5 ways an internship can create opportunities for success

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Job Help Center offers practical advice for college students considering internships.

What’s one more thing to add to an already hectic schedule during your final year of college? An internship. Sure, the idea of partying and celebrating your forthcoming freedom from school seems enticing, but snagging an internship (when a student works for an organization -- paid or unpaid, providing an opportunity to gain valuable experience, learn new and useful skills and make priceless connections) is beneficial in the long run. An internship can last anywhere from three to six months, so it doesn’t take up your entire final year of college. Think about all the things that you’ve learned as a student and the advantage an internship will provide when you finally enter the workforce.

Here are some great reasons to consider an internship:

  • Gaining valuable experience - This is your chance to “try out” the job or career of your choice. You also gain skills that you can only learn on the job and you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate them. The individuals you work with during your internship can vouch for your skills and experience as professional references in the future.
  • Spruce up your resume - This is important. College is a great way to start the journey to your dream career by participating in clubs and organizations, but viable experience as an intern could catch the eye of a potential employer, giving you an edge over others in the job market.
  • Developing skills – Despite feeling like you’ve learned everything, your skillset is limited when you first finish school. An internship will help develop and enhance both soft and hard skills. Today’s employers are just as interested in your soft or transferable skills as they are in job-specific skills. 
  • Building relevant relationships - Networking is a vital skill to have in the job market. The relationships that you build while interning are critical to your future success.
  • Meet your mentor – You’ll need direction and one of the best ways to get that is to acquire a mentor. Many people meet their mentors during their internship. Mentors are experienced and trusted advisers -- they are among the key relationships you’ll form because they work with you to ensure your growth and success. Mentorship is not a one-way relationship -- it requires give, take and nurturing to be effective.

Interested in interning? Learning more about finding an internship is as easy as visiting your college career center. The staff can help you succeed by connecting you to resources. Your school also may have a partnership with large corporations and medium-sized businesses to offer internships to students just like you.

It’s important that students seeking to move into the workforce after school take advantage of internships because they create opportunities for individuals long after completion. Finding a job fresh out of school can be tough, so the more experience you can add to the work experience section of your resume, the better.

But, don’t be mistaken. Internships are not all fun and games. They are meant to test your ability to work a job and give you hands-on, industry-specific experience. An internship is a real-time, and real-life, simulation of what you’ve learned in class.

Now, take the first step into your future and sign up for an internship!


This blog was written by De'Trice Fox