts, it is a better investment to lean in favor of the internship. Find the balance. Students often elect to hunker down and do a lot of research finding a paid internship or take on an unpaid internship only a couple of days a week while holding a part-time job.
Whatever you decide, opting to fill your summer days with constructive professional experience in the industry you are studying will serve to benefit you not only in the short term, but will help build a solid foundation for your future career.
Why Getting a Summer Internship Will Improve Your Employability?
1. Learn In-Depth Information About Your Field
In addition to job shadowing and informational interviews that can serve to prepare you for your future career, internships provide students and recent graduates with a real world perspective into your field.
2. Take the Classroom into the Real World
There is a difference in learning about strategies, theories, and tactics in the classroom versus applying them to real life situations. Classroom knowledge can be easily translated into the workplace during your time as an intern, helping to reinforce the concepts taught by professors.
3. Gain Valuable Work Experience
Generate examples of professional experience for your professional portfolio or CV. These accomplishments will only bolster your employability in the eyes of your future employer.
4. Evaluate if You are on the Right Path
Potentially avoid making a big mistake by staying with a career you didn’t first try on for size. Internships allow you the opportunity to evaluate if you can see yourself engaged in a particular profession for 5, 10 or 15 years down the road.
5. Get Your Foot in the Door
By going above and beyond in your position, exceeding expectations, you will create a good impression. In this case, the company, supervisor, or manager may:
- Provide a reference letter to accompany your CV or resume
- Offer you a job after completion of the internship or graduation
- Write a letter of recommendation
6. Gain a Professional Network
Establish important connections that may prove to be beneficial in the future. In today’s business world, it is not all about what you know, but more importantly, who you know. Take this into consideration when you are in professional spheres. Be ready to make a good impression and demonstrate your knowledge, proficiency and ability to engage in social circles as it relates to your profession.
7. Become a Professional
Up until now, if you have never held a job, you may not realize what it feels like to have responsibilities and expectations placed on your shoulders. Taking a summer internship will give you the prime opportunity to learn about the world of work and will cushion your transition becoming a full-fledged adult and working professional.
8. Meet Peers with Similar Interests
Establish a group of friends where you can talk about the business, share stories, and motivate one another. Everyone will be on their own career path, but putting time and effort into fostering professional relationships with those individuals at your same level or above will help you in gaining insight and wisdom into the field in which you are endeavoring.