Internships can be valuable experiences for both interns and the companies for which they work. We’d like to introduce you to our wonderful summer intern, University of Portland student, and guest blogger, Kaitlin Flanigan. She’s got some great insights as to why students should consider internships.
Take it away, Kaitlin!
When someone says they work as an intern, what usually comes to mind? Probably an image of an overworked, underpaid college student doing all the grunt work no one else in the office wants to do – grabbing coffee, taking out the trash, walking the boss’s dog. But in reality, an internship works more like a symbiotic relationship between the company and the intern. Each party brings something unique to the relationship, and each can learn something from the other.
Here are five ways in which internship programs can benefit both the company and the intern:
1) They can put their expensive college education to good use
Learning about a major in a classroom and experiencing what that type of job is like are two very different things. You can read about how to utilize social media as a marketing strategy all day long, but you never really know the benefits until you see it in action. Internships provide students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in school to the real world.
2) It helps answer the important question – is this the job for you?
There is nothing scarier than the idea of spending four years (or more) and $100,000 dollars (or more) receiving an education for a career, just to find out you despise it. This is a fear that keeps countless college students up at night, but it’s a fear that can be overcome through internships. An internship provides a crucial first-hand look into the working world of that chosen career path. It allows students to “test drive” a path they may want to continue down without the commitment a job brings. An internship acts almost as a trial run, an opportunity to test the waters and see if that really is the job field for you. At the end of your internship, you can walk away with confidence, knowing you’ve chosen the correct path. If it isn’t, you can go back and reevaluate your studies to see where you can shift things to better suit your interests.
3) Connections, connections, connections!
From high school and onward, the one consistent piece of advice given to students is that the way to succeed in the working world is through networking. “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” has been drilled into the heads of students around the country. While knowledge and skill is a key part to any job, the connections you make can have a major impact on where you go. An internship is a great place to make these connections. Most likely, the colleagues an intern works with have not only an abundance of knowledge, but also an abundance of connections too! Each person in the company an intern works with is an opportunity to create an essential connection. When else will you have a group of professionals in your field of interest at your disposal to meet and connect with?
4) Find future talent
While internships may be valuable for students, they can also be extremely beneficial for the company. Interns can become future employees for the company. Like a student “test driving” a career path, a company can test out potential employees without the commitment of hiring them. With an internship, the company can see how the intern interacts with employees and observe what they bring to the table. Since there is no promise of employment, the company can evaluate the intern as time progresses. Then, at the end of the internship, the company can decide whether to offer full time employment or not.
5) Interns can bring a new perspective
Sometimes having an outside view on a company’s operations can be extremely beneficial. Interns can do just that. By bringing in new, fresh talent, a company can gain insight to what is working and what isn’t. They can bring new ideas and ways of doing things that might not have been considered. In addition, interns can bring insight on the last trends and ideas being taught in the classroom. A company can learn what is being taught about the specific industry without having to go back to school. Interns will jump at the opportunity to apply classroom ideas to real world problems, so this fresh perspective can greatly benefit your company. Young interns can also bring knowledge on the latest trends among younger generations.
As more and more companies establish internship programs, it is clear that each party benefits greatly. Internships have evolved into much more than fetching coffee and running trivial errands. Internships are a serious gig and vital to both the company and intern alike.