In today’s competitive job market, employers are searching for the best of the best. Although at the beginning of freshman year many are simply thinking about surviving their first year of college, graduation and entrance into your next phase of life comes faster than you realize. Internships during your college years are the most remarkable experiences that will best prepare you for the transition into a professional career. Employers seek solid and well-rounded resumes, and the professional experience of an internship greatly enhances your appeal to employers. The array of benefits from an internship are perennial, however there are a few very significant reasons I believe that everyone should participate in an internship program during their freshman year of college or the summer after.
1. Affirm Your Aspirations
If you are someone who knows exactly what career path you want to take, then getting started early is always beneficial. This past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a 10-week news internship program with the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Most of my fellow interns were seniors in college and this initially intimidated me. However, each of them told me on numerous occasions that they regret not starting as early I had. I personally have always felt that broadcast journalism is the career field I want to pursue a career in, and fortunately, I have never felt so confident in my career choice as I did at the end of my internship. From learning how, a typical workday would operate, to making connections with professionals in the field, and most importantly, leaving the program with a great understanding of my career ambition.
This opportunity is also relatable to those who are still unsure of what they want to do for a career. Internships are available most everywhere and for nearly every pathway, so find something relevant to your major or just find something that interests you. Your internship experience could end with you having a plan of action by falling in love with the program you were a part, or maybe it will make you realize that the specific field is not for you. No matter your experience, internships can be an important tool that will positively impact your next step in finding a career.
2. Rack Up Your Resume
As a college student, I am fully aware of the constant push for adding attributes to your resume. However, internships can offer more to your resume than simply adding another bullet point. Internships provide real life experience and valuable industry knowledge that will set you apart from other candidates your same age. Additionally, at my internship this past summer, the head of every department met with the interns to give a do’s and don’ts session about resumes. These were successful professionals from multiple departments ranging from Sales, Marketing, News, Engineering and even the General Manager of the News Station, and each gave their best advice on how to get hired. This advice was beneficial since it was coming from someone who hires individuals in the field that I was to work in.
3. Strengthen Your Educational and Professional Skills
With experience of an internship, many qualities can be acquired that will be beneficial in your career search. Having evidence of leadership skill and the ability to work as a team are two very important attributes that an internship will provide you. In addition, mastering office jargon, learning the rundown of the office environment, and the understanding the demands of the job are important for the potential professional field. Once you learn what’s expected from you in a professional setting, you’ll learn how to relax more in a desired position and focus more energy on excelling at the work itself. As it relates to education, using the resources you have acquired from your internship can a great benefit to you in other on campus organizations. For example, I work with the student run tv- station, TigerVision, here at Clemson where I primarily work with the news segment. After having an internship at a news station, I am much more knowledge and my internship experience has led to new ideas that can help strengthen our news segment here at Clemson. It has also enabled me to share my experiences with others who are interested in this field.
My first internship experience after my freshman year of college truly impacted my life in regards to my education, the extracurricular activities I am involved in, and my potential in my chosen field of study. I encourage everyone to participate in an internship program during their freshman year of college or the summer after, and continue to participate in internships throughout their college career. You will be forever grateful for the experience when the day finally comes that you transition from no longer being a student to becoming an individual in the world of careers.
Written By: Mattie Lee