Albert Einstein once said: “The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom.” That’s the main reason behind setting up internships for students: to gain real-world working experience, build your professional network as well as learn new skills. Mandatory internship modules are sometimes offered to third-year or final-year students, depending on your course.
There’s no denying that with a heavy workload, some students would prefer to channel their focus on academics rather than juggle an internship and risk their grades. This begs the question: are internships really worth it?
The short answer is yes. In a one-year study done by ProPublica in 2012, results showed applicants who have prior internship experience are 60% more likely to be hired. This demonstrates that internships for students can greatly boost job prospects and increase one’s chances of landing a role upon graduation.
Still, internships for students can be greatly beneficial in a number of other ways. If you’re looking for more reasons to do an internship other than an added advantage on your resume, read on:
1. Hone and develop new skills
Taking up an internship requires a lot of hands-on learning that provides you with opportunities to learn new skills and refine old or existing ones. All the while, you gain a deeper understanding of your chosen field.
Without a doubt, these marketable skills built with time and experience could be what distinguishes you from other candidates when seeking out your ideal job.
Other than that, doing an internship can also put you ahead of the competition and challenges. Being exposed to your chosen industry early on can help you identify current market trends and the relevant skills needed to go far in the job of your choice.
2. Gain professional feedback
Another reason to do an internship is to learn how to receive on-the-job feedback from your colleagues, supervisors and managers. Compared to in school, feedback is only limited to your peers, your teachers or external examiners.
Receiving feedback during your internship doesn’t solely lie in the results of your work. Other factors such as attitude, ability to problem-solve as well as communication skills will be taken into consideration.
The ability to receive and also to give feedback in a team is an important skill that can’t be taught by books in school. These are skills gained from doing an internship.
3. More space to make and learn from mistakes
As they say, “Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.” During an internship, it’s almost expected of you to make mistakes in order to learn from them. As an intern, you are most likely given some leeway to make mistakes without the full consequence of losing your job if it were a permanent role.
Though mistakes are encouraged, making the same mistakes twice are not. Making mistakes doesn’t only point out areas to improve, but it also serves as a good reflection on how well you’ve progressed.
Learning from mistakes might be a harsh way of navigating around things that are unfamiliar to you. However, this can better equip you to face real workplace expectations and how you can align those expectations within yourself and your future company.
4. To get a feel of different industries
Another reason internships for students are so valuable is the opportunity to get a feel for different industries in a short period of time. Most internships have a minimum duration of three to six months and if planned right, you might even get to complete two internships in a year.
Internships are perfect for those still in limbo and weighing their career options in a particular field. It is also the quickest way to learn about the ins and outs of the industry and to gauge if you are a good fit for it.
For instance, the digital marketing industry is extremely fast-paced and may be difficult to keep up if you’re someone who prefers a more structured role without the extremities of unpredictability.
Completing multiple internships also means you’ll pick up a wider variety of skills when working with different industries. Consequently, all these accumulated skills will then serve to make you more attractive to hiring managers.
6. Cultivates self-growth
Lastly, internships encourage self-reflection and self-development. In addition to learning new skills, internships teach you how to effectively manage your time and energy by re-prioritising your everyday tasks.
These skills can greatly ease the transition to adulthood, allowing them to be more confident in their abilities while also becoming more self-sufficient.
What’s more, doing an internship will push you to further undergo self-evaluation and understand your work ethics better. Perhaps you work better in a collaborative setting or maybe you prefer working independently. Or you realise that you enjoy fast-paced projects. You will discover aspects of yourself you probably didn’t notice when in school.
Applying for internships but aren’t confident about the interviews? Watch this video for tips: