By Andrea Byrd (Mississippi Valley State University)
Student Career Journal is a series of articles written by HBCU students about college life, career activities and opportunities on their campus that encourage career development and building success habits.
- Acquiring new skills. Attaining an internship is an opportunity for a student to acquire one or more new skills that will help them enter their profession. Not only do employers seek applicants who are fluent in their job duties, but they also want to hire employees who are multidimensional. According to Forbes, acquiring new skills is vital in order to “differentiate yourself in the market, brand yourself, and build the critical relationships that you need to be successful”.
- Every student should have prior knowledge of the career they seek. Before the commitment to a career path, internships encourage students to have hands-on experience in their respective fields. The number of jobs that require hours of hands-on experience outside of the classroom before the application has increased. For instance, CNN stated that “companies that devote time and resources to finding, selecting and training interns are looking for a return on their investment”.
Thus, internships are becoming a necessity because companies want to know that their prospective employees have actual experience with what they do. One way to be sure of that is through an internship with the company.
- Internships show the drive of the applicant. These opportunities allow young adults to shine in their lines of work. They let others know that time has been dedicated to developing their craft. In addition to showcasing their personality traits, applicants can add to their credentials and market themselves to employers seamlessly. More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies hire full time employees from among their interns.
- Internships are an important networking tool. By doing internships, students are in great positions to make long standing relationships with people who can help them succeed. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple says, that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Internships help students work with experienced professionals who could see their potential and encourage them to progress in a career they could love. Networking within an internship can put a student in line for the career they actually want instead of the career where they just settle.