“Why should I work for free?” Ask any student their opinion about College Internships and more often than not, this would be their answer. While the sentiment behind this answer is respectable, the problem lies in the perception of College Internship as professional job.
Internships are basically the grey area where higher education meets employment. It is a professional learning experience that allows students to apply their learning and theoretical knowledge in a professional environment. Internships have a very important role to play in the academic journey of a student towards being a professional.
If you still need further convincing, here are a 10 practical reasons that might convince you about the important of college internships and their importance in shaping a successful career for you.
The biggest advantage of opting for a college internship would be work experience. As a college students, you might have heard stories about the horrifying ‘first day at work’ stories from your seniors. Well, one the main reasons for this has to be lack of any kind of experience as far as professional environment is concerned.
Taking up an internship in your college will expose you to the working environment in your career domain, while also providing you priceless experience to understanding how things actually work in an organization.
Plus, candidates with internship experience are not treated as freshers during interview process, so that also works to your advantage.
2. Application of Theoretical Knowledge
No matter how good you were at your studies in college, or how many theories, concepts and skills-in you learn, the real life situations you face while at job would be completely different. Therefore, while studying lays a good foundation, the practical implementation of that knowledge can only be learned while on-job.
Simply put, internships provide you with a vital opportunity to gain, refine and apply the theoretical knowledge that you have gained during your academic journey of three years. So, it would be foolish of you to ignore this prospect without exploring its full potential.
3. Develop Career Related Skills
As mentioned above, the skills that you gain as part of your academic learning are way different compared to the ones that you would need to perform your duties after being selected for a job. College Internships act as a bridge during this phase help you either to gain the requisite skills or refine your existing skills in a way that is more suited to the job market and requirements.
For instance, you might have learnt all the excel formulas that might help you analyze a particular set of data very efficiently. But in reality, companies have dedicated teams that look after data analysis and management while the profile of a business analyst is more confined to the deriving insights.
4. Figure out your Career Priorities
So, you picked a career choice based upon your preferences and the potential. But, even within your career streams, there are many different types of sub-domains or job types that you can opt for. The choice for this would completely depend upon your interest and passion. College Internships give you the chance to experiment with different types of job responsibilities and profiles that exist in your industry and pick the one that is most suited to your skills and interests.
5. Professional Networking
Internships are a great opportunity for students to network. Be it with fellow interns from other colleges, seniors who are working or even industry stalwarts under whose watch you would be learning the tricks of the trade; internships provide an excellent opportunity to develop your professional network. And you might not realize the importance of this network right now, but in long run it will turn out to be pivotal to your career growth and advancement.
6. Groom Your Professional Personality
Every person has two personalities, the one which they exhibit personal space and the other one which is public or professional personality. Just like your personality which is shaped by your experiences and world-view, even your professional personality is shaped by your career goals and the work-space influences.
Here’s where internships come in. When you walk you of college, you do not have any professional identity, but as you take up internship and learn about work-culture, you start developing your professional personality. So, be it confidence, habits and workplace etiquettes, internships will help you develop all these skills which will eventually make up your professional personality.
7. Learn without any Real Responsibilities
One of the biggest advantages of taking up a college internship would be professional learning that you gain while working on-site of a firm. What makes the deal even better is that while you get to learn during your internship, you do not have any real responsibilities on your shoulders.
In fact, as an intern, you are expected to make mistakes, so even if you goof-up something it is very likely that you would go scott-free pretty easily. On the other hand, new employees do not enjoy any training period or learning curve. They are expected to bring their ‘A’ game to work right from Day 1 and start delivering the results right away.
8. Perks & Benefits
This one might not be applicable to all the internship opportunities, but a few good companies do offer several perks and benefits to their interns. Tech giants like Facebook and Google are known to provide several perks to their students who join them for internship as they treat them as potential resource for future. In fact, some of the common perks and benefits for student interns at top companies include boarding and lodging, paid leaves, salaries, travel allowances and other perks. If you are lucky and talented enough to find an internship with perks, it would sweeten the deal further.
9. Boost to your CV / Resume
Companies love employees who do not need training wheels and here’s where college students who have undergone internship have a great advantage. As soon as your CV / Resume has an internship mentioned, the chances of getting shortlisted for face-to-face interview rises significantly. In fact, several established HR studies suggest that internships are the perfect grooming ground for professional talent and therefore are treated with great respect during the selection procedure.
10. Opportunity of Full-time Employment
Finally the big one! While students may think Internships are only important for them, but that is not true, companies, especially the new-age firms who are looking for talent over experience, take internships very serious. College Internships are treated as an opportunity by companies to scout for new resources that are talented and can be groomed and employed. So, there is a real chance of an internship blooming into a full-fledged employment opportunity for you.
These are just few of the biggest advantages and reasons you should seriously consider a college internship during your academic studies. The additional experience, skills and network developed during your internship days will surely go a long way in landing your dream job while also paving the way ahead for a prosperous career.