Why You Should Pursue an Internship in College

The following is a guest post written by Alexa Styliadis of NextStepU.

As the job market gets more competitive, students graduating college find themselves facing a tougher job market. Getting a college degree is important and is a critical step in the right direction, but to put yourself ahead of the others, you need to be more qualified than those around you. A way to greatly enhance your chances of employment while gaining real-world experience is by doing internships in college. While many colleges do not require you to do an internship, you should find at least one, if not more, to do during your junior and/or senior years.

Here are some things to know about internships…

Internships add to your resumé and portfolio

What better way to add to your resumé than by providing real-world work you’ve done? When you’re interviewing for future jobs, you will be able to show them work you have completed for other companies. This experience is phenomenal for students to have. Internships provide students with great portfolio pieces they can carry with them beyond college, and they look great on a resumé.

[RELATED: How to Prepare for Your First Internship]

Internships could result in a job

Some students are offered a job at the end of their internship. The closer you are to graduating, the more likely it is that an internship can turn into a full-time position. This is why it is recommended that you complete internships your junior and senior years of college. When you graduate, trying to land a job can be stressful, so having one already lined up is a relief. Being offered a full-time job is one of the most rewarding outcomes of an internship!

Internships teach you what you like and don’t like

Let’s say you start college and know exactly what career you want. Your junior year you might do an internship in this field and realize that it’s not a good fit for you. Was this internship a waste of time? Absolutely not! By doing this internship, you not only learned what you don’t want to do, you have a better idea of what you do want to do. There’s no better way to figure out your passion than by trying a little bit of everything.

Internships sometimes count for college credit

Many colleges offer students college credit for internships. Not only are you gaining real-world experience, but you’re also working toward your degree at the same time. This means one less class for you to take! You will have to complete a certain amount of hours at your internship to get credit. Check with your college to see the requirements if this is applicable to you.

Internships are not always paid, but that’s okay

Students usually try to look for internships that are paid, but those are often few and far between. If you choose to accept an unpaid internship, don’t worry! Sometimes you’re going to be doing work and feel like you should be getting paid for it since everyone around you is. What you need to realize, however, is that what you’re actually getting in return is priceless. The experience you gain by completing internships is something you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Internships give you connections

By interacting with professionals in the company you’re interning for, you will gain new connections to other people in your field as well. Internships give you the opportunity to network, get references, and potentially find new job opportunities. If the company you’re interning for thinks highly of you but they do not have an open position, they may recommend you to another company. Sometimes it’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.