Knowing what type of job you want, and getting that job, are two completely different things. When looking for a new career, either straight out of college or as a working professional shifting your career path, you are faced with a real predicament. To get that dream job, you need experience, but to get experience, you need the job. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Having a job is not the only way to get the experience you need to launch your career forward. Have you considered an internship? We are going to explore the value of an internship and review why it may be one of the best steps you can take to help you land your ideal career.
What is an Internship?
An internship is an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees, called interns, to work at the organization for a limited and fixed period of time. With the emphasis on training and development, internships give interns real-life experience of the workplace and field they hope to break into. Internships are basically a trial period for both the intern and the organization, and an opportunity for them to both feel out if the role, organization, and personnel are a good fit.
An internship offers a professional learning experience that provides meaningful, practical work related to the intern’s field of study or career interest. Interns are usually undergraduates or students; however, interns don’t always have to be students. Most internships last between a month and three months. An internship can be paid, unpaid, or partially paid, it really depends on the employer.
What is the Value of an Internship?
Internships are usually used to determine whether the intern still has an interest in the field they are interning, after the real-life experience. Completing an internship can increase your opportunity to get a job by over 15%. A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 60% of people who had an internship received at least one job offer.
Having an internship can set you apart from other applicants, as it shows you have hands-on experience in the field in which you are pursuing. Below we are going to explore further some of the benefits an internship can bring you.
- Industry Insight and Practical Experience: Having an internship in your field of study allows you to test the waters and decide whether you have the skills and interest to pursue a particular career path without any strings attached. It gives you a sneak-peek at the reality of working in the field. An internship is basically a test drive of your chosen career, but you are under no obligation to make a commitment. Practical experience in a position exposes the good and bad aspects of a profession, including whether the company is one that you would like to work for full time and if the industry is the right fit for you.
- Widen Your Professional Network: Internships are a wonderful way to build a professional network and to meet new people who can help you along your career journey. If you are venturing into a new career field, you likely don’t have a large network of people you know in that industry, and the best way to get to know other professionals is by working with them. You never know when the professional contacts that you meet may open a door for you in your future.
- Build a Stronger Resume: Remember that dilemma of to get a job you need experience, and to get experience you need a job? One main value of an internship is that it gives you the experience you need to follow your future career path, without actually having the job. An internship on your resume shows initiative and allows you to showcase skills and experience you have gained. Both of these things can help to set you apart from the competition when you are applying for jobs in the field.
- First Step to a Full-Time Position: An internship opens up the doors for you to obtain a full-time role within the organization in which you are interning. Many employers look to their own interns as the best potential candidate for a full-time position, because they are known, are familiar with the corporate culture, and usually will require less training. The transition from an internship to a full-time position should be a rather smooth one, and is a win-win for both the employee and the employer.
While there is much value of an internship, we have only reviewed some of that above. Having an internship can really help you stand out, catapult your career and network, determine if a career path is right for you, and could also help you get a full-time position. Even if an internship is unpaid, there are so many benefits, the money in your pocket may not even matter.
If you are looking for a new career, Mackinnon & Partners is here for you. People are our success. We aim to provide first class candidates to a variety of emerging and established markets with a wealth of knowledge in the renewables, oil and gas, and construction industries, both on and offshore.