Benefits of an internship program: Is it really worth it?

Why get an internship? Is there any value in becoming an intern? What are the real benefits?

You may be asking some of these questions, especially if you're a university student like myself.  What I can tell you from my most recent role as a marketing intern at Connect Labs is internships are a lot more than just 'resume building' or gaining a little extra experience. This has been my first internship and it has opened my eyes about so many things, both personally and career-wise, and I truly believe what I've gained is unparalleled to what you learn at university.

Here are a few reasons I've found that internships are more than worth it. 

Internships will help you step out of your comfort zone

As a 19- year old university student, we are never actually told how to get a job, or an internship for that matter. We are sort of just thrown out there and expected to know. So, understandably, it can be a little daunting to think about attempting to go out and get one.

I think this can be a pivotal first step in growing inside of your career and as a young adult - step out of your comfort zone! It can be uncomfortable and confronting to approach new people and work inside of an unknown environment, and thats okay - it's supposed to be. It's in these moments in which you learn and grow.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, ask for feedback or ask for advice. All this will help build your understanding of your field and you can never learn too much. Don't hesitate to pick the brains of your more experienced colleagues - they usually are more than happy to chat!

The confidence and knowledge you gain during your internship experience can really help propel you towards the heights you want to achieve.

Internships will help you discover your industry

Internships give you a one way ticket straight inside your industry. They give you insights you've never encountered before.

As an intern, you can get a real world feel of what your industry is like, and really assess if it's right for you. It gives you a chance to see if it aligns with what you expected versus reality.

You can find answer questions like '"Will you actually enjoy having this job?'" and "Are there aspects you enjoy and are there aspects you dislike?"

Personally, it has been an eye opening experience into understanding what the world of marketing is like and how a small business operates inside of that environment. Before starting my internship, I had no idea how a marketing team operated or what roles looked like, let alone understood what my attributes and weaknesses are. Be proactive in looking for an internship - whether writing in relevant groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, or googling something like 'student internships Melbourne' if you want to find some local opportunities.

So, are internships important for university students?

Universities are a great resource to learn about an industry, and be around like minded people who are interested in the same industry as you are. That said, all the concepts and information you learn might not exactly translate into the real world very smoothly.

There is a level of discrepancy between what you learn at university compared to what you can learn at an internship. This is not a negative at all. In fact, taking on an internship gives you an opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to a real world scenario. Within an internship, you are given real responsibilities, and real tasks to work on. This is the perfect time to execute and experiment with all the knowledge you have built up over your time studying! And let's face it - everyone gets bored of heavy reading and long essays. An internship can be your first taste of experiencing your industry on a real world level.

With the completely different perspective an internship provides, you will be forced to work in a professional environment around many other people. With this, you will pick up the soft skills that you will need to become a better employee and colleague. Interpersonal and communication skills are underrated and for many (myself included), this may be your first time operating in an environment like this, so picking up small skills that will help you work better with and around others can be essential towards your overall career growth.

Internships are so much more than a resume builder

Sure, getting experience is going to look better on your resume. Sure, employers may look at your resume in a more positive light as a result. But, an internship can provide so much more than that and it should be looked at as an eye-opening experience - giving you hands-on insight and perspective into what your future job might be like, along with helping you develop on a personal level.

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