Summer 2015 has come to a swift end, and with it so does my marketing and business development internship at JOHNLEONARD. This isn’t my first time around the block; it’s my 7th internship to be exact. Time after time people always ask me why I am such an advocate for interning. There is this longstanding stereotype that interns will be responsible for coffee runs and photo copying, but in most instances this is no longer the case. Here are 5 reasons I intern, and why all young professionals trying to establish themselves in their industry should too.
I worked on impactful projects
When you are studying at a college or university, you may not always have the opportunity to apply what you are learning in a real world setting. Internships provide the opportunity to take what you are learning in the classroom and actually use it. The projects I have worked on have reinforced the concepts I have been taught. Having a blend of theory and practice will set you on a better path for your future career.
I expanded my professional network
I came to Boston knowing nobody. I now have a network of many local professionals and my LinkedIn account alone has close to 500 Boston area connections. My internships are what made this possible, as I was constantly surrounded by and working with professionals in the area. As an intern, everyone is eager to help and give you advice from their own experiences in the workforce.
I had the chance to get real world experience and learn from it
At the end of the day, you are an intern and your co-workers and bosses know this. While you definitely should aim to excel each day, it’s okay to make mistakes. You are there to learn from these experiences and your co-workers, don’t forget that. So if you make an error on a project, find out how to resolve it and take the learning experience with you to your next task.
I now qualify for jobs that aren’t entry-level
Entry-level positions can be hard to find as many jobs require at least one year of related experience. I have worked side by side with full time employees and pulled my weight, so my internships can certainly count for this required experience. I am at an advantage compared to other college graduates who have never interned before because I can apply for jobs that require even up to two years of experience. My internships have provided me with the skills and portfolio work to prove myself capable of handling these junior level positions.
I have a better idea of what I want to do with my career
I have interned in multiple industries from real estate to a PR agency, and now a staffing agency. It may seem strange that they have all been rather different, but they have all encompassed the marketing-business development and PR field. I found it to be a perfect mixture because I now know exactly what I liked and disliked about each one and have been able to pinpoint what type of marketing I should do. Entering college I thought I had a clear idea of which industry I wanted to work in, but after actually getting experience in this setting, my outlook has changed dramatically. It is better to figure this out while still in college before you commit to an industry full time.
These are just a few of the many benefits internships provide. Every young professional should try and complete at least one before entering the workforce. Internships not only help you to develop a network of connections, but they will also give you experiences that you will learn from and set you apart from other job seekers.
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