Are you one of those people who think internships or work experience placements are a waste of time? Well think again. With the job market becoming more and more competitive, it is vital that students gain a set of skills that are highly sought after by employers. University helps you nurture essential skills making it the perfect time to start gaining experience.
I remember when I first started University, I would put off getting work experience as I just wanted to focus on my studies. However, it soon became clear that if I really wanted to succeed in my degree, I needed to get experience. I’m a final year student studying Public Relations. With one of our modules being assessed purely on our portfolio, we are strongly encouraged to get as much experience as possible. Although it is compulsory on our course, I think it is important for all students on any course to invest time in internships or work experience placements.
Here are my top 10 reasons why internships are worthwhile –
1. Great for the CV
So, this is an obvious one. Building up your CV is vital, especially in the current climate. Having a CV which includes a variety of work experience makes you stand out from the crowd and makes you more appealing to prospective employers.
2. Put theory into practise
Like most careers, you don’t really learn until you get out there and do the job first hand. Internships or work experience placements are a great way to apply all the things you’ve learnt in the lecture theatre to real life experiences.
3. Improve on skills
Internships allow you to improve on existing skills. I always considered myself as someone who had good time management skills – getting tasks done in a timely manner. However, the first few months of my internship proved me wrong. Working within a hectic and fast paced environment, it is important that you have a clear perspective of your workload and prioritise each task to ensure it meets its deadline.
4. Develop new skills
Not only do internships help you improve on existing skills but they also allow you to develop new ones. The working environment poses new challenges, putting you in different situations and requiring you to think on your feet and think of solutions.
5. New contacts
Gaining experience also helps you expand your professional contact base. Networking is vital – not only does it ‘get your foot in the door’ but it also helps you throughout the rest of your studies and future career.
6. Exciting opportunities
Internships offer new, exciting opportunities. Getting involved in new projects allows you to get involved in fun activities giving you a sense of achievement and something to look back fondly on when you work on your portfolio.
7. Gain insight into the industry
Getting work experience allows you to gain insight into what the industry is all about. The PR industry, for example, is in a constant state of flux and is so vast. Experiencing the workplace first hand helps you to establish which area of the industry interests you the most giving you a clearer perspective of where you hope to be in 10 years’ time.
8. Inspiration for dissertation
Personally, I feel that my experience within the workplace has given me inspiration for the dreaded DISSERTATION that most of us face in the final year. The workplace allows you to gain insight into the industry giving you ‘food for thought’.
9. Gain confidence
Internships are a great way to build up your confidence. They allow you to become familiar with the workplace and gain confidence in how to manage certain situations.
10. Stands you in good stead for your future career
Finally, internships give you the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience that will steer you in the right direction leading you on your dream career path.