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Leveraging Internships as Experience

| August 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

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The business world has slowly started shifting its views on what level of experience is acceptable for new hires. Experience has always been a substantial requirement for high-paying jobs, and to that end internships are the newest flavor in town. Entry-level professionals often find it difficult to find experience and get stuck spinning their wheels trying to get into the positions they want. Internships can be the perfect solution: you gain valuable experience while looking for an excellent job that pays well. Businesses have started accepting the reality of internships as being a resourceful and meaningful solution to the experience woes many professionals face in their early years. This piece will focus on how prospective employees can leverage internships into experience in the eyes of high-paying employers.

Internships: The Pros

Before moving forward towards the idea of leveraging an internship into experience, it is important to know the benefits and drawbacks of internships. Here are some of the positive aspects and what internships can do to move you toward a more successful career.

Interning is fast becoming the best form of receiving experience that is unmatched at any other level. Getting relevant experience that can easily associate with the career path of a professionals choice is difficult to do, especially since even entry-level positions are requiring more and more experience to land. Interning is advantageous to all parties involved: the employer is able to see experience that works in line with their own requirements, and this can give an employee a boost over other interviewees.

The ability to be in the work environment is a major plus. There is no doubting the effect being in the work environment can have on an entry-level professional. Many students that have recently graduated from college may not understand the requirements in terms of timeliness and professionalism that offices need. Being in such a space and understand the little intricacies of the process are essential in order to move towards a higher-paying job

Development is essential. Having the adequate education and work skills are only a part of the process. Going for an internship position and moving forward towards something meaningful is worthwhile. Just getting an interview and going through that experience can help down the road. Many entry level professionals do not understand this component of the process.

Internships: the Cons

There are a few negatives associated with the intern’s role. Many of the current employees in the office will not regard an internship as a serious position, and may treat the intern differently than they would treat their colleagues. This can lead to a negative mindset that does not aid the entry-level professional in gaining adequate experience, or the intern devaluing their own experience and losing confidence.

Many employers believe internships are simply a rebranding of the idea of a personal butler, and may assign only the most menial tasks to interns, such as fetching coffee or taking clothes to the dry cleaners. This is not usually the case, but the perception in itself can lead a negative view of the whole experience. It’s tough to gain practical experience when all you’re doing is stuffing envelopes or replacing coffee filters.

The biggest sticking point for many recent graduates considering internships is that so many of them are unpaid. It’s not every new worker who can afford to provide their time and labor for free. With tuition costs on the rise, interest rates on loans growing, and student debt mounting, it’s tough to choose to work for free, even if it’s the best way to get to the job you’ve always wanted.

Luring Employers with Internships

The focus has to be on selling employers with the actual role that was assigned in the internship. No employer will know what took place in the internship, even if the role provided was tedious. The employer will see the position as being one that benefited the intern in some way, shape, or form. The prospective employee has to be able to paint a picture that suggests their role in their internship was essential. Getting a nice recommendation letter from the previous employer can go a long way toward landing you your dream job.

This article was contributed by Mike Gordon, business school graduate and internship advocate. If you are a recent Law graduate looking for some additional legal advice or representation, Mike recommends Hammerle Finley, who handle cases all throughout the great state of Texas.

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Category: Entrepreneurship

  • treptalks

    Internships can be great for the following additional reasons:

    1. I was able to work and travel abroad in two countries for 4 month each as a paid intern and also gain valuable experience. Try to find internships in foreign countries. Can be some of the best experience of your life.

    2. If I had known then what I know now! Man if I knew then that real life experience is a lot more important than courses and grades I would have involved myself in more extracurricular, internship and work experiences. Develop your communication and interpersonal skills (verbal and written) as much as you can……I would say almost 90% of your success in life (for most people) would depend on these 2 skills.

    3. Make connections. Try and get an internship into a company that you would like to work at after you graduate. It will be wayyy easier to get a job that way.