How an Internship Shapes your Career

How an Internship Shapes your Career was originally published on Vault.

Students are often reluctant to intern because they worry their internship will only consist of uninspiring tasks for little or no money. The truth is, although not all internships pay in cash, they do pay in other ways. An internship provides the building blocks for a successful career.

Internships length:

An intern works at a company for a fixed period, from a few to several months, usually between or along with the semesters. Not everyone has six months or a year to obtain the work experience for a job immediately after college. Short-term internships are likely to be more focused and intense. They are suitable for last-year students or recent graduates.

Long-term internships can range from three months to two years. In some industries, such as fashion or editorial, short-term internships are not ideal enough time to benefit the intern or the employer. Long-term internships offer more depth in a job environment. It offers the opportunity to hone your skills, get involved in more substantial projects for a longer time and become a more integral member of the company.

Even for the experienced professional who plans to change careers, interning would be beneficial. They have soft skills like leadership and collaboration. However, technical skills and industry knowledge are essential before starting out in a new field.

An internship provides real-life experience and exposure: Freshers get first-hand exposure of working in the real world. A learning curve for students who have little experience in the professional world.

They get to work on real projects, interact with various teams and clients, and understand business from up close. An internship provides you the opportunity to put your knowledge to the test while learning workplace interpersonal skills, so you become employment ready.

An opportunity to learn something new: Improved soft skills, corporate etiquette, attending various training sessions, how to carry yourself in a professional environment, hands-on experience, understanding the industry and business, current industry trends and more

Developing your professional network:

Networking is an important career development tool; an internship allows you to meet people outside your world and expand your contacts. Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build connections with company professionals that you can use throughout your career.

Finding where your interests lie:

Every industry has different functions and disciplines. You get to learn the different aspects of a business so you can make a more informed career choice. It will help you to find your interest within your major.

Transition into full-time position:

Sometimes graduating and immediately jumping into a new job position is overwhelming. Not every manager is an expert at guiding new talent. Not being able to quickly adapt could be devastating. Employers always look for applicants who can easily transition from student to full-time employee with little intervention.  Although not guaranteed, many employers extend a full-time position to interns if they have learned all the required skills and are contributing to the company. You can be a good investment they don't want to let go.

To conclude:

An internship is a brilliant way for career exploration. Most times, it doesn't require experience, so it is easier to land than full-time positions. When you do go for a full-time position after interning, you are a more desirable hire than your peers. Employers are more interested in your real-world experience instead of your book knowledge. Internships allow you to test out specific techniques learned in the classroom before entering the working world. It's an opportunity to apply what you have learned in a safe environment where mistakes are expected – rather than learn the hard way in your first job out of college.

We hope this article is helpful to you as you embark on your summer internship experience. From all of us at GEP, best wishes for your future.

This is a sponsored post by GEP, one of Vault’s 2020 Best Consulting Firms to Work For.