Life transition: Classroom to career

The importance of interning

If “internship” brings to mind images of camping out at the copy machine and fetching coffees for low—even no—pay, you’d be halfway right. But while most interns in just about any field dabble in some of the less-than-glamorous aspects of office administration, there’s also often the opportunity to get some actual hands-on introductory work experience (that’s often a huge help to the company), learn from professionals in your chosen field and get exposure to what life might be like in the workforce. Most importantly, now more than ever, internships are a must-have on your resume. On the fence about what you’ll be doing this summer with all that free time? Here, the top three reasons why CBT suggests you to go out there and get yourself an internship—now.

Practice

You’ll likely choose to intern in a field in which you hope to work after graduation, be it at a graphic design firm, tech company or healthcare facility. But imagine you get there and they put you to work—and you realize, yikes, this might not be for you after all. And that’s OK. The most important thing you can take away from an internship is a glimpse into your future should you pursue that line of work—and study. It’s a little slice of how your life will be one day, when you’re working for a similar company. So make sure you like it. Make sure you’re interested in what’s going on and engaged in the work your supervisors assign. If you have to reevaluate the direction you’re taking, you’re going to want to do it while you’re still in school, before you’re hired on for a full-time gig.

Get a leg up on the competition

Each year, the pool of grads entering the workforce grows. The pool of jobs? Eh, not so much. And thus, the competition is fierce. By having a solid internship (or two or three) on your resume, prospective employers can tell that you’re interested in the jobs they’re looking to fill and (sort of) know what you’re doing. Hiring managers see a ton of resumes and cover letters. The more you can do to help yours stand out, the better

Connections and references

While you may not land your dream job on the first day of your internship, realize that often, the people you meet there can help you on your way to that dream job. If your managers see that you’re kicking butt at every task they assign, you might get a tip that informs you of an opening at a great company, the first in a chain of important introductions or even a recommendation for a position. Internships give you the chance to get into your chosen field and meet and be around people who are making it there. Let them know what you’re interested in and why. Don’t be shy about asking for help. Building your professional network early—and staying in touch regularly—can serve your career well long into the future.