Have you ever thought of starting an internship? Well, if you’re waiting for a sign, this is it!
An internship is a strong link you need between your academic degree and your employability. It provides you with a valuable opportunity for you to explore and develop skills in the professional industry. Sometimes, you can even turn an internship into a full-time job. In Australia, work experience is extremely important for graduates and students who are seeking employment as most employers look for prior experience more than what university degree you have.
You would also want to consider completing an internship through a course to gain credit on your academic transcripts or as part of building your resume.
Many professionals can attest to this. Networking during your internship is the single most effective strategy to use to advance your career. Establishing relationships with your manager or team is a great start to networking. However, you should also connect with everyone in the workplace. You never know who you’ll come across when you’re connecting within your existing network. You’d be surprised that in this day and age, you’re bound to be connected in some way! Networking within the organisation can potentially create opportunities for you to work on a future project or at least contribute your ideas and insights. With the relationships formed across the organisation, you’ll also be comfortable to ask for referrals and appropriate professional organisations to expand your network of contacts.
Unpaid or paid, an internship will provide you with industry knowledge from experienced professionals. It’ll give you an idea of what it’s like work for an organisation, as well as what traits organisations are looking for in a candidate. Interns shouldn’t be afraid to ask their peers for feedback during their placement. Take advantage of your internship and ask questions like what your supervisors and managers had to do to land their jobs or if you’d need any further certifications to be successful in getting the job you want. The experience you gain from an internship will help you determine what are the skills and knowledge gaps you need to fill for a full-time job.
3. Personal Growth
During your internship, you’ll discover that there’s a lot of things that you don’t know about yourself. Apart from gaining valuable work experience, you’ll learn to make a good impression at work and finding ways to get involved in meaningful work. You’ll also find yourself thinking about how you can take additional steps to make your contribution to the organisation more valuable.
Australian research found that students who have completed an internship as part of their university degree are better at making career decisions. Results also showed that they are more satisfied with their career choices. 344 students from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia participated in a survey to measure how competent they feel about managing their careers. Some of the students had completed an internship as part of their degree while others haven’t. The survey results found that students who have undergone an internship felt more competent to those who didn't do an internship. Researchers shared that it was because the students felt like they've figured out their own personal priorities and how it can affect their career decisions.
4. Put theory into practice
Although an internship is valuable to add on your resume, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your university degree is pointless. Even if you’re job shadowing, volunteering or performing a casual internship, there are many ways to put your degree into play at work. For instance, you’ll be able to link academic theory to practice during your job by applying certain knowledge and skills you learned in university. This happens predominantly in fields that need a theoretical approach such as science, accounting or engineering. One student created an opportunity with a neuroscientist, because his interest was in mind-brain education, and he wanted to experience the neuroscience behind theories he was learning in class.
5. Kick start your career
Starting an internship may seem daunting, but it might be the stepping stone you need to kick start your career. You’ll learn a lot about what aspects you like or don’t like about a job. It'll also give you an insight into what you need to be successful at a role. Internships give you the chance to trial and experience jobs that you’re interested in. A field has many roles in different organisations. For instance, there are many different organisations to work for in the accounting field; from small accounting practices, government organisations to corporate companies. An internship will give you an idea about selecting your future career.