Life after college can be full of ups and downs. But if you prepare yourself ahead of time, chances are you’ll have a huge advantage when it comes to starting your professional career.
One way to boost your post-college resume – and make the transition from college to career much, much easier – is to participate in an internship during school. Whether it’s a paid gig or you’re merely working for experience, an internship can give you the leg up you need to succeed in the workforce.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider an internship during college.
A paid internship gives you an opportunity to learn valuable career skills while you’re still attending college. What’s more, it can also help you earn some extra money. For example, over the course of one summer, you could earn over $3,000 before taxes working full-time at minimum wage – or potentially even more, depending on your employer. This can help you pay for tuition, books or let you repay student loans ahead of schedule, which means less student debt after graduation.
Career experience can be a big boost to your resume when you’re fresh out of college – and it can give you an edge over other applicants competing for the same position. By choosing an internship in a field you’re interested in, you’ll not only gain on-the-job experience, you’ll increase your marketability and confidence as you pursue your career. Plus, you may also be earning credit towards professions that offer loan forgiveness.
Choosing the right career after college is a challenge for any graduate. Internships give you a chance to test the professional waters and see where your degree can take you – or help you explore other career paths better suited to your interests. Using the skills you develop in school in a real-world work environment, you’ll know what to expect from employers and the field you’re studying, and learn how to excel in a position you love.
Networking is one of the best ways to create more job options and advance your career. As an intern, you’ll have an opportunity to learn from experts, impress colleagues and create longtime relationships with others in the same field. It can also help you secure a position before graduation. Whether your internship pans out with a job offer or not, the networking that happens while you’re on the job can put you in contact with people that make hiring decisions, or create the professional contacts that make great job-seeking references.
College will teach you a lot about your field, but it won’t teach you everything you need to know to succeed in the workforce. In addition to hard skills like coding, marketing or writing, you’ll be introduced to the soft skills employers look for in this article from LinkedIn’s Senior Editor Paul Petrone. While hard skills will always matter to your career, working as an intern will help you develop creativity, persuasiveness, collaboration and adaptability to make you more well-rounded – and sought after – as a professional.
When you’re interning with a company and they see your hard work, colleagues with more experience will often take you under their wing to strengthen your skillset and provide professional guidance. These mentors can serve as a vital resource as you build your career. They can also point you to opportunities you might otherwise have overlooked and add the real-world knowledge and career skills that stimulate your personal and professional growth.
Successfully completing an internship can be the first step to securing a position before you even graduate. If the company you interned at likes your work and considers you a valuable contributor to the organization, there’s a good chance it could turn into a job opportunity. What’s more, you could position yourself to earn a better salary when you join the business full-time versus others they haven’t worked with yet. This just adds one more reason to consider becoming an intern to make life after college go smoothly.
Enjoy our guide on using a college internship to further your career? Find out how to save money on your student debt through a range of repayment and forgiveness options by filling out our online form or calling (800) 771-6358 to speak with a student loan specialist.