Why you should intern as an undergraduate

In our contemporary world, one of the problems young graduates face after school is unemployment. There are various complaints here and there that there are no jobs. And the bone of contention has always been a question of whether there are really no jobs or the seekers are just simply unemployable. It is true that jobs are on a very limited scale in the labor market which has made them very competitive and with relatively slim chances. Hence companies/organizations are now keen on those who have the required work experience, skills and knowledge to deliver well on the job and add immense value to foster their development. And these are the key elements most young graduates lack when seeking jobs.

If you’re an undergraduate in any tertiary institution, there is no better and more opportunistic time for you to start preparing yourself for the labor market. And one sure way to boost your employability is to take internships. It will give you the relevant work experience needed for you to thrive in the workplace after school.

Here are 6 benefits you stand to gain from your internship experience:

1. Practical application of knowledge gained in the classroom

Internships have proven to be a great way to apply the theoretical knowledge gained from the classroom to first hand, real-world experience. This will also enable you to acquire the practical knowledge needed to thrive in a work environment, and get you acquainted with what is obtainable in the corporate world. It will also avail you of experiential learning on what a job entails and expose you well to how companies/organizations operate — all beyond what you are being taught in school.

2. Build core skills and competencies

Having an internship experience affords you the opportunity to develop a wide range of professional skills needed for you land a job after school. You will not only get to acquire new technical skills and abilities required for your dream job, but you will also gain soft skills like communication, leadership, design thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork which will all be learned through the internship and can also be well-utilized beyond that experience.

3. Gain relevant work experience and build your CV/resume

The hard reality is that these days, it is difficult to find a job opening that doesn’t require a certain number of years of work experience. The jobs and positions that you will apply to following your graduation will most likely want employees to have the relevant professional experience to be able to secure the job. Companies want to see that you have a track record of experience and excellence demanded to perform well. And this will be evident through the work history on your CV/resume, even before inviting you over for an interview. This is to show how important having an internship experience before leaving the school is. It is by far the best way to gain the relevant experience in the field of the career you want to pursue. It will also the best way to give you an edge over other job seekers in the competitive bid when applying for jobs by proving you’re a great candidate.

4. Professional networking opportunity

Certainly, you must have heard the popular quote that says: “Your network is your net worth.” One of the immense benefits of having an internship is to build and grow your professional network in the field. There are lots of chances of securing a job by connecting with people and getting strong recommendations/references from your previous supervisors/team leaguer/employers from the companies/organizations you have previously interned for. Thus, networking is very essential to your professional development and helps boost your chances of getting employed. Internships also provide a great environment for you to meet professionals in the career field, as well as other interns who have shared interests and prospects with you. And you can always leverage the professional relationships you will establish with them to advance your career.

5. Get a job without really looking for the job

Yes, you heard that, right? Do you know you can land a job without really looking for the job in the first place? Yes, of course, you can! Most companies/organizations often like to retain their interns afterward. This is always a way of rewarding them for their dedication and valuable contributions to the development of the establishment. And as such, the companies see in them the potentials to contribute and binge value to the table more. In fact, there are chances that youths who are gainfully-employed today in reputable firms started off as an intern before they eventually secured the job. Internships are mostly non-paid, but you can get this lucky.

6. Make career-switch easy

If you’re an undergraduate and you’re already contemplating a career-switch after school, it’s high time you started an internship in the field you want to go into. This will surely go a long way in making you acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for you to thrive and be relevant in the industry. Remember, the competition will be extremely strong, no doubt! You will be bidding for jobs with young graduates who studied in the exact area of the field in school. But the relevant work history you have built over the years of your study in school will position you well as the best candidate.

So, won’t you rather make the best use of your summer, breaks, and vacations to intern for a firm in your field? Or even explore other fields and areas of interests. You will have no regrets, as it will even make you more employable. Try it out, and watch out for the good headstart it will certainly give your career trajectory.

Author: Agbaje Ayomide
Agbaje Ayomide is an emerging media professional, freelance editor and content writer with over two years' work experience. He currently works as the Chief Editor of Pison Books, a fast-rising publishing firm. His piece of writings largely focus on the society and correcting its ills to bring about an improved state of affairs. He also runs a column where he shares his critical, informed and thought-provoking opinions on contemporary socio-political issues in Africa.

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