An internship is rightly considered to be one of the most important components of completing higher education.
It is not just a logical outcome of the life stage called student. A successful internship can have a significant impact on employment prospects.
It allows students to gain valuable practical experience and deepen their professional skills before starting a career. And such factors are very important.
After all, the modern labor market is extremely competitive. And it is also changeable. Increasingly, university graduates are competing for a certain number of jobs.
Therefore, an internship can be a decisive factor in finding a job. An internship can be seen as a unique opportunity to combine one's academic knowledge with practical application in a real work environment.
This is especially important in a competitive labor market where employers are looking for candidates with practical knowledge and skills.
In this article, we will discuss the significant impact of internships on students' employment prospects.
We will also reveal the importance of this experience for their future careers. We will look at this from different perspectives. Namely, what are the obvious benefits of an internship and what challenges will students face
But every challenge is not a problem, but an opportunity. An opportunity to get out of one's comfort zone and prove to oneself that one can do more.
Obvious Benefits of the Internship's Positive Impact
Internships provide students with the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained at university in practice. They get a unique opportunity to see from the inside how their chosen industry functions in real life.
This broadens their understanding of the professional environment. Something that they will have to face almost every day in the future.
Whatever excellent knowledge you may have in an educational institution, it is still a theory. A necessary theory, but still a theory. And practice is acquired only during an internship.
Internships also help to develop other important skills. These include communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.
The list is not limited to this. But first things first. We'll look at these aspects below. And now let's move on to the next no less obvious advantage.
The professional writing skill
It is not uncommon for future interns to write a professional text – a self-presentation – to get an internship. This is done to get an internship at a particular company.
Even during probation, students often have to create various research papers. The ability to properly express one’s thoughts in writing remains one of the key skills in the business environment. And one of the main aspects of a successful internship is developing a research paper outline.
Students need to define the goals they want to achieve during their probation. This will help them focus on specific tasks and get the most out of their experience.
In turn, the research work includes:
- industry analysis,
- studying market trends,
- interaction with colleagues and managers, and much more.
Internships provide students with the opportunity to build valuable contacts in their chosen field before they start their professional careers. Students have the opportunity to communicate with experts and leaders in their industry. In many cases, this opens the door to future employment opportunities.
But to achieve the above, certain steps need to be taken. Namely, to present yourself to leaders and professionals with your actions and deeds on the best possible side.
In more detail, here are the steps:
- Do not be afraid to ask questions
- Do not be afraid to take the initiative
- Show involvement and interest
- Not to argue, but to discuss
- Take responsibility for your words and decisions
- Admit mistakes with dignity, if any
- Find solutions to the previous sub-point
By following at least some of the above, you will be remembered by future colleagues and managers.
And they will be happy to get to know you and maintain it. It may play an important role in finding a job after graduation.
Also, students who successfully complete an internship can find mentors who will provide them with valuable advice and mentoring.
As mentioned earlier, the modern labor market is very demanding. It would not be an exaggeration to add the word demanding.
If a student wants to get a position in a successful company that offers not only good financial benefits but also strong development, there will always be plenty of applicants for such a position. And the more different you are from others, the better. We are talking about a difference for the better.
That is, stronger through professionalism. But where can you get it if you are still a student or have just graduated?
This is where an internship will come in handy. And the better you prove yourself at it, the greater your chances of success.
After all, you can get good recommendations and feedback. They will serve as a kind of first summary of you as a beginning specialist. All this can significantly increase your competitiveness in the labor market.
Help in self-determination
If you're still wondering what the internship value is, let's add one more indisputable point to all of the above. It helps students define their interests and understand their goals.
While doing an internship, students have the opportunity to answer the following important questions for themselves:
- Have they chosen the right professional field?
- Are they ready to work in this field on a full-time basis?
During the internship, you may feel that this particular narrow specialization is not what you want to devote your entire life to. And it's great when this realization comes at the very beginning of your career.
In this way, you can identify another sub-direction of your chosen specialty in time to move forward.
Additional obvious advantages
In addition to all of the above, internships help students to develop:
- the ability to adapt to the work environment,
- communication skills,
- leadership skills,
- project management,
- adaptation to new situations, etc.
These points are often closely intertwined. Moreover, they go hand in hand.
Of course, they can train students to work on different projects and to work in teams during their studies.
But all of this happens in cases that have already taken place and have happened. During the internship, everything is completely different. Trainees have to deal with situations that have just arisen.
Everything happens in real-time. Accordingly, it requires a prompt response, speed of reaction, and ingenuity.
It also allows you to practice communication skills and analytical thinking in the live process of solving a situation.
Analytical and critical thinking skills have been and remain important factors in the selection of candidates.
So, as soon as you have the opportunity, do an internship and improve your previously acquired theoretical knowledge.
Challenges as Opportunities, Not Difficulties
It would be wrong not to mention the challenges that students may face during their internships.
But the following fact is undeniable. They are all designed to adapt and harden. After all, there are no ups without downs and no success without difficulties.
Features of large companies
Interns may face complex requirements and high measurements if they are trained in large companies.
This does not mean that such a nuance awaits everyone who goes to try their hand at large concerns or conglomerates.
But you should be prepared for it. Indeed, significant companies are great because they select the best of the best and the strongest of the strong.
Some students may face financial challenges, as many internships are offered without payment.
Here you should determine your priorities and capabilities. If your financial situation allows you to do an internship for free, you shouldn't dismiss this option under certain conditions. Perhaps the internship is offered by a company that is your dream company.
So, by accepting a free internship, you are taking another step toward achieving your dream. That may turn out to be the right decision in the future.
Again, it's important to weigh the pros and cons that are important to you.
The right balance
It is also important to consider the balance between internships and studies, as students need to ensure that they are doing well academically. And all of this is regardless of their participation in the internship.
Although the latter, as we have already seen, is definitely important.
Therefore, we suggest following the next action plan:
- Discuss the workload and hours of the internship with the future supervisor in advance
- Carefully compare everything with your academic hours and possible exams
- If you see any overlaps, discuss the situation again
- Develop a plan of action and practices before the internship starts that will suit both the management and your successful completion of academic studies
In a business environment, you often have to work on several projects at the same time.
Therefore, you need to learn how to manage your time properly. That is why students need to learn how to:
- perform various tasks efficiently.
You can start learning these necessary skills during your internship. And the sooner you master them, the easier it will be to start a full-time job after graduation.
These skills are also useful not only in the work environment. The ability to plan and prioritize makes it much easier to live an independent adult life.
The banal physical fatigue can eventually catch up with you. Emotional fatigue can also take over. Yes, internships can be physically and emotionally draining.
Depending on the nature of the work and the schedule of the internship, students may be faced with a large amount of work and urgent tasks.
It is important to be prepared for such challenges. And again, develop effective time and stress management skills. Having developed these skills, it will be much easier to cope with stress.
And it will also be easier to take proactive steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Another challenge is that the work environment usually requires high professionalism. That is, it is competitive. Students should be prepared for this.
Namely, working side by side with experts in their field, they will need to constantly demonstrate their skills and abilities to the best of their capability. Moreover, they will have to prove their worth almost every day.
Internships involve real professional duties and responsibilities. Students need to complete their tasks on time.
They must try to do it with high quality. At the same time, they must also adhere to professional standards. It's not a given that interns will be assigned complex projects or difficult tasks right away.
But you shouldn't expect to be treated leniently either. No one is immune from mistakes. We are all human beings. And everyone has been a beginner at something. But you don't need to use this as a shield.
Or even more so, manipulate it. The sooner students learn not to be afraid to take responsibility, the better it will be for them. Not to mention the company where they are going to do their internship.
As you have already seen, internships have a significant impact on students' employment prospects.
It provides them with more than one opportunity. Namely, to gain practical experience, develop professional skills, and build valuable contacts in their field. Are you still wondering if are internships good for you? Definitely yes.
After all, they allow students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical situations and learn new aspects of their chosen field. Internships provide an opportunity to learn about the real work process, interact with professionals in their field, and acquire their first networking contacts and enrich them.
Internships also allow students to define their interests and goals. Namely, to find out whether the chosen professional sector is suitable for them.
With a proactive approach, continuous self-improvement, and the ability to adapt to change, students can maximize the benefits of an internship and improve their employment prospects.
Internships can also present certain challenges. These include strong competition and financial considerations. Multitasking and problems of healthy balance.
However, every challenge should be viewed not as a problem but as an opportunity. An opportunity to become better every day than yesterday.
And to do everything to ensure that the practice stage brings only benefits and improves in the best possible way.
Author: John Marlow
Essay writer. Author of columns on the challenges of the modern labor market. Researcher of graduate career opportunities.