Getting hired is a competition, and the only way to win is to stand out.
Did you know that 60% of college graduates’ paid internships turn into job offers? An internship will jump-start your career if you do it right.
An internship is important because it often allows direct access to decision makers and gives you opportunities to build relationships with a potential employer. There is nothing more important for your career than having a great personal brand.
Here are my 6 reasons why an internship will improve your chances of landing the job you really want.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
The best way to have a successful career is to begin one!
Looking for an internship allows you to constructively focus your energy by networking, interviewing, learning about different industries and roles, and putting in the extra work to set yourself apart from the competition.
Get an internship as early as you can, and learn as much as possible along the way. That’s one of the 10 things I wish I knew before college.
Your Ambition Can Set You Apart
In an ultra-competitive employment market where college degrees are expected and not rewarded, employers are looking to hire people with prior work experience who demonstrate value outside the classroom.
By having that internship on your resume, you’ll have discussions during interviews about what your job entailed, what you liked about it, and what you want to learn more about and why. These conversations are far easier and more constructive than talking about how you took a leadership role on a group project for English class.
Employers love to hire people with at least a basic foundation of knowledge they can work with and they want to avoid risk at all costs. An internship shows your ambition and a familiarity with working, lowering that risk from their perspective.
Business = Relationships
We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, and guess what? It’s largely true.
Instead of mowing the lawn all summer and reading fiction novels, you can spend your time working with professionals and learning key insights about what makes them successful.
If you build great relationships, your internship will jump-start your career. I pinkie promise.
Think about it – if you were them, would you hire someone who has worked on their team, or somebody they have no history with? Ask questions about their career path (during a scheduled discussion – not when they’re busy), and you’d be surprised how easily most people will divulge information about themselves. Building a comfort level with others as an intern will do wonders for your potential at that company.
You Learn New Skills on the Job
During your first internship, your employer will ask you to do simple tasks at first. No matter how boring they are, perform them like your future depends on it (because it does).
The easiest way to take on positions with higher pay and more responsibility is to master the task at hand and take the initiative to do more.
Learning in the classroom is good, but learning on the job is better. It’s like the difference between reading about a sports player and actually playing in the game. The sooner you get in the game, the better off you are.
You will make mistakes as an intern. But, if you stay humble, focused, and hungry, you will come out of it with a wider perspective for what you’re capable of accomplishing. That confidence will set you apart from your peers who don’t have the same experiences.
Companies Hire Interns
If you’re still wondering how an internship will jump-start your career, just look at the numbers.
It’s no coincidence that 60% of college graduates’ paid internships turned into job offers! Each party builds familiarity and the company is able to assess your potential right in their own environment. It’s like a test-run for the real job. It’s much more difficult to assess potential based on college transcripts and an interview.
Want to make sure you’re given an offer? Take it upon yourself to get to know people, and if you can handle it, always ask to do more. You are there to help, and you should not be spending time surfing the internet or chatting in groups with the other interns. Take your role seriously, and the company will take you seriously as a candidate.
You May Discover What You Don’t Like
Sometimes, the best way to figure out what you want to do is to figure out what you don’t want to do.
Not every job will be a perfect fit, and your first internship isn’t a guarantee to be a welcome mat for your dream job. If you find yourself spending a summer doing something you aren’t in love with, finish strong, keep your head up, and thank your employer for the opportunity.
You should be able to take something positive from the experience and you can then steer your job search in another direction.
When you have a thirst for excellence and a mind of your own, you take control of your future. Internships are low-risk opportunities to showcase your potential. You are in the front seat – drive towards success!
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
After earning an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Master of Arts in Management at Wake Forest University, Josh has paid off over $80k in student loan debt in 3 years. Josh wants to help people make smarter decisions by sharing the lessons he’s learned about brand/career building, making the most of college, and pursuing financial independence.