During my educational career, I did not have the opportunity to perform an internship. I was always in the position where I needed to work full time to pay for my courses and financially care for my family. As I look back, I wish that I would have had the opportunity to secure a paid internship. I would have gained valuable experience in my chosen field and made a salary to assist with the cost of attending school.
By definition it means “an official program offered by an employer to potential employees. Interns work either part time or full time at a company for a certain period of time. Internships are most popular with undergraduates or graduate students who work between one to four months and have a goal to gain practical work or research related experience.” http://www.internships.com/student/resources/basics/what-is-an-internship
Paid or Unpaid Internships:
An internship can either be a paid or unpaid opportunity to work within a career field. There are federal laws that restrict unpaid interns from benefiting the company economically or from being used in place of paid employees. More information regarding this can be found at:
The benefit of paid internship is that you will be paid for the work you perform. Many times when a student is paid during their internship there is a sense of pride and dedication in the work performed because they are being compensated for their effort. The benefit of an unpaid internship is that many times the company that is offering the internship can be more flexible with hours and work performed.
Benefits of an Internship:
1) You can learn from and work with professionals in your field or industry. By working with those side by side with those in your perspective field you gain insight and tips on how to work within the industry.
2) It gives you a chance to apply knowledge that you learned in the classroom. An internship is the perfect time to show others what you know and identify gaps in your knowledge.
3) Valuable work experience that you can apply to your resume. Building a resume is the key to success.
4) Working in your career field, you can determine your niche in the field and make sure your career field in the right path for you.
5) You can develop new skills and build upon existing skills. By performing tasks within your field, you gain knowledge that may not taught in the classroom.
6) Meet managers within a company to show off your talents and skills which could lead to a permanent job or job lead later on.
7) Networking, Networking, Networking – Meet new people, Gain confidence and Be present in your field leads to employment.
8) References for future job opportunities. You can never have too many references and contacts in your field.
9) Understand the industry culture and how to work within that environment.
10) Meet others with similar interests and drive. Meeting like-minded people and sharing experiences can lead to the development of new ideas and top performances.
Many degree programs are now requiring an internship prior to graduation. The value of these requirements can be irreplaceable but as a student, you will need to make sure to put the research, time and energy to make it a positive experience.
If the opportunity arises to accept an internship, the benefits gained from such an experience can be life altering and allow you to gain the skills and knowledge to drive you further to succeed in your field. Internships are highly lucrative and advantageous to anyone looking to go that extra mile in their field.
Additional Resources for Finding the Right Internship: