Importance of “The Lowly Intern”

We’ve heard time and time again that employers LOVE hiring students with previous work experience. Bonus if it’s related to their field! Yet sometimes students need a little more convincing that internships will be helpful for them. I mean, let’s be real. I’m expected to put out how many hours a week during my already busy semester – or worse, my summer! And all I’m going to to do is make coffee and file papers anyway. What’s the point?

The point is that if all you’re doing is making coffee and filing papers, you’re not in a good internship. Your internship is giving you hands on experience in your field. This way, you can apply everything you learned in your classes to see it work in real life. You also get more confidence. “Oh sure, I know how to use that copier!” “Of course I can run that report.” Once you get into the working world, you’ll be able to adapt more quickly to their environment.

And speaking of getting into the working world, having an internship can help you build relationships and make connections. You can find co-workers or your supervisor on LinkedIn, connect, and then see who they are connected with, too. Maybe they can introduce you or write a recommendation for you. Your internship is an opportunity to collect business cards. This way you can practice writing those professional emails and know exactly who to send your resume to.

If you do your internship early enough, it can also be an opportunity to decide what you DON’T want to do, too. Maybe you’re an education major, and you find out after interning with a day care that maybe being a secondary education major would be a better fit for you.

And if you still need more convincing, it’ll fill in space on your resume when related classes and involvement in clubs just aren’t doing enough. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to see more of the world. If you go to a rural school, then maybe an internship in a city will help you learn more about yourself. Or, maybe you’re at an out-of-state school and can stay over the summer to get experience away from home. These will teach your real-world skills, too, like budgeting your stipend or learning mass transit!

Still need more convincing? If you look hard enough, sometimes you can land a sweet PAID internship, too.

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