Updated 17 November 2022
While the idea of spending your summer at the beach might be more appealing than working 9-5, the benefits of an internship last a lot longer than your tan. Internships are practical work experience placements usually undertaken in the penultimate year of study. They prove to future employers that you’ve got what it takes to bring value to their team.
Here are 10 of the reasons why a summer internship is so important for your career.
1. Gain work experience
One of the top reasons to do an internship is to gain practical experience that complements what you’ve learnt during your studies. It’s eye-opening to see how different a real-world work environment is to what you’ve learnt. Employers want to know that you can handle the pressures of a work environment and this is the perfect way to show them you can!
2. Acquire new skills
The benefit of an internship for students is to add new skills to their resume, helping kick-start your career in your field of choice once you’ve graduated. The best summer internships offer you the chance to expand upon the skills you’ve learnt during your studies and grow your career from there.
3. Figure out a career path
If you’re feeling unsure about what you want to do once you graduate, an internship is a great way to dip your toe in the water. Internships usually last for a couple of months, allowing you to get a feel for what the role requires without committing fully to it. Make the most of your internship by learning about other roles available at the company and seeing if any interest you.
4. Building a network
“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This adage explains why an internship is necessary to further your career. It’s your chance to build relationships with industry leaders who can be instrumental in hiring or recommending you down the line. Try to extend yourself and go to any social networking events you’re invited to. The relationships you build in your internships could pay dividends for years to come.
5. Gain references
One of the most important sections of your resume is your references. If they come from established people in your industry, they’ll speak volumes to hiring managers. Internships do help you get a job if you’re willing to ask for references at the end.
6. Transition to full-time work
The working lifestyle is very different to that of a university student. Beyond all the reasons why an internship is important to career growth, simply getting your body and mind into the new rhythm is also an important factor.
7. Learn from the best
Now is your chance to diversify your experience with industry experts. So far you’ve probably learnt a lot from your lecturers and tutors, but there’s a whole lot more to learn from inside the industry. Your new colleagues and managers are the best people to learn from.
8. Grow your confidence
You've probably heard about “faking it until you make it”, but it’s better to just feel confident in your knowledge. People respect those that are assured in themselves and this is one way internships can help you get a job. Your newfound confidence will shine through in an interview.
9. Experience a new culture
If travelling is your thing, why not find out how to get an internship abroad? Not only will you be learning new skills and meeting new people, but discovering a whole new culture to boot.
10. Hone your soft skills
It’s not all about your technical skills. Another reason why an internship is necessary is it helps develop all-important soft skills and give you the opportunity to see what the professional culture is like in your industry. You'll be expected to handle feedback well and be a team player. Not to mention being held accountable for showing up every day and submitting quality work!
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