Internship and work experience are a proven method of getting your foot in the door - Duane Strauss.

Many people nowadays stress the importance of internships while heading into the working world. But why is this an important step, to have acquired an internship experience before applying for an actual job? Do you really need to have the hands-on experience that one obtains through internships your first full-time employment position, or is it just a matter of landing the right job?

Reality is, employers in today’s market rely heavily on resumes that illustrate a relevant work history, be it internships, volunteer work, or actual job experience. A practical work background carries a major significance when attempting to enter the job market. That is why that 3-6 month long internship you choose to take part in may be the the deciding factor as to whether you are chosen for the job or left on the shelf.

Still not convinced? Here are 7 other reasons why internships are strongly encouraged:

1. It provides a real life experience and work exposure

If you are a student who studied for the past 2-7 years in a college or university/MCAST, an internship will enable you to gain first-hand work exposure in the real world. It will allow you to actually use all those skills and theoretical practices that you’ve (probably) learned by heart for an exam or assignment, only this time you will translate them in the real working life.

Internships will give you the benefit of trying something completely new, and enable you to learn about established companies and industries. You will be also exposed to training, development and above all, to new people in a more controlled and professional environment.

2. Learning more about yourself in the process

Doing an internship, as in any other line of work, allows you not only to personally develop and harness your skills, but also to learn more about yourself and your capabilities. Once you discover your strengths and weaknesses, it is easier to identify goals and targets for the future, and also the path you should be taking to achieve them.

3. Time management

As an intern, especially if you’re still studying or working in other part-time jobs, you will need to master time management more than ever. Working in a fast paced professional environment will encourage you to make use of every second in the best possible manner. Time management will be crucial to complete your tasks in the required deadline, therefore this will be the ultimate training exercise for a future job where meeting deadlines will also be an everyday necessity.

4. Getting connected and developing your own professional network

An internship will grant you unlimited opportunities to establish and develop your own connections with company employers and employees who may all play a vital role in your future career. You will not only learn the importance of networking, but will also do it yourself on a daily basis by attending meetings and interacting with people who may be the professionals who springboard your career into something much bigger.

5. Building an ideal resume

Your CV is a first impression that every employer or recruiter will have of you. Knowing that every employer out there prefers an experienced candidate over an inexperienced one, it is important to enhance your resume with relevant experiences to the position you are applying for, including internships.

6. Transitioning into a full-time position

Most students imagine themselves working in their dream job straight after graduating, but apart from that being close to impossible to happen, this scenario also has its’ disadvantages on the new graduate. If you have never worked full-time before, the transition from full-time student to full-time employee may be difficult and overwhelming. In a working environment, not every company may be tolerant to ‘rookie’ mistakes; and you may be shown the exit door at an early stage - a negative experience which will remain with you forever.

Internships offer the ideal opportunity to transition into full-time positions. If you embark on this experience, you will be given the opportunity to showcase your talents, commitment, and value to a prospective employer.

7. Earn as you learn!

Although there are companies which only offer unpaid internships, paid internships do exist! While every job offers transferable skills, such as teamwork, problem solving and cash handling, paid internships give you the opportunity to earn money while learning vital skills for your future career. This is also ideal if you’re still studying in college or University/Mcast and you are prepared to work harder to earn something more than your usual stipend at the end of the month.

And finally… What’s in it for employers?

While an interview or company test can add to what an employer knows about you, an internship also helps the employer evaluate how an individual would fare in the workplace environment. Companies that devote time and resources to finding, selecting and training interns are looking for a return on their investment.

The benefit might be in the present (using the services of talented individuals without having to make a hiring commitment), or it might be in the future (the added ability to choose a person who will work out well as an employee). So your work an an intern will always pay off in the long run.

See also:

Does Social Media Assist or Hurt Your Job Search

The Importance of Career Planning

Studying to Improve Your Career Plan