Benefits of college internships
- 257 Views
- October 8, 2021
- Undergraduate Students
Have you ever wondered if a college internship is worth the time and commitment?
The short answer is a resounding ”yes,” according to Lamark Shaw, director of Career Services at Daemen College.
In fact, there are many benefits of college internships that can add to your education, and, in turn, lead to a career.
Shaw outlined key benefits of college internships for students looking to land a job after graduation.
Internships are amazing networking opportunities
Internships give students an opportunity to connect with professionals in their field of interest.
“I always tell students to embrace the process—treat it as if this is just as important as your first job, and connect with as many people as possible,” Shaw said.
Internships make you more qualified
“I think employers are afraid of students with no first-hand experience in the field at all. However, an internship can solve that challenge,” Shaw said. “I always tell students that they really need to self-advocate.”
“If they are not learning, growing, and gaining knowledge, they need to take the initiative to talk to their supervisor,” he added. “Be transparent and honest. Ask them for more training. Be confident in yourself enough to ask for different tasks.”
Internships help students narrow their career path
“Sometimes students find out they don’t like a particular profession after the experience they had at an internship,” Shaw said. “Maybe they had a perception of how that job would be, but once they were fully immersed in their internship experience, they saw first-hand what the job entails. They realized it isn’t something they want to pursue. That’s OK.”
Summed up, internship experiences—good or bad—help students gain knowledge and help them move forward on their own path to their overall goals, he said.
Internships boost students’ self confidence
Shaw has seen up-close how internships can build self-confidence in students.
“A lot of students are unsure if they will be successful at a specific company or in a position,” Shaw explained. “However, many times they begin their internship and realize what they have learned in their classes applies to their position and overall workplace directly.”
Shaw continued: “Therefore, students have the opportunity to apply knowledge they’ve learned in their classes to help them accomplish goals and be successful in a professional setting.”
Resources to help you get started
Students should seek out as many resources as possible to find an internship position that best suits their interests and career goals.
For example, Daemen offers a class specifically to prepare students for their internships. During this class, Career Services staff review the resumes and cover letters of students—and even do mock interviews.
Job listings platforms
Daemen offers its Wildcat Works platform where students can view lists of internships that are currently available. Additional resources, including webinars, podcasts and more are also available to help them land an internship.
Career fairs and expos
Twice a month, recruiters from area companies come to campus to speak with students and make them aware of any job, internship and volunteer opportunities they have available.
Career expos are another great resource for students to take advantage of and explore. Daemen hosts both in-person and online career expos.
The in-person career expo features local opportunities, while the virtual expo allows companies located across the state in New York City to interact and network with students who may be from the Big Apple or interested in pursuing a career there.
Other resources students can take advantage of include various assessments. These focus on the student’s characteristics, skill sets, abilities, preferences and more to help align them with an industry or profession that may be a good fit for them.
Students can then review their assessments with Career Services representatives to help translate what they’ve learned into something they may wish to explore further.
When is the best time to complete an internship?
Students should try to complete an internship in their junior year, Shaw said. By then, they have gained enough skills and knowledge from the earlier half of their education to apply it to their position first-hand.
Plus, Shaw said, “Multiple internships are the best!”
By completing an internship in their junior year, students have the opportunity to do another internship in their senior year that builds on their previous experience—or is a chance to transition into another potential role.
There’s no doubt about it: having multiple internships on a resume makes students more marketable to employers, Shaw explained.
Overall, there are many benefits of college internships and the more real world experience students have under their belt by graduation, the better!