Benefits of internship

The Benefits of Internship Placements: How You Can Accelerate Your Career

If you’re looking for a way to accelerate your career and boost your chances of landing a full-time job after graduation, internships offer the perfect opportunity. Not only will you develop job-ready skills, but you’ll also enhance your resume, make crucial connections, and obtain many other benefits.

In this article, you’ll learn what internships are, why they are beneficial for students, and how to find opportunities within your industry.

What is an internship?

An internship is a type of work experience organisations offer for a fixed period, typically ranging from a single day to several months. While these placements were originally intended only for medical graduating seniors, internships are now available across all industries and disciplines – both virtually and in-person.

The idea behind an internship is to provide students with meaningful, practical work experience relevant to their field of interest or chosen career path. Some internships are unpaid, while others offer varying degrees of compensation.

To differentiate internships from employment, interns must gain their fair share of benefits from their time with the organisation. For example, the intern may receive comprehensive training and observe others on the job, providing them with job-ready skills.

Productive work that predominantly benefits the organisation is typically considered an employment relationship rather than an internship.

Benefits of internships in university

The benefits of internship experience for students

Internships offer many benefits for students, including relevant experience, potential job offers, and increased confidence. Let’s go into more detail about several of these benefits now.

Job and industry experience

One of the main benefits of internship opportunities is meaningful industry experience. Many employers seek applicants with experience, which many graduates just entering the working world won’t have.

By completing an internship before you graduate, you can give yourself a leg up over other applicants and impress employers with your real-world experience!

Mentorship

Mentorship is an invaluable way to gain insider knowledge of an industry and build highly relevant skills. An experienced mentor can help you approach your internship confidently, gain new perspectives, and learn the best steps forward in your chosen career.


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Research experience

Research skills help you find, evaluate, and present information relevant to a certain topic.  These skills can help you define problems and identify solutions based on real evidence.

Thorough research abilities are essential in the working world. Even if your career path doesn’t involve research specifically, the skills can still help you make better decisions in the workplace. 

You can also use your research skills to learn more about organisations you’d like to work for, boosting your chances of interview success.

Networking

You’ve probably heard the age-old phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This saying rings true in the working world. Often, the most surefire way to find out about available positions—and land a job—is through someone you know.

The internship experience is a fantastic way to meet influential people within your industry and build a strong professional network before graduation. Your job network may even lead you directly to an employment opportunity!

Access to various resources

Internships provide access to a range of useful resources, including software, equipment, and other tools of the trade. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to use these tools, helping you stand out among competing applicants in future employment opportunities.

For example, computer science students may have access to key software like MATLAB and Autodesk. Hands-on experience with these programs is often essential for interview success.

Guidance on your career path

If you’re unclear on your career goals, internships are a fantastic way to find guidance. Discuss your career goals, educational qualifications, and skill set with your internship contacts, and receive in-depth advice on the best way to move forward.

Your insider experience can also help you decide whether your chosen career path is truly right for you. Even if you consider a career switch after your internship, you’ll still have enjoyed valuable insights and clarity about your goals.

Career accelerating

Many graduates begin their careers with low confidence and little to no experience. Position yourself leaps and bounds above the rest by completing an internship before you graduate.

Your internship experience will mean you can skip through basic career training, running full steam ahead into your career with fresh confidence. You might even enjoy a higher starting salary! 

Build your resume

If you haven’t had a job before, your resume likely looks quite empty. You might try to bulk it up with volunteer work, hobbies, college education, and awards, but nothing impresses hiring managers more than relevant experience.

Internships make a convincing addition to your resume, proving to employers that you have valuable experience in your industry. If you complete industry projects during your internship, you can also use them to demonstrate your skills and influence—or to build your portfolio.

Transition to a permanent full-time job

For many students, the transition from study to full-time work can be quite jarring. While student life is often varied, with ever-changing schedules and regular breaks, full-time employment is usually much more consistent.

Completing an internship can help you lean into the rhythm of full-time work before you begin employment, ensuring a smooth transition.

Benefits of internships for full-time jobs

Virtual learning experience

Over the past three years, we’ve seen a major shift towards a virtual work environment. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 40% of employed Australians worked from home regularly during the first half of August 2021.

Virtual internships are a great way to gain job-ready skills from home and learn how the modern, digitally-driven workplace runs. You’ll especially benefit from these opportunities if your schedule makes in-person internships difficult, or if you live in a remote area.

These internships offer many of the same benefits as traditional placements, including networking opportunities and resource access. You’ll also learn skills to make working from home easier, like digital literacy, independence, self-motivation, and communication. 

Talking points for future interviews

Interviewing for internship positions is a great way to build up your skills and gain confidence for future job interviews. You can also seek guidance from your career mentor to develop interview skills such as:

  • Preparation and organisation
  • Research
  • Professionalism
  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Listening skills
  • Punctuality and time management

You’ll also gain insight into the type of applicants interviewers look for within your industry—and what questions to ask to demonstrate your knowledge and interest.

Build your real-world experience

The key benefit of internships—and one that stands out among all others—is the opportunity to gain real-world experience.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to connect classroom learning with real-world scenarios. For example, graphic design students might learn how to create an eye-catching logo—but the logo won’t have much meaning until you attach it to a real business!

Through an internship, the same graphic design students could work with an agency to produce a logo for a real client, creating a meaningful connection between theory and practice.

What skills do you gain from an internship?

Internships can help you build skills highly applicable to your career path, along with soft skills that will help you across all career paths—and daily life, too!

You’ll develop:

  • Interpersonal skills, i.e. how to interact with clients, customers, stakeholders, staff, and bosses,
  • Digital literacy, i.e. finding, analysing, and communicating information via digital platforms; using technology efficiently,
  • Prioritising and multi-tasking, i.e. balancing your workload to avoid burnout and meet deadlines,
  • Problem-solving, i.e. how to solve issues ranging from technical glitches to customer complaints.

These skills will help you enter your future career with confidence—and accelerate your growth as you move up the ladder.

Frequently asked questions about internships

If you’re still unsure about whether an internship is right for you, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here.

How much time does it take to complete an internship?

There’s no recommended length for internships—it all depends on the type of placement, your industry, and the organisation’s needs. Placements can last for a single day to an entire year!

For example, summer internships take place over the summer break, while work experience placements may only last a week or two.

Paid internships are typically longer than unpaid opportunities. You can expect paid placements to last for about one academic term, or six months, while unpaid internships rarely last longer than a few weeks.

How do I find an internship?

Finding internships is easy in today’s highly connected world. Your main options are:

  • Recommendations from family, friends, fellow students, and mentors,
  • Placements arranged by your university,
  • Searching for opportunities online,
  • Enrolling in industry experience programs, such as those offered by Practera.

Benefits of internships in higher education for students

Finding an internship through Practera

Practera’s industry experience programs make it easier than ever to connect with organisations within your industry. By enrolling for free in one of our government-backed live programs, you can work with professional contacts from a huge range of sectors.

Past members of Practera’s programs have enjoyed benefits such as enhanced social and professional connections, deeper motivation, real industry experience that employers value, virtual and remote working skills and a strong resume. You’ll also learn how to better present your skills, credentials, and experience in interview scenarios, seriously boosting your chances of landing your dream job after graduation!

To learn more about these programs and sign up for free, visit our student programs page. For educators looking to boost employability skills among students, get in touch with the Practera team or download our white paper to learn more about the benefits of experiential learning. Or educators can pilot our industry experience programs for free here.


Gain Experience & Skills Employers Are Recruiting For Today!

Enrol for free in Practera’s government-backed live programs to build your employability skills  


 

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